Western's Graduate Diploma in Public Administration (Graduate DPA) 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 such administrators are in municipal government, but some are employed by separate boards, provincial ministries, not-for-profit organizations or in the private sector. Graduate DPA 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. Hundreds of men and women 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 Graduate Diploma in Public Administration was created.The cross-disciplinary faculty and guest experts who teach in the Graduate DPA program include academic researchers specializing in local government, as well as practitioners with extensive local government experience. Students receive Western graduate credits for the Graduate DPA courses and those wishing to continue their studies at the Masters level can apply to the Masters of Public Administration and receive full credit for their Graduate DPA coursework.