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Are You Headed for the Job Market?

Would you like to work for the federal, provincial or municipal government? Or, are you interested in working in the non-profit sector with organizations that do advocacy, humanitarian work, or policy research? Maybe you are leaning toward the private sector, a position in business-government relations? If so, the Master in Applied Politics (MAP) will prepare you.

The MAP is not your traditional political science degree because it offers a strong policy orientation as well as opportunities for faculty-supervised placements with government, non-government and advocacy organizations. It aims to help you think strategically as you prepare for the job market, all while emphasizing the goals and values of a strong liberal arts education.

On the policy front, you will learn how governments generate policy ideas related to the environment, housing, national defence, health, and more. You will examine how governments roll out their policies and how they use polls and public opinion data to determine their course of action. You will also explore how researchers and groups outside government evaluate the government’s work, policies, and programs.

As for hands-on experience, the MAP offers “applied/practical” components, including a placement in the community (in government or the not-for profit sector). For example, in 2018 our master's students worked with the City of Kitchener (participating in an environmental audit for the city), the Region of Waterloo (working on housing policy), and Ploughshares (working on international regulation of so-called killer robots and government policy on the violent conflict in Yemen).

The MAP also emphasizes career readiness. It offers a specialized course that focuses specifically on the tools needed to transition into the political science-related workforce: resumé writing, using social media such as LinkedIn effectively, interview skills, and more. The idea behind this course was to insert the career development process directly into the MAP’s academic experience. This is also accomplished through our practitioner-in-residence, John Milloy, who brings real-life experience to the classroom through a series of skills-building workshops. Professor Milloy was a member of provincial parliament and a cabinet minister for many years.

In order to maximize flexibility, the MAP can be completed in eight months or 12 months or can be pursued on a part-time basis.

Are You Wanting to Pursue a PhD?

If you envision a PhD as part of your career objectives, this program will give you the tools you need. The Master in Applied Politics (MAP) will ensure you are prepared to undertake research in your chosen area of interest.

The MAP offers two courses that are particularly geared to providing you with the tools and skills needed to pursue a PhD. For example, our course PO601: The Craft of Political Science introduces you to the theories and methods typically used by political scientists to research, test, and answer questions related to politics. The course explores the approaches political scientists might use to determine whether foreign aid works, or if we should trust the polls released before election day, or how to explore why some countries are more welcoming to refugees than others. Most importantly, it will help you to formulate the research question that will anchor your PhD application.

In addition, our course PO602: Applied Political Analysis focuses specifically on research methods. It helps you determine how to go about exploring various kinds of political science research questions. The course not only introduces you to the methods political scientists use, but it will also serve as an important resource as you apply for graduate schools. Applications to graduate school include a research proposal. The “methodological” section of your research proposal, as well the methodological section of any PhD grant proposal you submit, are major and fundamental parts of the application process. This course will give you the tools to craft both.

The MAP also gives students heading for a PhD the opportunity to craft a research paper in journal article format. This is excellent preparation for graduate school, where publishing your work in scholarly journals is key. You work under the supervision of two faculty members (an advisor and second reader) in order to craft a research question, succinctly articulate a hypothesis and situate the research question within an area of scholarly literature and area of debate. You will receive feedback through a simulated peer-review process of your work, with written feedback provided, and through a discussion of the feedback with the committee your advisors. You will be encouraged to submit your article to an academic journal.

In order to maximize flexibility, the MAP can be completed in eight months or 12 months or can be pursued on a part-time basis.

Are You Already Working and Looking to Enhance Your Career?

Are you already in government, the not-for-profit sector, or the private sector and want to enhance your CV or boost your chances for promotion or career flexibility? This degree is for you.

Credentials are important for career advancement. The Master in Applied Politics (MAP) can give you the credentials you need to climb higher on your chosen career ladder or move laterally into a related field. Because this program focuses on skills-building, it builds on what you have already gained through your work experience. It will also introduce you to key theoretical and academic debates in a way that is both accessible and relevant to real-world political contexts.

The MAP offers a strong focus on public policy and, more specifically, research as it relates to policy choices and programs. Research isn’t only a university-based activity. Governments, political advocacy organizations, social research councils, unions, social service delivery organizations, think tanks, policy institutes, all research independently or in connection with academics. These institutions evaluate the effectiveness of government programs; analyze and develop new policies; engage in public lobbying; and conduct surveys.

Our courses build the skills you will need to pursue these activities. For example, taking the course PO690: Research Practicum would round out your work experience and further build your skills. This course delivers the opportunity to participate in, and contribute to, a research project in a community setting. It is a chance to apply what you have learned in political science courses to real world experiences. For example, in 2018 our master's worked with the City of Kitchener (participating in an environmental audit for the city), the Region of Waterloo (working on housing policy), and Ploughshares (working on international regulation of so-called killer robots and government policy on the violent conflict in Yemen).

One of our main goals has been to insert the career development process directly into the MAP’s academic experience. The Research Practicum does this but we also have a practitioner-in-residence who brings real-life experience to the classroom through a series of skills-building workshops. Professor John Milloy was a member of provincial parliament and a cabinet minister for many years.

In order to maximize flexibility, the MAP can be completed in eight months or 12 months or can be pursued on a part-time basis.

Are You Headed to Law School?

Many apply to law school early, before finishing their undergraduate degree. But having a master's degree under your belt before you apply can be valuable for future employment once you finish law school. The degree can make you stand out when looking for articling positions as well. It could also serve to boost your GPA, if needed.

The Master in Applied Politics (MAP) is the perfect training ground for a legal career. Here are just a few reasons why:

  • The rigor associated with our capstone courses is used in law school reference letters to signal that the student will come to law school with some high-end capacity for critical and conceptual thinking.
  • Completing the MAP allows you to demonstrate you are ready for a more intensive learning environment, and able to read and assess material at a higher level to identify core arguments and understand/challenge their logic – all of which are needed to do well in law school.
  • The MAP also provides you with a little more time to decide which aspects of the law you wish to engage with, as you learn about the output side of law, which is related to public policy.
  • Many want legal training because they hope to work in government. Combining the MAP with law would be an excellent grounding for government work as well as work in an international organization.

In order to maximize flexibility, the MAP can be completed in eight months or 12 months or can be pursued on a part-time basis.

Contact Us:

Want to Know More?

E: yshamsie@wlu.ca
T: 519.884.0710 x2937

General Inquiries

E: spalmer@wlu.ca
T: 519.884.0710 x3374

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