Curriculum & Courses

The Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs (MPPGA) is a full-time, in-person degree program offered exclusively on UBC’s Vancouver campus.

In Year One, core classes focus on building fundamental policy skills with broad applicability. In Year Two, you tailor your learning to your area of interest with electives in one of three streams:

MPPGA professors draw on a range of learning methods from multiple disciplines, including lectures, seminars, case studies, field-based experiences and professional skills workshops. Expect to engage in simulations, take part in team problem-solving exercises, and interact directly with policy makers, clients and stakeholders.

Global Policy Project

In place of a thesis, you will participate in a Global Policy Project (GPP 590), also known as  GP2. This is your chance to apply your creative thinking and strategic design skills in the field and develop innovative policy solutions for a real-world client. Learn more about GPon our Policy in Practice page.

Graduation requirements

To earn the MPPGA degree, you must successfully complete:

  • Eight core courses totalling 24 credits
  • Five elective courses totalling 15 credits
  • A Global Policy Project worth 6 credits

You should allow 20 months to complete the program.

Program Courses

Below you will find a full listing of the courses offered by UBC’s Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs (MPPGA) program. Please note that not all courses listed are offered every year.


This course examines the basics of supply and demand, market structure and sources of market failure that necessitate policy interventions, and the fundamentals of decision making by consumers, households and firms.

This course introduces the challenges of an interlinked global economy through modern macroeconomics. Looking at theory and real-world applications, we consider international linkages through labour, capital and goods markets, monetary and fiscal policy, currency and debt crises.

This course introduces the fundamental analytical tools for policy analysis and program evaluation, including quantitative methods and field research techniques and more advanced tools, depending on class interest. Our focus is on applying research methods to policy analysis, so this course should not be considered a replacement for more in-depth methods courses.

This course introduces the fundamentals of policy analysis and program evaluation in a professional context. We look at standard tools of policy analysis, risk assessment and evaluation used to design policy interventions and implement monitoring and evaluation systems for effectiveness. We consider case studies for government, international organizations and non-governmental organizations.

This course examines theories and frameworks related to policy-making processes at national and global levels. Key topics include agenda setting, policy formulation, decision making, policy implementation and policy evaluation.

This course examines governmental implementation and delivery of public policy, including variations in international practice and the growing interdependence of governments, firms and non-governmental organizations. We also explore the complexities of multi-level governance, including control and accountability.

This course examines analytical tools for assessing policy in different cultural contexts, inter-cultural communication skills, and effective community engagement in policy work.

This course examines how to effectively communicate policy to stakeholders, with an emphasis on transparency, accountability and the rise of new media. We explore a wide range of communication formats, including written, oral and multimedia policy communications.

Core Courses (Year 1 and Year 2)

GPP 590 Global Policy Project (6 credits)
The Global Policy Project (GP2) is a team-based professional project that is completed over the course of Year One and Year Two of the MPPGA program, with workshops throughout the first year and an intensive project in the second year.  GPprovides an opportunity for MPPGA students to integrate learning from previous terms into field-based policy experiences while working with real world clients.  Students will be working in team under the guidance of a faculty member (Project Mentor) to complete each step of the Project, from the initial design brief and project proposals, to data gathering and analysis during the allocated fieldwork time, to the completion of the final policy report/deliverable.


If you aspire to drive positive change through government or a non-profit organization, this stream is for you. Your courses will provide a framework and tools for understanding economic and social change in Asia and other parts of the developing world, with emphasis on human security, poverty and gender.

Please note: All Stream One students are strongly encouraged to complete GPP 520. Program curriculum and courses are subject to change. Some courses may be not offered by the MPPGA Program at any given time.

This course examines micro-scale processes of development, including the challenges posed by persistent poverty, and ground-level solutions. Key topics include the measurement and empirical evaluation of development interventions and outcomes.

This course offers an introduction to long-term, macro-level development processes that societies can use to improve their standards of living. We consider development theories, including historical drivers and present debates, and examine when and how public policies can best enable economic development.

This course explores the meaning of development and the micro/macro aspects of engineering for development. We examine the rise of development thought and assess the outcomes of development for different countries and communities.

This course examines the trajectories and current puzzles of the East Asian political economy, including Japan, Korea, China and Southeast Asia. In addition to exploring political economic institutions, dynamics and sustainability, we consider the integration of China and India into the world economy.

This course explores prevalent social issues in Asia. Specifically, we examine policies in education, housing, welfare and public health that have been developed in response to the social dislocation that accompanies rapid development.

This course explores spatial development, housing, infrastructure and local environments and examines the administrative and regulatory implications of urbanization. We consider interactions between the biophysical requisites of urbanization and the governance structures and processes that shape their provision.

This course examines policy debates concerning corporate social responsibility, including voluntary regulation initiatives, responsibility to stakeholders in global supply chains, public-private partnerships, socially responsible investing, transparency and protection of human rights.


If you want to engage stakeholders as sustainability leaders and influence change in the environmental sphere, choose this stream. Bridging natural and social sciences, your courses will introduce powerful approaches and tools for analyzing complex policy challenges and communicating innovative policy solutions related to climate change, renewable energy, food security and more.

Please note: All Stream Two students must complete GPP 507. Students are strongly encouraged to complete GPP 540. Program curriculum and courses are subject to change. Some courses may be not offered by the MPPGA Program at any given time.

