Ethics Courses

Students must complete 3 credits in ethics (one 3-credit course, or a series of 1- or 2-credit courses) from this approved list of University offerings. Students may choose from a variety of courses in several liberal arts disciplines. Students who wish to propose another course for consideration should write to the . Please include a syllabus if you have one.

Liberal Arts Ethics Courses

AFAM / HIST / PLSC 431 Black Liberation and American Foreign Policy (3) This course examines efforts by African Americans to carve out a space with regards to international affairs from the Second World War to the present building on efforts by this non-state actor from slavery, colonial and Empire-building stages of the development of the world system.

AFR / PL SC 443 Ethnic Conflict in Africa (3) This course explores the various causes and impacts of ethnic conflicts in the African context.

ANTH 433 Archaeological Ethics and Law (3) Introductory course that examines prominent ethical and legal issues in archaeology integral to modern applied research and practice.

ASIA / RLST 104 Introduction to Buddhism (3) A general survey of the basic doctrine, practice, and historical development of Hinayana and Mahayana buddhism.

ASIA / RLST 181 Introduction to the Religions of China and Japan (3) A survey of the history, philosophy, and cultural impact of the major Far Eastern religions: Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, and Shinto.

BMH 490 Bioethics: Mapping the Field (3) Bioethics and Medical Humanities Minor Capstone Course -- Students will integrate knowledge from their BMH minor through discussion and writing a paper on some aspect of medical humanities.

CAS 175 Persuasion and Propaganda (3) An introductory examination of how symbols have been used to create belief and action in revolutionary, totalitarian, and democratic settings.

CAS 209 Demoratic Leadership for Deliberative Government and Social Change (1) This course introduces students to deliberative democratic theory and offers them the chance to reflect on and practice effective dialogic strategies for changing governance and society. The class is a necessary prerequisite for participating in Penn State¿s Nevins Fellows summer internship program.

CAS 250 Small Group Communication (3) Skill development in the areas of group discussion, leadership, and teamwork.

CAS 373 The Rhetorics of War and Peace (3) This course explores how war and peace are advocated.

CAS 426W Communication Ethics (3) Ethical issues in public and private communication; role of communication in expressing and realizing individual and social values.

CMLIT 101 Race, Gender, and Identity in World Literature (3) Identity and race, gender and heritage, centrality and marginality, self and other, as expressed in literary works from around the world. 

CMLIT / ENGL / JST 128 The Holocaust in Film and Literature (3) Thematic, formal, and historical analysis of filmic and literary representation of the Holocaust.

CMLIT 131 Crime and Detection in World Literature (3) Issues of ethics, truth, justice, and social order as embodied in crime and detective literature, presented in comparative contexts.

CMLIT 143 Human Rights and World Literature (3) Human rights violations discussed in tandem with their literary representation, presented in a global and comparative context.

CMLIT 455 Ethics, Justice, and Rights in World Literature (3) Concepts of ethics, justice, and rights, appearing in world literature and/or film.

CRIM 197 Bias, Prejudice, and Hate Crime (3) This honors class will be an examination of the causes of, consequences of, and responses to prejudice and hate crime. Offered Fall 2018

ENGL 234 Sports/Ethics/Literature (3) This course explores what sports can tell us about the cultures that promote them.

ENGL 312 Globality and Literature (3) Examines relationships between literature and culture, through the study of major texts in English by writers of various cultures.

GER / RUS 143 The Culture of Stalinism and Nazism (3) The culture of Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany in comparative perspective.

HIST / J ST 140 The Israel-Palestine Conflict (3) Roots of the Israel-Palestine conflict; relations between Arabs and Jews in the Middle East from 19th century to present.

HIST 142 History of Communism (3) Marxism; Leninism and evolution of the Soviet Union; formation and development of the Communist bloc; impact of Chinese Communism.

HIST / JST 143 History of Fascism and Nazism (3) The study of right-wing totalitarianism in the twentieth century, with special emphasis on Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany.

HIST / LA 197 The World of 1968 (3) 1968 is one of the rare years in human history during which there was far-reaching conflict and change around the world. Parallel, though not always related, protests, violence, and war, as well as economic, environmental, and artistic concerns affected most regions on earth.

IT 415 Dante (3) Readings in the Divina Commedia and the related lesser works of Dante Alighieri.

IT 490 Dante in Translation (3) The reading of Dante's Divine Comedy and selected minor works.

