Certificate in Ethical Theory and Practice

The Department of Philosophy now offers a Certificate in Ethical Theory and Practice. The Certificate is designed to meet the needs of a wide variety of students with an interest in ethical theory and its application to concrete situations in daily life. For example, students planning careers in the health professions or in veterinary medicine may wish to reflect systematically on the pressing ethical questions that their careers will require them to answer. Majors and minors in environmental sciences may wish to think carefully about the ethical principles that should govern our treatment of the environment. Pre-law students may wish to investigate the moral foundations of the law and its proper limits. Many students claim that a qualification in ethics would give them a competitive advantage on the job market or in applying to graduate or professional school. 

The Certificate requires 12 credits in courses offered by the Department of Philosophy in the area of ethical theory and practice. The Certificate has no admissions requirements. The courses taken to earn the Certificate may be at any level, and any combination of courses may be chosen. However, all 4000-level philosophy courses require sophomore standing; and students are strongly advised only to take a 4000-level course after taking at least two prior philosophy courses (though they need not be in ethics). The Certificate differs from the minor by being an option for students who are not seeking degrees. 

The Department currently offers the following courses in the area of ethical theory and practice (all carry three credits): 

  • PHIL 1100: The Difference Between Right and Wrong: An Introduction to Ethics* 
  • PHIL 1100H: The Difference Between Right and Wrong: An Introduction to Ethics-Honors 
  • PHIL 1150: Introductory Bioethics* 
  • PHIL 2400: Ethics and the Professions 
  • PHIL 2410: Philosophies of War and Peace 
  • PHIL 2410W: Philosophies of War and Peace - Writing Intensive 
  • PHIL 2420: Ethical Issues in Business 
  • PHIL 2430: Contemporary Moral Issues 
  • PHIL 2440: Medical Ethics 
  • PHIL 2850: Minds and Morals - Introduction to Moral Psychology 
  • PHIL 2900: Environmental Ethics 
  • PHIL 4500: Theories of Ethics
  • PHIL 4600: Political and Social Philosophy
  • PHIL 4610: Philosophy of Law

Several of these courses are available as semester-based online classes; those marked with an asterisk are available as self-paced online classes. 

The Certificate’s liberal requirements give students the widest possible scope to pursue their own particular interests. Thus, for example, a program of study for a pre-med student might be this: 

  • Semester 1: PHIL 1150: Introductory Bioethics 
  • Semester 2: PHIL 1100: The Difference Between Right and Wrong: An Introduction to Ethics 
  • Semester 3: PHIL 2440: Medical Ethics 
  • Semester 4: PHIL 4600: Political and Social Philosophy 

A program of study for a pre-law major might be this: 

  • Semester 1: PHIL 1100: The Difference Between Right and Wrong: An Introduction to Ethics 
  • Semester 2: PHIL 2400: Ethics and the Professions 
  • Semester 3: PHIL 2430: Contemporary Moral Issues 
  • Semester 4: PHIL 4610: Philosophy of Law 

A program of study for an environmental science major might be this: 

  • Semester 1: PHIL 1100: The Difference Between Right and Wrong: An Introduction to Ethics 
  • Semester 2: PHIL 2430: Contemporary Moral Issues 
  • Semester 3: PHIL 2900: Environmental Ethics 
  • Semester 4: PHIL 4500: Theories of Ethics 

A program of study for a business major might be this: 

  • Semester 1: PHIL 1100: The Difference Between Right and Wrong: An Introduction to Ethics 
  • Semester 2: PHIL 2420: Ethical Issues in Business 
  • Semester 3: PHIL 2430: Contemporary Moral Issues 
  • Semester 4: PHIL 4600: Political and Social Philosophy 

These sample programs of study are only suggestions; students may choose any combination of courses that appeal to their interests.

Contact

To declare officially that you intend to pursue the Certificate in Ethical Theory and Practice, please fill out the declaration form.  Once you have received confirmation of your declaration, you can check on your progress toward completion by running a degree audit.  If you have questions after you view your degree audit, please contact the Philosophy Department’s Undergraduate Advisor, Ms. Kibby Smith, through MU Connect.  More information about declaring a Certificate is available here.  To help you plan, there is a worksheet (PDF, below).