McGill University’s Max Bell School of Public Policy offers a full-time and intensive 11-month Master of Public Policy (MPP) program.
The program is designed for participants who have been working for a few years after receiving their undergraduate degree. It combines insights regarding the theory of public policy with the many practical aspects that make the analysis, design, communication, and implementation of public policy so complex. The program also has an emphasis on developing the skills and perspectives essential for creating future leaders in the policy process, whether in government, business, or non-governmental organizations.
The Master of Public Policy is a 45-credit, non-thesis, program which includes five key components:
Core Policy Courses
The fall and winter terms are divided into two 6-week modules. Each Core Policy Course is six weeks long (6 hours per week), and worth 3 credits. Students take only two courses at once. Each course is custom-designed for the MPP program and combines the theory of policy with many applied examples and exercises.
Policy Case Studies
Between the 6-week modules in each term, one week is spent on Policy Case Studies, taught by practitioners. The case study classes are small (half or less of the total cohort) and highly interactive between students and instructors. Each case study spans five half-days, developing the complete storyline and multi-dimensional complexity of an actual policy. These case studies are taught by policy practitioners and give students the opportunity to understand the trade-offs and decision-making involved in policymaking.
For four weeks in May/June of each year, students are offered several intensive one-week seminars, each on a single theme. Each seminar presents students with a particular type of complexity in the policymaking process. Whereas each of the Policy Case Studies examines one specific policy with many associated complexities, the Complexity Seminars are designed to examine one particular type of complexity as it applies to many different policy settings. In this way, students see each complexity as a phenomenon with considerable generality.
Each Complexity Seminar is taught either by a McGill professor or a policy practitioner, and some seminars may be co-taught by more than one person. The seminars have small classes (half the total MPP cohort), are highly interactive, and involve informal group discussions.
The capstone element of the MPP program is the client-focused Policy Lab. It involves group work in addressing a specific policy topic for a real-world client, either a government, business, or NGO. The client-focused Policy Lab begins in January of the winter term, consisting of low-intensity work throughout that term, a month of intensive work in June and July, and culminating in a major group presentation to the client in mid-July.
Students are challenged every day to improve their analytical abilities and enhance their policy toolkit. Given that many of the crucial challenges of public policy exist similarly in all countries, the program develops the essential skills for both international and Canadian students to shape policy in a constantly evolving global landscape.