Admission FAQs


What are the requirements to get into the Masters of Public Policy, Administration and Law (MPPAL) program?

To be considered for admission, candidates must have either:

  • Completed an Honours Bachelors degree (or its equivalent) from a recognized University with a minimum grade point average of B+ in the final two years and a minimum of five years work experience in a relevant public sector management, administrative, or supervisory position, or
  • Completed an Honours Bachelors degree (or its equivalent) from a recognized University with a minimum grade point average of A in the final two years. Under this category, students may have completed less than five years work experience in a relevant public sector management, administrative, or supervisory position.
  • Note: Applicants for our new full-time stream must also have acquired some work experience in the public sector already, otherwise they will not be considered for admission.
  • Note also: Applicants who do not meet the B+ GPA bar are strongly encouraged to explain and contextualize their performance in their statement of interest.

Can I provide a professional reference instead of an academic one? How many references do I need to provide?

It is strongly recommended that you provide us with at least one academic reference. If you graduated quite some time ago and cannot obtain such a letter, we will accept professional references instead. You need to provide us with three references.

Can my referees e-mail my reference letters?

You should submit your Referee Information Form via the MYfile link. Once completed, a link is e-mailed to each of your referees, who will click on the link and submit your reference via that link. In extenuating circumstances, your referees can e-mail the reference letters directly to the graduate program assistant (

Can I fax my transcripts to your office and/or the MPPAL graduate program assistant?

No, we only accept official copies of your transcript that are submitted in person or by mail to the Admissions Office. Official transcripts can also  come directly from (and in all cases must bear the unbroken seal of) the issuing institution. York University transcripts can be accessed directly by the Admissions Office. You do not need to obtain them separately.

Where should my official transcripts be mailed?

Mail or Courier it to:
York University
Office of Graduate Admissions
P.O. Box GA2300
4700 Keele Street
Toronto, ON
York University
Office of Graduate Admissions
W322 Bennett Centre for Student Services
99 Ian MacDonald Blvd
Toronto, ON

Must I submit transcripts from institutions at which I have only taken one course?

Yes. The Admissions Office requires a complete record for each student.

How long should my statement of interest be? And is there a maximum number of pages for the writing sample?

Your statement of interest should not be longer than 2 pages. There is no formal maximum for the writing sample but 10 to 15 pages is more than sufficient.

Can I still apply for the MPPAL program even though I have less than five years of related work experience?

Yes, applicants without five years of public sector experience can still apply but preference will be given to candidates with at least two years of work experience. Note: Applicants for our new full-time stream must have acquired some work experience in the public sector already, otherwise they will not be considered for admission. 

Can I still apply even though I have a three year bachelor's degree?

Yes, applicants with a three year bachelor's degree can apply to the program but must demonstrate highly relevant work experience and at least some fourth year level courses. However, the MPPAL Admissions Committee will only recommends such applicants for admission in exceptional cases.

Will my GPA be calculated for the last two years of university only?

Yes, your GPA is calculated for the last two years only.

How much time will it take after submitting my application until the admission committee makes its decision?

We do our best to make offers to our top applicants one month after the admission deadline. Applicants who are admissible but for whom there may not be room in the program are put on a waiting list and are informed of that decision. We then review this list as space becomes available.

Can I defer my offer of admission for next year?

No, you will not be able to defer your offer of admission, but we can keep all of your documents on file in case you decide to re-apply the following year. You will not have to re-submit new documentation, but will only need to complete a new on-line application form. If you have taken any additional courses during that year, you must submit the relevant transcripts with your new application. If there have been significant changes in your work life or your academic record, we recommend that you submit new letters of reference, update your resume and/or statement of interest.

What courses should I take to acquire an academic background in public policy and administration?

If you require further undergraduate education in public policy and administration, either to strengthen your credentials for application, or to be better prepared for the MPPAL program, we can recommend our (the School of Public Policy and Administration's) two professional certificates or equivalent courses at other universities. If you already have an undergraduate degree, you may apply to attend York as a "special student," and then you may take a York University course if there is room in it after accommodating the regular students. Contact the York University Office of Admissions for further information.

What will happen if I cannot accept the offer of admission before the deadline?

Please contact the MPPAL graduate program assistant. If you need more time to consider, we might be able to extend the deadline if there is still space in the program.

What is the MPPAL attendance policy?

The MPPAL program, like many other professional programs, has a mandatory attendance policy. Students who cannot attend a particular session and who cannot meet the "make up" requirements, may choose to drop the course (and attend when it is next offered), or receive an incomplete until they attend the missed session during the next offering of the course.

Is it possible to accelerate the MPPAL program and take it full-time?

Yes! The MPPAL program now offers both, a part-time (two year) and a full-time (one year) option. Note: Applicants for our new full-time stream must have acquired some work experience in the public sector already, otherwise they will not be considered for admission. 

Is an internship or work co-op placement opportunity available in this program?

Yes, our more junior students are eligible for the OPS Master-level policy co-op program and other internship opportunities. However, the majority of MPPAL students are more senior and are already working full-time in the public sector.

How much does the MPPAL program cost?

Graduate program fees are determined by the program's classification. They fall into two categories: regular or professional graduate fees. The MPPAL program is classified as a professional program. Fees are further charged on a "per-program" basis, which means that the fees remain the same regardless of whether a student takes all or only some courses in the program. Note that students opting to do the MPPAL full-time pay the same fees as part-time students but fees are due in one year (as opposed to two years for the part-time program). For the current tuition fees and further details, please consult the Student Financial Services page and the detailed FAQs for a detailed explanation of the fee structure.

Is there any internal funding/bursary money available to fund the MPPAL program?

Since the MPPAL is a professional graduate program aimed at working professionals, financial aid is limited (as is OSAP for part-time students). We offer small MPPAL-internal bursaries from $1,000 to $2,500 annually to students who demonstrate financial need. These bursaries are competitive. The application deadline is annually in the late fall.

Are MPPAL students eligible for SSHRC and OGS MA_level fellowships?

Yes, full-time MPPAL students with a prior, exceptional academic record are eligible for SSHRC/OGS, since the MPPAL contains a significant research component (a major research paper or equivalent).

Do you accept applications from international students?

We have found that our students benefit the most from the program if they have at least some knowledge of Canada and intend to work or advance their careers in the broader Canadian public sector. International applicants should discuss these aspects in their statement of interest. Past exchange students have benefitted the most from the program if they had a keen interest in comparing Canada with the public policy and administration of other countries.

I live in Ottawa. Is there an option to take courses in the MPPAL program remotely e.g. online or through video conference?

No, not at present. Many of our seminars contain in-class learning components that would only be difficult to execute with remote participants.

I live and work downtown. Can I take all MPPAL classes at your downtown location (as opposed to on the Keele campus)?

No, not at present. Our weekend (Saturday or Sunday) classes are all held on the Keele campus. Note also that while we do our best to enrol you based on your location preference (or our weeknight classes), we cannot guarantee spots at either location.