Humanities has introduced a new honours program to McMaster, Justice, Political Philosophy and Law, following approval from the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. The program is the outcome of two years of steady preparation from the Department of Philosophy.
The program went through a long process of approval from department faculty, the university and the ministry. Those advocating for the program creating a detailed brief outlining the programs structure, aims of the courses and benefits for students involved, as well as the unique traits the program could potentially bring to the campus.
“In our case, the consistency with President Deane’s Forward With Integrity was an important part of the case we made for the JPPL,” said Chair of the Department of Philosophy, Elisabeth Gedge. “The JPPL Program will instantiate the values set out in FWI in a unique way.”
The main focus for students in the JPPL program will be to help develop an understanding of law and legal institutions, as well as perspective on political and moral theories. The ideologies will be reflected throughout the wide range of courses available, ranging from law and global politics to feminist jurisprudence and human rights.
The majority of students already involved with the program are currently aiming to attend law school, although Gedge emphasized that JPPL will also prepare students for potential careers in other fields, including politics, philosophy, human rights or public policy. “More broadly, JPPL should appeal to any student interested in becoming an informed and engaged Canadian and global citizen,” she said.
The centralized focus on law with the heavy emphasis on philosophical reflection and theology make the program unique in Canada.
Those in the program say the program’s feasibility is based on its faculty; the Department of Philosophy currently has two faculty members with law degrees, and a professor who is Chair in Constitutional Studies.
“It builds on strengths we currently have in the Philosophy department in areas of legal philosophy, political philosophy and applied ethics,” said Violetta Igneski, assistant professor in the Department purchase propecia of Philosophy.
The program hopes to offer experience and opportunities for internships, placements and community engagements in legal clinic, round tables and immigrant centres. Senior undergraduate students will also have the benefit of the Department of Philosophy’s active membership in the Ontario Legal Philosophy Partnership, a joint agreement between the philosophy departments of McMaster, York University and Osgoode Hall Law School, which allows for constant collaboration between the three parties.
In order to qualify for the program, students are recommended to complete Humanities I with at least three units of Level I philosophy, along with submitting a supplementary application form in March of their first year in McMaster. Enrolment will be limited, with roughly 60 students expecting to be admitted.
“Lots of students and parents ask, ‘What can I do with my degree?’” said Igneski. “This program has an answer to that.”