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Public Ethics (Honours Bachelor of Arts with Specialization)

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  • Program requirements
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Program description

Ethics is the branch of study that deals with human behaviour and values in the context of the society in which we live. Ethics seeks to answer two questions: how to live one’s life well and how to do the right thing.

Offered by the Faculty of Philosophy, the Public Ethics undergraduate program provides a basic understanding of the major ethical issues within contemporary society, and of ethical problems in such areas as religion, politics, health, business, communications, justice, environment, public affairs, etc. Applying key ethical theories, students analyze these issues, identify their inherent values and conflicts, and suggest possible solutions to these ethical dilemmas.

In addition to the foundational courses,* the program offers courses on the theories developed by leading thinkers in the fields of ethics and moral and political philosophy. Students are given an opportunity to deepen their understanding of specific subjects by applying their theoretical knowledge to concrete ethical challenges.

Depending on their interests and requirements, students enrolled in the Public Ethics program can add a complementary minor in Social Communication, Human Relations and Spirituality, Conflict Studies, Group Intervention and Leadership, Ethics (Theology) or Theology.

*The foundational courses are a compulsory part of every bachelor’s degree program offered at Saint Paul University.

What you’ll learn

During your studies you will explore the major fields and themes of philosophy and their related issues, in order to define, explain and clarify an ethical problem.

You will also learn to communicate your knowledge effectively (in writing and orally), and to take a position on an ethical dilemma and suggest possible solutions.

Why choose Saint Paul University?

  • For its small class sizes and close student-teacher ratio
  • For its safe, secure and friendly campus with personalized services
  • For its bilingual setting in the heart of the national capital
  • For its diverse student population and international vision
  • For its solid reputation, experience, history and Catholic tradition

Career opportunities

  • Aboriginal affairs officer
  • Analyst
  • Columnist
  • Development officer
  • Editor
  • Essayist
  • Ethics advisor in the private and public sector
  • Journalist who specializes in this area
  • Liaison officer for immigrant settlement
  • Policy analyst
  • Policy officer
  • Press secretary
  • Public programs officer
  • Researcher

Click here to find out more about Admission Scholarships at Saint Paul University.

Other programs that may interest you

A student enrolled in this Honours Bachelor's Program with specialization can add a complementary minor.

Applications: A step-by-step guide

STEP 1: Choose a program of study
STEP 2: Learn about admission requirements
STEP 3: Submit your application
STEP 4: Gather the documents needed for the assessment of your application
STEP 5: Assessment of your application
STEP 6: Accept your offer of admission
STEP 7: Choose your courses

STEP 1: CHOOSE A PROGRAM OF STUDY

Undergraduate programs:

STEP 2: LEARN ABOUT ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS

 



Ontario applicants

From secondary school
Have an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) with at least six 4U or 4M level courses, including one 4U level course in English or français.

From Ontario Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology (CAAT)

  • After one year of studies
    You are eligible if you have completed one year of a college program and have obtained the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) with one language course (English or français) at the college or 4U level.
  • After a two- or three-year program
    If you have completed a two- or three-year college program, you can obtain up to 30 credits of advanced standing (transfer credits).

Our transfer agreements
Saint Paul University has developed a number of transfer agreements with colleges, allowing applicants to receive up to 30 equivalency credits. Find out more by consulting the tab entitled College Credit Transfer.

Quebec applicants

From secondary school
Have a Secondary School Diploma with an average of 84%, including one course in English or français at the Secondary V level.

From Cégep
Have completed 12 courses of general studies (not including physical education and refresher courses), including English (603) or français (601). Applicants who have successfully completed 12 courses of general studies may obtain up to 15 credits of advanced standing, and those who have successfully completed more than 12 courses of general studies may obtain up to 30 credits of advanced standing.

Applicants from the Atlantic and Western provinces

Have a Secondary School Diploma, including one course in English or français at the Grade 12 level.