A stream course for the 2019-2020 program year and onward
: This course examines the creation, implementation and enforcement of environmental law and policy at international, national and subnational levels. We look at the evolution of environmental law and policy, legal institutions and major areas of law relating to ecological sustainability.

This course examines environmental and socioeconomic outcomes of projects and policies. Key topics include systems modeling and dynamics, lifecycle and risk assessment, cost-benefit and decision analysis, valuation of ecosystem services, and critical appraisals of socioeconomic valuation approaches that form the basis of policy assessments.

This course examines energy sources, markets and impacts critical to energy policy. Key topics include oil, natural gas and coal markets; electricity and utilities policy; local and global environmental impact; renewable energy; nuclear power and security; energy efficiency; technological innovation; and energy poverty.

This course examines the role and influence of science and technology in society and public policy development. Key topics include the history and economics of technological change.

This course looks at valuing, managing and sustaining water systems for agriculture, industry, the built environment, recreation and ecosystems. Key topics include service delivery, government intervention and policy responses, the interrelationship between water and sanitation, resource recovery, and relationships between water systems and human development.

This course focuses on environmental and natural resource economics. Key topics include externalities, property rights, public goods, market failure, intergenerational trade-offs and optimal extraction of biological and depletable resources. We also look at real-world environmental regulation, industrial competitiveness, distribution of income, and welfare and free-rider issues.

This course examines ecological systems for diverse policy contexts, including health, agriculture, water, resource management, tourism, spatial planning and conservation. We explore how to design appropriate policy and governance responses and look at innovative progress from policies and policy frameworks that better reflect ecological dynamics.


If you are fascinated by foreign policy, or want to influence governance and security measures across sectors and borders, consider this stream. Your courses will take a closer look at key policy challenges related to global economic governance, Asia Pacific security, human rights, human migration and human security.

Please note: All Stream Three students are strongly encouraged to complete GPP 560. Program curriculum and courses are subject to change. Some courses may be not offered by the MPPGA Program at any given time.

This course examines policy making at the global level, including theories and frameworks of global coordination and global governance. Key topics include trade, finance, climate, food regulation, developmental norms and security.

This course begins by defining globalization and exploring various globalization theories. Next, we examine specific causes, effects and responses of globalization in various Asian countries. Finally, we consider the political, social and economic dimensions of globalization in migration and norm diffusion.

This course examines international policy processes associated with themes of environmental security. Key topics include disaster prevention, resource curses, institution building, human rights advocacy and peacekeeping in the context of conflict minerals, and food security/sovereignty in the context of global land grabbing.

This course covers key concepts and theories of migration and social change. The role of the nation state and regulatory systems considering international institutions relevant to migration as concerns Asian demography and migration; connections between Asia and the Pacific Rim.

This course examines Asian state policies on security threats that impact national and human security. Key topics include civil-military relations, intrastate conflict, transnational crime, spread of disease, environmental and natural disasters, geopolitical shifts in power, defence modernization, resurgent nationalism and historical legacies.

This course explores ethnic and religious conflict in Asia. Specifically, we will examine the historical and dialectic development of nationalism, and the role of religion, ethnicity and nationalist ideologies in the escalation of conflict in various Asian societies.

This course offers a comprehensive and systematic assessment and analysis of political dynamics, policy behaviours and diplomatic interactions in Asia. Our focus is on major diplomatic issues, cross-cutting diplomatic challenges and diplomatic opportunities facing countries in the region.

This course examines linkages among human rights, development and justice—and the policy interventions that flow from them. We look at human rights policy in the context of international organizations, national actors, non-governmental organizations and communities.


Students in any stream may take these classes to meet their graduation requirements. Program curriculum and courses are subject to change. Some courses may be not offered by the MPPGA Program at any given time.

This course explores how the Internet impacts policy and global affairs. Specifically, we examine the economic implications of lower transaction costs, the media implications of new forms of publishing, the political implications of new structures for collective action, the legal implications of new limits to privacy and confidentiality, and the governance implications of e‑government.

This course explores social and cognitive psychology, judgment and decision making, and behavioural economics in the context of policy formation and implementation. You learn how to use experimental findings and concepts from behavioural research to help design and implement policy.

This course examines public engagement in policy-making processes, both in Canada and internationally. Key topics include methods for stakeholder engagement in diverse policy debates, tools and lessons from negotiation analysis, case studies on engagement practices and their influence on policy, behavioral and legal foundations of engagement, and best practices and lessons learned in North America and Europe.

This course examines global food security challenges, including biophysical, economic, nutritional, socio-political and institutional aspects. Key topics include the geography of agricultural production, the role of price and supply shocks, causes of malnutrition and environmental impacts.

This course examines climate science and impacts, including carbon management options, mitigation and energy system changes, efficiency options, “end-of-pipe” solutions, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change, carbon economics and organization-level strategies in a carbon-constrained world.

This course is a flexible curricular space for responding to rapidly evolving policy landscapes and student requests.

The 2018/2019 Academic Courses include:

GPP 591A Special Topics - Leadership (1.5 credits)

GPP 591B  Special Topics - Gender and Security

GPP 591C Special Topics - Lind Initiative

GPP 591D Special Topics - Global China and World Order

GPP 591H Special Topics - Difficult Knowledge: Ethics and Praxis of Research in Challenging Settings