Honours Bachelor of Arts in Public Ethics for Algonquin College Developmental Services Worker Graduates

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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.

*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

The list of required courses is presented under the Program Requirements tab.

Procedures relevant to program admission

Eligible candidates from Algonquin College who wish to avail themselves of this agreement must adhere to the following procedure:

  • The admission form for Saint Paul University or the Ontario Universities’ Admission Centre (OUAC) must be used to draw up your request;
  • The Admission request must be received no later than April 30 and an academic transcript showing evidence that the studies program diploma for Algonquin College has been received;
  • If the academic transcript is incomplete, admission will be conditional to the presentation of a final academic transcript showing that the diploma has been received for the studies program at Algonquin College;
  • Administrative fees related to the admission request are applicable.

Saint Paul University reserves the right to refuse this agreement to a candidate who obtained his or her diploma for the studies program at Algonquin more than three years before submitting his or her request for admission.

Offer of admission

You must complete this form:

Apply Now

Note: If you anticipate sending applications for admission to more than one university, we recommend that you complete de Application for admission form of the Ontario Universities’ Admission Centre (OUAC).

Apply through OUAC



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

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



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.



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 or mail it to: 

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



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.

Discipline Specific Courses (51 credits)

Compulsory Courses (39 credits)

  • PHI1105 Introduction to Philosophical Reasoning
  • PHI2110 Methodology in Philosophy and 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 (12 credits)

3 credits from:

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

9 credits from:

  • PHI3133 Feminist Ethics
  • PHI3309 Ethics and Religion
  • PHI3901 Internship 1
  • PHI4112 Social Justice
  • PHI4155 Selected Topics in Political Philosophy II
  • PHI4901 Internship 2
  • Elective courses (9 credits)

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 1102 - Approaches in the Humanities: Interpreting the Human Experience

Introduction to theoretical approaches in the Humanities and to the methods that are applied to interpret the multiple expressions of human experience, particularly those expressed in important works of art and literature.

HTP 1103 - People, Social Justice and Ecology

Social and ecological challenges facing humanity today, and related issues of social justice. These questions will be examined from a perspective of community building and efforts towards ecological and social transformations for a hopeful future.

HTP 1105 - Critical Analysis, Reading and Academic Writing

Development of abilities to read critically and understand academic works. Focus on formal writing skills: techniques of clear expression and construction of texts, argument development and organization. This course also includes a library laboratory component with focus on research skills, citations, and academic integrity.

HTP 1106 - The First Peoples of Canada

Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspectives on the First Peoples of Canada, cultural diversity, traditional practices and beliefs, relationship with the environment, changing roles and structures influenced by colonization. Contemporary issues faced by First Nations, Métis and Inuit, including cultural genocide and trauma.

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.

PHI 1105 - Introduction to Philosophical Reasoning

Understanding the nature of philosophical enquiry. Understanding the place of philosophy in culture, science and theology. Appreciation of some of the major philosophical questions regarding the self, knowledge and the world.

PHI 1106 - Philosophy and the Meaning of Life

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

PHI 2110 - Methodology in Philosophy and Ethics

Acquiring skills for research and writing, including critically appraise an article; how to structure an essay; and specific methodology in philosophy and ethics.

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 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 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 3901 - Internship 1 / Stage 1

A minimum of 130 hours professionally supervised in an environment that includes a component of public ethics or analysis of public policies. The internship incorporates a cumulative reflective practice component in order to encourage the critical integration of theory and practice. The internship culminates in the writing of a detailed practicum report. Prerequisite: 24 PHI credits with a cumulative grade point average of 8.0.

Un minimum de 130 heures sous supervision professionnelle dans un environnement de travail où il y a une composante éthique ou d’analyses de politiques publiques. Ce stage intègre une composante de pratique réflexive cumulative en vue de favoriser l’intégration critique de la théorie et de la pratique. Le stage se termine par la production d’un rapport détaillé. Préalable : 24 crédits PHI avec une moyenne pondérée cumulative de 8,0.

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.

PHI 4901 - Internship 2 / Stage 2

A minimum of 130 hours under professional supervision in a work environment related to ethics. The student develops a clearly defined research project integrating his or her theoretical knowledge. The internship culminates in the writing of a practicum report detailing the outcomes of the project while integrating a critical reflection on theory and practice. Prerequisite: PHI3901 Internship 1.

Un minimum de 130 heures sous supervision professionnelle dans un environnement de travail relatif à l’éthique. L’étudiant devra élaborer un projet de recherche clairement défini qui lui permettra de mettre en pratique ses connaissances théoriques. Le stage se termine par la rédaction d’un rapport détaillé indiquant les résultats du projet de recherche et intégrant une réflexion critique sur la théorie et la pratique. Préalable: PHI3901 Stage 1.

Contact Us

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

Telephone: 613-236-1393 ext. 8990
Fax: 613-782-3014

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.

Information for future students

Saint Paul University

223 Main Street
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1S 1C4


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