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Policy, Philosophy & Economics Stream


The Policy, Philosophy, & Economics (PPE) stream examines some of the most challenging issues that confront governments and citizens today. Students will learn how to approach social and economic policy from a range of theoretical perspectives. The stream has two main goals: 1) to introduce students to the moral challenges related to political decision-making, and 2) to introduce students to current practices of governance in Canada and other democratic nations.

We tackle issues related to social inequality, educational policy, crime and punishment, health care, economic growth, tax policy and the transfer of wealth.

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



Students in the Policy, Philosophy, & Economics stream enroll in two Trinity One seminar credits in their first year as part of the typical 5.0 credit load in 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

TRN162Y: Political Economy & Social Inequality

What is the relationship between capitalism and democracy? How can studying rational choice theory inform public policy? This course will introduce students to the methods of studying the interplay between economics and political goals. We will focus on specific topics to guide our quantitative analysis, which may include intergenerational poverty, the transfer of wealth, efficiency and social stratification. Students will learn how to situate a society’s economic institutions within their broader political context, and study how economic outcomes interact with broader policies relating to, for example, health, equality, social mobility and well-being. We will analyze empirical results while developing critical skills for interpreting economic data and research.

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



The Policy, Philosophy & Economics stream’s partner, Public Policy at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy at the University of Toronto, offers an undergraduate major that is likely to be of interest to many students. Alternatively, students may wish to build on the stream’s core themes by pursuing an Economics or Philosophy major. The University of Toronto’s undergraduate major in Ethics, Society & Law, hosted by Trinity College, is another destination for students of the Policy, Philosophy & Economics stream.

Policy, Philosophy, & Economics stream students may also be interested in majors in International Relations, Political Science and History.


Contact Us:

Susan He
Program Coordinator, Margaret MacMillan Trinity One


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