Program Overview

Designed for busy professionals, our Online Master of Public Administration (OMPA) program instills the confidence, expertise, and leadership skills needed to create a tangible impact in Canada's public sector. Your future in policymaking starts here.

Join us at an online information session!

During the program, you will gain a deeper understanding of the types of information, recommendations, support, and advice that decision-makers and leaders need to inform policy-making. You will also expand your understanding of the competencies that modern public servants must possess and will have the opportunity to apply them to real problems.

Quick Facts

Looking for answers to some of your key questions? We have you covered.

Program Type Course-based program
Program Length 2-4 years
Start Date

Entry is possible in any semester (September/Fall, January/Winter, and May/Spring).

Application Deadline

Domestic Students: May 1, October 1, February 1
International Students: May 1, October 1, February 1

Tuition Effective September 1, 2023, the tuition rate for the full program (36 credit units) for domestic students is approximately $33,708 and $52,585 for international students. Tuition is charged on a per-credit-unit basis, and students pay as they take courses. Students are also required to pay off-campus graduate student fees.
JSGS Scholarship Funding JSGS offers a minimum of 10 entrance scholarships (ranging in value from $1,000 to $4,000), as well as a number of named scholarships. However, these scholarships are not sufficient to fund a student throughout their program, so students must be in a position to fully finance their studies.
GRE/GMAT Requirement None
English Language Requirements Proof of language proficiency is required.
Location Online, with two brief in-person residencies
Potential Career Paths Senior Policy Advisor, Program Manager, Regional Program Officer, Business Development Officer, Senior Policy Analyst, Manager, Executive Director, Chief of Staff, Assistant Deputy Ministers, Deputy Ministers

Connect with Us

Want to learn more about the OMPA program? Get in touch with our admissions staff and ask any questions you have.

Core Learning Outcomes

In consultation with our public sector and community partners, the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy has created a signature JSGS pedagogy to support your development in core competencies and skills needed for success in public administration. This competency framework is meant to evolve with the changing needs of the public sector. Integrated into each class, this competency framework includes:

An OMPA graduate from the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School is able to:

Policy & Context Knowledge

  • Describe concepts key to public policy, including political systems, jurisdictional systems, & civil service
  • Apply a variety of policy analysis tools strategically 
  • Critically examine a policy problem and source varied, relevant information on the problem

Economics & Finance

  • Describe basic economic concepts and how they impact governments and their stakeholders
  • Apply economic theories and evidence supplied by economic advisors to develop informed policy advice 
  • Explain government budgeting processes and factors that impact them
  • Identify the challenges and complexities inherent in public sector spending

Statistics & Data

  • Identify and navigate useful sources of data for public sector decision making
  • Commission and interpret data to create a sound evidence base for policy decision making
  • Interrogate data, identifying potential weaknesses 
  • Apply basic statistical tools and methods to advance a policy process

An OMPA graduate from the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School is able to:


  • Communicate effectively through a variety of formats (including oral, written, & visual)
  • Provide successful briefings with clear arguments and options
  • Tailor communications appropriately to the audience

Indigenous & Intercultural Responsiveness

  • Explain the history and lasting effects of colonialism and structural discrimination
  • Work effectively in diverse groups, valuing diversity and inclusion
  • Describe current Indigenous governance structures and issues, and confidently inquire to gain
    understanding when required
  • Apply intersectionality and principles of EDI when planning and applying policy


  • Identify relevant stakeholders and protocols for engagement with specific stakeholder groups
  • Recognize the rights of Indigenous peoples and how they impact engagement processes
  • Engage effectively with intergovernmental counterparts and relevant experts

An OMPA graduate from the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School is able to:

Program & Public Management

  • Compare various program and project management tools and methods
  • Gather necessary context information to promote successful implementation
  • Balance resources, budget, and workflow demands to support program or project success


  • Acknowledge the importance of varied viewpoints in policy evaluation
  • Describe the importance of including how outcomes will be evaluated at an early stage of policy development
  • Identify a range of evaluation models and approaches
  • Apply the logic model to policy problems


  • Describe factors, including behavioural insights, that impact organizational decision-making 
  • Apply strategies for fostering an improvement in work culture
  • Uphold integrity and other ethical considerations in a work context

Learning Approach

The Online MPA program uses an innovative three-pillar learning approach, creating a program that works around your needs as a working professional.

