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Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

MA in Ethics

MA in Ethics

  • PAC CodeDC688
  • Course Type Postgraduate
  • NFQ Level 9
  • Delivery Modes Part-time
  • Duration 2 Years

While pursuing your MA in Ethics at DCU, you’ll confront and evaluate a range of important contemporary ethical challenges in society. The course modules focus on both general and applied ethics, and the programme draws on diverse expertise from the areas of ethics, philosophy, theology and humanities.

The degree attracts individuals looking to develop analytical and decision-making skills so that they can apply ethical perspectives and principles to real-life and professional dilemmas. Participants come from various graduate and occupational backgrounds including education, journalism, social work, business, healthcare and law.

Graduate View


"I thoroughly enjoyed the MA in Ethics programme. It provided an excellent foundation in ethical theory, and offered a range of modules which allowed students to pursue their individual interests. Difficult ethical issues were considered from a number of perspectives, and students were given the tools to defend their own position in a reasoned and logical manner, while gaining insights into opposing perspectives…We had many fascinating, and sometimes heated, debates. I was particularly impressed by the quality of teaching on the programme; lecturers were not only expert in their fields, but adept at illuminating difficult concepts for students from extremely diverse academic backgrounds."

Sarah Mahon, MA in Ethics Graduate, 2016


Why Do This Programme?

  • Gain an understanding of a broad range of ethical theories and principles at the forefront of general and applied ethics.
  • Acquire a critical awareness of contemporary public and professional ethical issues, together with new ethical insights, developed and informed by a variety of philosophical, theological, human rights, and intercultural perspectives.
  • Learn how to analyse specific ethical issues, challenges and dilemmas arising from contemporary work, professional activity and public life.

Programme Structure and Content

You’ll undertake the course part-time over two years, completing six taught modules, all of which are core:

  • Introduction to Ethics 
  • Readings in Ethics
  • Human Rights & Social Justice 
  • Business Ethics Or Contemporary Topics in Ethics 
  • Global Bioethics
  • Comparative Religious Ethics

Module Descriptions 2017-2018

You’ll also complete a minor thesis on an ethical issue or question either of a general public concern or of professional relevance.

Lectures take place Tuesday evenings and on two Saturdays (in the first year).

Programme Aims and Objectives

The MA in Ethics was established in 2010 in light of an ongoing demand for expertise in ethical analysis and decision-making, and aims to "add value" to continuing professional development. The programme’s underpinning philosophy is that ethical issues are best examined through a wide spectrum of ethical theories and by developing an active and creative interaction between theory and practice. You’ll receive a grounding in the foundations of ethics, human rights and social justice. You’ll also develop the necessary ethical analysis and decision-making skills to apply ethical perspectives and principles to real-life and professional dilemmas.

View the current course structure →


Why Choose DCU?

DCU’s MA in Ethics is designed to help you contribute to an ethically sustainable society by enhancing your knowledge-base in ethics, as well as building your skill set in ethical reasoning and decision-making. DCU’s excellence is recognised internationally and it is regularly featured among the top young universities globally, as measured by the Times Higher Education Top 100 under 50 and the QS Top 50 under 50. In the last nine years, DCU has twice been named Sunday Times ‘University of the Year’.


Programme Chairperson : Dr Alan Kearns

Tel: +353 (0) 1 700 7055

Email: alan.kearns@dcu.ie

Fees: www.dcu.ie/fees/index.shtml



The MA in Ethics will be of particular relevance to you if you participate in ethics committees and activities relating to corporate social responsibility/citizenship, regulations or human rights. At the same time, other graduates without professional experience will benefit from the knowledge provided in this course and develop important ethical decision-making skills.

Potential Careers



Health Care

Medical Practice






Human Resources

Social Work

Other Care Services


General Entry Requirements

Applicants will normally have an honours primary degree or equivalent (2.2) but appropriate combinations of professional qualifications and experience may be accepted as equivalent to an honours degree, in accordance with the relevant regulations of the University.

Interviews may be held.

International candidates are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to those outlined above. In addition, where such candidates are non-native speakers of the English language they must satisfy the University of their competency in the English language. For further information on international applications click here

How to Apply and Closing Dates

Make an Application

All Applicants must submit

  • Certified academic transcripts for each and every year of study, with certified English translations if applicable
  • Personal statement of 1,000 words maximum

Non Native English Speakers must also submit

  • Evidence of English competency which meets DCU entry requirements - see link


EU Applicants

Application deadline is 31st July 2018.

Non-EU Applicants

Application deadline is 10th July 2018. If you need a study visa and are a Non EU student you are not eligible to apply for part-time programmes as study visas are only granted for full-time programmes.

How to Apply: Apply through the Postgraduate Application Centre at http://www.pac.ie/dcu using the code DC688.