Experiential Learning

Gain hands-on learning through our Global Policy Project, International Exchange Program, and other experiential opportunities.


Experiential learning opportunities may be modified or reduced to accommodate changes in policies or necessary safety requirements due to COVID-19. For example, in 2020-2021, our Global Policy Project is continuing with virtual field work with our local and international partners.

GPP (India) 1

Global Policy Project

A defining element of UBC’s MPPGA curriculum is an intensive capstone project titled the Global Policy Project (GP2) (PPGA 590), which provides opportunities for you to directly engage with key stakeholders including policy makers and civil society. This is your opportunity to be a policy entrepreneur. You work in a team and apply your creative thinking and analytical skills to a real-world policy challenge.

Last year, students deepened their insights on policy making in Canada, Peru, Ethiopia, The Netherlands, Mongolia, Singapore, Nepal, and India.

GP2 is completed over the course of Year Two through a combination of lectures, Policy Studio sessions, and intensive stakeholder engagement. The project offers you an opportunity to apply methods and skills learned during the core courses taught during Year One. This includes policy research design, the strategic design process, and a variety of field research techniques.

You will also regularly participate in a Policy Studio component throughout Year 2 to work on your Project. The Policy Studio is a flexible, visual learning space with a focus on collaborative experiences where students, faculty, and clients co-design experiments that integrate creative thinking with scientific methods in problem identification and analysis.

  1. The MPPGA program identifies domestic and international clients through a rigorous selection process.
  2. You work for an assigned client in a team under the guidance of a faculty member to complete each step of the Project.
  3. Your client presents a specific policy challenge facing its organization, providing context to help you understand and define the problem.
  4. To engage key stakeholders, international projects require a field visit in December to the client’s location.
  5. Collaborating closely with your client and faculty in class and the field, your team analyzes the problem, gathers data, and works through possible solutions.
  6. You deliver a report and a policy brief to your client. You also present your findings and policy recommendations in a symposium held at the UBC School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the end of Year Two.

Some Global Policy Project work is locally based while at other times it may involve national or international travel. The MPPGA program offers a Travel Grant to cover the travel costs up to a reasonable amount, as well as an allowance for accommodation, meals and incidental expenses during the field visit.

Additional project costs such as travel visa, vaccines and insurance are the responsibility of the students.

Students have the opportunity to rank their projects of choice prior to being placed on teams.

We define clients as organizations engaged in activities that are significantly impacted by public policies. GP2 is an opportunity for you to understand the relationship between key stakeholders in the policy-making process and policy impact. Typically, they are organizations that work for stakeholders whose welfare depends significantly on state resources or regulations.

Find a list of our 2019/2020 Global Policy Project clients below:

"For their Global Policy Project, UBC’s Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs students engaged for two consecutive years with the government of Ethiopia and the Canadian International Resources and Development Institute (CIRDI) / Support to Ministry of Mines Project (SUMM), funded by Global Affairs Canada. The student team developed ‘A Roadmap for Environmental and Social Impact Assessment in Ethiopia’s Mining Sector.’

The government and university partnership was built around co-design, co-delivery, and co-accountability. With the support of MPPGA students and professors, the project fostered innovation, collaboration, and inclusion that has reinforced the links between Canada and Ethiopia to create enabling conditions for the harmonious and sustainable development of the extractive sector.”
- Isabeau Vilandre, Esq., Director CIRDI-SUMM Project

It was a real pleasure to work with the UBC MPPGA students. We were deeply impressed by the quality of their report that was based on thorough research and contained sharp analysis, but also by the students’ enthusiasm and commitment for the project.”
- Alix Vuillemin Grendel, Senior Advocacy Adviser, Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice (WIGJ)