FLEXIBLE LEARNING - 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.

ENGAGED LEARNING - 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, simulations, and two brief in-person residencies will allow you to engage with your cohort in a dynamic learning environment.

APPLIED LEARNING - 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, the duty to consult, the Phoenix pay system, affordable housing, and Indigenous self-governance.



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

This class analyzes governing institutions and the process of modern government within Canada as a means of enhancing a student's understanding of policy formulation and implementation. This course is intended to provide a basis for critically assessing political and administrative decision-making and policy outcomes. 

This class provides a survey of Canadian public finance. Students will examine rationales for government intervention in a market economy, the assessment of public policy, how government decisions are made, and the impact of government expenditures and taxation on the economy and the well-being of Canadians. The course will also examine fiscal policy in a federated system and how fiscal matters affect federal/provincial relations in decision-making.

The purpose of this course is to provide an economic framework for the analysis of public policy. The course uses microeconomic concepts to examine when and how the government should intervene in the economy. Using the starting point of policy as intervention, the course examines the circumstances under which government involvement is most likely to be desirable. The course then moves to consider the key instruments that government uses in its intervention. In the examination of these two broad issues, the course pays particular attention to how people and firms behave and how they are likely to respond to policy instruments. The course also develops the key concepts associated with cost-benefit analysis and shows how these concepts are used in the analysis of public policy.

Focuses on the analysis of the processes whereby public policies arise and are enacted in Canada. The course compares theories and models of policy making and decision-making to illustrate the special requirements of the Canadian environment and examines the roles of various participants in the policy process: legislators, political parties, interest groups, administrators and administrative structures, citizens, and the judiciary.

Administrative decision-making and policy development often require the analysis of quantitative data. This course will introduce students to descriptive and inferential statistics often used in policy environments so that they will be effective data users and interpreters. Students will be taught how to use and present descriptive statistics.

There is growing attention being given to executive leadership, applied ethics and efforts to create and sustain trust within and through the profession of public administration. This course descriptively and critically examines these three key concepts in relation to the professional public servant and the environments of public sector decision and policy making.

The purpose of this course is to provide a survey of public sector budgeting and financial management in Canada. Students will the role that financial considerations play in formulating policy and in program management, examine the financial planning cycles of government and the elements of sound financial planning and management in public sector entities, and gain an understanding of financial decision-making processes and elements of financial and program accountability within the context of public decision-making processes.

This course focuses on developing practical knowledge and skills public sector managers require to effectively “get things done” through others. Management skills developed include self-assessment/reflection, goal-setting, teamwork/collaboration, verbal/written communication, influence/persuasion, conflict resolution, stress management, and creative thinking.

This pass/fail course provides students with an introduction to the three MPA competency fields and the overarching areas of knowledge required of policy professionals. It will also provide introductory classes on Canadian institutions, public sector processes, basic policy-making skills, and public servants' roles and responsibilities and introduce the final MPA capstone project which will be presented at the end of the MPA program as part of JSGS 892 which is taken in the last semester of the program. JSGS 891 includes the first in-person residency component

Note: Students with credit for JSGS 883 will not receive credit for this course.

This course requires the development, submission, presentation and validation of a capstone report and presentation at the end of the student’s MPA program. The Capstone Project provides students with the opportunity to apply the theory and practice gained in the MPA program to a policy/management problem that was chosen in consultation with the JSGS 891 course instructor. JSGS 892 includes the second in-person residency component.

Note: Students with credit for JSGS 884 will not receive credit for this course.

The two remaining elective courses (6 credit units) must be selected from the courses offered by the school and can be taken at either campus.

EMPA students must also complete the following non-credit, required courses:
  • JSGS 990 Public Policy Seminar Series (0-credit course)
  • GSR 960 Introduction to Ethics and Integrity (0-credit course, taken in the first term of study)

Transfer Credit

The University of Saskatchewan campus does not accept transfer credit.


The Online MPA has a set course schedule where courses are offered during a set term each academic year. The intent of the MPA course schedule is to provide students with assistance in planning for upcoming terms.

