Communications and Public Policy

The Communications and Public Policy Major explores the connection between communicating with citizens and creating, implementing, and evaluating public policy. Students in the program will explore the influence of communications in the process of a participatory democracy, preparing them to work as communications professionals in the public, private and non-profit sectors.

The Communications and Public Policy (COPP) program is the home to the Frank McKenna Centre for Communications and Public Policy. The program offers a unique set of courses that focus on both public and private-sector communications with an emphasis on how this impacts public policy. 

The program encourages its graduates to be able to work in both English and French and provides opportunities for bilingual students and French immersion students to continue their studies in both languages. Upper-year courses offer students the opportunity to complete course work (and internships) in English and French.

  • You are interested in how governments and organizations work
  • You are interested in learning how organizations communicate effectively
  • You are interested in how effective communication relates to other fields of study that interest you

Critical and transferable skills gained from studying Communications and Public Policy include writing, critical thinking, written and verbal communications, multimedia and social media skills that interact with course work, public speaking and professional presentations, professional career preparation skills, and many others.

The Frank McKenna Centre for Communications and Public Policy hosts symposiums and conducts forums, as well as brings distinguished speakers to campus for the benefit of students. Past guests have included a former prime minister of Canada and a senator and expert on mental health.

Graduates from our program often move into both public and private-sector communications careers, public sector and government communications and policy work, public relations, non-profit communications, and journalism. The COPP program gives students both a mix of communications and public policy courses, two fields that have multifaceted career possibilities. Graduates will finish their time at St. Thomas with both a solid theoretical background and critical and practical skills in a variety of areas.

The COPP program offers five streams or focus areas for students to specialize. This allows students to complement their COPP major with a specific focus in Politics and Governance; Law and Justice; Social Policy and Social Justice; Science, Technology, and the Environment; and International Relations.

Normally, students will choose a focus area and begin assembling the courses during the fall semester of second year accordingly. These might include courses from Journalism, Political Science, Criminology, and Science and Technology Studies, among others.