Explore the interaction between moral practices and ethical reflection
Moral problems occur in all areas of life: professional, personal, political. Should banks impose strict criteria on clients to promote corporate social responsibility? How to allocate fairly the benefits and burdens of climate change policy options? Do you believe it is ethical for us to use biological enhancement technologies to make us better, rather than simply well? Such problems require careful reflection on the facts – but also on our basic moral values.
Interaction between practice and theory
The Applied Ethics Master’s programme offers you an in-depth focus on the interaction between moral practice and ethical theory, allowing you to explore ethical theories in relation to actual practical dilemmas. At the end of your studies, you’ll possess a thorough theoretical background in ethics, including important methods and debates in applied ethics. You will also understand the implications of legal and political frameworks for ethical argumentation.
Our interdisciplinary approach offers you multiple avenues of investigation into applied ethics. In addition to studying philosophy, you’ll learn about the contexts in which moral problems arise and the different types of analysis that may be needed in various contexts. You’ll also examine how viewpoints from different disciplines can strengthen ethical reflection and argumentation.
Internationally oriented programme and research
This English-taught Master’s programme attracts international and Dutch students with diverse disciplinary backgrounds (for example, philosophy, medicine, law, international studies, economics) as well as people with professional experience (for example, health care professionals, lawyers, veterinarians, management consultants in corporate social responsibility & business ethics, or journalists). This unique student body provides a wide range of cultural viewpoints through which you can explore ethical dilemmas. The programme offers the opportunity to do an internship with a national or international organisation or NGO, and to participate in elective Master-level courses abroad.
The Master’s programme in Applied Ethics is embedded in Utrecht University’s Ethics Institute, a research-driven organisation that focuses on human dignity and human rights, education ethics, animal ethics, sustainability ethics, public health ethics, and bioethics.
During your studies in this programme, you’ll develop the necessary skills to analyse important current ethical issues. You’ll learn to critically propose possible solutions as well as to engage professionals and other concerned individuals in reflection on the moral dimensions of their practice. After completing the programme, you’ll have the skills to:
- Identify and analyse ethical arguments about moral problems in different social and professional contexts.
- Present sound input to public debates on moral issues.
- Formulate theory-based policy recommendations regarding moral issues in specific practices.
- Organise constructive ethical deliberation in institutional and professional contexts.
There are various career opportunities after graduating with a degree in Applied Ethics. A recent survey shows that around 30% of our graduates work at a university today, either as teachers or as PhD students. After finishing the programme, you are also able to teach ethics to professionals or to work as a consultant in governmental and diplomatic services. Some of our alumni work in journalism or in various NGOs or banks. Read more about possible career prospects.
Applied Ethics is a selective Master's programme. Do you want to know if you are eligible for this Master? Check the entry requirements.
Applied Ethics graduate Naomi Alexander has received the 2016 thesis award of the Graduate School of Humanities for her thesis Climate Courage & Radical Hope: How ought we respond to the decreasing likelihood of successfully addressing climate change?
- Degree: This Master's programme is officially registered under its name in the Central Register of Higher Education Study Programmes
- Title: MA
- Master's degree in: Philosophy
- Programme: Applied Ethics
- Accredited by the NVAO
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- 1 year
- Credits: 60 credits equals one year full-time study load (European Credit Transfer System, ECTS)
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