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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? Is it ethical for us to use biological enhancement technologies to make ourselves, in some respect, better? For what purpose is the use of big data morally permissible? Such problems require careful reflection on the facts – but also on our basic moral values.

Our students and alumni share their experiences with the programme

Explore ethical theories in relation to actual practical dilemmas

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 will 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.

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.

Interdisciplinary studies

Our interdisciplinary approach offers you multiple avenues of investigation into applied ethics. In addition to studying philosophy, you will learn about the contexts in which moral problems arise and the different types of analysis that may be needed in various contexts. You will also examine how viewpoints from different disciplines can strengthen ethical reflection and argumentation.

The Master’s programme in Applied Ethics is embedded in Utrecht University’s Ethics Institute, a research-driven organisation that focuses on justice, on human dignity and human rights, sustainability ethics, economic ethics, animal ethics, and bioethics. Read more about the teaching and research environment, including our teaching staff.

International and diverse student body

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 viewpoints through which you can explore ethical dilemmas.

After graduation

During your studies in this programme, you will develop the necessary skills to analyse important current ethical issues. You will learn to critically propose possible solutions as well as to engage professionals and other individuals concerned in reflection on the moral dimensions of their practice. After completing the programme, you will 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.

In your programme you will have the opportunity to actively work on your career development

There are various career opportunities after graduating in Applied Ethics. A recent survey shows that around 30% of our graduates work at a university, 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 policy contexts. Some of our alumni work in journalism or at 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.


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
Croho code:
Language of instruction:
Part- or full-time status:
  • Full-time
  • Part-time
  • 1 year
  • 2 years (part-time)
Credits: 60 credits equals one year full-time study load (European Credit Transfer System, ECTS)
Start of studies:
Application deadline:
  • Dutch & EU/EEA students: 1 June
  • Non-EU/EEA students: 1 April
Tuition fees:
Graduate school: