Your complete guide to a PhD in Ethics

Everything you need to know about studying a PhD in Ethics

part of Humanities

What is Ethics?

An Ethics degree studies the field of moral philosophy which is concerned with moral principles, the concepts of right and wrong, and their application in diverse situations, from politics and war to medicine and technology. As a graduate of this degree, you will become an ethicist and devote your career to applying ethical theories to real-life situations in order to reach the best decisions from a moral point of view.

Ethics specialisations

The field of ethics has four major specialisations, which in term contain more focused areas:

  • Meta-ethics,
  • Normative Ethics,
  • Applied Ethics,
  • Descriptive Ethics.

Meta-ethics is an inquiry into the nature of ethics themselves, and normative ethics deal with moral standards we use in life such as the forbiddance of murder. On the other hand, applied ethics is a practical field which applies the abstract theories of meta-ethics and normative ethics in medicine, law, the military, and so on. Finally, descriptive ethics deals with what people believe about morality.

What will you learn during an Ethics programme?

A degree in Ethics has a strong focus on theoretical and abstract knowledge. The programme trains you in doing a lot of text-based research, reading challenging texts, and writing essays that need to be well-structured and well-argued. These are not easy-to-gain skills outside an academic programme like this. If you're still wondering why Ethics is a good degree, here's what you'll gain:

  • understanding ethical frameworks, such as consequentialism, deontology, and virtue ethics,
  • develop your logical thinking and the ability to evaluate complex moral dilemmas,
  • improve your communication skills and abilities to build a well-structured argument,
  • gain awesome academic research skills,
  • the ability to deal with ethical challenges in both your personal and professional life.

Common courses include:

  • Human Rights & Social Justice, about equal opportunities for everyone and the resources we need to thrive in life,
  • Ethics and Public Policy, where you learn how to apply ethics to create better public policies,
  • Artificial Intelligence Ethics, about the moral issues raised by the development of AI,
  • Ethics of the Beginning and End of Life, where you explore moral questions about reproduction and end-of-life decisions,
  • Ethical Concepts and Methods teaches you key concepts and methods used in Ethics today.

You should choose a degree in Ethics if you have a passion for philosophy and you’re concerned with morality and the great questions of life. This degree is a challenging one, but it will give you skills and knowledge that few people have, which is an incredible asset for your career.

Skills required for a degree in Ethics

An Ethics degree requires a blend of critical thinking, analytical and reasoning abilities, and ethical awareness. Other important requirements in this specialised field of philosophy are research skills, logical thinking, and open-mindedness to approach moral issues with empathy and as little bias as possible.  

What can you do with an Ethics degree?

Ethics is a fascinating field, but you must be wondering about your career prospects after graduation. So, what can you do after an Ethics degree? You can pursue one of these popular jobs:

  • University professor,
  • Academic researcher,
  • Clinical ethicist,
  • Human rights officer,
  • Legal assistant.

A Bachelor's in Ethics can lead to roles in education, non-profit organisations, or corporate ethics. A Master's in Ethics can open doors to more advanced roles in academic research, ethical consulting, or policy-making. So, is an Ethics degree worth it? Absolutely! If you're passionate about understanding moral issues and making a positive impact, an Ethics degree can be a highly rewarding choice.

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View all PhDs in Ethics. Keep in mind you can also study an online PhDs in Ethics.

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