Public Affairs and Policy Management currently has seven specializations, many of which diverge in wildly different directions. These specializations, however, share the same first year courses, and all of them also have the same core PAPM courses.

The information below and in the links were adapted from the Carleton website in order to (hopefully) make them easier to read. If you want to confirm the information or if you’d rather just read the original, you can find it on Kroeger College’s Carleton website.

Can’t decide which specialization you want to pick? Don’t panic. Near the end of first year, there will be a presentation on each of the specializations, what they are geared towards, and what kinds of courses are involved. You have until May after your first year to pick a specialization or switch your current specialization, so take your time deciding – it’s going to shape your next three years!

Graduation requirements

1. Good grades

In order to stay in PAPM after first year, students must average at least a B- across all of their courses, as well as achieve at least a B- in PAPM 1000.

After first year, in order to stay in PAPM, students must have an overall average of 6.5 in both their Specialization courses (check each specialization for the courses), as well as all courses in general. Carleton uses a 12-point GPA system (1 being a D-, 12 being A+), so a 6.5 would be halfway between a C+ and a B-.

2. French

All students must prove their French language skills, either by passing FREN 1100 (Intermediate French) or a higher-level French course, or by completing a language fluency test provided by the French department that proves the equivalent. If you went to a Francophone high school (and assumedly graduated and got your high school diploma), or you have a French Immersion certificate, that will also be enough to meet your French requirement.

Students get 1.0 credit of free electives each year, but it is recommended that they use their free elective in first year to pass the French requirement if they don’t plan to get a certificate of fluency from the French department.

3. Credits

In order to graduate from PAPM, you need at least 20.0 credits. A one-semester course is worth 0.5 credits, while a full-year course will give you 1.0 credit.

Click on one of the specializations to see a full list of course requirements. For a listing of the courses common to all programs, keep scrolling:

Development Studies
International Studies
Human Rights
Public Policy and Administration (PPA)
Social Policy
Communications and Information Technology Policy (CITP)
Strategic Public Opinion and Policy Analysis (SPOPA)

Do note, however, that not all electives will be offered every year – it all depends on how many students are interested, as well as whether the relevant Department can find an instructor to teach the course.

First Year

PAPM 1000 – Introduction to Public Affairs and Policy Management – 1.0 credit

Lays the philosophical foundation for PAPM, with the first term focusing on a diverse group of political thinkers from Aristotle to John Locke to Nelson Mandela, and the second term dealing with economic theory from people such as Adam Smith, John Maynard Keynes, and Milton Friedman.

ECON 1000 – Introduction to Economics – 1.0 credit

A vast overview of the more technical side of economics (both micro- and macroeconomics). No complicated math is involved – just graphs and simple equations.

Political Science – 1.0 credit (0.5 credits per course)

Students must take one of two pairs of second-year political science courses – Canadian politics (PSCI 2002/2003) or global politics (PSCI 2101/2102). Despite their second-year status these courses are relatively easy, and PAPM students are not required to complete the prerequisites necessary for the courses. Students can also take the two courses in each pair in any order they wish (so 2003 can come before 2002), and all of the courses last one semester each.

History – 1.0 credit

Students are required to take one of three first-year history courses – Canadian history (HIST 1300), world history since the 15th century (HIST 1707), or 20th-century European history (HIST 1002). All three courses are full-year courses.

Second Year

PAPM 2000 – Policy: Analysis, Implementation and Evaluation – 1.0 credit

A overview of the creation and execution of public policy. This course not only looks at the process by which policies are made, but also the different forces – governmental and non-governmental – that affect the policy-making process.

Third Year

BUSI 3602 – Designing Organizational Systems – 0.5 credit

A basic course in organizational behaviour, delves into fields such as human resource management and psychology to examine what makes organizations succeed or fail at achieving their goals.

PAPM 3000 – Policy Research – 0.5 credit

This course is designed to prepare you for your fourth-year Honours Research Essay, and builds on the research methods that you will learn in second year. Apart from reiterating some of the more important lessons from research methods in second year, the course also deals with the actual HRE process, including having students prepare mock Statements of Research Interest, literature reviews, and other components of the essay (which they can use in their actual HREs if they choose), and explains the process of finding supervisors, a recommended timeline for achieving certain interim milestones, and other things you should know before you go about writing the HRE.

Fourth Year

PAPM 4000 – Capstone Seminars in Public Affairs and Policy Management – 0.5 credits

The Capstones are actually divided up by specializations – each specialization has its own separate class (except PPA and Social Policy, which are combined). Students in each section will be putting everything they’ve learned in the program to the test, by examining and discussing policy issues relevant to their specializations. Each section is taught by a specific instructor who is knowledgeable in that field.

PAPM 4908 – Honours Research Essay – 1.0 credit

This is it. This is the final test. Everything you have done in PAPM leads up to this one mammoth paper, and we mean that literally (ok, not the mammoth part. We don’t have that many woolly mammoths to give away). The HRE is probably the final paper you will have to write in your undergraduate student career (unless you go for a second degree), and it is a vital and mandatory component to your degree. This is not a formal course, and there will be no lectures or seminars: just you emailing your supervisor and chugging away at your paper, while chugging down your fifth cup of coffee on the night. It’s a huge and daunting task, but don’t let it scare you – if you’ve made it far enough to be eligible to do your HRE, chances are you’ll pass it with flying colours.


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