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MA Applied and Professional Ethics

Course Description


This online degree will allow you to develop the knowledge and skills to handle ethical issues as they arise in the workplace.It’s specially designed to help people in business, the public sector, the professions, the third sector and walks of life to explore different approaches to ethical problems. You’ll look at the work of philosophers in applied ethics, but you’ll also look at real-life case studies to gain a real understanding of the role of ethics in the professional world. You’ll think about environmental issues, equality and diversity, privacy, consent and professional responsibility, guided by expert tutors at our Interdisciplinary Ethics Applied Centre.

If you want to study without putting your career on hold, this online degree will allow you to study in your own time, wherever you are in the world. You’ll be able to discuss issues with professionals from a variety of backgrounds to gain a real insight into the ethical dimensions of workplace situations.

Students come from a wide range of professional backgrounds, and you’ll discuss ideas and share expertise with people from around the world. Current and recent students have studied while working in demanding roles for organisations such as UN agencies, the UK Police Force and the Commonwealth Secretariat, or in law, actuarial professions, development, engineering, management, dentistry and more.

Distance Learning

This degree is taught entirely online, so there are no lectures or seminars. You won’t even have to attend Leeds at any point during the course, although if you can travel there may be chances to meet other students. Instead, you’ll used specially designed interactive teaching materials and participate in structured collaborative activities. You’ll contribute to discussion groups in our Virtual Learning Environment, so you can share experiences and perspectives with students from different backgrounds worldwide.

Study Options

You can also study this subject as a PGDip qualification where you take fewer modules overall. If you don’t have a degree, we usually ask you to register for the PGDip programme – you can upgrade to the MA if you progress successfully. Both the MA and PGDip can be studied part-time over 24 months, which may be of special interest to those who are working in related fields as part of their career development.

Course Content

In your first semester you’ll be introduced to principles and approaches in the study of ethics, and look at key workplace issues such as professional responsibility. You’ll also look at important topics such as environmental and business ethics.

You’ll build on this knowledge in the following semester, when you’ll look at issues such as confidentiality, consent, contracts and diversity. Across the year you’ll be able to swap one module for an independent project, usually related to your line of work.

Throughout the degree you’ll be deepening your knowledge, improving your skills and gaining a new perspective on ethical issues. You’ll showcase all of this in your dissertation, where you’ll independently research a topic of your choice. You’ll submit this before the end of the programme in September.

Visit the MA Applied and Professional Ethics page on the University of Leeds website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Selina Connell

1216.gif "I work in the newly established Ethics Office of the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome, Italy. I have a BA (Hons) in Business Studies and previous to being invited to join the Ethics Office my background was in financial systems."

Why did you choose this course?

"I was looking to further my knowledge in Ethics and found this course which suits all of my requirements. Being in Rome and wanting to study in English, an essential requirement was for the course to be offered as distance-learning – and not wanting to put my career on hold, being a part-time course is perfect for me."

How are you finding the course so far?

"The course is very interesting and challenging. Distance learning can sometimes feel very lonely, so the interaction with the other students provides an essential opportunity to feel like part of a team.

This course will definitely help me in my career, both from the knowledge learnt during the course which can be applied directly in my professional life and from gaining the qualification itself."

(Student Profile)

David Urgeles

1217.gif "After having spent many years in the business world running businesses in Europe and the U.S., I switched to the non-profit sector and I currently head a non-profit foundation."

Why did you choose this course?

"I applied to the MAAPE program because I think that applied ethics is a very relevant topic to my career."

How are you finding the course so far?

"The course is fulfilling all of my expectations and I find the team of professors to be helpful and how the virtual learning environment works very well.

I think that the course will be very helpful in dealing with ethical issues that oftentimes show up in the non-profit world."

(Student Profile)

Maria McCabe

1218.gif "I currently work as a lecturer in the University of Leeds, delivering modules on study skills and employability. I have previously worked as an administrator and also spent several years overseas teaching English."

Why did you choose this course?

"I wanted to do some professional development and I thought that ethics would be a topic I would enjoy. I also felt it would enhance my employability and give me the opportunity to lecture in Business Ethics, given that I am already working as a lecturer in a Business School."

How are you finding the course so far?

"I am enjoying the course so far, perhaps more than I expected to. Although it is online, I do not feel isolated from other students because of the online discussions. The ability to study when I want to or have the time makes it more likely that I study when I am in the right frame of mind. This is not always the case when you have to physically attend lectures. Although some of the material is quite challenging, it is broken down in ways that make it accessible with a bit of persistence. Many of the topics are very interesting.

I have enjoyed using the VLE. All the information is in one place and can be accessed wherever you are. I particularly like the fact that articles and extracts from books are available in the VLE, so you don’t have to spend a lot of time finding them."

(Student Profile)

Dan Wilson

"My professional background is criminal investigations and internal oversight. I was a police officer in Canada for 24 years which included 5 years in Internal Investigations and a 1 year secondment as a Human Rights Investigator in the United Nations Mission in Bosnia Herceogeniva. My human rights work in Bosnia facilitated an employment opportunity with the Office of the High Representative’s (OHR) Anti-Fraud Department. Eventually the office was named the Anti-Fraud and Corruption Unit and I was fortunate enough to later be appointed the Head of Investigations. After 5 years with the OHR I joined the United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Services – Investigations Division (ID/OIOS). One of the primary mandates of the ID/OIOS is to investigate allegations of staff misconduct. Working out of the Nairobi Office I travelled across Africa investigating matters in UN Peacekeeping Operations. I am currently the Chief of Operations for ID/OIOS in Vienna, Austria."

Why did you choose this course?

"A personal interest in ethics and a desire to perhaps expand my career opportunities to Ethics in the Workplace. All one has to do is look at the recent financial collapse across global markets to realize that business ethics is (or at least should be!) and expanding field of expertise/opportunity."

How are you finding the course so far?

"The course itself is very challenging. It is certainly meeting my expectations as I learn about the history of ethics, ethical issues and ethical dilemmas. One of the reasons I selected this area of education was that I saw it being beneficial to my current career plus the fact I certainly did not see myself as an expert in regards to Ethics. In others words I saw it as an opportunity to really learn something new.

Do you foresee that the course will help you in your career/professional life?

"Without question. My current work involves the investigation of staff misconduct. Ethical issues are at the forefront of such matters. Notwithstanding my current duties, I also see the course providing me additional employment/professional opportunities in the realm of business ethics."


Entry Requirements

A bachelor degree, or successful completion of the PGDip qualification (see Study Options below). Professional experience may also be considered. IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in all components.

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