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Public Ethics

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The Faculty of Philosophy at Saint Paul University, in collaboration with the Faculties of Theology and of Human Sciences, offers the Master of Arts in Public Ethics (MA Pub.Ethics). This degree is conferred jointly by the Senates of Saint Paul University and the University of Ottawa under the terms of the federation agreement between them.

 The program is based upon course and seminar work, reflection on practical experience, and research in public ethics. The program is designed for students wishing to specialize in public ethics at the graduate level or to prepare themselves for doctoral work; for mid-career professionals wishing to reflect and build on their professional experience and previous studies and who may wish to advance their carriers, make career changes, or prepare for doctoral studies.

Program Objectives

The program is designed to prepare graduates who are public ethics analysts and consultants with competencies in the following:

  • To discern the values and ethical concerns involved in particular policy statements or social and political practices and to propose appropriate strategies for taking these values and ethical concerns into consideration in the further formulation of policy statements and establishment of such practices at regional, national and international levels;
  • To study more deeply the major ethical questions raised by society;
  • To discern the values and the ethical concerns arising from, or involved in, a society defined more and more in terms of information creation and transfer and to propose appropriate strategies for taking these values and ethical concerns into consideration in the further evolution of an information-oriented communication society.

The program operates within the general framework of the ''General Regulations'' of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (FGPS) of the University of Ottawa, which are posted on the FGPS website.        

  • BEAUVAIS Chantal, Associate Professor
    Edith Stein, Ethics
  • CLOUTIER Sophie, Assistant Professor
    Research in environmental and medical ethics, political philosophy of Hannah Arendt, genetics and religion
  • DE KESEL Marc, Associate professor
    Prof. dr. Marc DE KESEL’s research covers continental philosophy, Lacanian theory, Shoah studies, and theories of religion. Recent books: ‘Eros & Ethics: Reading Jacques Lacan’s Seminar VII’, Albany: SUNY Press, 2009; (in Dutch) Goden breken. Essays over monotheïsme (‘Destroying Gods: Essays on Monotheism’), Amsterdam: Boom, 2010; (in Dutch) Auschwitz mon amour, Amsterdam: Boom, 2012; (in Dutch) Žižek (Boom: Amsterdam); (in Dutch) Niets dan liefde: het vileine wonder van de gift (Nothing but Love: the villainous wonder of the gift), Amsterdam: Sjibbolet, 2012.
  • DWYER Rocky, Adjunct Professor
    Human resources management and ethics; leadership
  • FEIST Richard, Associate professor
    Ethics; metaphysics; phenomenology; philosophy of science and mathematics, process philosophy (especially Alfred North Whitehead)
  • GILMORE Alan, Adjunct Professor
    Accountability and ethics in government; corporate ethics
  • MELCHIN Kenneth R., Full Professor
    Economics Ethics; Business Ethics; Social and Political Ethics; Lonergan Studies
  • PERRON Louis, Associate Professor
    Contemporary continental philosophy; Phenomenology and hermanentics; Jean Ladrière; Ethics
  • RIOUX Jean-François, Associate Professor
    History of conflict resolution; peacebuilding; conflict analysis; disarmament and arms control; ethics of armed intervention
  • SHUKLA Rajesh Chandra, Associate Professor
    Ethics and political philosophy; public policy; environmental ethics; and Karma theory.
  • SWEET William, Adjunct Professor
    Late 19th and early 20th century Anglo-American philosophy (particularly, the origins of analytic philosophy and British idealism); ethical theories and applied ethics (especially, cross-cultural ethics); political philosophy, The philosophy of Jacques Maritain
  • WALTERS Gregory, Full Professor
    Social and Political Ethics; human rights; biotechnology and ethics; genetics and ethics; nanotechnology and ethics

To be admitted to the master’s program, candidates must:

  • Have obtained an honours bachelor’s degree, or the equivalent, in philosophy, ethics, political science, governance studies, public policy, or in another discipline judged relevant, with a minimum grade point average of 70% (B);
  • Submit two letters of reference, at least one of which must be from a professor;
  • Be proficient in at least one of Canada’s two official languages, and have a good enough reading knowledge of the other official language to be able to read texts in that language.

