Master of Arts (Professional and Applied Ethics)

Course MC-ARTPAE (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Year and Campus: 2016 - Parkville
CRICOS Code: 081165G
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Level: Graduate/Postgraduate
Duration & Credit Points: 200 credit points taken over 24 months full time. This course is available as full or part time.


Associate Professor Christopher Cordner



Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Currently enrolled students:

Future students:

Course Overview:

This program is offered by the Centre in Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics (CAPPE) and is available through the philosophy discipline in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies in the Faculty of Arts.

Organisational change, political change, wars, globalisation, new technologies and practices, corporate collapses, corruption, scandals in the health and research sectors, environmental disasters, conflicts of interest, as well as the ever-present potential for injustice and disregard for individual human beings that lies within the bureaucratic and hierarchical structures of institutions, all raise distinctive and pressing issues of practice and policy. Finding ethically good and and practical ways of responding to these issues requires a thorough understanding of both the ethical and the empirical aspects of the situation.

Completion of this program will help graduates to be more aware of the ethical dimensions of all the issues they encounter in their professional lives, and also to be able to reflect on and analyse key ethical concepts and arguments in their field of specialisation, enabling them to contribute to policy discussion and development in a wide range of professional, institutional and industry settings. There is scope for students to follow their own interests, with a substantial thesis component and specialisations such as the ethics of health care, computing, business, politics and criminal justice; as well as the broad themes of bioethics and global justice.

Learning Outcomes:

Students who complete the Master of Arts (Professional and Applied Ethics) should:

  • better appreciate the ethical dimensions of all they do in their professional lives;
  • understand and analyse complex ethical issues;

  • detect ambiguity, vagueness, inconsistency, and other weaknesses in the expressions of ideas;

  • distinguish different types of question, claim or argument, and respond to them appropriately;

  • distinguish what is relevant to a given issue from what is not; and

  • see ways in which an argument or explanation could be improved.

Course Structure & Available Subjects:

200 point program

Duration: 2 years full-time / up to 4 years part-time

  • four core subjects (50 points)
  • PHIL90031 Applied Ethics Thesis (50 points)
  • elective subjects (100 points)

Please note: the thesis requires two consecutive semesters of enrolment.

100 point program

Duration: 1 year full-time / up to 2 years part-time

  • two core subjects (25 points)
  • PHIL90031 Applied Ethics Thesis (50 points)
  • elective subjects (25 points)

Capstone Requirement:

All students are required to complete the Capstone Requirement for the program. Students must complete the following capstone -

Capstone: PHIL90031 Applied Ethics Thesis (50 points)

Purpose: To conceptualise, plan and execute a substantial, independent, research-based project in the form of a minor thesis in applied or professional ethics, demonstrating high level skills in interdisciplinary and comparative research, analysis and critique, underpinned by a thorough understanding of academic protocol and presentation.

For policies that govern this degree, see Academic Services Policy in the University Melbourne Policy Framework. Students also should also refer to information in the Student Policy Directory.

Entry Requirements:

1. In order to be considered for entry, applicants must have completed:

  • an undergraduate degree, with a weighted average mark of at least H2B (70%), or equivalent.

Meeting this requirement does not guarantee selection.

2. In ranking applications, the Selection Committee will consider:

  • prior academic performance; and
  • relevance of previous studies.

3. The Selection Committee may seek further information to clarify any aspect of an application in accordance with the Admission and Selection into Course Policy.

4. Applicants are required to satisfy the university’s English language requirements for graduate courses. For those applicants seeking to meet these requirements by one of the standard tests approved by the Academic Board, performance band 6.5 is required.

Applicants with the following may be awarded up to 100 points of credit:

  • an honours degree in a cognate discipline, with a weighted average mark of at least H2B (70%), or equivalent; or
  • an undergraduate degree in a cognate discipline with a weighted average mark of at least H2B (70%), or equivalent, and at least 2 years of documented, relevant work experience.

Applicants seeking credit for relevant work experience must document their experience with a brief curriculum vitae detailing the experience, contact details of two referees who can confirm the authenticity and nature of the experience claimed, and a covering letter that explains how the experience is relevant to the program and prepares them for it.

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering requests for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this course are articulated in the Course Description, Course Objectives and Generic Skills of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:

Further Study:

Students who complete the thesis may be eligible to enter the PhD.

Graduate Attributes:

Links to further information:

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