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University Bulletin

Undergraduate Degree Programs

Engineering Design (EDSGN)

EDSGN 013S Ethics of Star Trek First-Year Seminar (1) The Star Trek television series is used as an introduction to ethics, with application to student life and engineering practice.

EDSGN 013S Ethics of Star Trek First-Year Seminar (1)

In this first-year seminar, The Ethics of Star Trek, students explore ethical issues that arise in various episodes of Star Trek, from The Original Series with Captain James T. Kirk and company, through The Next Generation, with Captain Jean Luc Picard. Students learn how to methodically approach tough ethical decisions in their lives, especially those in professional life. This course helps them to identify, understand, and examine their moral values, and especially to plan actions that are consistent with these values. The class explores the current thinking on the responsibilities of engineers to society, community, family, and themselves. This is a discussion and application oriented course with emphasis placed on applying key concepts to realistic problems and on developing skills such as team work, argumentation, and communication skills.

Underpinning the viewing of Star Trek episodes, the course starts with a foundation on moral and ethical theory. After discussing the ethical issues faced by the Star Trek crews, the class investigates similar situations faced by students and by engineers. Teams analyze and solve progressively more complex ethical cases in engineering and in general. The goal of the course is for students to develop their moral imagination and to understand how to make the best choices in difficult circumstances.


General Education: None
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: None
Effective: Spring 2007

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.