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The inaugural cohort of the Master of Public Policy in Digital Society program are ready to put their education to work! (photo by McMaster's CMPA team)

First cohort of Master of Public Policy in Digital Society program graduates cross the stage at spring convocation

Last week, the first cohort of graduates of McMaster’s Master of Public Policy in Digital Society (MPPDS) attended their convocation ceremony.

Jun 24, 2022

Last week, a group of 20 students crossed the stage as the first graduating cohort from McMaster’s Master of Public Policy in Digital Society (MPPDS).

“I’m so proud of the 2022 graduating class,” said Executive Director of the MPPDS, Vass Bednar. “Not only is this the first graduating cohort, but this program is Canada’s first specialized Master of Public Policy program, and one of the most intensive. This class has worked hard to get to the finish line.”

The master’s program runs over a 12-month period with a virtual delivery model, allowing students from across Canada to participate. Each term, students take part in three graduate seminars and three skills labs in partnership with Juno College.

“This digital delivery model was not only well-suited to the pandemic, but it also helps to build the skills needed for a remote-first workforce,” said Bednar. “We plan to keep building and expanding the program. We will bring in more opportunities for students to be mentored and taught by some of the nation’s leading policy practitioners.”


One year after the start of their program, four graduates from the MPPDS program also reflect on their experience.

Dana El Chaer

After completing her undergraduate degree in political science with a specialization in public law and judicial studies from McMaster, El Chaer was keen to pursue her passion for public policy.

Why did you choose the MPPDS Program?

I took a few courses in public policy during my undergraduate and I really enjoyed them. I started applying for graduate programs in public administration and public policy. Around that same time, McMaster launched the MPPDS program, and I decided to apply to that. I had done a program in tech policy during my undergrad and really enjoyed it and I thought it was relevant.

How did you feel finally getting to have an in-person convocation?

It was exciting! I was a 2021 Mac grad, so this is my first convocation. A lot of us from this program are 2020/21 graduates so this is our first convocation.


Taiyaba Choudhury

Choudhury came to McMaster after completing her undergraduate degree in political science and government from McGill.

How did it feel to be part of a fully online program?

In a weird way, the online format made us (students) closer because it gave us more time to get to know each other and to see more domestic sides of classmates. Our professors were very personable and encouraged us to talk to them after class if we had questions. It was great!”

How did you feel finally getting to have an in-person convocation?

I didn’t expect a reception and it was really nice to see everyone in person, finally. Kind of feels like I’m seeing celebrities because you’ve been seeing them digitally and you’re fangirling over them.


Jacob Danto-Clancy

Jacob’s background is in the humanities. He graduated from the University of King’s College with a degree in contemporary studies and english.

Why did you choose the MPPDS program?

This program didn’t feel like a gamble for me because it felt very relevant for right now. The combination of public policy and digital society is where we are. I think McMaster has started a wave or realized that we are in a wave, and we need to surf it.

What inspired me was that this degree aligned with my personal experience and what I could see happening around me. So, I’m in a digital society and I feel on an intuitive level that policy has to change.


Gurwinder Sindu

Gurwinder graduated from McMaster with a degree in political science. He’s also a former president of the McMaster Political Science Student Association.

Why did you choose the MPPDS program?

I think when you look at the society, technology has become more and more important, but I think a lot of people in government don’t understand the impact of technology.

What is your advice for future students in the program?

Don’t be afraid to talk to the professors, even after classes. It’s also a good idea to reach out to guest speakers for their advice or assistance.