I want to thank all of you, Tamara, Sanmini, Chengkun, and Andrés, and your faculty guides Professor Milind Kandlikar and Program Graduate Director Shashi Enarth, for choosing to do your MPPGA Capstone Project with us - Gram Gaurav Sanstha (GGS) and Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Contemporary Studies (RGICS). It was a learning experience for us too - the GGS team led by Jagdish and Sanjeev; and the RGICS team of Sanjeev, Jeet and Uzair.  Most importantly, I think due to your visit, we gathered enough momentum to meet the Rajasthan State authorities at different levels and I hope this year there will be many more water conservation structures coming up in the area with public funds.”
- Vijay Mahajan, GGS/RGICS, India

Kavi with students, Ghana

"The UBC MPPGA students demonstrated the utmost professionalism and dedication. The team developed an assessment tool that will allow FTS and its partners globally to assess the degree to which the communities they work in are resistant to various forms of slavery."
- Kavi Ramburn, Evaluation Manager, Free the Slaves

It was a pleasure working with the MPPGA students. Their interviews with senior business and government stakeholders across Canada and ASEAN helped uncover the Private Sector's mobility priorities. This improved understanding complements CABC’s efforts in advocating for closer economic ties.”
- Greg Ross, Executive Director, Canada-ASEAN Business Council

"The GP2 gives students the chance to learn country-specific knowledge while adapting to the local political and cultural contexts to resolve a policy problem. This provides them with a tangible policy experience to prepare for the workforce.”
- Shashi Enarth, former MPPGA Graduate Program Director

International Exchange Program

The UBC School of Public Policy and Global Affairs partners with premier public policy schools in Europe and Asia through an international student exchange program.

Currently, our second year MPPGA students have the opportunity to study internationally with the Hertie School of Governance (Berlin, Germany), Sciences Po School of Public Affairs (Paris, France) and Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore (Singapore). There are opportunities for you to go on exchange to other institutions as well.

Student Initiatives – The Pub

The Pub is a student-led policy magazine of the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, the primary medium of MPPGA students to connect with the broader UBC community and the rest of the world. Here you will find articles, podcasts, and other digital content that discuss wide-ranging policy issues across the world, such as sustainability, foreign policy, and international development.

Aside from their diverse array of policy insights, The Pub is also the home of the MPPGA Student Association, the official student body representing the program.

Conferences and Competitions

The MPPGA program offers students various opportunities to participate in international conferences, business forums, policy case competitions, Global Public Policy Network meetings, and more. Build your policy expertise and networks by participating in these global policy discussions.

Over the 2019-2020 academic year, MPPGA students participated in high level discussions at forums and case competitions around the world.

  • One student attended the 2020 NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition which was based on running a simulation of
    a city as a team of five, with each team member playing the role of a city commissioner in charge of wellbeing, transportation, health, infrastructure, or as the mayor.
  • Four students competed in the 9th Annual CAPPA National Public Administration Case Competition in Quebec City which focused on the housing affordability crisis in Canada. The team was supported by SPPGA Professor George Hoberg and SPPGA Policy Practitioner Fellow, Andrea Reimer.
  • Three students participated in the second year of UBC’s Women in House (WiH) program on March 9-10, 2020 in Ottawa. The program provided them an inside look into the working lives of female politicians in Canada, as well as leaving them informed and inspired to pursue their passions.
  • Several students attended the Think Global, Link Local 2020 Networking Breakfast on March 5, 2020, hosted by the Vancouver Branch of the United Nations Association Canada in collaboration with the NGO & Nonprofit Studies Program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
  • Two students attended the 2019 Global Public Policy Network (GPPN) Conference held at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore. The GPPN is an international network of Public Policy schools and serves as a platform for institutional partnership, research collaboration, and student exchange.
  • A MPPGA student was appointed as a VISION20 (V20) Fellow, joining V20 Founding Co-Chair, UBC Professor Yves Tiberghien at the workshop “Beyond Neoliberalism in Emerging Markets” held at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC in 2019.
  • Four students tackled issues of forced migration and refugees at the 2019 NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition held in Austin, Texas. The day-long event tested our students' skills on real-world data.

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