Trinity One Public Policy Stream

a picture of trinity one students


The Public Policy stream examines some of the most challenging issues that confront governments and citizens today. Students will learn how to approach very practical questions from a principled perspective about how policy and law actually work, but also how these should work in a just society. The stream has two main goals: 1) to introduce students to the theoretical and moral challenges related to political decision-making, and 2) to introduce students to the history and current practices of governance in Canada. 

We tackle issues related to equality, democracy, freedom of religion, judicial activism, educational policy, crime and punishment, prostitution, sustainable health care, and the responsibility to prevent global warming.

The Public Policy stream is a good option for humanities and social science students interested in law, politics, democratic theory, and governance.



Students in the Public Policy stream enroll in two Trinity One seminar credits in their first year.


TRN160Y: Public Policy and the Public Good

What is public policy? Is there such a thing as the public good? This seminar course examines the notion of the “public” through investigating possible answers to a central political question: what is the purpose of government? Drawing on readings in philosophy and political theory, the course considers a variety of approaches to interpreting the nature of the public good and asks how policy makers should respond when competing goods (e.g., freedom and security) clash with each other. The course involves discussion of contemporary issues in public policy.

Breadth Requirement: 2) Thought, Belief, and Behaviour + 3) Society and Its Institutions


TRN161Y: Making Public Policy Work 

The basic functions of government in Canada include keeping citizens safe, ensuring public health, fostering economic growth, and preserving the federation. What are the best ways to achieve these goals? When is government action justified? How do we know what kinds of public policy will work and what will not? How do we assess the effectiveness of a given policy? This seminar course studies the history of responses by Canadian governments to a range of public policy problems and, in a series of case studies, examines a selection of the most important areas of federal and provincial activity today.

Breadth Requirement: 3) Society and Its Institutions



The Public Policy stream’s partner, The School of Public Policy and Governance (SPPG) at the University of Toronto, offers an undergraduate Major. Seminars taken in the Public Policy stream can count in place of POL 101 as part of the entrance prerequisites for the Public Policy major.

The University of Toronto’s undergraduate major in Ethics, Society, and Law, hosted by Trinity College, is another destination for students of the Public Policy stream. The seminars taken in the Public Policy stream can count towards 2 of the 3 courses needed for entry into ES&L. The seminars may also be used towards program credits.

Many Public Policy stream students also move on to major in International Relations, Philosophy, Political Science, Economics, and History.