MSt in Practical Ethics

MSt in Practical Ethics

Orange painting of the profile of a face, made up of words associated with ethics

Applications for September 2021 entry are now open.

Level: Postgraduate

Mode: Part-time

Duration: 2-3 years

Applications for 2022-23 entry are now open.​

DEADLINES 12:00 midday UK time on:

Friday 21 January 2022 (latest deadline for most Oxford scholarships)
Tuesday 1 March 2022 (final application deadline for entry in 2022-23)

The MSt offers high quality training in practical ethics, drawing on the internationally recognised expertise of Oxford’s Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, the Ethox Centre and the Faculty of Philosophy.

This new course run by the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics in the Faculty of Philosophy, and the Department for Continuing Education, provides training in practical ethics through flexible, part-time learning. The course is highly interdisciplinary in character but the primary focus is ethical and philosophical. It focuses on the application of rigorous philosophical analysis to real-life ethical problems and provides a grounding in ethical concepts and methods, as well as in major debates in practical ethics. Students will also have the opportunity for in-depth research on a topic of their choice.

Course details

Who is the course for?
The course is relevant to students from a range of professional backgrounds, including medicine and other health sciences, cognitive science, philosophy, bioethics and the legal and public policy sectors.

Programme details

The MSt in Practical Ethics is a part-time course consisting of six taught modules and a dissertation. There is one compulsory module and a choice of five out of eight option modules. Students will be assigned a tutor throughout the taught elements of the course.

Compulsory modules:

Option modules:

The core compulsory module, and five out of the eight option modules (six modules in total) will run each year. We cannot guarantee that all eight option modules will be covered in any 2 years. 

Each module will be taught over an intensive residential teaching week in Oxford to include lectures, seminars, discussion groups and student presentations. Modules are normally provided in clusters, offering students options around the number of visits to Oxford each year.  Online materials are available including essential readings, texts and online lectures, alongside forums where students can communicate and continue discussion when away from Oxford.

Course aims
The programme:

  • provides high quality training in practical ethics, drawing on the considerable teaching and research strengths of Oxford in this area.
  • offers students the opportunity to develop their critical thinking and analytical skills, and to build an in-depth knowledge of contemporary ethical and philosophical issues.
  • is designed to accommodate philosophy graduates wanting to specialise in practical ethics and professionals with a background in other relevant areas (e.g. medicine or law) who either wish to transition to practical ethics or who desire training in practical ethics to supplement their career.
  • is flexible, allowing students to complete the course part-time with short but intensive teaching sessions in Oxford, allowing employed professionals to complete the degree without disruption to their careers. 
  • covers a wide range of topics within practical ethics, including both core issues in bioethics and medical ethics and emerging areas of research such as neuroethics and the philosophy of mental health.
  • is research-led, taught by (and informed by the research of) leading contributors to current debates in practical ethics.

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Current students
Related events
Student publications

Journal articles

    Bradfield, O. and Giubilini, A., (2021), 'A spoonful of honey or a gallon of vinegar? A conditional COVID-19 vaccination policy for frontline healthcare workers', Journal of Medical Ethics, Vol: 47(7): 467-472 [Open Access PMC8257552]

    Brown, R., Savulescu, J., Williams, B. and Wilkinson, D., (2020), A Passport to Freedom? Immunity Passports for COVID-19. Journal of Medical Ethics 46:652-659 [PMC7525773]

    Locke, L.G., (2020), The Promise of CRISPR for Human Germline Editing and the Perils of “Playing God”. The CRISPR Journal 3(1): 27-31 

    Malhi, G.S. and Savulescu, J., (2020), Fairness and Protection for the Vulnerable: Lessons from Esketamine [Open Peer Commentary], The American Journal of Bioethics 20(9):36-38

    Minehan, M.J., (2021), Moral status of the fetus and the permissibility of abortion: a contractarian response to Thomson’s violinist thought experiment. Journal of Medical Ethics, online first.

    Nix, H., (2021), "Canadian perspective on ageism and selective lockdown: a response to Savulescu and Cameron", Journal of Medical Ethics, online first [freely available]

    Williams, B., Cameron, J., Trauer, J., Marais, B., Ragonnet, R. and Savulescu, J., (forthcoming 2021), 'The Ethics of Selective Restriction of Liberty in a Pandemic', Journal of Medical Ethics, Vol: online [PMC TO FOLLOW]

    Opinion Pieces

    Minehan, M.J., (2021), The Unconscious Violinist - 50 Years OnJournal of Medical Ethics blog. (9 May)

    Marber, P. and Savulescu, J., (2021), Biden’s First Mandate: A Pandemic G.I. Bill, Global Affairs Review. (27 February)

    Marber, P. and Savulescu, J., (2021), Biden’s First Mandate: A Pandemic G.I. BillRSA Comment. (6 January)