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Applied and Professional Ethics

The certificate program in Applied and Professional Ethics (APE) provides students with opportunities for substantive philosophical study in some of the main areas of applied and professional ethics, including biomedical ethics, environmental ethics, business ethics, and ethics in technology and scientific research. The program’s capstone course, PHIL 330, provides for in-depth study in a specific research area geared toward your interests. The program as a whole is designed to allow students to establish fundamental  qualifications in the subject area without undertaking a 3 or 4 year degree program.

In the APE program you will become familiar with the ethical theories and principles that inform the sub-disciplines of applied ethics. You will also learn about a variety of specific ethical issues in the contemporary world, and have opportunities for examination of and critical reflection on the relationships between applied ethics and other domains, such as law, public policy, and professional codes of conduct.

This program allows students to earn a Certificate of Proficiency, which is a qualification that recognizes a focus of study in a specific area, requiring 15 to 30 credit units of university-level courses. A student may earn a certificate on its own, concurrently with a degree, or may earn a certificate after having received a degree from the University of Saskatchewan or another institution.


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Additional Information

If you are interested in more information about this certificate, please contact student-advice@artsandscience.usask.ca

What is the Applied and Professional Ethics Certificate?

The Applied and Professional Ethics (APE) certificate program is open to all qualified students and may pursued either on its own or in conjunction with another undergraduate degree program (including degree programs in Philosophy). The program may be especially useful, however, to adult learners and post-degree students who are seeking to establish basic formal acknowledgement of their qualifications in the subject area without having to undertake a 3 or 4 year degree program.

The program comprises 21-24 credit units (7 to 8 courses). Students can satisfy up to 50% of their program requirements through transfer credits (i.e., equivalent courses taken at other institutions or as part of previous studies at the U of S).

Applied and Professional Ethics: Is it for You?

Are you interested in the major ethical debates of the contemporary world?  Are you interested, for example, in questions about data privacy? About the treatment of human and animal research subjects? About the consequences of genetic engineering and biotechnology? About professional responsibility in business or public administration?  Are you concerned about how your profession (or your company or your government) can effectively engage with these debates?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, the certificate program in Applied and Professional Ethics (APE) may be right for you. 

Sample Classes

  • PHIL 234: Biomedical Ethics
    An examination of contemporary biomedical ethical issues such as the definition of a person, determination of life and death, euthanasia, abortion, prenatal diagnosis and intervention, problems in the physician-patient relationship, reproductive technologies, genetic engineering and accessibility to health care.
  • PHIL 236: Ethics and Technology
    An overview of ethical issues related to the impact of modern technology on society, on scientific research, on the activities of corporations and professionals, and how technology affects our understanding of ethical responsibility. Specific topics that may be considered include issues in biotechnology (including genetic engineering and genomic medicine), information technology (including data privacy and the use of encryption technologies), as well as related issues such as intellectual property rights and risk assessment.
  • PHIL 330: Research Project in Applied Ethics
    In this course students will research, write, and present an advanced undergraduate-level research project in their chosen area of applied ethics (bioethics, environmental ethics, business and professional ethics, ethics in science and technology, etc.). The initial in-class focus of the course will be on research methods and the writing, critical, and analytical skills necessary to produce a project of this sort. In addition, the course will include discussion and critical appraisal of applied ethics in practice, including the role of research ethics boards, professional codes of ethics in business and the professions, and the relation(s) between applied ethics and other domains such as public policy and the law.

Career Opportunities

The Applied and Professional Ethics (APE) certificate program provides a useful credential for career advancement in a number of areas, including:

  • Business
  • Public policy / public administration
  • Health care
  • Academic research
  • Private sector research / research administration
  • Education administration

Skill Sets Gained

  • Proficiency in the fundamentals of ethical theory
  • Understanding of classical ethical theories, their foundational commitments, and standard critical responses to them
  • Ability to apply ethical theory to contemporary debates, e.g., in public policy, professional organizations, and private and public sector institutions
  • Proficiency with standard research tools used in applied and professional ethics, including research databases and case study collections
  • Familiarity with some of the main policy documents related to applied and professional ethics in Canada, such as the Tri-Council Policy Statement on Research Involving Humans and professional codes of conduct of specific professions
  • Writing, analytical and critical skills sufficient to enter into contemporary debates about applied and professional ethics

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