Term 1 Courses 


PS 611 Government, Politics and the Public Service

Prof. John Milloy

Public servants require a thorough understanding of Canada's political system. This course examines the structure and functions of the Westminster system of government, upon which Canada's is based, and explores the role of the public service in relation to other fundamental institutions of Canadian governance, such as the political executive, the legislature and the judiciary. Topics examined include the unique context of Canadian politics and public administration, the role of the federal, provincial and municipal levels of government within the Canadian federation, ministerial responsibility and accountability, and contemporary challenges facing the public service.

PS 614 Communicating with Diverse Audiences

Prof. Danielle Deveau

Public servants often have to become communication specialists: they have to communicate with diverse audiences (e.g. citizen groups, politicians, lawyers, parliamentary committees and subcommittees) using a variety of genres (e.g. reports, records pamphlets, power point presentations, briefs) as well as different modes of communication (e.g. electronic, text, face-to-face). This course offers participants an opportunity to identify and interrogate the stylistic and visual strategies characteristic of the documents in their workplaces. Much of the course focuses on identifying the needs of different audiences and aligning stylistic and visual choices to those audiences. In the process of investigating documentation practices, course participants are offered opportunities to develop their own informal and formal communication skills.

PS 616 Spoken French in Context (optional course)

Prof. Louise Chaput

Some public service positions require proficiency in both of Canada's official languages, English and French. This optional course is taught at an intermediate level, and is designed to refresh and reinforce linguistic skills students have acquired through previous French language training (e.g. senior high school or university courses). It aims to strengthen proficiency in oral expression and comprehension, through the study of specialized vocabulary and situational learning scenarios, such as role-play exercises.

PS 621 Project Management in Government

Prof. Rosemary McGowan

Project management - the coordination of people, processes, and information to achieve desired goals - is a core competency required of public servants. This course provides students with training in the key elements of effective project management, including team building, priority setting, scheduling, resource management, communication, and project implementation and completion. Examples of projects taken from government are used both as case studies for analysis and for hands-on project management exercises aimed at honing skills. Because information management is a fundamental part of most government projects, the course explores tools, methodologies, and guidelines surrounding the access, evaluation, and use of government information.

PS 624 Research Methods and Data Analysis

Prof. Anindya Sen

To effectively support evidence-based decision making, public servants must be skilled in collective, analyzing, interpreting and presenting data. This course explores the principles and practices of effective research design, and equips students with essential skills in data collection and analysis. Topics may include methods of data collection, measurement, data coding, descriptive and inferential statistics, sampling, survey research techniques, questionnaire design, interviews, and research ethics.

PS 625 Economics and Public Policy I

Prof. Anindya Sen

This course teaches students fundamental principles of microeconomics with an emphasis on cost-benefit analysis. Topics covered may include demand and supply, pareto-efficiency, surplus and deadweight loss, discounting, time-stream evaluation and investment criteria, the measurement of welfare change, shadow prices, and the valuation of intangibles. In order to ensure policy relevance, Treasury Board of Canada guidelines are used as a template for cost-benefit analysis techniques. Note: previously called Goverment Finance I
 

Term 2 Courses (1 required and 4 optional)


PS 618 Public Policy Development

Prof. Daniel Henstra

Public servants are often involved in the development, implementation and evaluation of public policy. This course examines the dynamics of public policy development in Canada, analyzing the actors, interests and institutions involved in problem identification, policy design, decision-making, implementation and evaluation. It is designed to equip students with knowledge of the policy process and a framework to analyze and recommend courses of action in response to contemporary problems.

PS 620 Effective Leadership and Management 

Prof. Roy Norton 

An effective leader demonstrates mastery of skills in four key domains: personal, interpersonal, organizational, and contextual. Using these four areas as a guide, this course offers future public servants a comprehensive interactive program aimed at developing their skills as managerial leaders. Case studies drawn from government are examined and role-playing and problem-solving exercises are used to cultivate leadership capacity. Students explore the roles of values and ethics in the life of a public servant, the need to build community and foster a culture of collaboration, and the necessity of being an effective communicator and leader of people.