In exceptional cases, candidates who do not meet the first two criteria as defined above may be admitted to the master’s program, provided they can demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the Admissions Committee, that they possess adequate knowledge and professional experience (for example, experience as a policy analyst in the public sector). Depending on the case, such candidates may be required to complete qualifying courses in pertinent disciplines prior to admission.

Qualifying Program

  1. Candidates may enroll in a qualifying program on the recommendation of the Admission Committee (it is not possible to apply directly to a qualifying program).
  2. The number of credits taken in a qualifying program may not exceed 36.
  3. The qualifying program must be completed within three consecutive sessions or less.
  4. The student must obtain a minimum grade of C+ in each course, and have an overall B average.
  5. Students wishing to complete their qualifying courses at another university are advised to have their course of studies approved in advance by the program coordinator.

Some additional documents, and in some cases specific forms, are required. For more information, please see the page Step 4: Gather the documents needed for the assessment of your application.

The Master of Arts in Public Ethics program consists of coursework and a research paper or thesis. 

The Master’s program with research paper is normally a one-year program, divided into three sessions, which constitute the residency requirement. 

The Master’s program with thesis is normally a two-year program with the first year being divided into three sessions, which constitute the residency requirement. 

Students may arrange to complete part of the program on a part-time basis as long as the three-session residency requirement will have been met. All students, whether part-time or full-time, must complete all degree requirements within four years of having first registered in the program. 

Master's Program with Research Paper (24 cr.)

Compulsory courses (6 cr.)

  • EPE6300 MAIN ETHICAL THEORIES (3cr.)
  • EPE6310 SEMINAR IN PUBLIC ETHICS (3cr.)

Electives (12 cr.)
Four courses (12 cr.) chosen from among the following:

  • CMN5115 COMMUNICATION ETHICS (3cr.)
  • ECS5304 ETHICAL DIMENSIONS OF CONFLICT (3cr.)
  • PAP6102 DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE (3cr.)
  • EPE6301 MILITARY AND PEACEKEEPING ETHICS (3cr.)
  • EPE6302 ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS (3cr.)
  • EPE6303 ETHICS AND HUMAN RIGHTS (3cr.)
  • EPE6304 ETHICS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT (3cr.)
  • EPE6305 ETHICS AND HEALTH CARE (3cr.)
  • EPE6306 ETHICS, PRIVACY AND INFORMATION (3cr.)
  • EPE6320 SELECTED TOPICS IN ETHICS (3cr.)
  • EPE6901 LECTURES DIRIGÉES / DIRECTED READINGS (3cr.)
  • SOC7150 INTERETHNIC RELATIONS: CRITICAL EXAMINATION OF THEORIES AND RESEARCH (3cr.)

Research Paper (6 cr.)

  • EPE6098 MEMOIRE / RESEARCH PAPER (6cr.)

Master's Program with Thesis (24 cr.)

Compulsory courses (6 cr.)

  • EPE6300 MAIN ETHICAL THEORIES (3cr.)
  • EPE6310 SEMINAR IN PUBLIC ETHICS (3cr.)

Electives (6 cr.)
Two courses (6 cr.) chosen from among the following:

  • CMN5115 COMMUNICATION ETHICS (3cr.)
  • ECS5304 ETHICAL DIMENSIONS OF CONFLICT (3cr.)
  • PAP6102 DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE (3cr.)
  • EPE6301 MILITARY AND PEACEKEEPING ETHICS (3cr.)
  • EPE6302 ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS (3cr.)
  • EPE6303 ETHICS AND HUMAN RIGHTS (3cr.)
  • EPE6304 ETHICS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT (3cr.)
  • EPE6305 ETHICS AND HEALTH CARE (3cr.)
  • EPE6306 ETHICS, PRIVACY AND INFORMATION (3cr.)
  • EPE6320 SELECTED TOPICS IN ETHICS (3cr.)
  • EPE6901 LECTURES DIRIGÉES / DIRECTED READINGS (3cr.)
  • SOC7150 INTERETHNIC RELATIONS: CRITICAL EXAMINATION OF THEORIES AND RESEARCH (3cr.)