**Classes may change as circumstances require.

MPA Courses Fall Semester Winter Semester Spring Semester
JSGS 801 - Governance and Administration X
JSGS 802 - Public Finance X
JSGS 805 - Economics for Public Policy Analysis X
JSGS 806 - Public Policy Analysis X
JSGS 807 - Statistics for Public Managers X
JSGS 808 - Ethical Leadership & Democracy X
JSGS 838 - Public Sector Financial Management X
JSGS 882 - Strategic Management in the Public Sector X
JSGS 891 - Public Policy Professionalism X
JSGS 892 - MPA Capstone Class X


This program is offered through the school's University of Saskatchewan campus.

Effective September 1, 2023, the tuition rate for the full program (36 credit units) for domestic students is approximately $33,708 and $52,585 for international students. Tuition is charged on a per-credit-unit basis, and students pay as they take courses. Students are also required to pay off-campus graduate student fees.

If you are offered admission into the OMPA program, a non-refundable tuition deposit of $1,000 CAD is required to save your seat. You have 30 days from the date of the offer of admission being made to accept. 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.


JSGS offers a minimum of 10 entrance scholarships (ranging in value from $1,000 to $4,000), as well as a number of named scholarships. However, these scholarships are not sufficient to fund a student throughout their program, so students must be in a position to fully finance their studies.

Scholarships will be awarded to students based on academic standing. To be eligible for a scholarship, students must plan to be enrolled in the school on a full-time basis. All students admitted will automatically be considered for funding at the time of admission, and a separate scholarship application is not required.

In addition to potential funding from JSGS, other scholarships and awards are available for students at the University of Saskatchewan. 

Admissions and Deadlines

Application Deadlines

Applications to the OMPA program are accepted on an ongoing basis and are reviewed in the order in which they are completed. Therefore, it is to your advantage to submit a completed application as early as possible, as enrollment is limited. The admission process is competitive and late application submissions may be at a disadvantage.

Entry is possible in any semester (September/fall, January/winter, and May/spring), and intake numbers are based on program capacity.

  • The latest application deadline for fall entry is May 1 for all students
  • The latest application deadline for winter entry is October 1 for all students
  • The latest application deadline for spring entry is February 1 for all students 

To meet these deadlines, all components of your application must be received by the dates above. Applications that are incomplete will not be reviewed nor will they be deferred to future terms.

Application Qualifications

Students with varied employment experience and a wide array of educational backgrounds—including everything from the fine arts to the humanities, social sciences, physical sciences, and professional college disciplines—are eligible to apply to the OMPA program. While not required, some knowledge of economics, statistics and social science is generally an advantage.

Applicants must have completed a four-year honours degree, or equivalent, from a recognized college or university in an academic discipline relevant to the proposed field of study. A cumulative weighted average of at least 75 percent (USask grade system equivalent) is required in the last two years of study (i.e. 60 credit units).

Proof of English proficiency may be required for international applicants and for applicants whose first language is not English. A minimum overall TOEFL score of 86 is required with a minimum score of 20 in each area, or a minimum overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum score of 6.0 in each area, or another approved test as outlined in the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Academic Policies.

Application Process and Required Documents

When applying to the JSGS University of Saskatchewan campus, please note that you must submit an application through the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.  The online application takes about 30 minutes to complete. You may start an application, save it and return to it any time before the application deadline.


Once you have completed an online application, you will need to upload a series of documents. Please note that in most cases, you will need to allow one business day after paying your application fee before you are permitted to upload documents.

If your application fee has not been processed after 48 hours after being submitted, please contact or phone 1-306-966-5788 for assistance. Please ensure you are checking the status of the application fee before emailing or calling. To check the status, please log into your application profile.

Required Documentation Description
Transcripts Preliminary Statement of Marks
  • Once you have submitted your application for admission and paid the application fee, you will be required to upload unofficial PDF copies of your academic transcript(s) from each post-secondary institution attended. This requirement will appear as a Preliminary Statement of Marks or Additional Preliminary Statement under admission requirements on your Application Summary when you check your application status.
  • The uploaded transcript can be an unofficial copy of the transcript issued by the university or college and must include a grading key/legend.
  • All pages of a transcript must be uploaded as a single PDF document.
  • Uploaded transcripts will be considered unofficial or preliminary. Official copies of your transcripts will only be required once you have been offered admission. This requirement will appear as Post-secondary Transcript under admission requirements on your Application Summary when you check your application status.

