Ethics, Minor

Program Code: ETHCS_UMNR

Program Description

This interdisciplinary minor, housed in the Department of Philosophy, is designed to provide students with training in ethical reasoning, frameworks, and methods, as well as offer the opportunity to work in various fields of applied ethics. In addition to the requirements for the student's major department the minor consists of 18 credits selected from a wide range of disciplines (e.g., philosophy, communication, engineering, law, psychology, sociology, anthropology, public policy, international studies, and environmental studies). Courses deal with ethics from various perspectives, for example research ethics, media ethics, environmental ethics, bioethics, and business ethics.

Students in the minor will choose from a broad range of 0-, 100-, and 400-level ethics-related courses offered in the Philosophy Department, and will have the chance to take up to two ethics-related courses outside the department. Some Philosophy ethics-related courses cover prominent and powerful historical and contemporary approaches to ethical decision-making and leadership; others cover specific problems in ethical thinking or applications to concrete areas of life. The minor will be suitable for students in almost any major, especially students going on to further academic work or careers in medicine, teaching and education, communication, business, law, the health or life sciences, health administration, public policy, politics, computer science, or engineering.

What is Ethics?

The interdisciplinary Ethics minor at Penn State University includes fields such as philosophy, communication, engineering, law, psychology, sociology, anthropology, public policy, international studies, and environmental studies. Students will have the opportunity to learn about various ethical perspectives and challenges that relate to research ethics, business ethics, bioethics, media ethics, and more.

You Might Like This Program If...

  • You want to learn about ethical frameworks and methods to guide successful execution of both professional and personal endeavors.
  • You want to understand ethical issues involved in global situations such as the collapse of the stock market and global financial systems.

Program Requirements

Requirement Credits
Requirements for the Minor 18

Requirements for the Minor

A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the minor, as specified by Senate Policy 59-10. In addition, at least six credits of the minor must be unique from the prescribed courses required by a student's major(s).

Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
Select 0-6 credits from the following PHIL 0-level ethics-related courses:0-6
Individuals in Society Keystone/General Education Course
Ethical Life Keystone/General Education Course
Gender Matters Keystone/General Education Course
Race, Racism, and Diversity Keystone/General Education Course
Love and Sex Keystone/General Education Course
Select at least 6 credits from the following PHIL 100- or 200-level ethics-related courses:6
Ethics Keystone/General Education Course
Ethics Keystone/General Education Course
Philosophy of Law Keystone/General Education Course
Business Ethics Keystone/General Education Course
Social and Political Philosophy Keystone/General Education Course
Social and Political Philosophy Keystone/General Education Course
Philosophy and Education Keystone/General Education Course
Environmental Philosophy Keystone/General Education Course
Ethical Leadership Keystone/General Education Course
Knowing Right from Wrong Keystone/General Education Course
Media Ethics Keystone/General Education Course
Bioethics Keystone/General Education Course
Ethics of Climate Change Keystone/General Education Course
Food, Values, and Health Keystone/General Education Course
Ethics in Jewish Tradition and Thought Keystone/General Education Course
Happiness and Well-Being Keystone/General Education Course
Select at least 3 credits from the following PHIL 400-level ethics-related courses (Students need at least one other 400-level ethics related course, from PHIL or another department):3
Seminar in Environmental Ethics
Seminar in Philosophy of Law
PHIL 406
Seminar in Philosophy of Technology
Seminar in Social and Political Philosophy
Seminar in Ethical Theory
Seminar in Ethical Theory
Medical and Health Care Ethics
African American Philosophy
Ethics After the Holocaust
Select 0-6 credits from the following non-PHIL ethics-related courses:0-6
Racism and Sexism Keystone/General Education Course
Racial and Ethnic Inequality in America
Politics of Affirmative Action
Introduction into Ethics and Issues in Agriculture Keystone/General Education Course
Cultural Diversity: A Global Perspective Keystone/General Education Course
Language Rights, Policy, and Planning
Living in an Increasingly Diverse Society
Confucius and the Great Books of China
Social and Ethical Environment of Business
Social, Legal, and Ethical Environment of Business
Socially Responsible, Sustainable and Ethical Business Practice
Values and Ethics in Biobehavioral Health Research and Practice
Power, Conflict, and Community Decision Making
Banned Books: International and Comparative Perspectives Keystone/General Education Course
Human Rights and World Literature Keystone/General Education Course
Ethics, Justice, and Rights in World Literature
Ethical, Legal, and Professional Issues in Counseling
Gender, Diversity and the Media Keystone/General Education Course
Social Justice and the Image Keystone/General Education Course
News Media Ethics
Ethics and Regulation in Advertising and Public Relations
Media Law and Ethics
Telecommunications Ethics
Race, Crime, and Justice
Ethics in Criminal Justice
Competing Rights: Issues in American Education Keystone/General Education Course
Education, Schooling, and Values
Diversity and Cultural Awareness Practices in the K-12 Classroom
Alternative Voices in American Literature Keystone/General Education Course
Sports, Ethics, and Literature Keystone/General Education Course
Inequality: Economics, Philosophy, Literature Keystone/General Education Course
FDSC 280
Arguing about Food
Financial Ethics
GEOG 130
Geographies of Justice
Art and Science of Human Flourishing Keystone/General Education Course
Values and Ethics in Health and Human Development Professions
HIST 116
Meaning, Ethics, and Movement
Philosophy and Sport
LER 460
Business, Ethics, and Society
Leadership and Ethics
Professional Role Development II: Ethics, Legal and Genetic Issues
Ethical Challenges in Healthcare Informatics
Introduction to Political Theory Keystone/General Education Course
PLSC 112
Selected Works in the History of Political Theory
Ancient, Medieval, and Renaissance Political Theories
Modern and Contemporary Political Theories
Foundations of American Political Theory
Sex, Race, & Justice: The U.S. Supreme Court and Equality
Introduction to Well-being and Positive Psychology Keystone/General Education Course
The Psychology of Evil
RLST 130
Justice and the Environment
Sexualities, Gender and Power: Feminist Thought and Politics Keystone/General Education Course
Debates in Contemporary Feminism Keystone/General Education Course

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university's academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee's unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.


University Park

Liberal Arts Academic Advising
Use the Liberal Arts Meet the Academic Advisers web page to see the contact information for the specific adviser(s) of this program

Career Paths

Philosophy students learn the kinds of critical, interpretive, analytical, and argumentative skills highly prized by employers in a wide variety of fields, including publishing, non-profit work, consulting, information technology, law, business, education, journalism, medicine, and public service.


Opportunities for Graduate Studies

Philosophy students score consistently higher than other majors on LSAT, MCAT, and GMAT exams. The study of philosophy provides students with an outstanding preparation for law school, medical school, and other advanced degrees.



University Park

234 Sparks Building
University Park, PA 16802