Areas of Study



Completing this minor will give students a solid understanding of the principles and methods of ethical evaluation, which will be helpful in their personal and professional decision making.

An ethics minor will complement majors that prepare students for careers in human services or public policy (e.g., social work, education, business, government) and will benefit students who plan go on to law school or to other endeavors which involve wrestling with questions of right and wrong.

A minor in ethics would also benefit students with natural or social science majors. Current trends in scientific education emphasize awareness of the ethical, legal, and social implications of one's work. An ethics minor would demonstrate that one has the training to deal with such matters.


Students who minor in ethics will choose from an array of courses that apply critical thinking skills to issues of right and wrong.

Courses & Requirements

Summary of Requirements

Required philosophy course 3 hours

Study of questions relating to value judgments, such as 'What makes actions right or wrong?' and 'What are the components of a good life?' This course covers the principles and methods of moral reasoning. Students will compare and evaluate various ethical theories, and use them to examine and debate classic problems and current controversies.

Elective philosophy courses 9 hours

Choose three courses:

Do we have responsibilities toward animals to protect them, or to avoid harming them? What should we do when human interests and animals needs conflict? In this course, we will apply ethical reasoning to issues such as raising animals for food, pet rescue policies, using animals in research, and wildlife preservation. We will also analyze the rhetoric employed by animal rights activists and their opponents, and consider whether one can go too far in defending animals.

This course enables students to use theories and concepts from moral philosophy to make well-reasoned ethical judgments, and to apply those judgments to promote social justice. Each section will focus on a central ethical issue, which may vary from section to section, and will draw content from multiple disciplines. Students will engage in experiential learning activities, such as service learning, to connect theoretical content with real world applications of ethics. This course may be cross-listed with specific sections of GSR 240.

Students will become adept at ethical reasoning methods by analyzing works of popular culture, such as movies, books, TV series, graphic novels, and video games. Individual sections may focus on particular popular culture works or genres, or on questions that arise in multiple works. Emphasis will be on identifying relevant ethical issues, using the resources within the targeted media to address these issues, and applying and evaluating moral theories.

Feminism is one of the core social justice movements today. A commitment to gender justice raises deep philosophical issues. What is gender? What are justice and injustice? What does specifically gendered justice require? In this discussion-focused course, we will investigate foundational and topical questions of feminist theory, by both classic and contemporary authors. Topics covered include historical views; feminist ethics; feminist metaphysics and epistemology; feminist philosophy of language; Deaf feminism; and gender and its critical connections to productions of race, class, sexuality and disability.

This course is an introduction to the field of medical ethics and the kinds of decisions individuals and families make about health care and treatment options. Students will look at current issues such as kinds of treatment and their effects, allocation of health care resources, ethical issues of health care professionals, managed care decisions, and end of life decisions. Students will apply philosophical theories of ethics to these issues and develop perspectives on health care decision making.

Study of major social and political philosophies, including explanation and discussion of the principal ideas of Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Hegel, Marx, and the Founding Fathers.

The study of topics relating to ethics that are not covered in depth in the regular departmental course offerings. Topics may include moral theory, moral psychology, applied ethics, and controversial social issues.

This course is cross-listed and is otherwise known as BUS 341. This course introduces students to the normative theories of moral philosophy and how they apply to the business world. It covers a spectrum of topics in the subjects of conflict of interest, corporate ethics and climate, discrimination, ethical climate, ethical decision-making, ethical issues, and ethical standards. Students will use case studies and current events to critically analyze common ethical issues in the business environment and recommend appropriate courses of actions.

A critical study of the major theories justifying the punishment of criminals, including retributivism, consequentialism, and hybrid and alternative approaches. Arguments about the appropriateness of certain punishments, such as the death penalty and felon disenfranchisement, will also be considered. Emphasis will be on analysis and evaluation of complex texts and on ethical debate.

Bioethics is a branch of applied ethics, which in turn is a part of the philosophical field of ethics. Bioethics applies ethical theory to issues in the biological sciences, including scientific research and healthcare. This course introduces major theoretical approaches to bioethics and applies them to topics of interest to the deaf community, including (but not limited to) eugenics, cochlear implant surgery, and genetic technology. Bioethics theories and concepts covered will include informed consent, research ethics, individual and group rights, surrogate decision-making, quality of life, genetic enhancement versus gene therapy, and wrongful life. The potential impact of new and emerging technologies on the deaf community will also be discussed.

Elective religion course 3 hours

A survey of major religious and spiritual practices that influence global cross-cultural interactions. Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Taoism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Orisha Religions, and American Indian Spirituality are examined through historical and sociocultural lenses. This course will increase student understanding and appreciation of the contributions and complications of religion in human experience through the consideration of ethical case studies in world religions.

Exploration of issues of religion that are unique to the American experience, including: historical and contemporary religious pluralism; uniquely American sects such as the Shaker, Amish, and Mormon traditions; and the rise of secular humanism, atheism, and ''spiritual but not religious'' in American society. This course will also give attention to the ethical evaluation of the contributions and complications of religious and spiritual groups.

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Minor in Ethics

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