JST / PHIL / RLST 135 Ethics in Jewish Tradition and Thought (3) Examination of Jewish ethical thought from biblical foundations to the modern period, with attention to contemporary issues in moral philosophy.

JST / PLSC 450H Genocide and Tyranny (3) This course focuses on the conceptualization and socio-political determinants of genocide and tyrannical regimes, with an emphasis on the Holocaust.

JST / RLST 478 Ethics After the Holocaust (3) Explores the philosophical effects of the Holocaust for thinking about the primary question: Is ethics possible?

LER 460 Human Resources Ethics (3) Ethics of human resources management.

PHIL 001 Basic Problems of Philosophy (3) Introduction to central philosophical themes, including the mind/body problem, the existence of God, ethical problems, the nature of reality.

PHIL 003 Persons, Moral Values and the Good Life (3) Major ethical positions and assumptions regarding questions of freedom, choice, obligation, and conflicts in contemporary moral conduct, values, and reasoning.

PHIL 009 Philosophy, Race, and Diversity (3) Critically examines the significance of race and cultural diversity for, and in, understandings of reality, knowledge, truth, morality, and justice.

PHIL 013 Philosophy, Nature, and the Environment (3) Studies competing historical and contemporary conceptions of nature, their philosophical foundations, and their implications for environmental problems and public policy.

PHIL 014 Philosophy of Love and Sex (3) Explores Western theories and attitudes concerning intimacy and examines various ethical issues involving love and sex.

PHIL 103 Introduction to Ethics (3) Ethical theory about virtue, duty, autonomy, and life quality applied to moral problems, including character, violence, oppression, abortion, and suicide.

PHIL 105 Introduction to Philosophy of Law and Legal Ethics (3) Historical and contemporary philosophies of law; concepts of responsibility, property, rights, and justice; and ethical issues in legal practice.

PHIL 106 Introduction to Business Ethics (3) Studies ethical foundations of business and ethical problems in business practices such as advertising, international trade, labor relations, and marketing.

PHIL 108 Introduction to Social and Political Philosophy (3) Critical introduction to political authority, rights, justice, community, inequality, power, pluralism, and other contemporary, social, and political issues.

PHIL 118 Introduction to Environmental Philosophy (3) Considers the moral status of the environment and applies ethical theory to issues such as preservation, hunger, pollution, and sustainability.

PHIL 119 Ethical Leadership (3) Introduction to philosophical theories of ethics and leadership. Uses literary and biographical texts in developing skills of application.

PHIL 123 Introduction to Ethics in Media and Journalism (3) Studies ethical problems, human values, and politics in differing media forms and the ways media shape such problems and values.

PHIL 124 Introduction to Philosophy of Religion (3) Explores the meaning of religious belief and experience, the existence of God, ideas of spirituality, and the question of immortality.

PHIL 132 / RLST 131 Introduction to Bioethics (3) Studies questions of ethics in relation to biotechnology research and implementation, genetic engineering, medicine, animal and human rights.

PHIL 233 / STS 233 Ethics and the Design of Technology (3) Ethics and individual and group decision-making in the design of technology including design projects and specific attention to institutional ethics.

PHIL 403 Environmental Ethics (3) Examines ethical theories, justice, rights, community, and human values revolving around such issues as preservation, conservation, pollution, sustainability, and population.

PHIL 405 Philosophy of Law (3) Examines philosophical views of the nature of law, legal ethics, law and society through questions regarding definition, interpretation, and institutions.

PHIL 406 Business Ethics (3) Examines the moral justification of business practices and economic systems through critical analyses of case studies and applied ethical theories.

PHIL 407 / STS 407 Technology and Human Values (3) Interrelationships of twentieth-century technological change and human values. Emphasis on the social and ethical aspects of technological progress.

PHIL 418 Ethics (3) Examines ethical theories, justice, rights, community, and human values revolving around such issues as preservation, conservation, pollution, sustainability, and population.

PHIL 432 / STS 432 Medical and Health Care Ethics (3) Examines ethical, political, and social issues in the research, implementation, and practice of medicine, medical technologies, and healthcare.

PHIL 433 / STS 433 Ethics in Science and Engineering (3) Ethical issues arising in the practice of science and engineering and their philosophical analysis.

PLSC 430 and PLSC 430W Selected Works in the History of Political Theory (3) Detailed examination and analysis of a selected major work, thinker, or tradition in the history of political theory.

