Toronto SPPG

… a summary of one of the Master’s Programs on the Atlas

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University of Toronto, School of Public Policy and Governance (SPPG) – MPP

NOTE: On 1 July 2018 the Munk School of Global Affairs (see Toronto MSGA) and the School of Public Policy and Governance (see Toronto SPPG) were amalgamated to create the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy (see Toronto Munk). This page is retained for historical comparison purposes.

Program Comparison Highlights

Institutional Structure: Toronto’s MPP is delivered through the School of Public Policy and Governance, an academic unit within the Faculty of Arts and Science, where most teaching faculty are cross-appointed from other academic units. Unlike many such schools in other universities, SPPG delivers only one professional degree, the Master of Public Policy; other cognate professional degrees such as the Master of Global Affairs (see Toronto MSGA) and the Master of Public Health are delivered by other academic units. With annual admissions of approximately 80, the SPPG MPP is one of the largest MPP/MPA programs in Canada and in the top quartile in North America.

Curriculum Design: With an 18-course degree, the Toronto MPP has one of the higher course requirements among the MPP/MPA programs. Our PEACO calculations below suggest that typical students take about 70% of their course work in policy-oriented subjects and 30% in management-oriented subjects. Typical students take about 21% of their course work in subjects with high math-economics content. This places the Toronto MPP in the “high course requirement, highly policy-oriented, higher math-economics content” curricular type, along with such programs as the Chicago MPP and the Columbia MPA (see MPP/MPA Curricular Types). The Toronto MPP is one of a minority of programs with a mandatory internship. Among peers in its curricular type, the Toronto MPP has as a relatively high proportion of required courses and a relatively low number of courses taught within the school. The competency gap analysis below suggests that a Toronto MPP student taking the required courses and a random selection of listed electives would, on average, graduate with approximately 24 course-weeks of shortfall in the core-competency subject matter identified in MPP/MPA Core Competencies, including shortfalls of 6 course-weeks in both Analytical Methods and Leadership Skills, and shortfalls of 3 course-weeks in each of Communication Skills, Public Financial Management, Human Resource Management, and Information and Technology Management.

Professional Program Features: The Toronto MPP makes extensive use of current and former practitioners in its teaching. Its courses do not make as much use of case studies as many other programs but most of its courses do involve specific public policy and management applications. There are extensive professional development modules, career counselling services and co-curricular activities with a professional focus. Although there are no courses with a requirement for undertaking a project with an institutional client, there is a required internship and an active student-run pro bono consulting operation. There is a active research centre in the Mowat Centre and many of the faculty have a moderate practice-orientation in their research.

Program Summary


Location: Toronto, Canada

Degree: Master of Public Policy (MPP)

Marketing Approach: “Our School has two broad goals. The first is to form a hub for policy discourse, bringing researchers, practitioners, and community members together in order to contribute to policy debates, development, and discussion across many areas of expertise, both nationally and internationally. The second goal is to educate students enrolled in our innovative Master of Public Policy (MPP) program to be effective practitioners and leaders in public policy. Our Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree allows students to examine the most challenging issues that confront governments at all levels while exploring how decisions and choices are made. From sustainable health care to global warming and energy production, our students learn from and work with top researchers and practitioners in public policy, the community, and government, providing students with a comprehensive educational experience that allows them not only to build an extensive network, but also to emerge with a practical understanding of the world of public policy, and the competence to address the challenges that will emerge in the future. … As we enter our seventh year of programming, the School has become a vibrant centre for scholarly investigation and an important hub for cross-community collaboration and creative problem solving within the policy community. Our School understands and responds to the need in Canada for an innovative form of education to build the professional and academic capacity necessary to address the public policy challenges of the 21st century.” (At, accessed 5 July 2014.)

Degrees Awarded per Year: 70-80

Academic Unit within University: School of Public Policy and Governance, which is listed as one of the centres, institutes and schools within the Faculty of Arts & Science (at, accessed 17 November 2013).

Related Academic Units and Degrees: The University of Toronto’s graduate programs are listed, by graduate unit, at The units providing the degrees most closely related to the MPP include: Munk School of Global Affairs (Master of Global Affairs), Department of Economics (MA, PhD), Department of Political Science (MA, PhD), Faculty of Medicine and Dalla Lana School of Public Health (Collaborative Program on Public Health Policy), Faculty of Social Work (MSW, PhD) and Faculty of Law (LLM, SJD).