PS 626 Economics and Public Policy II

Prof. Allison Mascella

This course focuses on the rationale for government intervention in a market economy. The course begins with a consideration of market successes through the analysis of the first and second theorems of welfare economics. The course then considers market failures through an analysis of distributional issues, public goods, externalities, non-competitive market structures, and asymmetric information. The role and degree of government intervention in health care, education, social assistance, employment insurance, and pension plans is also discussed. Note: previously called Government Finance II

PS 699 Coding for Policy Analysis* 

Prof. Elias Puurunen

Big data analysis is becoming increasingly relevant for policy analysis and there is a significant demand for coding skills. This course offers an introduction to data analytics tools such as R, Python, SQL and Tableau and their use with respect to structured and unstructured datasets. Students will be taught how to collect, clean, explore and analyze a variety of data and the art of extrapolating policy insights from such analyses. There will be an emphasis on different data visualization methods.  

*counts towards CDASH 

PS 699 Digital Government 

Prof. Sameer Vasta

The ushering in of the internet over the past two decades created change in every industry and every aspect of our lives; governments were not immune to that change, and have been working hard to understand what the changing digital landscape means to the way they serve the public. Like almost every organization in every sector, governments at all levels around the world are trying to figure out how to adapt to this digital disruption, and the changing public expectations that come with it, while still making sure critically-important systems—including social services, public infrastructure, financial operations, and democratic governance—are still stable and solid for the people, communities and businesses that rely on them every day. The future of the public service is one that acknowledges that these systems need change, but that change can only come from new ways of working, of approaching challenges, and of understanding the relationship between public and public service. The digital era has not only ushered in new public expectations of government, but an ever-present need for the public service to renew itself to meet those expectations.

This course explores what government can and should look like in a digital era, while also examining how this digital transformation is already being done, but inside the public sector and beyond.

PS 699 Public-Private Partnerships 

Prof. Heather Whiteside

A plethora of market mechanisms are now involved in public procurement and the activities of the public sector, the public-private partnership (PPP) phenomenon being especially significant. Focusing on Canada in a comparative context, this course takes up the political and economic dimensions of PPPs by linking theory and academic debate to empirical developments in political economy through informed discussions, a research paper, and an at-home exam. Students will also have an opportunity to workshop their research papers and offer constructive feedback to others through several weeks devoted to developing their analyses and arguments. 


You can also choose one non-MPS course as one of your optional courses from the list below:

PSCI 683 Topics in International Political Economy 

Prof Eric Helleiner

Contemporary perspectives and issues in international political economy, with particular attention to advanced industrial countries. Topics include political/economic cooperation, the politics of trade, and the politics of adjustment.

PSCI 620 Gender and Global Politics 

Prof. Veronica Kitchen

Does looking at the world through the lens of gender change how we see the state, sovereignty, diplomacy, security, trade, migration, globalization, governance, and other foundational concepts in global politics? We review feminist theories of politics, with a particular focus on international relations and global governance; examine how gender shapes the roles and experiences of women and men in global politics; and discuss how to do feminist research.

HIST 640 Digital History*

Prof. Ian Milligan

Digital history, the application of new and emerging technologies to the study of history, is an important field that has begun to reshape historical production and scholarship. This graduate level course introduces students to the literature on digital history, and then puts theory into practice by digitally collecting, publishing, and producing new historical knowledge with cutting-edge tools.

*counts towards CDASH 

INTEG 640 Computational Social Science*

Prof. John McLevey

The explosion of digital data is revolutionizing the way we learn about the world. This course focuses on the knowledge and skills necessary for doing high-quality social scientific research with digital data. Students will be introduced to the programming language Python, and will earn to collect and analyze digital data using computational methods.

*counts towards CDASH 

PSYCH 804 Multi-Level Modeling Applications in Psychology*

Prof. Igor Grossmann

This course is designed to provide graduate students in Psychology with the background and skills to be able to interpret and conduct multi-level data analysis. Hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) software will be used for instruction and assignments. Conceptual issues with multi-level data and theory will also be addressed. Applications may involve data concerning work groups in organizations, romantic couples, individual change over time (as in learning growth curves), and event-level associations of mood states with other variables (as in "diary" studies). Extensions to 3-level models and to "non-linear" models (e.g., for count and rate data) will also be discussed.

*counts towards CDASH