Uploading documents

Post-secondary Transcripts

If you receive an offer of admission, you will be required to have your official post-secondary transcripts sent (by mail in a sealed envelope directly from the institution) to the address below or electronically via email to Please do not send official documents until we request them.

College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
Room 116 Thorvaldson Building, 110 Science Place 
Saskatoon, SK CANADA S7N 5C9

  • Transcripts usually indicate the institution’s name, grading scheme (typically on the back of the transcript), your name, course names, numbers, credits, and the grades you have received. Depending on the country or institution, some features may not be available.
  • Transcripts in languages other than English must be accompanied by a certified translation.
  • If you are a current University of Saskatchewan student completing your undergraduate program then a letter of completion of degree requirements will be required from your college.
Letter of Recommendation

When applying to the University of Saskatchewan campus, you will need to provide three referees and their contact information. Two of these referees must be academic, and one must be professional. If you have had a substantial study break, you can use all professional referees.

As an applicant, you are responsible for sending the reference letter links and updating the referee’s contact information. In the “Recommendation requests” section, you can check the status of letters of recommendation, send reminders to your references, or cancel requests and create new ones if you need to replace a referee with someone new. Your application will remain incomplete until all references have responded.

Proof of English language proficiency (if required)

For students who are required to provide proof of English proficiency:

  • It is your responsibility to have completed an official and approved test with the appropriate score before the application deadline.
  • Tests are valid for 24 months after the testing date and must be valid at the beginning of the student's first term of registration in the graduate program.
  • Applicants will be required to upload a PDF copy of any required language test score. Uploaded test scores will be considered unofficial or preliminary.

If you receive an Offer of Admission you may be required to have your official language test scores sent to the address below. Please do not send official documents until we request them.

College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
Room 116 Thorvaldson Building - 110 Science Place
Saskatoon, SK CANADA S7N 5C9

Resume A current resume highlighting your 3-5 years of relevant employment history and educational background.
Personal Statement / Letter of Intent The OMPA is a professional program designed to advance your career in public administration and policy work in diverse areas such as non-government organizations, industry associations, and, of course, public service. To help the committee understand whether the online MPA program is right for you and whether you will be a good fit for our school, please address the following in your letter of intent:
  • What has motivated you to pursue an MPA degree? Why are you interested in public administration and public policy?
  • How will your background and preparation, including education and professional experience, contribute to your success in the MPA program?
  • What particular policy interests do you hope to explore, specifically as they relate to our three areas of research priority (innovation, science, technology, health, society and inequality, and governance)? Why are you interested in these areas?
  • What do you hope to achieve in this program?
  • NOTE: The committee wants to see that you can clearly articulate your interests and ideas. Please restrict your comments to 500 words.

For questions about the application process or requirements for the Online Master of Public Administration program, please contact:

Graduate Administrator |

Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy
Diefenbaker Building
101 Diefenbaker Place
University of Saskatchewan
Saskatoon, SK S7N 5B8

Next Steps

If you are offered admission into the 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.

Career Focus

What are JSGS OMPA Alumni up to? Read how they are making an impact!



The Online MPA program is offered primarily online. However, a key feature of the program is its two short residencies, one at the beginning and one at the end of the program. Each residency is four or five days in length.

Hosted in Saskatoon at the school’s University of Saskatchewan campus, the 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 regard to the timing of their residencies. 

Online MPA Fall 2024 JSGS 891 Residency Dates will be September 4-8, 2024 in Saskatoon at the JSGS USask Campus Location.

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

Approximately 20-25 students are admitted per year.

Learn more about the online learning environment

Except for the two residencies, the OMPA 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.

During the fall and winter terms, students in the OMPA program should expect to spend 10-15 hours per week per course, including reviewing all course content and completing course activities.

Note: During the spring and summer terms, courses can be delivered in a more condensed format, and this will increase the required study time per course.

The OMPA program provides entry opportunities in September, January and May.

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

Applicants to the OMPA 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 OMPA program is an interdisciplinary program, and students enter 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 with whom you have worked professionally 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 admissions staff.    

Work experience within public policy and related fields is 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.

OMPA Student Stories