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Ethics, Society & Law Stream


The Ethics, Society & Law stream introduces and examines some of the most challenging and urgent moral issues of our time. The goal of the stream is to allow students to become more deeply aware of the assumptions about right and wrong that undergird social, legal and political institutions.

The stream has a deeply interdisciplinary approach to examining ethical questions. With this broad base students are better able to navigate the theoretical complexities of ethical issues with the goal of being able to tackle real life practical problems.

This stream provides a solid foundation for further study in a wide range of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences.



Students in the Ethics, Society & Law stream enroll in two Trinity One seminar credits in their first year as part of the typical 5.0 credit load in first year.

TRN171Y: Ethics and the Public Sphere

What does it mean to be morally required to do something? What rights do we have over ourselves, our bodies, our privacy, our choices? In this course, we will read texts from philosophy, history, political science, cultural studies and beyond that engage with the theme of ethics in the public arena. These will provide valuable analytic tools as we go on to confront contemporary issues that raise urgent ethical questions.

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

TRN172Y: Ethics and the Law

What is the relationship between moral values and the law? What role does the law play in enabling people to live better lives? Are legal institutions and actors subject to higher ethical standards? In this course we will read texts from legal theory and political philosophy to try to explain the connection between ethics and the law. This will provide the basis for thinking about some historical and contemporary legal cases, as well as ethical issues, judges, lawyers and lawmakers face in their professional roles.

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

Not sure which stream is the right fit?

The comparison chart summarizes some key similarities and differences between the science streams (Click to enlarge graphic).

Trin One Social Science streams


The University of Toronto’s Ethics, Society & Law (ES&L) undergraduate major program, hosted by Trinity College, is one possible destination for students. The seminars taken in the Ethics, Society & Law stream can count towards both the admissions requirements for entry into ES&L as well as program credits.

Students interested in continuing to think practically and theoretically about ethical questions often major in Philosophy, Political Science, Bioethics and Munk’s Program in Peace, Conflict & Justice.

Students interested in the public dimension of ethical questions often continue their studies in Public Policy at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy (formerly the School of Public Policy & Governance), which offers both an undergraduate major in Public Policy and a Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree.

The University of Toronto’s Centre for Ethics located at Trinity College offers access to seminars, speaker series, conferences, symposia and roundtables. The Centre for Ethics is an important hub for scholarly investigation and cross-community within the university community. 


Contact Us:

Susan He
Program Coordinator, Margaret MacMillan Trinity One


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