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 transfer 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 Transferring Option

Each year, we will open five spots for currently enrolled GDPA students to transfer directly to the MPA. GDPA students wishing to transfer to the MPA program must meet with following minimum 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 an average of 80% or higher across all GDPA courses taken to date

Upon having met these criteria, and no later than January 15th, students must contact the program ( to request to be considered for a transfer to the MPA. The transfer spots will be awarded to the five students with the highest cumulative GDPA averages. Students approved to transfer into the MPA will start in either the following summer or fall term.

GDPA students who do not meet the minimum eligibility criteria and/or are not awarded one of the five transfer spots 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. 


The GDPA program has a pay per course tuition. There are four courses required to be completed for the GDPA. Western sets all fees & tuition costs before each term and the Tuition Fees Schedules are published by the Office of the Registrar and can also be found here on the School of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies (SGPS) website.

The Graduate Student Affordability Calculator

The Graduate Student Affordability Calculator was designed for you to get a better estimate of what it will cost to attend one of Western's graduate programs for one year. The calculator is intended to provide you with an accurate estimate of how much money you will need to pay for your tuition, fees, housing, food, and many other necessities for a 12-month (three term) academic year.