Affiliated Research Centres: The Mowat Centre describes itself as “an independent public policy think tank located at the School of Public Policy & Governance at the University of Toronto and Ontario’s non-partisan, evidence-based voice on public policy. We undertake collaborative applied policy research, propose innovative research-driven recommendations, and engage in public dialogue on Canada’s most important national issues. Our policy areas of expertise are intergovernmental economic and social policy, state transformation, energy policy and not-for-profit policy.” (At, accessed 23 February 2015.)

Posted Tuition: $17,830 CAD per year for domestic students ($35,860 CAD for international students) entering in 2016 (at, accessed 20 January 2017).

Concentration/Curriculum Overview: The degree is highly interdisciplinary, bridging the spheres of domestic policy and international or global policy in order to address the complex issues facing modern governments and other policy-making organizations. The MPP program features core instruction on a small-group, cohort-based model. In addition to the core material considered essential for policy practice, students take electives both within the School and in the broader University. Integrating seminars are led by faculty members. Invited visiting public sector leaders and external researchers bridge theory and practice, providing contact with senior professionals in government and the broader public, private and community sectors.

Degree Requirements

Summary: In the first year, students take seven core one-semester courses, and one integrating seminar worth one-half course for a total of eight one-semester equivalents. In the second year, students take two core one-semester courses, two one-semester integrating seminars, and four half-course electives, for a total of eight one-semester equivalents. The program also includes a mandatory (paid) internship (worth two one-semester equivalents), which can be completed either in the intervening summer between the program’s first and second year, or over the course of the third term. As a component of the internship, students must prepare a written research report under the supervision of a faculty member, providing an original analysis of the policy and/or organizational issues dealt with during the internship, and evaluated by the student’s advisor on a credit/no credit basis. Students are evaluated through a combination of examinations, term papers, and group projects, as appropriate to each individual course. Courses are offered once a year.

Duration: 2 years.

Number of One-Semester-Equivalent Courses Required for Completion: 18

Number of Required Courses: 14.75  Note 1: This number is derived through the PEACO Algorithm, which takes account of options within required courses. The required internship is counted by SPPG as 2 one-semester-course equivalents.

Number of Electives Typically Taken (difference between above two entries): 3.25

Number of Courses Offered within Program: 29. Note 2:  The program also provides access to courses and research facilities available in many other graduate departments, centres and institutes across the University.

Comprehensive Examination: No

Thesis Required: No

Internship Required: Yes

International Study Required: No, but optional one-semester exchanges are facilitated with Hertie, Science-Po and LSE.

Co-curricular Activities Supportive to Degree

Professional Development and Career Support: Yes. Career Advisor arranges seminars on writing skills, presentations, resume writing, interviewing, etc.

Student-run Journal: Yes. Public Policy and Governance Review at

Applied Projects: No

Pro Bono Consulting: Yes. Public Good Initiative at

Courses Offered: The full list of 2014-2015 SPPG core and elective courses offered by the School, with brief course summaries, can be found at (accessed 23 February 2015). With permission, students can also select graduate-level courses offered by other units at the University of Toronto. The courses offered by the School of Public Policy and Governance have been assigned to Atlas subjects in the map below. Required courses are indicated by (R). Where the required course has two options, they are both designated with (R/2) and where there are four options they are designated by (R/4). Courses used by the Atlas as Illustrative Courses are marked with an asterisk (*).

Course Outlines and Syllabi Online: The School does not post its syllabi on its website but many instructors have permitted their syllabi to be posted on the Atlas, accessible through the links on the Course Map below.

Instructional Distribution (PEACO Profile): The table below indicates the distribution of instruction offered, based on the course assignments to subjects in the Course Map below, weighted by estimated enrolment determined by the PEACO Algorithm.