Applicants from other universities

Applications from other Canadian or international universities will be assessed based on the applicant’s previous secondary and post-secondary studies. University equivalency credits may be granted depending on the studies completed and the program into which the person is admitted.

International applicants

Have a diploma attesting to 12 years of education equivalent to the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). Persons who have completed a secondary diploma attesting to 13 years of education, such as the Baccalauréat de l’enseignement secondaire français, can receive up to 30 credits of advanced standing. 

Mature applicants

When the applicant’s academic record does not meet normal conditions for admission, it is possible to apply as a mature applicant, provided that the person has not been enrolled in full-time studies for at least two consecutive years. In order to be considered for admission, applicants must have experience that can be considered sufficient preparation for pursuing undergraduate studies.

STEP 3: SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION

 

You have two options

 

OPTION 1

If you are applying for admission to an undergraduate program at more than one Ontario university, including Saint Paul University:

 

Apply through OUAC

IMPORTANT NOTE: Because Saint Paul University is federated with the University of Ottawa, you will find programs offered by Saint Paul University listed under the University of Ottawa.

OPTION 2

If you are applying for an undergraduate program at Saint Paul University only, or if you are applying for a master’s or doctoral program:

  • Complete the following form.

 Apply Now

 

STEP 4: GATHER THE DOCUMENTS NEEDED FOR THE ASSESSMENT OF YOUR APPLICATION

 

In order for us to assess your application, you must submit official transcripts for all of your previous studies (secondary, college and university). These transcripts must be sent directly from your academic institution to the following address:

 

Saint Paul University
Office of Admissions and Student Services
223 Main Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1S 1C4
CANADA

 

However, to expedite the assessment process for your application, you can scan your documents and e-mail them to the Office of Admissions at admission@ustpaul.ca and then send your official documents through the mail.

 

STEP 5: ASSESSMENT OF YOUR APPLICATION

Once the Office of Admissions receives all the required documents, it will begin to assess your application. One of the following decisions will be sent to you at the email address you gave us, as well as to your postal address.


Possible decisions

  • Offer of admission
    The Office of Admissions will send you an offer of admission (unconditional).  
  • Conditional offer of admission
    The Office of Admissions will make you a conditional offer of admission, with specific conditions that you must meet by a certain deadline. You can still proceed to registration (course selection).
  • Deferred decision
    The Office of Admissions can inform you that some information is missing and therefore the University is unable to make a decision regarding your eligibility. If applicable, the Office will tell you which documents to send and by what date.
  • Refusal
    The Office of Admissions will inform you of the reasons for the refusal.

 

STEP 6: ACCEPT YOUR OFFER OF ADMISSION

To accept an offer of admission and a scholarship offer, if applicable, you must sign the form entitled Admission acceptance form that accompanies your offer of admission and send it to Saint Paul University by email, before the deadline, to the following address admission@ustpaul.ca or mail it to:

Saint Paul University
Office of Admissions and Student Services
223 Main Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1S 1C4
CANADA

 

STEP 7: CHOOSE YOUR COURSES

With your offer of admission, you will receive all the information you will need to choose your courses. You will also receive the contact information for our academic advisors; you can meet with them one on one or during information sessions for guidance and to help you finalize your course selection.

Foundational Courses (24 credits)

Compulsory Courses: 21 credits

  • HTP1101 Trends in Western Thought
  • HTP1102 Artistic and Literary Imagination: Expressions of the Human Experience
  • HTP1103 People, Politics and the Planet
  • HTP1104 Faith, Justice and the Common Good
  • ISC2309 English Composition
  • ISC2314 Public Speaking
  • PHI2181 Human Knowledge

Optional Courses: 3 credits from

  • MIS2103 World Religions
  • THO1306 Exploring the Sacred
  • THO1307 Understanding the Bible

Discipline Specific Courses (60 credits)

