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Public Ethics (Honours Bachelor of Arts)

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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

A student enrolled in the Public Ethics (Honours Bachelor of Arts with Specialization) program may add a complementary minor, according to the student’s particular interests and requirements.

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

  • PHI1105 Introduction to Philosophical Reasoning
  • PHI2110 Methodology in Philosophy and Ethics
  • 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
  • PHI3901 Internship 1
  • PHI4112 Social Justice
  • PHI4155 Selected Topics in Political Philosophy II
  • PHI4901 Internship 2

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 - 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 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.

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.

PHI 1105 - Introduction to Critical Thinking

Explores the various sides of Critical Thinking: the nature of arguments, common errors in reasoning as well as evaluating evidence and information. Enables students to acquire and develop research and writing skills.

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 how to critically appraise an article; how to structure an essay; and specific methodology in philosophy and ethics. Contains an overview of different theories in epistemology.

PHI 2111 - History of Western 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. Western ethics may be compared and contrasted to selected non-Western traditions.

PHI 2121 - Ethics and New Biotechnologies

Impact of robotics and new technologies on the patient-healthcare practitioner relationship, medical interventions, the manner in which we perceive our own bodies, and transhumanism.

PHI 2141 - Fundamentals of Democracy and Governance

Study of the fundamentals of democracy and governance, and of its principal thinkers and critics, starting from Plato. Distinction between ancient and modern forms of democracy. Overview of the principles of political liberalism underpinning contemporary democracies. Comparison between democracy and other forms of government. Study of different models of governance and of the implications of a managerial conception of politics.

PHI 2142 - Utilitarian Ethics

General history of utilitarianism, with readings from main thinkers in the tradition from its beginnings up to the present day (Bentham, Mill, Sidgwick, Singer, Lazari-Radek). Study of applied dimensions of this approach, as well as of its limitations.

PHI 2143 - Deontological Ethics

General history of deontology, with readings from main thinkers in this tradition from its beginnings up to the present day (Kant, Ross, O’Neill). Study of applied dimensions of this approach, as well as of its limitations.

PHI 2144 - Virtue Ethics

General history of virtue ethics, with readings from main thinkers in this tradition from its beginnings to the present day (Aristotle, MacIntyre, Nussbaum, non-western perspectives). Study of applied dimensions of this approach, as well as of its limitations.

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 2146 - Social Justice

Explores, from the perspective of social justice theories, issues such as social inequalities, poverty, refugees, war, and environmental degradation. Examines criticisms of this perspective.

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

Study of the traditional, universalist, approach to knowledge as well as contemporary standpoint approaches, such as feminist and postmodernist.

PHI 2182 - Philosophical Anthropology

Study of different philosophical conceptions of the human being.

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. Education as a pillar of democratic citizenship.

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 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

Examination of the development of critical theories and new ethical models in different feminist currents. How these ethics take into consideration the marginalized voices of oppressed groups.

PHI 3307 - Ethics, Multiculturalism and Immigration

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

PHI 3308 - Ethics and Public Service

Ethical issues relating to the public sector. Definitions of the common good and of public service. Study of the role of public policy in the functioning of various states and governments, and the implications of their coherence or conflict in the social, political and economic realms.

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 4121 - Applied Ethics in Organizational Contexts

Analysis of ethical issues emerging in organizational contexts. Case studies to demonstrate how ethical decisions are made on the ground.

PHI 4155 - Selected Topics in Ethics and Politics

Study of a particular topic, thinker or tradition. Critical analysis of the link between ethics and politics.

PHI 4181 - Research Project

Writing of a major research project. Application of what the student has learned over the course of the B.A. to a topic of his or her own interest.

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.

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 - What is 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.

THO 2410 - World Religions

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

Courses offered by the University of Ottawa:

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 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).

Contact Us

Office of Admissions, Registrar 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.


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Saint Paul University

223 Main Street
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1S 1C4

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