MSt in Practical Ethics

Level: Postgraduate

Mode: Part-time

Duration: 2-3 years

Starts: September 2024

Application deadline: Applications for 2024 intake are now closed. The application cycle for 2025 intake will open in September 2024.

*Applications may remain open after the March deadline if places are still available.

For more information on the course and to check the admission status, visit the course page on the Continuing Education website here.

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.

For full details, visit


Alumni Reflections

In celebration of the 5th anniversary of the MSt this short video was created by Dr Katrien Devolder, interviewing some of the first MSt Alumni on their reflections on completing the course.

5th anniversary of the MSt in Practical Ethics: Alumni Reflections

Student publications

Journal articles

Arora, C., (2022), When is the use of suboptimal treatment in functionally untreatable multi-drug resistant tuberculosis morally permissible?, Global Public Health, DOI: 10.1080/17441692.2022.2120047

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]

Celie K-B, Auslander A, Kuschner S. (2023), Communicating conviction: A pilot study of patient perspectives on guidance during medical decision-making in the United StatesClinical Ethics. doi:10.1177/14777509231210770

Celie, KB., Mocharnuk, JW.,  Kanmounye, US., Ayala, R., Banu, T., Lakhoo, K., (2024), The importance of global bioethics to paediatric health care, The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, Vol. 8 (5): 379-384, ISSN 2352-4642,

Celie, KB., Paris, J.J. Bearing the mark of pain: mystery in medicinePhilos Ethics Humanit Med 18, 4 (2023).

Cordeiro, J.J. (2023) On the Permissibility of Elective EctogestationThe American Journal of Bioethics, 23:5, 116-118, DOI: 10.1080/15265161.2023.2191048

Jennings, K. & Braun, E. (2023) Beyond Suppressing Testosterone: A Categorical System to Achieve a “Level Playing Field” in SportThe American Journal of Bioethics, DOI: 10.1080/15265161.2023.2232750

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]

Nix, HP, Largent, EA, Taljaard, M, Mitchell, SL, Weijer, C. Ethical analysis of vulnerabilities in cluster randomized trials involving people living with dementia in long-term care homesJ Am Geriatr Soc. 2022; 1- 11. doi:10.1111/jgs.18128

Wibye, J.V., (2022), Liberty to Request Exemption as Right to Conscientious Objection, The New Bioethics, DOI: 10.1080/20502877.2022.2114135

Williams, B., Cameron, J., Trauer, J., Marais, B., Ragonnet, R. and Savulescu, J., (2021), 'The Ethics of Selective Restriction of Liberty in a Pandemic', Journal of Medical Ethics, Vol: 47(8): 553-562 [PMC8327318]

Williams, B., (forthcoming 2022), 'The Ethics of Selective Mandatory Vaccination for COVID-19', Public Health Ethics, phab028, published online: 15 December 2021

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)