Master's Thesis (12 cr.)

  • EPE6999 THÈSE DE MAÎTRISE / MASTER'S THESIS (12cr.)

Before being allowed to register for the thesis, students must have had their detailed plan of research accepted by a potential supervisor and by the program committee.

Language of Instruction

In accordance with Saint Paul University and the University of Ottawa policy, students have a right to produce their work and to answer examination questions in French or in English.

Duration of the Program

Students are expected to complete all requirements within two years. The thesis must be submitted within four years of the date of initial registration in the program.

Minimum Standards

The passing grade in all courses is C+. Students who fail two courses (equivalent to 6 credits) must withdraw from the program.

CMN 5115 - COMMUNICATION ETHICS (3cr.)

Emphasis on the significance of ethical principles and responsibilities of public communicators, as well as sanctions faced when communicators fail to uphold these principles. Critique of self-regulation of the media. Analysis of argumentation. Study of legal precedents with respect to defamation.

CMN 5515 - ÉTHIQUE DE LA COMMUNICATION (3cr.)

L’accent sera mis sur la signification des principes éthiques et de la responsabilité des communicateurs publiques ainsi que sur les sanctions auxquelles s’exposent les communicateurs qui ne respectent pas ces principes. Critique de l’autorégulation des médias. Analyse de l’argumentation. Étude de la jurisprudence en matière de diffamation.

ECS 5304 - ETHICAL DIMENSIONS OF CONFLICT (3cr.)

Conceptual and procedural ethical issues concerning norms of justice and reconciliation. Relation of ethical issues to self-other dialectics, dynamics of discourse and power, gender and class, memory and agency.

ECS 5704 - DIMENSIONS ÉTHIQUES DES CONFLITS (3cr.)

Problématiques éthiques conceptuelles et procédurales liées aux normes de la justice et de la réconciliation. Liens des thèmes éthiques à la dialectique du soi et de l'autre, à la dynamique du discours et du pouvoir, au genre et à la classe, à la mémoire et au rôle des agents humains.

EPE 6098 - RESEARCH PAPER (6cr.)

EPE 6300 - MAIN ETHICAL THEORIES (3cr.)

Nature of ethical inquiry. Fundamental concepts. Assessment of strengths and weaknesses of various ethical theories. The multidisciplinary character of contemporary ethics. Study of ethical views and assumptions underpinning policy statements and human activity.

EPE 6301 - MILITARY AND PEACEKEEPING ETHICS (3cr.)

Examination of the thought on ethics by philosophers and military personnel. Readings from Cicero, Julius Caesar, Marcus Aurelius before turning to renaissance and modern thinkers. Contemporary ethics of war, the nature of the soldier and the peacekeeper. Theoretical discussions and a detailed look at current policies and thinking at the Department of National Defence.

EPE 6302 - ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS (3cr.)

Ethical analysis of environmental policies. Nature of the relationship between humans and the environment.

EPE 6303 - ETHICS AND HUMAN RIGHTS (3cr.)

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Problems of values and cultural relativism. Ethical foundation of human rights. Historical perspectives and contemporary debate.

EPE 6304 - ETHICS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT (3cr.)

Ethical components of development and underdevelopment theories. Rights and obligations of wealthy countries towards poor countries. Ethical critique of policies governing international aid.

EPE 6305 - ETHICS AND HEALTH CARE (3cr.)

Nature and bases of ethics in health care policies. Disputed questions. Various orientations in the ethics of health care policies.

EPE 6306 - ETHICS, PRIVACY AND INFORMATION (3cr.)

Analysis of the impact of the development of New Information and Communications Technologies (NTIC) on privacy and the confidentiality of personal information.

EPE 6310 - SEMINAR IN PUBLIC ETHICS (3cr.)

Analysis and resolution of practical problems in public ethics. Methodologies and principles of research in public ethics, using a case-study approach.

EPE 6320 - SELECTED TOPICS IN ETHICS (3cr.)

Study of a specialized area in ethics.

EPE 6700 - LES PRINCIPALES THÉORIES ÉTHIQUES (3cr.)

