degree policy analyst governmentI receive many emails from students or professionals inquiring as to which post secondary degree(s) are the best to pursue to increase their chances of securing a position as a Policy Analyst in the Government of Canada.

Which post secondary degree should I choose?

If your goal is to be a “Generalist” (not specializing in any particular topic), then I would recommend that a post secondary degree in Economics and/or Political Science. This is not to say that these degrees are better than others. However, from my experience, Policy Analysts that work in positions that are considered “Generalist” appear to have a higher percentage of these post secondary degrees than others.  This can also be based on the fact that students that pursue such background may have planned for a career in the Public Service. These post secondary degrees definitely offer the advantage of a shortened learning curve as compared to a Policy Analyst that works strictly on regressions all day. Regardless of which post secondary degree you pursue, you should familiarize yourself with the general structure of the Government, Cabinet, the House of Commons and the role of the “core” agencies. If you have completed a degree in another field and would like to work for the Government there are still many opportunities for you.

For individuals who would like to specialize on a specific topic in a particular department, then you should specialize in that field (if possible complementing with private sector experience) before applying to the Government of Canada. I recommend public sector experience because your private sector experience would bring you in at a senior Policy Analyst position which will provide a more challenging work environment.

In many occasions, the same degree (with different elective courses) can provide an opportunity for a different career. Below I have summarized two recent job descriptions with similar qualifications; the only difference was the courses required.

A job description for a Policy Analyst in DFAIT requires:

1) Background in Political Science or International Relations as well as courses and/or or work experience in
international law, international affairs, global security and the like.

A job description for a Policy Analyst in CIC requires

1) Background in Political Science or International Relations as well as courses and/or or work experience in
immigration security, border security, citizenship , multiculturalism, international migration, international law.

In most job offers (even those that are internal), candidates are always required to have  a post secondary degree with an acceptable specialization in Economics, Sociology or Statistics (acceptable is usually 9-15 credits).

In conclusion

As you see above, although the two positions require the same degree, the specializations are the same. This is why it is not unusual to see policy analysts and Foreign Service officers move between the two departments. This also holds true for many other departments. The post secondary degree(s) that you hold will most likely not get you into the Government of Canada faster; however, ensure that you take electives in themes that reflect the department where you are interested in working in because that will assist you in the future.

Introducing the only proven online resource that will provide you with astonishing and quick results: The Insider's Guide to Canadian Government jobs.

This amazing guide contains years of research, interviews, and experience from Insiders in the Government of Canada to give you the best resource for obtaining your dream job in the Government.

Here is a brief look inside:

  • 100+ pages of never seen before insider knowledge on obtaining highly sought after government jobs that will make you the envy of your peers.
  • Clear steps and ready to use vocabulary that will land your new winning resume to the top of the pile...everytime, even if you're not good at writing.
  • Two done-for-you cover letter templates that explain exactly how to use your work and educational experience to have hiring managers fighting to meet you.
  • Also included is our trademarked: Face-To-Face Interview Differentiator TM. Our tested interview cheat sheet that carefully guides you through each step in the interview process taking you from a faceless applicant to a confident job candidate - even if you are usually nervous in interviews.
  • Juicy insider tips on how to get more when negotiating your salary, even if you do not have a lot of work experience.
  • Also included are free bonus chapters with amazing insider strategies on: Getting a job in the department of Global Affairs and how to excel in the highly competitive Post Secondary Recruitment (PSR) exams, even if you are not good at standardized tests.
Read More