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 today. 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 the concept of the public good in Canadian public policy, as well as those related to international governance. Recent courses have focused on legal aid, immigration, judicial activism, educational policy, punishment, prostitution, sustainable health care, and the responsibility to prevent global warming.

The Public Policy stream is a good option for 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.


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.



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.

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