About the Certificate

  • Are you interested in ethics and social engagement?
  • Do you like to think about the values and principles that should guide social policy and legislation?
  • Worried about tackling moral dilemmas in your subject area?

All professions increasingly demand ethical training, and for very good reasons. Ethics is about deciding what's the right course of action, and what justifies our beliefs. 

If you would like to study ethical decision making as it relates to your major, then you should consider the Certificate in Ethics. The certificate combines a theoretical foundation in ethical and political philosophy with application to concrete issues in your current major. Courses complement your subject interests and can be completed alongside required courses for your major.

Five concentrations that match your major! With its many streams suited to your career plans, we will offer the ethical theory and practice that will put you one step ahead.

For complete requirements, please see the calendar entry for the ethics certificate.


Certificate Course Requirements

The Certificate in Ethics is designed for students not currently following a Philosophy program plan. It combines a core set of philosophy courses with a focus in one of five concentration streams (see below).

Students complete a minimum of 18 units:

  • three core courses in ethical theory (9-10 units) 
  • three elective courses drawn from a subject interest stream (9-12 units) within your major.

In certain cases, students may devise their own stream in consultation with the philosophy undergraduate chair and/or the undergraduate advisor. Successful completion adds a unique credential as a notation in your transcript.

Certificate Streams

Students may select one of the five following streams, provided that the appropriate prerequisites (and any department requirements) are met.

A custom option is also available where you can mix and match courses from among the streams; please speak with the Philosophy Undergrad Chair and/or student advisor to arrange this.

Students choose three elective courses; please click on each stream for details.

Concentration in Ethics, Justice and Law

The stream is primarily for students in the School of Criminology, or those who are majoring in political science who wish to focus on ethics and justice as it relates to law.

Concentration in Ethics, Business and Economics

This stream is intended for students in the Beedie School of Business, or those who are majoring in economics.

Concentration in Ethics and Global Justice

This stream is intended primarily for students in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, or the Faculty of Health Sciences who wish to focus on ethics and justice in an international and multicultural context.

Concentration in Ethics and the Environment

This stream is intended for students in the Faculty of Environment or students majoring in biological sciences or economics who wish to add a concentration in ethics to their studies. The SA and GSWS courses also opens this stream to Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences students and the broader University community.

Concentration in Ethics and Health

This stream is intended for students in the Faculty of Health Sciences who are interested in focusing their studies around ethical issues in health, life and death.

Core Courses

Students may gain entry to any of the Certificate's philosophy courses by taking one of:  PHIL 120W, 121 or 221. 

For a complete list of the certificate requirements and the approved courses, please consult the calendar entry.

Students complete three of:

The Ethics Certificate Advisor (see below) can help with course selection and certificate planning.

Certificate FAQs

Q: Can I use courses that count toward this Certificate to count toward another Certificate?
A: No. A course used in one certificate does not count in satisfaction for another certificate at SFU.   

Q: Can I use courses that count toward this Certificate to count toward my minor, major, and other degree requirements?
A: Yes, courses used for the certificate may also count for your degree requirements.

Q: Do I need to apply separately to graduate with the Certificate?
A: Yes, you will also need to apply to graduate with the certificate. This adds a special notation to your transcript and you will also receive a separate Certificate parchment.

Program Advisor, Ethics Certificate

Dr. Evan Tiffany, Department Chair
Office: WMC 4627
Phone: 778.782.6647
Email: chairphi@sfu.ca

Dr. Tiffany can advise on course selection and certificate options. To declare the certificate, please see Mr. Leardi (contact details on the left).

Undergraduate Advisor

Mr. Jay Leardi
Office: Office: WMC 4604 
Phone: 778.782.5096  
Email: philcomm@sfu.ca

Mr. Leardi handles program declarations, course enrollments and withdrawals, program requirements, general advising and administrative issues.

To book an advising appointment: 


For help with declarations, degree progress check-ins, enrollment, course permissions, or quick questions, contact Jay by email at philcomm@sfu.ca. Please include your student number.


image credit: The Noun Project CC-BY https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/