La nature de l’interrogation éthique. Concepts fondamentaux. Points forts et faibles associés à chaque théorie éthique. Le caractère pluridisciplinaire de l’éthique contemporaine. Visions éthiques qui sous-tendent les énoncés de politiques et les activités humaines.

EPE 6701 - ÉTHIQUE DE L’ART MILITAIRE ET DU MAINTIEN DE LA PAIX (3cr.)

Examen de réflexions éthiques de la part de philosophes et de militaires. Lecture d’auteurs anciens (Cicéron, Jules César, Marc Aurèle) et modernes. Éthique contemporaine de la guerre, la réalité du soldat et du gardien de la paix. Discussions théoriques et examen détaillé des politiques actuelles, ainsi que de la façon de penser du Département de Défense nationale.

EPE 6702 - ÉTHIQUE ENVIRONNEMENTALE (3cr.)

Analyse éthique des politiques environnementales. Nature du lien entre les humains et l’environnement.

EPE 6703 - ÉTHIQUE ET DROITS HUMAINS (3cr.)

La Déclaration universelle des droits de la personne. Le fondement éthique des droits humains. Les perspectives historiques et les débats contemporains.

EPE 6704 - ÉTHIQUE ET DÉVELOPPEMENT INTERNATIONAL (3cr.)

Les composantes éthiques des théories du développement et du sous-développement. Les droits et obligations des pays riches envers les pays pauvres. Critique des politiques gouvernant l’aide internationale.

EPE 6705 - ÉTHIQUE ET SOINS DE SANTÉ (3cr.)

Nature et fondements de l’éthique dans les politiques de santé. Questions débattues. Courants de pensée en éthique des politiques de santé.

EPE 6706 - ÉTHIQUE, VIE PRIVÉE ET INFORMATION (3cr.)

Impact du développement des nouvelles technologies de l’information et des communications (NTIC) sur la vie privée et la confidentialité. Protection des données personnelles.

EPE 6710 - SÉMINAIRE EN ÉTHIQUE PUBLIQUE (3cr.)

L’analyse et la résolution de problèmes pratiques en éthique publique. Méthodologies et principes de recherche en éthique publique, à partir d’étude de cas.

EPE 6720 - THÈMES CHOISIS EN ÉTHIQUE (3cr.)

Étude d’un domaine particulier de l’éthique.

EPE 6901 - LECTURES DIRIGÉES / DIRECTED READINGS (3cr.)

Étude avancée d’un sujet déjà analysé dans le cadre du programme, exploration d’un thème dans un domaine particulier de l’éthique. / Advanced study of a question already analysed within the framework of the program, exploration of a theme in a particular area of ethics.

EPE 6998 - MÉMOIRE / RESEARCH PAPER (3cr.)

EPE 6999 - THÈSE DE MAÎTRISE / MASTER'S THESIS (12cr.)

PAP 6102 - DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE (3cr.)

This seminar provides an examination of how democratic governments structure their decision-making processes for effectiveness, representation and accountability. A particular focus of this seminar is a critical evaluation of the New Public Management reforms, and an in-depth review of different models of government intervention and policy-making from a comparative perspective.

PAP 6502 - GOUVERNANCE DÉMOCRATIQUE - RENDEMENT ET IMPUTABILITÉ (3cr.)

Examen des mesures prises par les gouvernements démocratiques pour s'assurer que les processus de prise de décision répondent aux critères d'efficacité, de représentativité, et d'imputabilité. Accent sur l'examen critique des réformes récentes des modes de gestion à la fonction publique et étude approfondie des différents modes d'intervention gouvernementale et d'élaboration de politiques d'un point de vue comparatif.

SOC 7150 - INTERETHNIC RELATIONS: CRITICAL EXAMINATION OF THEORIES AND RESEARCH (3cr.)

Principal sociological theories in interethnic relations, and the use of these theories in the analysis of the social structure of a number of multiethnic societies, especially Canada.

SOC 7550 - RELATIONS INTERETHNIQUES : EXAMEN CRITIQUE DES THÉORIES ET DES RECHERCHES (3cr.)

Principales théories sociologiques des relations interethniques; l'application de ces théories dans l'analyse de la structure sociale de quelques sociétés multiethniques, notamment le Canada.

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