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Applied Ethics

Degree type
Master of Arts
Language of education
12 months
Tuition fee EU/EEA
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Tuition fee Non EU/EEA
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Education type
Start of program
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Application deadline
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Netherlands Government
Type of institution
Research University

Program description

The Applied Ethics program deals with the connection between practical moral discussions and ethical theories. You study the various ethical theories and the most important methods and discussions in the applied ethics. Moreover, the meaning of legal and political frameworks for ethical argumentation is discussed.

You study two areas of the applied ethics more closely. Examples hereof are medical ethics, animal and environmental ethics and political ethics. After this training you are able to independently analyse the ethical dimension of issues and to structure and evaluate ethical and social debates.

Moral problems occur in all areas of life: professional, personal, political or in business. Examples are: Should banks impose strict criteria on their clients to promote corporate social responsibility? How to distribute scarce medical resources during a global outbreak? What are our obligations to relieve famine in developing countries? Can it be justified to use biotechnology to change animal species in such a way that welfare problems in livestock are avoided (or should farming practices change instead)?

Such problems require reflection, not on the factual aspects of problems, but, importantly, on our basic moral values as well. The aim of the Master's programme in Applied Ethics is to develop academic skills necessary to analyse such moral problems, to propose and criticize possible answers, and to engage professionals and other people concerned to reflect themselves on the moral dimensions of their practice.

The programme focuses on the interaction between moral practice and ethical theory. Graduates will have a thorough knowledge of a number of ethical theories, be familiar with important methods and debates in applied ethics, and be aware of the implications of legal and political frameworks for ethical argumentation.

These areas are studied in the context of several fields of applied ethics, notably medical, animal and environmental, and political ethics.?You will learn about the various ways in which the analysis of concrete problems leads to theoretical philosophical questions and vice versa. This interaction is key to in depth ethical reflection.

The programme is interdisciplinary. In addition to 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 experience how viewpoints from different disciplines can strengthen ethical reflection and moral argumentation?

About Utrecht University

Utrecht University is a top international university that holds a top  100 position in the international rankings. It offers a broad range of high-quality Dutch- and English-taught programs and courses. The English curriculum consists of Bachelor's and Master’s degree programs, certificate courses, and Summer School courses. In addition, some of the world’s most talented students come to Utrecht University to do their PhD research.

Research has always played a fundamental role in Utrecht University’s degree programs. Course content is closely linked to top-class research. Students are taught in small groups by top researchers and lecturers, mostly experts in their field. Utrecht University is at the forefront of developments in interdisciplinary knowledge. Our research continues to have impact in fields ranging from biochemistry and biophysics to human rights and culture.

More information about Utrecht University

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