Applied Ethics

Established in 1980 by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Program in Applied Ethics is an inter-school program reporting to the Office of the Provost. In 2018, it was renamed the Patrick J. Waide Center for Applied Ethics. It operates in close coordination with the deans of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Dolan School of Business, the School of Engineering, the Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies, and the School of Education and Human Development.

The Center integrates interdisciplinary courses, seminars, lectures, colloquia, and workshops in the fields of professional ethics (business, healthcare, science, law, engineering, education, and communication), ethics for the citizen (government, community, environmental concerns, war and peace), and global studies (ethical dimensions of global violence, global health, environmental policies, business practices, and humanitarian action). This unified approach to the theory and practice of ethical conduct in all fields raises student awareness of the moral dilemmas of their chosen fields of practice, of allied fields, and of society and the world. The Center offers a series of core-level and elective courses and seminars in service to various academic and professional programs, and a 15-credit minor.

In 2002, Patrick J. Waide Jr. '59, a former University trustee and distinguished alumnus of Fairfield University, generously established a continuing fund to spend on invited speakers, course materials, and scheduled activities on topics of international affairs, global ethics, and public policy. In 2018, Mr. Waide made a major gift to endow Applied Ethics as a Center, which now bears his name.

AETH 2262 Ethics and the Community    3 Credits

Attributes: PJST Peace and Justice Studies

Prerequisite: One course in Philosophy or Religious Studies.

This course surveys the philosophical grounding of the organizations in contemporary society, examining structured human groups from the household, through the village (or religious/ethnic association), to the nation-state to understand their moral undertakings in their environment; to consider how they implement and balance rights and duties, rules and compassion, autonomy and common purposes. This course gives special attention to structural injustice in the treatment of those marginalized by gender, race, or socioeconomic deficit, and includes an effort to determine where new understanding may yield suggestions for structural modification. Students are provided the opportunity to research and present projects on contemporary social problems that illustrate the themes of the course. Previously AE 0262.

AETH 2265 Ethics in Education    3 Credits

Attributes: EDCG Educational Studies Cognate

Prerequisite: One course in Philosophy or Religious Studies.

This survey of the ethical issues that arise in the classroom, school, and school district also covers those issues, to a lesser extent, in the educational policies of the state and federal government. The course directly addresses issues of race, class, and gender in the educational system, addressing entitlement to education, access to education, discipline in the educational setting, multicultural issues in general, politics, accountability, assessment, and the ethics of respect as they pertain to teachers, students, and administrators. Previously AE 0265.

AETH 2270 Ethical Dimensions of Global Violence    3 Credits

Prerequisite: One course in Philosophy or Religious Studies.

A survey of the ethical implications of the new and alarming potentials for violence in a disorderly world. The new faces of violence - insurgency, terrorism inspired by religion, plans for mass destruction, children as warriors - will be examined in the context of Just War theory, the Christian commitment to social justice, and the emerging international order (and disorder). Fully half the course will explore the perspectives of the developing world, especially as violence occurs between factions from the developing world and the traditional wielders of force in the North and West. Previously AE 0270.

AETH 2272 Ethics of Humanitarian Action    3 Credits

Attributes: HAFD Humanitarian Action Foundation Course, PADE Public Administration Disaster and Emergency Management

Prerequisite: One course in Philosophy or Religious Studies.

This course provides students with principles and methods of ethics that they will apply to issues of humanitarian action. Examples of humanitarian action to be considered in this course include the international humanitarian system run by states, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the United Nations and its lead agencies and, increasingly, the private sector. Students also will learn about the development of humanitarian codes of conduct, values and principles, which they will evaluate in terms of their ethical content. Previously AE 0272.

AETH 2276 Ethical Dimensions of Global Business Practices    3 Credits

Attributes: HACA Humanitarian Action Minor Context Course, PJST Peace and Justice Studies

Prerequisite: One course in Philosophy or Religious Studies.

A survey of the ethical dimensions of contemporary business practice generally, with special emphasis on the ethical implications of global business enterprise. Topics include global employment practices, human and employee rights in a global economy, the implications of external debt for the economies of developing nations, the human costs and benefits of the changes in global agriculture and food provision generally, and the work of international agencies (the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank in particular) in guiding the economies of the world. A three-week unit will focus on the economic implications of natural and man made disasters and humanitarian crises. Previously AE 0276.

AETH 2281 Ethics of Communications    3 Credits

Attributes: ENEC Digital Journalism Ethics Component

Prerequisite: One course in Philosophy or Religious Studies.

This course examines the moral dilemmas of media management, political propaganda, campaign promotions, public relations, and corporate communication. Topics include advertising and marketing practices, especially political advocacy and messages targeted to various audiences; truth and loyalty in public relations practices; the philosophical and constitutional bases of freedom of the press; and problems of media bias, systematic and otherwise. Previously AE 0281.

