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Online Graduate Programs in Applied Ethics

by Susie Zappia

Applied ethics is a branch of moral philosophy concerned with difficult moral questions and controversial moral issues. Moral issues frequently in the news, including abortion, euthanasia, sex before marriage, the death penalty and gay marriage, are all relevant. In private life we are often faced with relevant questions, also, such as lying, charitable giving, the ethical treatment of animals and when life begins or ends. Business ethics, medical ethics and environmental ethics are specific areas of inquiry today.

U.S. Programs Online

The Alden March Bioethics Institute of Albany Medical College's Online Master of Science degree focuses on the analysis of ethical situations occurring in health care, social work, medical research and life sciences workplaces. Loyola University's 30-credit online Master of Arts in Bioethics and Health Policy includes courses which focus on justice and health care, the ethics of genetics, and religion and bioethics, for example. The Medical College of Wisconsin offers an online Master of Arts program in Bioethics. Creighton University offers either the Master of Science in Heath Care Ethics or the dual degree for medical students accepted into the university's medical degree program.

Graduate Certificate Options

Graduate certificates in various aspects of ethics are a convenient option for working professionals, and tend to be completed with nine to twelve credit hours. Rush University offers a three-course Certificate of Graduate Study in Health Care Ethics online. The Medical College of Wisconsin offers a Certificate in Clinical Bioethics online, which is also a three-course program. Loyola University's Graduate Certificate program in Clinical Bioethics is a four-course program. Washington State University's Bioethics Graduate Certificate is a nine-credit program. Kennesaw State University has an online Graduate Certificate in Leadership and Ethics which is a fifteen-credit program.

International Prorgrams Online

A number of universities abroad offer online programs focused on ethics. The University of Leeds in Great Britain offers an online Master of Arts in Applied and Professional Ethics. The program's modules include justice, business ethics, and global environmental ethics. Australia's University of Melbourne offers an online Master of Arts in Professional and Applied Ethics, in which students can specialize in the ethics of healthcare, technology, politics, bioethics, and criminal or global justice. Great Britain's University of Leicester offers a Master of Arts program in Human Rights and Global Ethics. Scotland's University of Edinburgh offers an online International Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law graduate degree.

Typical Coursework

Applied ethics courses with a specific focus on bioethics tend to consider selected problems in health care, reproductive rights, organ transplantation, end-of-life choices, genetic engineering and allocation of scarce resources. Environmental ethics courses typically cover philosophical ideas about our stewardship of lands, animal rights, the actions and philosophies of environmental groups, and comparative study of Eastern and Western concepts of nature. Coursework with a social or global justice emphasis considers cultural values as they relate to the geopolitics of borders, including moral dilemmas around immigration, terrorism, human rights, poverty and inequality and non-violence.

About the Author

Susie Zappia teaches humanities and research and writing courses online for several colleges. Her research interests include counterculture literature of the 1960 and instructional design for online courses and she enjoys writing about literature, art and instructional design. She holds a Master of Arts in humanities from California State University, Dominguez Hills and a Master of Science in instructional design from Capella University.

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