Undergraduate Major

(Arts program, 8.0 FCEs)

Solving real-world policy challenges requires the use of multi-disciplinary tools to analyze problems, determine the best means to deal with those problems, and decide on the best course of action. An undergraduate Major in Public Policy provides a unique opportunity for students in Social Science disciplines to think in an interdisciplinary way, by drawing on theories and approaches, as well as tool kits developed in the core disciplines of Economics and Political Science, and beyond. Students in this program develop theoretical and applied reasoning skills in policy analysis, as well as a solid grounding in quantitative methods and research.


Beginning in the 2011-2012 academic year, the Major program in Public Policy is offered jointly by the School of Public Policy and Governance, the Department of Economics, and the Department of Political Science. Students enrol after first-year, and must meet the prerequisite conditions for all second-year and higher courses.


Admission information

This is a limited enrolment program that accommodates a limited number of students. Admission will be determined by a student's average marks in the required first year courses. Achieving the minimum required marks does not necessarily guarantee admission to the program in any given year.  To be eligible for enrolment in the Public Policy Major, students must have completed the following first-year courses:


  • POL101Y1, with a minimum grade of 67%;·
  • MAT133Y1 (or higher); and:
  • ECO100Y1, with a minimum grade of 67%, or ECO105Y1, with a minimum grade of 80%

For students who are unable to complete POL 101Y1, the program will accept another full POL course (except POL 214Y) or the equivalent in half courses with a minimum grade of 67%.


Upper-Year Program Requirements


Second Year:

  • ECO200Y1 or ECO206Y1
  • ECO220Y1
  • POL214Y1

Third and Fourth Years:

  • PPG301H1
  • PPG401H1
  • 1.0 FCEs at the 300+-level drawn from Economics, Political Science, and cognate disciplines. A non-exhaustive list of eligible courses includes:

(With the approval of the program director, students can take public-policy oriented courses outside this list.)

Public Policy Courses

PPG301H1 Introduction to Public Policy

The course introduces students to the study of public policy, the policy process and institutions in Canada and abroad. The course examines how issues emerge, how ideas are framed, priorities are established, and agendas are legislated and implemented. It explores how institutions – formal and informal rules which enable and constrain actors – shape policy-making in developed democracies.


Prerequisites: ECO200Y1 or ECO206Y1, ECO220Y1, POL101Y1, POL214Y1

Distribution Requirement Status: This is a Social Science course

Breadth Requirement: Society and its Institutions (3)


PPG401H1 The Role of Government

This course explores the government’s role in promoting efficiency and equity in both the financing and delivery of public policy goals. It explores the conditions when government involvement is important, the policy levers available to government in promoting social policy, market failures, and conditions for efficiency. It examines the role of government in many of the major areas of social policy such as health care, education, redistribution, the environment, financial regulations and other important issues.


Prerequisite: PPG301H1

Distribution Requirement Status: This is a Social Science course

Breadth Requirement: Society and its Institutions (3)