Interested in learning more about our Executive (online) MPA program? Why not connect with our program manager to learn about the flexible delivery option and the application process?

Program Description

Online Master of Public Administration

Accredited by the Canadian Association of Programs in Public Administration and designed for working professionals, our Executive (online) Master of Public Administration (MPA) program provides you with the confidence, management knowledge and leadership skills to advance your career in the public service, the NGO sector or public administration more broadly.

Student performance is assessed against factors linked with success in the public sector. These factors are called competencies and they have been developed with researchers, alumni and public sector partners and they are refined over time.  The development of up-to-date knowledge and competencies at JSGS prepares graduates for a rapidly changing world.

Students can expect assignments that approximate real-world scenarios and tasks as they build their professional competencies in these three areas:

  • Evidence and Strategic Thinking – develops and applies an evidence-informed approach to policy issues and policy options;
  • Connection and Collaboration – communication with different audiences to build relationships and harness a diversity of perspectives to gain understanding, design, and advance policy solutions; and
  • Implementation and Improvement – lead self, teams, and partners to implement policy decisions, manage change initiatives, monitor progress, and support continuous improvement.

Three-Pillar Approach

What to expect in your Online MPA classes

We understand that working professionals, like yourself, want a program that works around your needs. This is why we are excited about our Executive (online) MPA and its three-pillar approach to learning—flexible, engaged, and applied.


Work-life balance can be tough. Work-life-school balance is even more difficult. This is why flexibility is core to each module and course in the program. You will have conveniently organized learning material with pre-recorded videos, readings, and instructions ready when the time is right for you.


You will not be alone in this program. You will be part of a community of diverse working professionals, like yourself, from around the country. Group-based interactive assignments, discussion boards and simulations will allow you to engage with your cohort in a dynamic learning environment.

There will also be two, brief in-person residencies in Saskatoon—one at the start and one at the end of your program. By coming together as a group, you will have an opportunity to build lasting professional networks and relationships with your fellow students, while hearing first-hand from JSGS faculty, executives-in-residence and guests. 


Working professionals, like yourself, want skills and tools that you can immediately apply in your workplace. That is why we have tailored each course to include a series of case studies that require practical tools and academic insights for their solution. Since each case study will be weaved throughout three or four different courses, you will get an opportunity to see how different aspects of the program—e.g., economics, ethical leadership, public finance and governance—play out in each scenario. During your program, you will connect with and learn first-hand from experienced practitioners and faculty. This innovative combination will create a rich learning environment, where the material is brought to life.

Why case studies? Within the public, private and non-profit sectors, policy professionals must engage with complex and challenging issues and must know how to frame, prioritize, and analyze problems. Case studies are a proven and effective tool that will be used to develop your core competencies and skills, while you learn how to bridge theory and practice. Examples of case study topics may include carbon taxes, duty to consult, the Phoenix pay system, affordable housing, and Indigenous self-governance.

Key Features

  • Students enrolled in the Executive (online) MPA participate in two, 3-4 day residencies at the beginning and end of their program.
  • The courses are delivered fully online and provide flexibility to students with many obligations.
  • The Executive (online) MPA program can be completed in two years of full-time or four years of part-time study.
  • Students can enter the program from a variety of disciplines.


The Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy made changes to the Executive (online) MPA program, which took effect for students who began in the winter 2020 semester. Those Executive (online) MPA students who started the program prior to then will be required to meet the program as it was constructed when they were admitted.

Phased-Out Program Requirements New Program Requirements

The following listing of courses applies to all MPA students enrolled in the program prior to January 2020.

MPA students are required to complete 36 credit units, consisting of eleven core courses (30 credit units) and two elective courses (6 credit units).

The following listing of courses applies to all MPA students enrolled in the program starting in January 2020.

MPA students are required to complete 36 credit units, consisting of ten core courses (30 credit units) and two elective courses (6 credit units).

Students must also complete the following non-credit, required courses:


The Executive (online) MPA program is mainly offered online. However, a key feature of the program is its two short residencies at the beginning and end of the program. Each residency is 4-5 days in length and is held at the school’s University of Saskatchewan campus in Saskatoon.

