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Applied Ethics Minor

About the Applied Ethics Minor

The field of applied ethics consists in the analysis of ethical issues as they arise in the management and resolution of real-world problems.  Applied (or as it is sometimes called, practical) ethicspromotes an ongoing “conversation” between specific cases and pressing issues, on the one hand, and theory and meta-theory on the other. Bioethics, business ethics, and environmental ethics are but a few of the areas of applied ethics that have flourished in recent years, and all three areas are well represented by the faculty at the University of Utah.

In the Applied Ethics Minor, students will learn skills of ethical reasoning and analysis in the context of their preferred area of study. Course work may include ethics, political philosophy, political thought or democratic theory; courses applying ethical analysis to health care, business and the professions, engineering and the environment, global or social justice, law and politics, or communication and the media; and courses in these particular fields illustrating ethical issues. No prerequisites are required. The minor will be of particular interest to students planning careers in one of the subject matter areas who wish to be able to bring ethical perspectives and skills to their field.

Applied Ethics Minor Checklist Declare Applied Ethics Minor


Work in applied ethics requires understanding of moral and political philosophy, a grasp of how to apply basic principles to problems in specific areas, and familiarity with the specific areas of application themselves.  Accordingly, the minor is structured according to three broad areas of course work:  (I) Theory, (II) Applied Theory, and (III) Specific Areas of Practice. Here we acknowledge that the distinctions between these major categories are not always clean; therefore, our model allows for the fact that certain courses may appear in more than one place.

Students are required to take two courses from each broad area and one additional course from area I or II.  We have selected practical areas to correspond to existing areas of faculty strength and existing courses.



Eligible Courses

Area I: Theories of Ethics and Moral Dimensions of Political/Public Life


  • PHIL 3500 Ethics (HF)
  • PHIL 3700 Political Philosophy (HF)
  • PHIL 5500 Contemporary Ethical Theory
  • POLS 3010 Democratic Theory
  • POLS 5010 Foundations of Political Thought: Late Modern
  • POLS 5025 American Political Thought
  • POLS 5035 Contemporary Political Thought 
  • POLS 5140 Feminist Political Theory

Area II: Theories Applied and Growing Out of Specific Issues Areas 


Select at least two courses from one of the following groups.
Note that both of these courses must be taken from the same group.

Group A: Bioethics

  • COMM 5140 Communication and Aging
  • HIST 4095 Governing Bodies
  • PHIL 3520 Bioethics (HF)
  • PHIL 5520 Advanced Bioethics
  • POLS 5321 Health Policy 

Group B: Business & Professional Ethics

  • BUS 1050 Foundations of Business Thought (BF, HF)
  • COMM 4170 Applied Organizational Communication (Prerequisite COMM 3170)
  • COMM 5170 Contemporary Issues in Org. Comm (Prerequisite COMM 3170)
  • COMM 5660 Media Ethics (Prerequisite COMM 1500)
  • MGT 5600 Business Ethics 
  • PHIL 3510 Business and Professional Ethics (HF)

Group C: Engineering & Environmental Ethics

  • PHIL 3510 Business and Professional Ethics (HF)
  • PHIL 3530 Environmental Ethics (HF)
  • PHIL 3730 Justice & International Affairs (IR)
  • PHIL 4540 Engineering, Ethics, & Society (HF)
  • POLS 5322 Environmental Policy 

Group D: Global, Societal & Political Ethics

  • LING 3470 Language and Culture (IR, HF)
  • PHIL 3730 Justice and International Affairs (IR)
  • POLS 5440 Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict
  • POLS 5450 Political Violence/Terrorism
  • SOC 3365 Ethnic Minorities in the United States (DV, BF)
  • SOC 3380 Race/Ethnicity, Class and Gender (Prerequisite SOC 1010) (DV)
  • SOC 3435 Sociology of Economic Development

Group E: Law, Politics and Ethics

  • COMM 5300 Mass Communication Law (Prerequisite COMM 1500)
  • COMM 5320 Freedom of Expression 
  • PHIL 3710 Philosophy of Law 
  • POLS 5120 Judicial Process (Prerequisite POLS 1100)
  • POLS 5211 Constitutional Law 
  • POLS 5212 Civil Rights and Civil Liberties 
  • POLS 5240 Local Government Law 
  • POLS 5250 Corrections Administration 
  • POLS 5300 Administrative Theory (Prerequisite POLS 1100 & 3300)
  • POLS 5380 Public Budgeting and Finance (Prerequisite ECON 1010, POLS 1100 & POLS 3300)
  • POLS 5390 Administration in Local Government 

Group F: Communication/Media Ethics

  • COMM 3030 Communication and Social Responsibility (CW, HF)
  • COMM 3070 Communication and Gender (DV)
  • COMM 3170 Introduction to Organizational Communication 
  • COMM 3190 Intercultural Communication (DV)
  • COMM 3415 Intro to Cultural Studies
  • COMM 5000 Studies in Communication 
  • COMM 5660 Media Ethics (Prerequisite COMM 3505)
  • LING 3600 Cross-Cultural Communication  (DV, HF)

Area III: Specific Coursework in Applied Areas 


The student must take at least two courses, to be approved by Leslie Francis, from any fields where applied ethics are treated. To fulfill this requirement, students are encouraged to take courses in their major which also have an emphasis on ethics. 

Area IV: Elective


Students must take one additional course, to be selected from either Area I or Area II (please see above). This will permit students either 1) to deepen their understanding of (meta)-theory; or 2) to select an applied theory course from an area other than that chosen already for emphasis, thus allowing for comparative theoretical analysis and application.

For information about declaring the applied ethics minor, please contact Leslie Francis or Connie Corbett.

Last Updated: 10/20/23