Major Research Paper & Topics in Public Policy Options

Students have the option of completing:

PPAL 6250 3.0 - Major Research Paper (MRP)
An independent research project leading to a major research paper on a policy field of choice (e.g. e-government, health policy, environmental policy, justice policy, social welfare policy, transportation policy, foreign affairs policy, taxation policy). Students will have the opportunity to share their projects with other students in their cohort at a final research seminar.

or

PPAL 6230 3.0 - Topics in Public Policy
This course allows students to investigate areas of public policy of specific interest to them. Students meet in class and conduct an independent reading project to learn approaches to the analysis of public policy, undertake research, and present papers on their specific public policy interests/research.

The expectations for the final research paper for PPAL6230 will be the same as the expectations for a Major Research Paper. The difference is the process leading to the completion of the final paper.

Students must decide by May 31 of their first year whether they will opt for the Major Research Paper or the Topics in Public Policy course.  Students interested in opting for an MRP should consult the MPPAL Program Director by emailing sppagpd@yorku.ca regarding possible supervisors.

The Major Research Paper (MRP) Option

Students who choose the Major Research Paper option must indicate that choice by May 31 of their first year by completing the MRP Supervisory Committee Form (PDF), which must be forwarded to the MPPAL graduate program office. The purpose of this form is to ensure that all students have a supervisor (and second reader, if they so desire) and that all students have a proposed topic for the major research paper.

The Supervisor must be a member of the MPPAL Teaching Faculty, Associate Faculty, or Adjunct Faculty. Students have the option of working with an MPR supervisory committee composed of a second reader who is a faculty member appointed to any graduate program at York, and/or with an external reader who could be an experienced public official, or a faculty member at another university. The grade for the Major Research Paper is determined by the first reader, although the second reader will typically be consulted.

Some students may prefer to work only with an MRP Supervisor, and not an MRP committee. Others may prefer to work not only with their supervisor, but also with a second reader who may have an expertise the complements the expertise of the supervisor, and/or with an external reader who may have a practical or theoretical expertise that could enhance the student's learning experience.

By September 15, students choosing the MRP course must ensure that they have complete a draft outline for their MRP. It must be at least 2-3 pages in length, and must indicate the topic, the proposed argument, a point-form outline of the subjects to be covered in the paper, and a list of at least ten academic sources. A copy must also be submitted to the MPPAL graduate program office.

If the proposed research involves interviews with human participants, the appropriate forms for York University's research ethics approval must be received prior to finalizing the outline/proposal and before students commence their research. The research ethics  approval process may take several weeks. Applications for MRP related research ethics approval are reviewed "in house" by a committee of MPPAL professors.

The student must submit the approved MRP outline - including all ethics forms if applicable -  to the MPPAL graduate office by October 15. This indicates that the supervisor has approved the outline. If the topic changes or if the outline changes substantially, the student must submit a new MRP form to the MPPAL graduate program office, which must be signed by the supervisor again, along with the approved outline.

Finally, students have the option to orally present the findings of their MRP at a day-long workshop that will normally occur between July 15 and July 30 of the student's final year. Individual presentations, including discussion, will be about 20 minutes in length, and will be attended by members of supervisory committees and fellow students. Other faculty members may also attend.

The Major Research Paper project is treated as a course so that the fulfillment of this requirement will show on the student's transcript.

The MRP must be 40-50 pages in length (about 11,200 to 14,000 words), with the text double-spaced with 12-point font. References and footnotes are single-spaced.

Please review the relevant forms and policies for additional guidelines and requirements.

The Topics in Public Policy Option

Students must indicate their intention to enroll in PPAL 6230 (Topics in Public Policy) by May 31 of their first year by completing the Topics in Public Policy Intention Form and submitting it to the MPPAL office. By the second class in this course (normally in October), students choosing the Topics in Public Policy course must ensure that they have an outline or proposal for their research paper. The outline must be at least five pages in length, and must indicate the topic, the proposed argument, a point-form outline of the subjects to be covered in the paper, and a list of at least ten academic sources.

If the proposed research involves interviews with human participants, the appropriate forms for York University's research ethics approval must be received prior to finalizing the outline/proposal and before students commence their research. The research ethics  approval process may take several weeks. The Course Director must approve the proposal. If the topic changes or if the outline changes substantially, the student must submit a new outline to the Course Director, and it must be approved by the Course Director.

Students in PPAL 6230 will meet as a class at least five times between September and April to discuss with each other the progress of their research, the challenges they are encountering, and possible solutions to these challenges. At these meetings, drafts of parts of the research papers will be presented.

Students will orally present the findings of their independent research papers at a class session. The presentations, including discussion, will be about 20 minutes in length, and will be attended by all students in the class, and by some faculty members as well as the Course Director.

The research paper for the course will normally be about 25 pages in length (about 5,000 words), with the text double-spaced with 12-point font. References and footnotes are single-spaced. There will be additional writing assignments for this course so that the total volume of written work will be about the same as for the MRP option.