Learning outcomes

The holder of the Master [120] in Ethics prepares to become a citizen and contributor capable of assisting societal actors to respond, on a reasoned and informed basis, to ethical questions posed to them. The UCLouvain School of Philosophy offers its students a programme which will enable them to meet this challenge at the end of their studies.

In order to achieve this objective, students will need the following main virtues:

  • the ability to examine transforming movements in modern society by applying critical thought to the phenomena embodying them; 
  • the ability to analyse ethical questions which raise decision-making processes and practices, but at an individual level and a social and political level;
  • the ability to construct a reasoned and informed position in respect of these questions; 
  • the ability to assist social actors by calling for responsibility as regards these ethical questions.

Generally, at the end of the master, students will have developed a spirit of criticism, faculty of analysis and review, intellectual creativity, a sense of tolerance and dialogue as well as an ability to debate ethical questions. These qualities, encouraged by critical reflection skills exercises, knowledge of the theories, concepts and methods involved in philosophical ethics, practice in reasoning as well as exchanges with other disciplines and their actors, are highly valued in various professions (diplomacy, journalism, human resource management, teaching, etc.).

On successful completion of this programme, each student is able to :

1. Demonstrate an expert and critical understanding of theories, concepts and methods in the domain of philosophical ethics and how they are connected to other fields of philosophy and scientific disciplines.

1.1. Appropriate a range of theories, concepts and methods.
1.2. Make theoretical and methodological choices in view of their relevance in dealing with ethical questions and be able to explain their founding principles and limitations.
1.3. Compare the contributions of philosophical ethics to those of the humanities.

2. Discern and deal with ethical questions in a methodological manner, on a philosophically-grounded and scientifically informed basis.

2.1. Determine and analyse ethical questions which raise decision-making processes and practices at an individual, social or political level.
2.2. Clarify the socio-anthropological assumptions and normative principles on which the positions and possible arguments relating to these questions are grounded.
2.3. Compare these positions and arguments to the contributions of scientific disciplines.
2.4. Take an educated and critical position in relation to these questions.

3. Create and realize individual research (dissertation) implementing a rigorously methodological and critical approach in order to go deeper into an ethical research question.

3.1. Carry out a critical review of the literature on this question, making effective, critical and appropriate use of IT and primary and secondary ethical and philosophical sources.
3.2. Implement a rigorous methodological analysis approach relevant to the question.
3.3. Challenge and defend the ethical theories which arise from that question.
3.4. Carry out an analysis of them and draw a conclusion which is relevant both in relation to the debates between specialists in the field and its practical efficacy.
3.5. Take and argue an educated and critical position in relation to that question.

4. Communicate, discuss and hold constructive debates, orally and in writing, with different actors (specialists and non-specialists) involved in a given situation where ethical questions are posed.

4.1. Communicate, orally and in writing, on complex subjects (data, points of view and conclusions as well as the underlying knowledge and principles) in a clear, structured fashion, reasoned in accordance with the specific standards of communication relevant to the context and by adapting their presentations to the target audience and aims being pursued.
4.2. Communicate, orally and in writing, original scientific results to specialists in the field of research concerned and discuss them critically.
4.3. Converse respectfully and constructively with various counterparts, demonstrating an ability to listen, open-mindedness and tolerance.
4.4. Contribute constructively to public debate (for example, in the media): recognise and take into consideration different points of view and ways of thinking, bring their own ethics-based points of view to the debate and participate constructively in order to develop solutions from the citizen’s point of view.

5. Act as an academic and critical and responsible actor demonstrating “analytical distance” based upon philosophical reflection, and within an ethos of discussion.


6. If the Professional Focus: Public Ethics and Policies is chosen, implement the skills referred to above in the development, implementation and evaluation of public policies.


7. If the Professional Focus: Sciences and Techniques is chosen, implement the skills referred to above in the development and application of scientific theories as well as in the innovation and use of techniques.


8. If the Professional Focus: Biomedical Ethics and Bioethics is chosen, implement the skills referred to above in the fields of medical practice, health policy and operations on living beings.


9. If the Professional Focus: Ethics, Norms and Societies is chosen, implement the skills referred to above in a reflection on social normativity.