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What is ethics?

To study ethics is to study right and wrong, good and bad — with a special emphasis on the reasons for making such judgments.

Sometimes this takes the form of reflection (what makes “good” good?), and sometimes it takes the form of practical decision-making (should I cheat on this exam?). Sometimes ethics is about group decisions or the political sphere (should abortion be legal?) and sometimes it’s about individual character (how can I be more brave?)

In ethics classes, we rarely determine the answers to questions of right and wrong, but we always raise intriguing questions that can help you understand the moral dimensions of your personal and professional life.

Who should study ethics?

Anyone in any field and any career path can benefit from studies that foster well-reasoned thinking and good citizenship. Careful reasoning about right and wrong in general, and about ethical issues in particular, is an important aspect of a liberal arts education. Augustana is one of a very few colleges in the Midwest to offer a program in ethics.

Augustana’s ethics minor is headed by faculty teaching in the philosophy and religion departments, and the minor is especially suitable for students majoring in business, education, the health fields or law, or any other field related to serving the public.


Contact Dr. Laura Hartman (religion) at or Dr. Timothy Bloser (philosophy) at

Ethics minor

The ethics minor is 21 credits (seven courses)

Core courses (3)

  1. Religion 203 Christian Ethics or 203e special section/Christian Ethics
  2. Philosophy 203 Social Ethics or Philosophy 205 Life and Death
  3. Philosophy 323 Moral Philosophy

Complementary courses
(at least 2 religion and 1 philosophy)

  1. Choose from: Religion 323 Sexual Ethics; Religion 325 Environmental Ethics; Religion 326 Medical Ethics; Religion 327 Business Ethics
  2. Choose from: Philosophy 322 Political Philosophy; Philosophy 331 Philosophy of Religion; Philosophy 325 Philosophy of Law

Cooperating courses
(at least 1)

  1. One more course from any of the categories above, including Philosophy 203 or 205, whichever is not taken as a core course
  2. Other courses that pass the criteria for inclusion in the minor