PLSC 450H / JST 450H Genocide and Tyranny (3) This course focuses on the conceptualization and socio-political determinants of genocide and tyrannical regimes, with an emphasis on the Holocaust.

PLSC 474 Civil Liberities and Due Process (3) Fundamental problems relating to civil liberties and due process.

PSYCH 105 Psychology as a Science and Profession (3) Overview of history and methods of psychology as a science and profession; applications and ethical issues in psychology.

RLST 130 The Ethics of Western Religion (3) History of theological-social ethics of the Judaeo-Christian tradition.

SOC 428 Homelessness in America (3) Survey of social science research on homelessness in the contemporary United States.

WMNST 458 / BBH 458 Critical Issues in Reproduction (3) Examination and analysis of the new reproductive technologies from the standpoint of medical ethics, feminism, and sociocultural influences.


Past Offerings

AFAM 397A The Fire This Time: Understanding Ferguson (1) An African American Studies course focused on the events surrounding Darren Wilson's killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, on August 9, 2014. Offered Spring 15

ANTH / ASIA / PLSC 197H From Recipients to Donors: Unpacking the Global Development Apparatus (1) Offered Spring 15

ANTH / LER / SOC 197H Inequality in America (1) This course explores the sociocultural dimensions and lived experiences of inequality in the contemporary United States. Offered Fall 15

ANTH / HIST / RLST 197H Religion and Society (1). The course provides an introduction to the ethnographic study of religion with a focus on the post-Soviet space, Russia in particular. Offered Fall 14

ANTH / LER / SOC 297H "Business as Usual": From Your Street to Wall Street (1) Offered Fall 14

CAMS 197A Ethics, Morality, and the Law in the Greek and Roman World (3) In this course, students will study the diverse ethical thought systems in the Ancient Greek and Roman World. The course will explore how people in the Ancient World thought about matters of good and bad, and right and wrong. Paying particular attention to situations in which ancient value systems clash, the course aims to improve students' analytical and research skills as well as their moral literacy more in general. Offered Spring 15

CAS / PLSC 197H Communication Policies and Political Activism (1) Communication policy and its outcomes weighs heavily on the quality of our lives as citizens and on the quality of the environment in which decisions regarding our future as a society are being made. Offered Fall 15

CAS / PLSC 297H Democratic Leadership for Deliberative Government and Social Change (1) This course introduces students to deliberative democratic theory and encourages them to reflect on effective strategies for changing governance and society, with an eye toward participating in Penn State's Nevins Leaders Internship Program. Offered Fall 15

CMLIT 101* Introduction to Western Literatures Through the Renaissance (3) Introductory comparative survey of European and American literatures of Ancient through Renaissance periods, considering genre, themes, cultural and literary values. Only when taught by Sophia McClennen as “Human Rights and Literature.”

CMLIT 197H Landscapes of North Africa in Literature, Film, and Music (1) This course explores the rich cultures of the region of North Africa, which includes the countries of Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, North and South Sudan, as well as Tunisia. Offered Spring 15

CMLIT 197 / A&A 197B Experimental Arts (3) This course marks the centenary of the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich, the radically experimental nightclub that launched the wartime Dada movement and galvanized the anarchic spirit of European avant-garde art movements. A product of and reaction to the First World War, the Cabaret Voltaire was founded in 1916 as a space for musical recitals, concerts and readings. The live performance venue fostered the Dada movement’s early experiments in sound, noise, and public poetry (as well as the name of a Dada magazine from the same period), bringing together under one roof the spirit of anarchic political and artistic developments throughout Europe. Dada performers combined music and multilingual poetry in ways that continue to inform contemporary sound poetry and performance-based art today. Offered Spring 16

CMLIT / RUS 197H Conspiracy Theories and Contemporary Culture (1) Conspiracy theories are a powerful explanatory model, or way of thinking, that influences many cultural forms and social processes throughout the contemporary world. Offered Spring 2016

CMLIT 297A / THEA 297B / ARTH 297A Performing Activism: Art, Media, Affect and Social Change (3) Through works of dance, theatre, performative writing, media and performance art and public demonstration, artists and activists theorize and practice performance (broadly construed) as a means for social justice, Artistic and social performances about racial, ethnic, and gender inequalities and conflict, state oppression and violence, and other injustices bring visibility to the issues they address. Offered Spring 16

ENGL 197 Exit Time: On Futurity, Revolutionary Time, and the Crisis of the Contemporary in Recent Visual Arts, Literature, and Film (1) Each week, a group of students will lead discussion of the assigned reading. Collectively and over the first five sessions, the whole group will compile an expanded index of film- and art-works concerned with temporalities of exit. Offered Spring 2018

