The Urban Policy Graduate Fellows program is an initiative by the Urban Policy Lab that offers students interested in cities and urban policy at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy the chance to participate in unique experiential learning opportunities, help coordinate the School’s urban-oriented extracurricular programming, and contribute to the Lab’s collaborative research, civic education, and outreach projects.

Eligibility and Financial Support

Up to four fellowships are available to incoming second-year MPP or MGA students. Each fellowship comes with a $2,000 tuition bursary, in recognition of the time commitment involved (approx. 10-15 hours/week, September 2019 to April 2020).

Role and Responsibilities

Fellows comprise the Lab’s student leadership team, and are thus expected to make substantive contributions to Lab operations, including:

  • Designing and coordinating extracurricular programming for students, such as organizing the Lab’s annual case competition, career/skills development programming, and other student-focused events
  • Assisting with the Lab’s partner projects, such as collaborative research, seminars, etc.
  • Promoting the Lab’s work through public outreach and communication activities (e.g, blog posts, social media presence, etc.)

In addition, fellows will have the opportunity to contribute to a real-world urban policy project over the course of the academic year, working closely with experienced practitioners at one of two partner organizations: the Pembina Institute and the City of Toronto’s Municipal Licensing and Standards (MLS) division.

  • Pembina is a national not-for-profit organization that provides policy research and analysis related to energy and climate change. Under the mentorship of Pembina’s Urban Transportation Team, fellows will participate in policy projects that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Ontario’s cities, including advancing transit-supportive land use planning, and low-carbon modes of transit and transportation.
  • MLS’ Policy & Strategic Support unit conducts policy research, and facilitates public consultations, related to municipal by-law administration and enforcement. Past and ongoing files include the licensing and registration of short-term rentals, such as AirBnb, and the modernization of bylaws concerning apartment standards and rooming houses. Working alongside City staff, fellows will have the opportunity to build skills in community engagement and public consultation, such as identifying and prioritizing stakeholders, and deepen their analytical skillset through applied research.

Fellows will benefit from hands-on experience working with urban policy professionals, learn new skills and receive mentorship in key employability skills relevant to urban policy across different sectors, build relationships with MPP alumni in the field, and gain access to professional development workshops and networking opportunities via Lab partners.

Application Process

Interested students must submit a short (max. one page) application explaining their interest in cities and urban policy, their career ambitions in the field of urban policy, and most importantly, what they hope to contribute to the Lab in terms of potential programming and projects. Be sure to also indicate which partner organization you hope to work with and why, and include a current CV highlighting relevant qualifications.

Please submit applications by Sunday, March 24 at 11:59pm using the following linkhttp://urbanpolicylab.ca/applications

Feel free to contact Prof. Gabriel Eidelman by email (g.eidelman@utoronto.ca) if you have any questions not found in the FAQ below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. I am going on exchange in the fall. Can I still become a fellow?
A. Unfortunately, no. Our partner organizations expect students to contribute to fellowship projects beginning in September.

Q. How much time am I expected to commit to the partner organization?
A. As a volunteer, you will have full control of how much time you can contribute. But in order to make the most of the opportunity, expect to dedicate at least a half-day per week on-site at your organization’s offices (both are conveniently located in downtown Toronto near TTC subway stops).

Q. Is it realistic to work part-time during the fellowship?
A. Only you can fully assess your capacity to manage multiple commitments. But based on the experiences of past fellows, we do not recommend working part-time during the fellowship.

Q. Can I lead other student initiatives in addition to being a UPL fellow?
A. No. It is possible to participate in other student initiatives in a supporting role (e.g., as an analyst for GDPP). But it is unrealistic to take on a leadership/director role over and above your responsibilities with the Lab.

Q. How many ideas for projects and events should I include in my application?
A. As many as possible! The number of projects and events the Lab works on each year depends in large part on the passion and dedication of its fellows. We encourage you to be as ambitious and creative as possible.