Questions asked by students: ESL

Questions asked by students thinking of enrolling in ES&L

Do I have to be a Trinity student to take ES&L?

No. You can be a student at any of the other colleges on the St. George campus and still take the program.

What can I do with a major program in ES&L?

ES&L allows undergraduates to explore ethics, society, or law with an interdisciplinary approach in a small program with excellent colleagues based at Trinity College in the University of Toronto.

Issues at the intersection of ethics, society, and law are fascinating. Students are required to cover core areas in each stream, but are also allowed to select their own areas of focus from many optional courses.

The program does not aim to prepare you for a specific career but it will provide you with a useful background for a wide range of careers, for example, in law, business, journalism, teaching, social work, or clinical ethics. It may serve as a significant part of an undergraduate degree in preparation for graduate studies in such fields as philosophy, political science, sociology, legal studies, public policy, etc.

Students may explore the study of the law to see if they are interested in law school (or to focus on either ethics or society).

Majors commonly doubled with ES&L include Political Science, Philosophy, and Criminology.

So it is not a "pre-law" program?

Right, ES&L is not designed for "pre-law" students in particular. (However, quite a few of the students in the program do apply to law schools.)

What if my first request to enroll in the program is unsuccessful?

ES&L had 260 requests in the first round of 2013, and at least 100 more requests were anticipated in the second round. But there are only 70 new spots available in the program each year. Thus the program is having to set a cut-off in the B+ range.

That is why achieving the threshold average in the relevant courses does not ensure invitation to the program, as is stated in the the ES&L entry in the FAS Calendar.

Students who are not successful in their first request are certainly welcome to apply in subsequent rounds or years, and in the interim to take courses (that are not restricted to ES&L students) that count in the program.

The program is becoming increasingly popular and competitive. For applicants coming out of second year, in the first round in 2013 the cut-off fell in the B+ range (just as it did for applicants coming out of first year). Each interested student should asses carefully the likelihood of achieving a competitive average in the required prerequisite courses; if there are concerns about achieving the average, a "plan B" would be a good idea.

The cut-offs cannot be predicted with certainty. They depend on the number and quality of requests.

The online FAS Calender (p. 590) stipulates the relevant base requirements:

The Ethics, Society, and Law Major is a Type 2 limited enrolment
program. Enrolment is limited to students with an overall average of 73%
or higher in 3 FCEs (at the end of first year) selected from courses that
are categorized as BR=2 and/or BR=3. For students applying at the end
of second year, a minimal overall average of 73% is required in 3 FCEs,
as follows: (a) PHL271H1, (b) 2.5 FCEs from other courses that count
towards the program including at least 0.5 FCE from: POL200Y1,
PHL265H1, PHL275H1, ETH201H1, ETH210H1, ETH220H1, and
ETH230H1. In either case, achieving the threshold mark does not
necessarily guarantee admission to the program in any given year.
Applications beyond second year will be assessed on a case-by-case

If I have already taken some ES&L courses before enrolling in the program, can I count them as program credits?

Yes. For example, if you take PHL 273H (Environmental Ethics) before enrolling in the program, you can count it as a program credit.

If I enrol in ES&L and in another major program or in two additional minor programs, and if I take a course that can be used to satisfy a requirement in two of these programs, can I count the course for credit in both programs or in only one?

You may use the course to satisfy requirements in both programs provided that your programs (two majors or one major and two minors) include at least twelve different courses (FCEs). Please consult the Degree Requirements section of the Faculty of Arts and Science Calendar and your College Registrar for further information on double-counting courses.

What about prerequisites for courses in ES&L?

Many upper-year courses in the program have prerequisites determined by their home departments or colleges, and many of these prerequisites are not ES&L courses. Thus students need to plan ahead and make sure their program of study fulfills the prerequisite requirements for the courses they wish to take in upper years.

Although the ES&L program does not have any 100-level requirements, there are upper-year courses in the program that have 100-level prerequisites. You need to make yourself aware of these prerequisites and plan accordingly.

Questions asked by students enrolled in the program

Is there anything special I need to know about being in a program in which most of the courses are listed from a number of other departments and colleges?

Yes. First, the chief benefits of being in such a program are flexibility and multidisciplinarity. The options available to you have been drawn from many departments and colleges in the Faculty of Arts & Science. Second, this means that many of the courses do not give priority to ES&L students. Thus you need to plan ahead carefully, and enrol in courses as soon as your enrolment period is open. It would also be advisable to have alternative selections in mind when enrolling. Third, many upper-year courses in the program have prerequisites determined by their home departments or programs, and many of these prerequisites are not ES&L courses; thus you need to plan ahead and make sure your program of study fulfills the prerequisite requirements for the courses you wish to take in upper years.

Where can I find a list of courses available in ES&L?

Please see the lists of courses, starting at: ES&L at Trinity: Requirements and Courses.  The lists, divided into required courses and streams A, B, C, and D, are updated regularly.  Course Descriptions can be found in the Calendar.

If you notice a change in the status of a course offering that should be recorded on our web pages, please inform the ES&L Director

May I substitute a different course for one of the courses in the program?

With the permission of the Program Director, you may substitute courses not listed in the program for a maximum of two of the program's optional courses (FCEs).

There are some 80 optional courses listed in ES&L; unless you have a relevant timetable conflict or some other special circumstance making it necessary that you look for a substitute, we do not normally grant substitution credits. If such circumstances are the case, please send the Director (1) a brief email note clearly explaining the necessity for the substitution credit, as well as the following information: (2a) the full calendar course description (with web address), (2b) the departmental description for the course (if any, and web address), and (2c) the course website and description for the course (if any). Potential substitution credits should have official calendar descriptions that indicate content directly relevant to the study of ethics, society or law. The Director's decision will be based largely on whether, in his judgment, the course(s) would be suitable for inclusion in the program.

Students require a note from the ES&L Director giving permission to count a substitution credit. They are strongly advised to keep a copy of the note on file as a record of permission in case there is any confusion about the fulfillment of requirements in the future.

If I find a course (not listed in ES&L) that I think would be a suitable course for the program, what can I do?

You should tell the Director. If the Director considers the course suitable for inclusion in the program, he will recommend to Trinity's Dean of Arts that permission be sought to add the course to the program.  The Dean will seek the permission of the college or department that sponsors the course.

What if I do not have a prerequisite for an ES&L course I want to take?

This would normally mean you would not be eligible to take the course. If, however, you think you have equivalent preparation, you should speak with the instructor.

What role does TRN 412H play in the ES&L program?

Its role is to integrate the program by examining selected topics and readings related to the themes of ethics, society, and law in the format of a senior seminar. The course is restricted to students in their final year of registration in the program.

What role does TRN 425Y play in the ES&L program?

Typically in mid-July the 12-15 senior ES&L majors with the highest cGPAs are invited to join the Law Workshops course. The course is challenging and seating is limited. It is unlikely the cut-off would go below a cGPA of about 3.50 in any given year.