ENGL / WMNST 197H Margaret Atwood and the Contemporary World: Time for Payback (1) This five-week course examines key, interrelated themes in recent writing by Atwood. Offered Fall 14

ENGL 197H Anti-Portraits in Modern Literature and Visual Arts (1) The course will introduce students to debates from the 19th and 20th centuries over the connection between the human face and human character in modern art and literature. Offered Spring 2017

ENGL 297H Rhetoric of the Civil Rights Movement(3) Offered Spring 14 ENGL 300M Prison Stories (3) In “Prison Stories” we will read about prisons in 19th-century England and Australia, the former East Germany, and late 20th-century America and Israel. Offered Spring 16

ENGL 300M Writing the End of “the World” in English: Critical Literature Beyond “Man” (3) This course will involve the close interrogation of several literary works of the 20th and 21st centuries, all of which are composed in English, in different parts of the world. Offered Fall 16

ENGL 302 Critical Medical Humanities (3) This course will be of interest to those students who wish to look at relations between human narratives and human health, broadly defined. Offered Fall 17

ENGL 303M Disability and Chaos (3) We’ll read relevant fiction/poetry/plays and watch it all unfold across textual surfaces and right through capsizing assumptions about “the normal.” Offered Fall 16

ENGL 303M Post-Racial America?: Post-Racial Discourse and the Meanings of Race (3) Since the election of Barack Obama it has become common to hear it declared that we have entered into a “post-racial era.” But what exactly does that phrase mean? How has this very concept been upended by the recent events in Ferguson, MO, and indeed, around the country? Offered Spring 16

FR 197 Work and Globalization in Africa (3) This course (taught in English by Isaie Dougnon) will examine how work and career paths have transformed in contemporary Africa in the context of globalization. Offered Fall 16

FR / JST 197A France and the Holocaust in Film and Literature (3) The course seeks to focus in-depth on the French experience during World War II. It invites both reflection on one of the central tragedies of modern world history, in its diverse historical and ethical dimensions, as well as comparison with other 20th and 21st century genocides. Offered Fall 13

FR 197 / JST 197A France and the Holocaust in Film and Literature (3) This course will examine the French experience of the Holocaust (or 'Shoah'), defined as the methodical, bureaucratic destruction of six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators as a primary act of state during the Second World War. Offered Spring 16

FR 497H Collaboration and Complicity in Occupied France(3) Offered Spring 14

HIST 297H Theorizing Gender and Islam (1) Offered Fall 14

INTST 493H Foundations of Global Citizenship: Global Learning through Service (3) Offered Spring 14

JST / FR 197A France and the Holocaust in Film and Literature (3) The course seeks to focus in-depth on the French experience during World War II. It invites both reflection on one of the central tragedies of modern world history, in its diverse historical and ethical dimensions, as well as comparison with other 20th and 21st century genocides. Offered Fall 13

JST / COMM 434 Movies, Media, and the Jewish American Experience (3) Study of Jewish American Film and Popular Culture for Spring 2017 "Could It Happen Here?"

LA 297 Everyday Diplomacy: Global Encounters at Home (1) Is diplomacy exclusively the purview of ambassadors representing sovereign states? Besides the actions of designated diplomats, what makes exchange, encounters, cooperation and conflict possible? Might individuals in the course of living their everyday lives create dialogue, civility and openness, which facilitates basic interaction in their own diplomatic encounters? This course explores how self-perceptions and perceptions of others might facilitate or complicate meaningful encounters and productive cooperation among diverse peoples. This course complements last semester’s course on “Interrogating Prejudice.” Offered Spring 2018

LA 297 Interrogating Prejudice (1) We live in challenging times. For some, fear is used to justify hate. Border walls and travel bans are presented as solutions to international and religious threats—even if they come at the expense of individual rights. This point in history demands reflection on fundamental questions. What does it mean to be American? Who is American? Whose self-interests carry the most weight in our politics? Who should benefit from our systems and institutions? Offered Fall 2017

LA 297 Sports Ethics (1) The course gives students the opportunity to explore one of America's most popular cultural phenomena -"big-time" sports - from a unique critical perspective. Offered Spring 2017

LER 497G Global Workers' Rights (3) Offered Spring 13

PHIL 002, Section 003 only (GH) Philosophy, Politics, and Social Theory (3) Examines relations between political and social organizations, the justification and limits of the state, and issues concerning individuality and community. Offered Fall 12

