Applied Ethics

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Program Overview

Fairfield University's Program in Applied Ethics offers you an opportunity to learn the history, terminology, and forms of reasoning that underlie the practice of ethical conduct. Our unified approach to the theory and practice of ethical conduct is designed to raise your level of awareness of the moral dilemmas of your chosen field of practice, of allied fields, and of the society as a whole.

Students who excel in Applied Ethics are:

  • Conversant with representative practices and dilemmas of professional, public, and global regimes
  • Critical thinkers
  • Good, clear, elegant writers
  • Committed to seeking out, and addressing, injustice wherever it may appear in the world


Your learning process will include:

  • Informing Yourselves - Becoming aware of human suffering (or environmental destruction) anywhere in the world. Make suffering visible rather than invisible.

  • Caring - Part of the Christian commitment in this world is compassion, suffering on account of the suffering of another.

  • Responding - Be prepared to do something besides wringing your hands. If people are hungry, feed them. If the water table is sinking, plant trees. That sort of thing.

  • Analyzing Causes for Human Responsibility - Not all misery is caused by human beings, but a lot of it is. Who? And How? With particular determination, seek out the operations, acts, and motives, especially in the developed world, that inflict suffering, especially on the developing world.

Applied Ethics offers a series of core-level and elective courses and seminars, and a 15-credit minor. The program includes an integrated set of interdisciplinary courses, seminars, lectures, colloquia, and workshops. Courses are offered primarily in business, health care, communications, and environmental ethics. Depending on your interest, any profession or institution may become the focus of a course or seminar.

With wide connections in the business and professional community, the faculty are able to bring businesspeople, doctors, lawyers, and other professionals into classroom discussions. Fairfield's favorable location in an area of many corporate headquarters and medical and media centers - and the excellent cooperation that these centers extend to the University - greatly enhance the vitality of the program.



For a 15-credit minor in applied ethics, students complete the following:

  • A philosophy course that emphasizes ethics, a religious studies course that emphasizes moral theology, and one intermediate (200-level or greater) course in applied ethics as part of their Area III core credits
  • Six to nine credits in intermediate applied ethics courses (AE 262 through AE 299)
  • Six to nine credits in advanced applied ethics seminars (AE 391 through AE 398). AE 384 and AE 399 (independent study) will also satisfy this requirement.

Note: Substitutions are possible as approved by the program director.


Applied ethics courses are normally taken to fulfill the fifth core requirement in Area III: philosophy and religious studies. Students must complete one course in philosophy or one course in religious studies before enrolling in any 200-level applied ethics course and two courses in either philosophy or religious studies (two in either or one in each) before enrolling in any 300-level applied ethics seminar.

Course Offerings

See Applied Ethics course descriptions from our catalog for more information

  • AE 262: Ethics and the Community
  • AE 265: Ethics in Education
  • AE 270: Ethical Dimensions of Global Violence
  • AE 271: The Sacred Balance
  • AE 275: Ethics and the Global Environment
  • AE 276: Ethical Dimensions of Global Business Practices
  • AE 281: Ethics of Communications
  • AE 282: Ethics and Computers
  • AE 283: Environmental Justice
  • AE 284: Environmental Ethics
  • AE 285: Ethics of Healthcare
  • AE 286: Ethics of Research and Technology
  • AE 287: Engineering Ethics
  • AE 288: Ethical Dimensions of Global Humanitarian Policy
  • AE 289: Global Health Care Policy
  • AE 290: Ethics in America: The Telecourse
  • AE 291: Business Ethics
  • AE 293: Ethics of War and Peace
  • AE 294: Ethics of Media and Politics
  • AE 295: Ethics in Law and Society
  • AE 296: Ethics in Government
  • AE 297: Eco-feminism
  • AE 298: Ethics and Feminist Perspectives
  • AE 299: Special Topics in Applied Ethics
  • AE 384: Reflections on the Environment: Focus on Latin America and the Caribbean
  • AE 391/BU 391: Seminar in Business Law, Regulation, and Ethics
  • AE 393: Seminar in War, Peace, and Public Policy
  • AE 395: Seminar in Legal Ethics
  • AE 396: Seminar in Ethics and Government
  • AE 397: Seminar in Bioethics I: Ethical Issues in Health Care Practice
  • AE 398: Seminar in Bioethics II: Ethical Issues in Biomedical Research and Resource Allocation
  • AE 399: Special Topics in Applied Ethics


The College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University is home to a vibrant community of engaged faculty, dedicated staff and budding scholars devoted to the process of invention and discovery and excited by the prospect of producing knowledge in the service of others. Meet the dedicated members of our Applied Ethics program.


Real-World Education

As you progress through your college years, you will be acquiring the knowledge and skills that prepare you for a postgraduate career even as you ponder the ethical issues that have arisen in society and the professions throughout history. The Applied Ethics Program sharpens your sensitivity toward such issues as they will occur in your future occupation and in your life as a citizen. You will be working with faculty members who have researched, developed, and published case studies of ethical dilemmas in business, health care, politics, and communications. Corporate officers from businesses in the region and professionals from other institutions regularly participate in applied ethics seminars. Some have arranged to bring students as observers or interns to ethics committees and research review board meetings where they work.

Life After Fairfield

Any worthwhile employer wants the assurance that the people he or she hires have the ability to do the job and the commitment to do it properly, in accord with good moral standards.

The applied ethics listing on your résumé tells the employer that you have considered, in a reasoned manner, the ethical dilemmas that can arise in your professional life and that you are prepared to deal with them.

Learn more about how Fairfield's Career Center can support your post-graduate goals, and how Fairfield's tight-knit alumni network can build career and mentoring opportunities that last a lifetime.

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