Ethic Degrees and Certificates in Canada

Ethic Degrees and Certificates in Canada

By Mark Swartz


Business ethics. Bioethics. Public, health and professional ethics. These and more are programs of study at Canadian post-secondary schools.

Such degrees are often mandatory for jobs with the word “ethical” in their title. They are also useful in professions that put a premium on integrity and compliance.

Classes range from night courses or certificates to B.A. programs, all the way to PhDs. Have a look at some of the offerings from across the country.


Ethics Defined

Ethics is the branch of philosophy dealing with rightness or wrongness of our actions. It is intricately linked to fields such as medicine, law, business, political professions, religion, and the environment.


The Essence of Ethics Programs

These programs teach participants to strengthen their understanding of ethics to better recognize and respond to moral issues in a wide variety of social settings. Courses deal with essential concepts, central issues, history, and methodologies of applied ethics.

Learners develop personal and organizational codes of conduct. These can be used to counsel and train in analyzing (and resolving) ethical dilemmas; or to defend and monitor socially responsible decision making in organizations.


Certificates in Ethics

Certificates are a focused way of gaining advanced knowledge. Such programs can run anywhere from several days long to a year or more. The latter type may require a previous degree from a college or university.

An example is the Ethics Certificate from Simon Fraser University, British Columbia. Students complete the equivalent of between one half and one full year of university study. Courses can include History of Ethics, Global Health Ethics, Business and Society Ethics, and the like.


Other examples:

Ethics Certificate. Western University, London, Ontario, Canada.   

Ethics Certificate. University of New Brunswick, New Brunswick.

Diploma in Applied Ethics. Memorial University of Newfoundland, Newfoundland and Labrador.


Bachelor Degrees

A B.A. (Bachelor of Arts) is a three or four year program of study. Ethics is typically offered as a minor. For instance Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, offers Applied Ethics or Bioethics as minors within their Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences B.A.

An example of an applied, four year Bachelors in a specific sub-field of ethics is the H.B.A. in Environmental Ethics from the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario. It is a collaborative program within the university’s School Of The Environment.

For a more spiritual approach, there is Theology and Religious Ethics (B.Th.) from Huron College, which is affiliated with the University of Western Ontario.


Masters Degrees and PhDs

An M.A. is a graduate degree that usually requires a related undergraduate as a pre-requisite. At this level, ethics in the healthcare field tends to be most common. Also MBA degrees bristle with minors in Corporate Social Responsibility or compliance.

At Memorial University of Newfoundland, a Master of Health Ethics is available. Students develop the skills needed to identify and analyze moral issues in health care and life sciences, and to propose solutions as they arise in clinical, research, and policy contexts.

In the Faculty of Law at McGill University in Montréal, Québec, an LL.M. Bioethics Master is offered. Meanwhile an MA en éthique can be found at Université du Québec in Rimouski.

For a Ph.D. in ethics, most are situated in Philosophy departments at universities. However there are instances of particular focus where this is not necessarily the case. Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario offers a PhD in Ethics and Public Affairs. Concordia University in Montréal has a PhD in Social and Cultural Analysis within its Department of Sociology & Anthropology.


Morality Is a Matter of Degree

Regardless of where you study ethics or at what level, it is an enriching field of enquiry. The application of knowledge gained in these degrees is increasingly important where moral dilemmas are found in organizations.


These days the virtues of a virtuous education are many.