Requirements and Courses - ES&L

In order to improve and update the program, the requirements for ES&L change from time to time. The requirements that apply to you are the ones listed in the Faculty of Arts and Science Calendar current in the year you entered the program.    


Required Courses

This major requires 7 full courses or the equivalent (FCE).

1. First year: While no specific courses are required in first year, course selection should take into account the program’s admission requirements, as well as the prerequisites for 200+ level courses students plan to take to complete the program.

2. Second year: PHL271H1 is a required course that students are recommended to take in second year (their first year of registration in the program).

3. Third year: TRN303H1.

TRN 303H1 Ethics and Society, like PHL271H1 (Law and Morality) and TRN412H1 (Seminar in Ethics, Society, and Law), is one of ES&L's core required courses. In addition to its focus on the intersection of ethics and society, TRN 303H1 includes two other important elements:

--Students are asked to complete essay assignments that give them practice writing a research paper of the sort they will be required to complete in TRN412H1. This measure enables compliance with the protocol in the Degree Objectives Guidelines that “preparatory experiences for [a fourth-year integrative inquiry-based activity] should occur at earlier stages in the program.”

--Students are asked to complete a component on interpreting and evaluating quantitative data in the context of ethical reasoning about social issues. This component of the course provides an introductory treatment of a selection of specific topics such as polling, sampling, graphs, correlations and causal claims. The course includes an assignment requiring the interpretation, evaluation, and use of quantitative data in an ethical examination of (one or more aspects of) a selected social issue. 


4. Fourth year: TRN412H1.

The role of TRN412H1 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.


TRN 412H1 requires a major research paper in which students conduct an inquiry into a selected social issue with ethical and legal aspects.  The inquiry is expected to be integrative in at least two ways: it must integrate material covered in the seminar with the student’s research on the chosen topic, and it must integrate material from each of the program’s general thematic categories (“ethics,” “society,” and “law”).


The inquiry is expected to involve “the (independent) framing and investigation of nontrivial questions,” and it is desirable (but not necessary) to require group activity allowing students “to interact with one another in a way that facilitates discussion of their investigations” (Degree Objectives Guidelines, p. 9). (A group-activity approach of this nature was adopted in 2010-11 by the instructor of a section of TRN412H1. He required the students to post one-page abstracts of their research papers on the Blackboard website for the course so as to share their research results with one another.) 


5. 1 FCE from POL200Y1PHL265H1PHL275H1ETH201H1ETH210H1ETH220H1ETH230H1ETH350H1: to be taken in any year of registration in the program.

6. 4.5 FCEs from Groups A-D, including:

--at least 1.0 FCE from each of Groups A-C and

--at least 2.0 FCEs at the 300+ level.

Courses taken in fulfillment of requirement 5 above may not be counted toward the Group courses in 6 here. 


Optional Courses

·                     Group A: Ethics

·                     Group B: Society

·                     Group C: Law

·                     Group D: Further Courses


Two Senior Limited Enrolment Courses 

TRN 407Y (Community Research Partnerships in Ethics)

Typically in mid-July the 2-8 senior ES&L majors with the highest cGPAs are invited to join the Community Research Partnerships in Ethics course. The course is challenging and the number of projects is limited. It is unlikely the cut-off would go below a cGPA of about 3.50 in any given year. The course is administered either by the director of the Ethics, Society, and Law program, or a CRPE Project Coordinator, and is supported by the Centre for Ethics. Each student project is supervised by a University of Toronto faculty member.   


CRPE Student Testimonial: I was involved with the CRPE program during the 2006-2007 academic year with Professor Joseph Heath as my supervisor. The community partner I worked with was the Canada Africa Partnership on AIDS (CAP/AIDS). My research focused on the difference between small, medium, and large-sized NGOs, and on value added in the work that CAP/AIDS does in order to inform its strategic planning. The program allowed me to gain hands-on experience and undertake a project that not only interested me, but also benefited a community organization. It enabled me to apply and develop my research skills and academic knowledge while also illuminating how ethics can be applied to tackle real-world problems in real-world settings. The most enjoyable part of my project was engaging with the various stakeholders, such as not-for-profit groups, and learning about how they operated. Being able to put together a final academic paper and present it at the CRPE conference was a highly enriching experience and all-in-all I would endorse the CRPE program and definitely recommend it to others.  --Alex Lim 


TRN 425Y (Law Workshops)

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. Students attend workshops in the Faculty of Law, meet with an instructor for related instruction and discussion, and complete related assignments.