Hosted in Saskatoon at the school’s University of Saskatchewan campus, the Executive (online) MPA Residencies combines a series of lectures and group exercises, including case studies, policy simulations, breakouts and presentations. Speakers may include a number of former senior public servants from the federal, provincial, municipal and Indigenous governments. The residencies also provide an important opportunity to get to know your cohort and peers.

The residencies are offered only once during the academic year, and students will be informed at admission with regards to the timing of their residencies.  

Students can alternate between part-time and full-time study, as their work-life circumstances permit.  The Executive (online) MPA program is developed to provide flexibility for students with busy work and life schedules.

Learn more about the courses.

Except for the two residencies, the Executive (online) MPA courses are offered fully online and students are able to go through the core course content at the convenience of their own schedule. The courses do require students to participate in group learning activities and to contribute to the development of a dynamic and engaging learning environment through discussions, group work and other activities.

Students in the Executive (online) MPA program should expect to spend 10-15 hours per week per course, including reviewing all course content and completing course activities.

The Executive (online) MPA program provides entry opportunities in September, January and May.

The Executive (online) MPA has rolling admissions, which means we are continuously reviewing applications. Applicants are recommended to complete the application a minimum of eight weeks before the preferred semester start.

Within six weeks of applying to the program, students will receive a decision on their application.

Applicants to the Executive (online) MPA program must have completed a four-year degree from a recognized college or university with a cumulative average of at least 75%. Exceptions can be made for applicants who do not hold an undergraduate degree, but who have substantial professional, academic or life experience.

The GPA is calculated using the last 60 credit units of study.

The Executive (online) MPA program is an interdisciplinary program, and students enter into the program from a wide array of backgrounds, including political science, economics, business, etc.

Applicants are required to submit the names and email addresses of three referees. The automated application system sends an email to each of your referees, and they are asked to answer a series of questions regarding your potential as a graduate student. Note that two of your referees are to be academic (persons under whom you've studied), and the third may be either a person whom you have worked professionally under, or under whom you've studied. Exceptions for academic referees are provided for applicants with a substantial break in their studies. If you are unsure if you meet this requirement, you can contact our academic advisor.    

Work experience within public policy and related fields are highly valued by the JSGS Admission Committee, but it is not a requirement for entry into the program. Applications are reviewed with consideration of academic and professional work experience.

JSGS offers the potential for funding for Executive (online) MPA applicants. Financial support will be considered when completed applications are assessed. Students also have the opportunity to apply for the University of Saskatchewan scholarships.

Application Qualifications

University of Saskatchewan

Applicants to the Executive (online) MPA program must have completed a four-year honours degree, or equivalent, from a recognized college or university with a cumulative average of at least 75%. 

The application portal is now open! 

Non-Refundable Deposit

If you are offered admission into the Executive (online) MPA program, a non-refundable tuition deposit of $1,000 CAD is required to save your seat. The non-refundable deposit must be paid within 30 days of the offer of admission being made. If you enroll in the program consistent with the terms of the offer, the $1,000 deposit will be applied to your student account. If you do not enroll, the deposit is retained by JSGS.

NOTICE: If you are an Indigenous student from Canada, you are eligible for a waiver for the non-refundable deposit. For more information, please contact the advisor for the online program.

Funding and Tuition


The school offers the potential for funding for Executive (online) MPA applicants. Financial support will be considered when completed applications are assessed.


Tuition and fees are subject to change. Should there be a discrepancy between the information posted on the University of Saskatchewan's website and information posted on the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy website, the institution website should be viewed as accurate.

Tuition for the Executive (online) MPA program is $31,800 (program rate) for the 2022/23 academic year (September 1, 2022, to August 31, 2023), plus off-campus graduate student feesTuition is paid as students take courses and it is charged on a per-credit unit basis.

Contact Us

For further information, please contact: 

Emmy Neuls
Manager, Graduate Programs (Distance), GENI and Executive (online) MPA
Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy
University of Saskatchewan campus
Room 141.1 – 101 Diefenbaker Place, Saskatoon, Canada S7N 5B8
Phone: 306-966-1380