Graduate Diploma in Public Administration

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Western's Graduate Diploma in Public Administration (GDPA) is designed especially for mid-career local government administrators who wish to further develop their public management perspectives and skills at the graduate level. Most GDPA students work for municipal governments, but some are employed by separate boards, provincial ministries, not-for-profit organizations or in the private sector. GDPA Courses offer specialized education in local administration and policy analysis, giving the experienced student the prospect of being better prepared for the challenges of modern community, urban and regional governance and administration.

The Diploma has been offered annually since 1974. Thousands of students from across Canada, with widely varying backgrounds, have attended. Many medium-to-large Canadian municipalities consistently use Western's Diploma in Public Administration as part of their professional development program for senior managers.  In 2016 the DPA program transitioned to the graduate level and the GDPA was created.

The cross-disciplinary faculty who teach in the GDPA program include academic researchers specializing in local government, as well as practitioners with extensive local government experience. Students receive Western graduate credits for the GDPA courses and those wishing to continue their studies at the Masters level can either ladder directly (see below for eligibility criteria) or apply to the Masters of Public Administration and receive full credit for their GDPA coursework.

Eligibility for MPA Laddering Option

GDPA students wishing to ladder to the MPA program must meet with following eligibility criteria:

  1. Possess a four-year honours degree from a recognized postsecondary institution
  2. Be currently enrolled in the GDPA program
  3. Have completed at least two GDPA courses
  4. Have a cumulative average of 80% or higher in all GDPA courses taken to date


Upon having met these criteria, students must contact the program (localgov@uwo.ca) to initiate the process.

GDPA students who do not meet these criteria are welcome to apply to the MPA program through the regular admissions process. For these students, successful completion of the GDPA will be a condition for MPA program admission.