Compulsory Courses: 42 credits

  • IPA2122 Research Methods and Ethics in Human Sciences (Qualitative Approach)
  • PHI1105 Introduction to Philosophical Reasoning
  • PHI2111 History of Ethics
  • PHI2141 Fundamentals of Democracy and Governance
  • PHI2142 Ethical and Political Thought of John Stuart Mill
  • PHI2143 Ethical and Political Thought of Kant
  • PHI2144 Ethical and Political Thought of Aristotle
  • PHI2182 Human Existence
  • PHI2311 Selected Topics in Political Philosophy I
  • PHI3132 Contemporary Political Issues
  • PHI3307 Ethics and Multiculturalism
  • PHI3308 Ethics and Politics
  • PHI4121 Applied Ethics
  • PHI4181 Seminar in Ethics

Optional Courses: 18 credits

 9 credits from:

  • ISC2306 Media and Ethics
  • PHI1106 Philosophy and the Meaning of Life
  • PHI2121 Texts in Bioethics
  • PHI2145 Contemporary Trends in Ethical Thought
  • PHI2154 Moral Philosophy
  • PHI2183 Political Philosophy (UO)
  • PHI2185 Ethics and Education
  • PHI2398 Environmental Ethics (UO)

9 credits from:

  • ECS3126 Discrimination and Conflict
  • PHI3133 Feminist Ethics
  • PHI3309 Ethics and Religion
  • PHI4112 Social Justice
  • PHI4155 Selected Topics in Political Philosophy II

Elective Courses (36 credits)


  •  Students choose 36 credits or a minor and 6 credits to complete their bachelor program.
  • 12 credits must be of 3000 or 4000 level.

ECS 3126 - Discrimination and Conflict

Theories of discrimination: direct, indirect and systemic discrimination. Pluralism and multiculturalism. Anti-discrimination law: areas of application. Theories of reasonable accommodation and undue hardship. International agreements and equality laws.

HTP 1101 - Trends in Western Thought

This course addresses multiple aspects of the evolution of western thought, from Antiquity to current times, and the impact of major events and thinkers, and the influence of other civilizations on the contemporary understanding of human nature, culture and society.

HTP 1102 - Artistic and Literary Imagination: Expressions of the Human Experience

This course addresses the following themes: the notion of aesthetics and its application in art; the study of important works of art and literature with emphasis on the understanding of ‘Self’ in relation to the ‘Other’; the power of symbolic expression in the quest for meaning in a globalized and interconnected world.

HTP 1103 - People, Politics and the Planet

This course addresses personal, social and ecological challenges facing humanity today. We will examine issues at three levels – personal, political and planetary – in terms of community building and efforts towards global transformations for a hopeful future.

HTP 1104 - Faith, Justice and the Common Good

This course investigates faith, justice and the common good from religious, philosophical and human science perspectives. The course draws on classic and contemporary resources, in particular those from the Christian intellectual traditions.

IPA 2122 - Research Methods and Ethics in Human Sciences (qualitative approach)

Introduction to the philosophy of science and epistemology. Research ethics. The creation of a research plan: questions, hypotheses, variables, and data analysis methods. Documentaries and qualitative methods: bibliographic research, historical research, interviews, case studies, and observation. Specific problems in the study of ethnic and religious conflicts and human relationships and spirituality.

Prerequisites: IPA1121 and IPA1122.

ISC 2306 - Media and Ethics

Constitutive elements of ethical behavior. Basic ethical criteria in media communication. Rights in communication situations. Deontology codes in use in several institutions. Case analysis in media praxis: persuasion communication and fiction.

ISC 2309 - English Composition

This course is dedicated to the improvement of writing skills in order to become an effective communicator in several contexts.

ISC 2314 - Public Speaking

Learning the techniques of efficient public speaking. Introduction and training to personal impression making in electronic media. Development of a professional attitude and self-confidence.