AETH 2283 Environmental Justice    3 Credits

Attributes: EVHU Environmental Studies: Humanities, EVME Environmental Studies Major Elective, EVPE Environmental Studies Elective, PJST Peace and Justice Studies, WSGF Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies: Gender Focused

This course examines challenges and controversies associated with the unequal distribution of environmental hazards across communities. Students will explore the social, industrial, and governmental forces that create inequitable burdens of environmental pollution as well as movements to reduce such burdens. It takes as axiomatic the premise that all people have a right to live in a clean environment free from hazardous pollution or contamination, and to the natural resources necessary to sustain health and livelihood. Question will be aimed at why, and through what social, political and economic processes, social justice issues arise in denying certain groups of people this basic right. Students will have the opportunity to report on alternative models and activists' movements aimed at creating a global sustainable future. Previously AE 0283.Prerequisite: One course in Philosophy or Religious Studies. Previously AE 0283.

AETH 2284 Environmental Ethics    3 Credits

Attributes: EVHU Environmental Studies: Humanities, EVPE Environmental Studies Elective, PJST Peace and Justice Studies

Prerequisite: One course in Philosophy or Religious Studies.

Students examine the environmental problems that arise in our attempts to reconcile the demands of human fulfillment and economic activity, and the requirements of ecological balance. Issues include the diverse perspectives of conservation, preservation, and deep ecology. Student projects cover the wise use of resources; pollution of land, air, and water; conservation of species and open space; global climatic change; and the future stewardship of oceans, forests, and the atmosphere. Previously AE 0284.

AETH 2285 Ethics of Health Care    3 Credits

Attributes: HSTE Health Studies: Traditions, Delivery, and Ethics

Prerequisite: One course in Philosophy or Religious Studies.

This course considers the moral dilemmas of the healthcare setting. Topics include patients' rights (medical paternalism and patient autonomy, informed consent to therapy, and participation in research); dilemmas of reproduction (technological assistance, abortion, cloning); dilemmas of life and death (assisted suicide, euthanasia, technological interventions for the dying); allocation of healthcare resources; and the special dilemmas of healthcare professionals caught in binds between HMO contracts and professional obligations. Previously AE 0285.

AETH 2287 Engineering Ethics    3 Credits

Prerequisite: One course in Philosophy or Religious Studies.

This course systematically explores the ethical dimensions of situations and tasks common to engineering practice. Issues include professionalism, codes of ethics, consumer risk and safety, employee loyalty and whistle-blowing, research and ownership of information, and the engineer's responsibility to the natural environment. Previously AE 0287.

AETH 2291 Business Ethics    3 Credits

Prerequisite: One course in Philosophy or Religious Studies.

This course investigates ethical problems in business practice. Topics include the foundation of the free-market system, personal morality in profit-oriented enterprises; codes of ethics, obligations to employees and other stakeholders; truth in advertising, whistle-blowing, and company loyalty; self and government regulation; the logic and future of capitalism; and the changing responsibilities of the manager in a rapidly globalizing business environment. Previously AE 0291.

AETH 2293 Ethics of War and Peace    3 Credits

Attributes: HACA Humanitarian Action Minor Context Course, INEL International Studies Elective, PJST Peace and Justice Studies

Prerequisite: One course in Philosophy or Religious Studies.

This is a survey of issues relating to war and international conflict. Topics include Just War theory, human rights issues, the impact of war on women, the role of the United Nations Security Council, and the history of global attempts to proscribe and prevent aggression. The course also looks at related issues that have emerged in recent years, such as humanitarian intervention and economic sanctions. Previously AE 0293.

AETH 2295 Ethics in Law and Society    3 Credits

Prerequisite: One course in Philosophy or Religious Studies.

This course is an inquiry into the ethical dilemmas of making, enforcing, adjudicating, obeying and practicing the law. Topics include the nature of law and the province of jurisprudence, responsibility of the criminal bar (defense, prosecution, judicial), conflicts of interest, election or appointment of judges, the moral infrastructure of the Constitution, the limits of adjudication, and issues relating to investigative technique (torture and extreme confinement conditions). Previously AE 0295.

AETH 2908 Special Topics    3 Credits

Prerequisites: sophomore, junior or senior standing.

AETH 2908 Special Topics (Law and Society): This seminar will explore the legal system in the United States and how it affects our lives individually and as a community. Through discussion of how the law intersects with topics such as race, gender, immigration, religion, technology, climate change, and crime, we will consider not only what the law is, but also what we think the law should be. Should the law reflect particular ethical standards, morals, or values? How should the law address changes in society? Who gets to decide? Students will have opportunities throughout the semester to expand their development of the legal skills of reasoning, making effective arguments, and critical thinking. Of particular interest to pre-law students, guest speakers will also offer insights into the realities of law school and practicing law in a variety of specialties.

AETH 3391 Seminar in Business Law, Regulation, and Ethics    3 Credits

Attributes: MGEL Management: General Elective

Prerequisites: AETH 2291, BUSN 3211, two additional courses in law or applied ethics.

This seminar investigates ethical dilemmas of business management, primarily as encountered in real cases. Themes vary from year to year. Format: guest presentations by members of the business community, followed by discussion. Crosslisted with BUSN 3391. Previously AE 0391.

AETH 3990 Independent Study    3 Credits

Students undertake an advanced program of course, field, and library work arranged with the instructor. Enrollment by permission only. Previously AE 0399.


Schmidt, D. (Management)


Schmidt, N.

Steering Committee

Conelius (Nursing)
Hulse (Education and Human Development)
Lee (Accounting)
Zabinski (Engineering)