PHIL 083S (GH) The Meaning of Freedom (3) This course will examine the idea of freedom in its many guises, as a political, social and personal ideal. In doing this we will also look at the reported experiences of those without freedom (the enslaved, the imprisoned, the oppressed). Offered Fall 15

PHIL 297D / ART 297E Art in the Anthropocene (3) Offered Spring 15

PHIL 497A Philosophy of Education (3) This course will examine the aims and purposes of education from diverse perspectives, including (but not limited to) the history of education, prominent philosophies of education, and moral, political, and epistemic values informing educational practice. Offered Fall 16

PLSC 197 (honors) Political Changes in Post-Soviet Russia (1) This course is focused on political changes in post-Soviet Russia within the context of regime dynamics and state building. Offered Fall 2017

PSYCH 197H Anxiety and Emotion Regulation (1) Following a short introduction to anxiety disorders and emotion regulation, the course will explore the various emotion dysregulation models of anxiety disorder, their empirical evidence and their implications for the assessment and treatment of anxiety. Offered Fall 2016

RLST 197H Ethics of Climate Change (1) Pope Francis's encyclical on the environment "Laudato Si'" has brought attention to the broader ethical issues involved in responding to climate change. This course will introduce students to the central issues of justice and moral culpability as the world begins to grapple with a phenomenon that is rapidly changing the world as we know it. Students will undertake a collaborative project, focused on Penn Staters responding to climate change right now. Offered Spring 16 and Fall 16


A Sampling of Offerings in Other Colleges

This list is not all-inclusive, so if you have questions about a particular non-LA course, please write to the Director, Cathy Wanner, .

BA 242 Social and Ethical Environment of Business (2) Explores the social and ethical environment of business and ethical decision making in a business context.

BA 243 Social, Legal, and Ethical Environment of Business (4) Explores the ethical, political, social, legal and regulatory, technological, and demographic diversity environment of business.

BA 342 Socially Responsible, Sustainable and Ethical Business Practice (3) Course examines actions taken by corporations that impact global citizenship, environmental sustainability, and the economic stability of international societies. It further looks at relationships, rights, and responsibilities between businesses, business decision-makers and their stakeholders.

BBH 143 Drugs, Behavior, and Health (3) Health aspects of use and abuse of licit and illicit drugs; related social problems and prevention. Designed for non-BB H majors.

BBH 301 Values and Ethics in Human Development Professions (3) Examines bases for choices among values in personal and professional relations in human development processes and supporting services.

COMM 409 News Media Ethics (3) Ethical problems in the practice of journalism; principal public criticisms of news media; case study approach.

COMM 417 Ethics and Regulation in Advertising and Public Relations (3) Ethical issues in practice of advertising and public relations; legal and regulatory issues; case studies.

EDTHP 234H Honors Leadership Jumpstart (3) Intensive survey of contemporary leadership theory joined with practice, team-building skills, policy formation and influence, and service leadership.

EDTHP / CIED 440 Introduction to Philosophy of Education (3) Introduction to the examination of educational theory and practice from philosophical perspectives, classical and contemporary.

EGEE / MATSC 101 Energy and the Environment (3) Energy utilization and technological development, energy resources, conversion and consequences on the local and global environment, and future energy alternatives.

EGEE 102 Energy Conservation for Environmental Protection (3) Exposure to energy efficiency in day-to-day life to save money and energy, and thereby protect the environment.

ENGR 408 Leadership Principles (2) An introduction to an exploration of theories and principles of leadership, supplemented by presentations given by industry and government leaders.

ENGR 493 Individual Leadership Experience (1) Approved individual project or internship for students to practice the leadership skills developed in the Engineering Leadership Development Minor.

HONOR 301H The Role of Knowledge and Critical Thinking in Developing Policy (3) Students will adopt global perspectives in examining critical issues facing our world, including problem solving, analysis, and future perspectives.

LARCH 065 Built Environment and Culture (3) Investigates the relationship between socio-cultural practices and the development and organization of contemporary built environments.

NUTR 425 Global Nutrition Problems: Health, Science, and Ethics (3) Examines causes of malnutrition and health problems in low-income countries; explores international cultures and ethical issues related to hunger.

SUST 200 Foundations of Leadership in Sustainability (3) Science, ethics, and leadership in social, environmental, and economic sustainability.

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