MIS 2103 - World Religions

Introduction to the world religions with an emphasis on Christian faith in interaction with other living faiths.

PHI 1105 - Introduction to Philosophical Reasoning

This course offers students a general introduction to philosophical reasoning in the western tradition. It seeks to identify what philosophy is through a reading of some classic and representative texts in the discipline. The course is planned along thematic and historical lines, that is, it tries to introduce philosophy through a selection of readings from various branches of philosophy (epistemology, ethics, and metaphysics), and it is historical in that we read philosophers from the ancient through to the modern periods. Readings in Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes, Kant, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and others will focus discussion. Attention will be given to the nature of philosophical argument, and the ways in which argumentation is a central concern for all forms of philosophical reasoning.

PHI 1106 - Philosophy and the Meaning of Life

This course discusses the role of philosophy in understanding the meaning of life.

PHI 2111 - History of Ethics

When offered, this course would take one of the following three forms: I. Ancient and Medieval Ethics: Greek, Hellenistic, and Roman Ethics. Selection from Plato’s Dialogues, and Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. Selection from the Epicureans, Stoics, Neoplatonists, and Aquinas. II. Early Modern Ethics: Renaissance Humanists, Hobbes, Descartes, Spinoza, Locke, and Hume. III. Post-Kantian Ethics. Selections from Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, J.S. Mill, T.H. Green. Selections from Moore, the positivists and post-modernists.

PHI 2121 - Texts in Bioethics

Readings of selected texts in bioethics.

PHI 2141 - Fundamentals of Democracy and Governance

Study of the fundamentals of democracy and governance, its principal thinkers and critics, starting from Plato. Comparison between democracy and other forms of governments (monarchy, tyranny, totalitarianism, Marxism) and between different models of governance.

PHI 2142 - Ethical and Political Thought of John Stuart Mill

A critical study of the ethical and political philosophy of John Stuart Mill, including his ideas on liberty, utilitarianism, and the role of women in a democratic society.

PHI 2143 - Ethical and Political Thought of Kant

Study of Kant’s main ethical and political ideas and their role in the shaping of a Kantian moral agent and liberal democratic institutions.

This course was previously PHI3140.

PHI 2144 - Ethical and Political Thought of Aristotle

An ethical and political analysis of Aristotle’s virtue theory, his conception of a well-ordered political society and just citizenry, and their main implications in the present day world.

This course was previously PHI4130.

PHI 2145 - Contemporary Trends in Ethical Thought

Study of the main contemporary trends in ethics, including ethics of discussion (Habermas), ethics of responsibility (Jonas), ethics of care, ethics of hospitality, and ethics of virtue.

PHI 2154 - Moral Philosophy

Survey of the major ethical systems in the Western world. Relationship between philosophical and religious thinking in ethical matters. Fundamental questions facing contemporary moral consciousness.

PHI 2154 and PHI 2174 are mutually exclusive. PHI 2154 was previously under course code PHI 3183.

PHI 2181 - Human Knowledge

From Lascaux’s cave paintings to mythology, history, philosophy, and the experimental sciences,  human knowledge is the product of diverse approaches.  The course aims to show the diversity of human knowledge, its evolution and transmission, as well as the central role philosophy plays in the structuring of this knowledge in different types of discourse.

PHI 2182 - Human Existence

Essential dimensions of human existence. Its specificity with regard to the world around it. Openness to the religious realm, self awareness, reason, political life, relation to others, relationship to the world of nature.

PHI 2183 - Political Philosophy (UO)

Study of the major traditions in social and political philosophy. The roots of modern theories. Readings from writers such as Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Kant.

PHI 2185 - Ethics and Education

Examination of the philosophical and psychological research on the formation of ethical judgments. Relationships between judgment, feeling, and moral action. Examination of how various learning theories can be incorporated into teaching ethics to children, how ethics may be taught to children both inside and outside a religious context. The contribution of psychological research: Piaget, Kohlberg, Freud, and the Humanist School.

