Ethics Certificates from Philosophy Departments


Several philosophy departments are offering “ethics certificates” and other ethics programs, according to an article at Inside Higher Ed.

Millersville University’s Department of Philosophy has added an “Ethics and Society” certificate program. It requires students take five courses: Introduction to Ethics and then four others selected from of a variety of ethics-related courses on offer. The certification appears on the students’ transcripts.

Temple University Philosophy has had an ethics certificate program since 2016. Miriam Solomon, who was involved in the program’s creation, says “I think the certificate reflected my personal view that a little bit of philosophy, short of a minor or major, can really enrich a liberal arts education. I also wanted something that [the students] could put on their CVs for employers”

The Department of Philosophy at the University of New Hampshire has three-course “cognates” available for students to take in either “Business, Innovation, and Technology” or “Political and Legal Philosophy.”

The creation of these programs seems spurred by a mix of a concern with increasing enrollments, demonstrating the practical value of philosophical study to students, employers, and administrators, and trying to provide curricular offerings that facilitate students taking several philosophy courses in a purposeful way without having to commit to majoring in it.

The full article is here.

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Chris Surprenant
Chris Surprenant
1 year ago

I don’t see a problem with this. Universities have been offering non-degree certificates for a while in all sorts of fields — why not in philosophy, too?

Right or wrong, most people like to receive something concrete for participating in an academic program that will let other people know about what they’ve done. I can’t see why any of these certificates would have any value to a potential employer, so if it encourages people to take more philosophy courses, great.

What we should be talking about instead are academic philosophy departments certifying businesses in ethical practices and possibly trying to take over what is sometimes seen as the role of an organization like the BBB. That’s where things seem to get more interesting.

Michael Kates
Michael Kates
Reply to  Chris Surprenant
1 year ago

Is that actually happening, or is it rather something that you wish would happen? (Genuine question)

Chris Surprenant
Chris Surprenant
Reply to  Michael Kates
1 year ago

I’m not aware of any school that is certifying *businesses* right now, just certificates to individuals.

I’ve pitched the idea to a few places with ethics centers (or trying to start such centers) as a way of becoming more relevant and generating revenue, but it’d be quite the undertaking.

Matthew
Matthew
Reply to  Chris Surprenant
1 year ago

The proliferation of certificates is signals underlying funding issues, which is concerning to me and should be for you.

krell_154
1 year ago

I mean, these should be called “Ethical Theory Certificates”