Students are admitted to the MPA by Western's Faculty of Graduate Studies on the recommendation of the Admissions Committee for the MPA program. Applicants without relevant employment experience must possess a four year honours degree in the social sciences (with at least a B+ average) and demonstrate that they have taken at least two senior undergraduate courses concerned with local government, public administration and/or urban studies.
Applicants who have at least five years of Canadian local government employment experience are also expected to have an undergraduate or professional degree, but recommendations for special admission can be made in exceptional circumstances on a case-by-case basis. Applicants without an undergraduate or professional degree must submit a one-or two-page statement explaining how they think their experience compensates for their lack of formal academic qualifications.
The MPA Admissions committee may recommend that any applicant without sufficient evidence of academic preparation for the MPA program should first enroll in the Graduate Diploma in Public Administration (GDPA) program. In this case a decision as to whether to recommend admission to the MPA program would be based in part on subsequent performance in the GDPA program, possibly including the research report requirement. It is advisable to complete the GDPA and then apply for admission to the MPA program. If accepted into the MPA, the GDPA graduate will receive credit toward the MPA for courses completed for the GDPA, but not for the GDPA research report. However, it is not permissible, except in rare circumstances, for a student in the MPA program to switch to the GDPA program.
MPA applicants may receive advance credit for graduate courses taken outside the MPA program if the applicant has not already received a degree based on those courses and if they cover the same ground as MPA courses. Advance credit must be assessed when the student accepts an offer of admission to the program, and cannot be awarded once the student has begun MPA studies.