PHI 2311 - Selected Topics in Political Philosophy I

Study of a particular theme in political philosophy or of a particular author in political thought.

PHI 2398 - Environmental Ethics (UO)

Study of ethical questions concerning the preservation of species and natural objects, animal rights, and our obligations towards future generations. Study of theoretical frameworks such as deep ecology (Naess) and of environmental ethics (Carlson).

PHI 3132 - Contemporary Political Issues

Analysis of important political issues in contemporary world such as crisis of institutional trust, political corruption, immigration, electoral reform, etc.

PHI 3133 - Feminist Ethics

This course will take a historical perspective on Feminism in order to present its main trends and issues. This historical perspective will give an account of what is feminist ethics.

PHI 3307 - Ethics and Multiculturalism

This course examines the relation of ethics and multiculturalism, studies the questions regarding the possibility of a multicultural ethics, and addresses the issues and debates arising from cultural relativism in the functioning of modern societies.

PHI 3308 - Ethics and Politics

This course examines the relation of ethics and politics, studies their roles in the functioning of various states and governments, and brings out the implications of their coherence or conflict in the social, political and economic realm.

PHI 3309 - Ethics and Religion

This course examines the philosophical foundations of various ethical and religious traditions and addresses the possibility of their convergence in modern liberal societies.

PHI 4112 - Social Justice

This course will examine issues pertaining to social justice such as social inequalities, poverty, refugees, war and peace.

PHI 4121 - Applied Ethics

Study of a particular topic in applied ethics.

PHI 4155 - Selected Topics in Political Philosophy II

Study of a particular topic or thinker in political philosophy.

PHI 4181 - Seminar in Ethics

Study of a particular topic in ethics and writing of a research paper.

Prerequisite: 51 university credits. This course replaces PHI4241.

THO 1306 - Exploring the Sacred

The human effort to express the experience of the sacred and to name our sense of the “Beyond”. The different forms such expressions have taken: cosmic wonder and its symbols, foundations stories, ritual life. The meaning of this effort for understanding the quest of the human spirit and its attempts to build order in society and community.

THO 1307 - Understanding the Bible

The Bible: book or library, history or story? History of the Jewish people and of the culture in which the Bible was written. The Bible and its content. Interpreting the text. The Jesus event. The influence of the Bible on history and on contemporary culture.

Print the Course Sequence

 

Bachelor Components (120 credits)

 

Foundational Courses
8 courses
(24 credits)

Main Program
20 courses
(60 credits)

Elective Courses**
  12 courses
(36 credits)

1st Year

HTP1101
HTP1102
ISC2309
ISC2314

PHI1105
PHI2111
PHI2141
PHI2182

2 courses

2nd Year

HTP1103
HTP1104
PHI2181
MIS2103 or THO1306 or THO1307

IPA2122
PHI2142
PHI2143
PHI2311

 

2 courses

3rd Year

 

PHI2144
PHI3132
PHI3307

3 courses from:
ISC2306; PHI1106; PHI2121; PHI2145; PHI2154; PHI2183; PHI2185; PHI2398;

4 courses

4th Year

 

PHI3308
PHI4121
PHI4181

3 courses from:
ECS3126; PHI3133; PHI3309;
PHI4112; PHI4155;

4 courses

*This recommended course sequence can be modified depending on Saint Paul University's annual course offering or a student's choices.

**A complementary minor can be added to this program

 

PHI1505
PHI1506
PHI2511
PHI2553

Contact Us

Office of Admissions and Student Services
Room 154
Saint Paul University
223 Main Street
Ottawa, ON
K1S 1C4
CANADA

Telephone: 613-236-1393
Fax: 613-782-3014
admission@ustpaul.ca

Hours of Operation

August 15 to May 31

Monday to Thursday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

June 1 to August 14

Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
1 p.m. to 4 p.m.