Curricular Type Parameters
Number of Courses Required for Graduation 18.0
Math-Economics Subjects (EA, QM, Macro, Fin Markets) 21.4%
Policy-Oriented Subjects 70.3%
Management-Oriented Subjects 29.7%
Enrolment-Adjusted Course Distribution
Analysis and Skill Subjects 27.1%
  – Policy and Management Analysis 10.9%
  – Economic Analysis 6.7%
  – Quantitative  and Analytic Methods 8.1%
  – Leadership and Communication Skills 1.4%
Institutions and Context Subjects 36.2%
  – Democratic Institutions and Policy Process 13.3%
  – Ethics, Rights and Accountability 8.1%
  – Socioeconomic, Political, and Global Contexts 14.8%
Management Function Subjects 8.1%
  – Public Financial Management 1.4%
  – Evaluation and Performance Measurement 6.7%
  – Other Management Functions 0.0%
Policy Sector Subjects 28.6%
  – Macroeconomic Policy 6.7%
  – International Development 5.5%
  – Health 4.2%
  – Other Policy Sectors 12.3%
                              Total 100%
Competency Gap Analysis (in Course-Weeks of Instruction)
Course-Weeks in Core Subjects taken by Typical Student 174
Surplus or Shortfall Relative to Core Competency Requirement
  – Policy and Management Analysis (CCR = 18 course-weeks) 6
  – Economic Analysis (CCR = 12) 2
  – Quantitative  and Analytic Methods (CCR = 12) 5
  – Analytic Methods (CCR = 6) -6
  – Leadership Skills (CCR = 9) -6
  – Communication Skills (CCR = 3 courses) -3
  – Democratic Institutions and Policy Process (CCR = 18) 11
  – Ethics, Rights and Accountability (CCR = 6 courses) 11
  – Socioeconomic and Political Context (CCR = 6) 8
  – Global Context (CCR = 3) 14
  – Public Financial Management (CCR = 6) -3
  – Evaluation and Performance Measurement (CCR = 6) 8
  – Human Resource Management (CCR = 3) -3
  – Information and Technology Management (CCR = 3) -3
  – Macroeconomic Policy (CCR = 6) 8
  – Environment and Sustainability (CCR = 3) 3
Subject-Matter Shortfall for Typical Student (Sum of Shortfalls) -24
Additional Parameters
Total Courses Listed (0s will be replaced soon) 30
Courses Designated as Required (inc. Specialization Reqs) 14.8
Archetypal Public Affairs Subjects (P&MA, EA, QM, DI&PP) 39.0%
Archetypal International Affairs Subjects (I&GC, ID, DS&FR) 13.6%
I. Courses Required and Offered
Courses Required to Graduate 18
Required Courses 14.75
Elective Courses Taken by Typical Student 3.25
Elective Courses Listed 15.25
Enrolment Weight of Elective Course 0.21
Total Courses Listed 30
Program-Specific Courses Listed 29
Program-Specific/Total Listed (Enrolment-Adjusted) 98.8%

Source: At and related sites (accessed 23 February 2015).

Course Map for Toronto SPPG

R indicates required course; R/2 indicates two options in the requirement

and Skills

Policy Analysis and Process

PPG1001 The Policy Process (R)

PPG2015 Policy Development

Implementation and Delivery

PPG1007 Putting Policy into Action – Strategic Implementation of Public Objectives (R)

PPG2021 Priority Topics in Public Administration

Economic Analysis

PPG1002 Microeconomics for Policy Analysis (R)

Quantitative Methods

PPG1004 Quantitative Methods for Policy Analysis (R)

PPG2010 Panel Data Methods for Public Policy Analysis

Analytic Methods
Leadership Skills

PPG2014 Leading Change and Getting Things Done*

Communication Skills

Multiple Subjects

Capstone Courses, etc.

PPG2003 Capstone Course – Integrating Issues in Public Policy (R)

PPG2006 The PPG Internship (2R)

and Context

Governance and Institutions

PPG1000 Governance and Institutions (R)

PPG2018 The Role of Government

Ethics, Rights and Accountability

PPG2011 Ethics and the Public Interest (R/2)

PPG2022 Moral Foundations of Public Policy (R/2)

Socioeconomic and Political Context

PPG1005 The Social Context of Policy-Making (R)

Global Context

PPG2008 Comparative Public Policy and Transnational Forces (R)

PPG2013 Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations



Public Financial Management
Evaluation and Performance Measurement

PPG1008 Program Evaluation for Public Policy (R)

Human Resource Management
Information and Technology Management
Regulatory Policy and Management

PPG2001 The Theory and Practice of Independent Regulation in the Policy Process (R/4)

Local Government Management
Nonprofit Management and Advocacy

PPG2012 Achieving Policy Change from Outside Government


Macroeconomic Policy

PPG1003 Macroeconomics for Policy Analysis (R)

International Development

PPG2002 International Development (R/4)

PPG2002 International Development Policy (R/4)

Public Finance and Social Policy

PPG2002 Public Finance (R/2)

PPG2016 Public Policy for Children

Employment, Labour and Immigration

PPG2001 The Law and Policy of Work in the New Economy (R/4)

Cities, Urban and Regional Development
Environment and Sustainability
Agriculture and Resources
Science, Technology and Innovation
Industry, Trade and Investment
Energy, Transport and Infrastructure
Defence, Security and Foreign Relations
Policing and Justice Administration
Arts and Culture
Financial Markets


Page created by: Ian Clark last updated 7 October 2018. Full disclosure: the page creator was, until June 2018, a professor at the University of Toronto’s School of Public Policy and Governance (SPPG).