Science Prerequisites for Health Professionals

PHIL 1010: Introduction to Ethics

Credits - 3


This course introduces the major theories of normative ethics, with emphasis upon consequentialism, non-consequentialism, and virtue ethics. Further emphasis is given to application of these theories to perennial ethical dilemmas such as abortion, the death penalty, euthanasia, and war. Students will complete weekly discussions, a midterm examination, and final project. Upon completion of the course students should be able to navigate the various ethical theories, apply them critically, and articulate a vision of ethics, happiness, and the good life.



Various readings and multimedia are used in this course, but the following are the primary texts:

Matthews, G. (2020) Introduction to Philosophy: Ethics. Rebus Community.

Zaita, E.N. (2021). Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford University.


Mandatory UNE-approved webcam – To be used during proctored exams

The following resources will be useful during the course:

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University

Critical Thinking Web, University of Hong Kong

The Ethics Centre

Little Bad Thing Podcast

Ethics Unwrapped

The Pursuit of Happiness

The Oxford Character Project

How to Write a Philosophy Paper, Harvard University


Learning Objectives and Outcomes

Students will:

  • Evaluate and interpret the major ethical systems 
  • Apply ethical theories to major dilemmas and reach a logical outcome while avoiding common fallacies 
  • Demonstrate critical thinking by exploring contemporary ethical problems
  • Construct and write original moral arguments 
  • Develop a vision of the personal and professional moral life


On the course start date, students will have access to orientation. This must be completed to be able to gain access to the first module in the course. Students must complete the first module to gain access to the next one. We recommend that students spend about 15 hours per week to complete a course in 16 weeks. When trying to complete the course in less than 16 weeks, we typically see students do this successfully within 12-14 weeks. Instructors will be timely in grading and feedback, but it will not be instant.


Journals: Each week you will complete a journal assignment. The intent of this assignment is to engage in personal reflection on a particular topic addressed during the week. It is an opportunity for reflection and application. 

Discussions: Some weeks will include a discussion assignment where you will interact with your classmates. Each discussion will involve an initial in-depth post responding to a given prompt and substantive responses to classmates that carry the conversation forward. 

Projects: Projects will be either written assignments or presentations. Examples include short essays and PowerPoint presentations. 

Ethics in Film Paper: The ethics in film paper is an opportunity to apply ethical theory to a contemporary film. You will engage with a particular moral dilemma from a select list of films and provide a philosophical analysis in a paper. 

Major Assignments:

Mid-Term Exam: The midterm exam is a 50 question objective test (true/false, multiple choice, short answer) that covers the first half of the course, Weeks 1-8. This exam must be taken though ProctorU. See UNE’s ProctorU page for information about signing up and scheduling your exam. The official UNE webcam is required. 

Proctored exams are closed for review. You will not be able to review them at any time. Please contact your instructor for specific feedback.

Final Paper: The final paper is a summative assignment that requires you to provide an in-depth moral analysis of a modern day ethical dilemma. You will choose one option from a provided list of case-studies.

Grading Policy

Your grade in this course will be determined by the following criteria:

Grade Breakdown

Assignment CategoryGrade
Ethics in Film Paper20%
Major Assignments40%

Grade Scale

Grade Points Grade Point Average (GPA)
A 94 – 100% 4.00
A- 90 – 93% 3.75
B+ 87 – 89% 3.50
B 84 – 86% 3.00
B- 80 – 83% 2.75
C+ 77 – 79% 2.50
C 74 – 76% 2.00
C- 70 – 73% 1.75
D 64 – 69% 1.00
F 00 – 63% 0.00




Readings & Multimedia



Course Introduction 

  • N/A

Discussion: Introductions


Introduction to Ethics

Discussion: Personal Dilemma 

Journal: My Personal Vision of Ethics 


Moral Relativism 


Journal: Moral Intuition


Divine Command and Natural Law Ethics 

Discussion: The Euthyphro Dilemma

Journal: Virtue and Happiness 


Virtue Ethics 

Project:Virtue Ethics 

Journal: Embracing Virtue Ethics 


Social Contract Theory 

Discussion: Social Contracts 

Journal: Being Selfish 



Project: The Lifeboat Dilemma 

Journal: Life’s Tough Decisions 


Deontological Ethics 

Discussion: Axe Murder

Journal: Moral Courage


Feminist Ethics

Exam: Midterm 

Journal: The Meaning of Life 


Evolutionary Ethics 

Project: Evolutionary Theory 

Journal: My Personal Decision-Making Profile



Discussion: Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Journal: Violence in the Human Experience 


Animal Ethics

Project: Is Animal Slaughter Acceptable? 

Journal: Consumer Ethics 


Technological Ethics 

Discussion: The U.S. Patriot Act 

Journal: Technology and Humanity 


Medical Ethics

Paper: Ethics in Film

Journal: Medical Ethics 


Abortion and Euthanasia 

Project: Euthanasia

Journal: Professional Codes of Ethics 


Capital Punishment 

Discussion: Capital Punishment 

Journal: Meta-Reflection


Ethics and Character 

Final Exam: Case Study Paper 

Journal: Character Strengths Activity 

Student Resources

Online Student Support

Your Student Support Specialist is a resource for you. Please don’t hesitate to contact them for assistance, including, but not limited to course planning, current problems or issues in a course, technology concerns, or personal emergencies.

Questions? Visit the Student Support Science Prerequisites page

Instructor and Support Contact Information

Check Brightspace for specific instructor and support specialist contact information.

Further Assistance

Your student service advisor monitors course progression and provides assistance or guidance when needed. They can assist questions regarding ordering course materials, University policies, billing, navigating the course in Brightspace, and more.

Student Lounge

The Student Lounge Discussion Board is a designated support forum in which students may engage with each other and grapple with course content. Feel free to post questions, seek clarification, and support each other, but be mindful of UNE’s Academic Integrity Policy.

Your instructor will monitor this forum. However, if you are seeking specific and timely answers to questions about course content or your personal grades, please contact your instructor via course messages. For questions about course materials, program policy, and how to navigate and proceed through the course, please contact your Student Service Advisor through the Student Portal.


Proctored Examinations

The University of New England has contracted with ProctorU to provide students with the most convenient online exam proctoring system. This system provides a simple, no cost to the student, secure, online proctor for exams and allows the student to take all the exams at home and on their own schedule.

Upon enrollment into the course, each student will register with ProctorU and establish a login name and password. This will give the student access to all of ProctorU’s services. When ready, students will schedule each of their proctored exams with ProctorU. Exams must be scheduled at least 72 hours in advance to avoid fees. Prior to taking their exams, students must be sure that they have downloaded the ProctorU Chrome or Firefox extension and are using the most current version of Chrome or Firefox. They must also be sure their testing site’s connection meets the minimum requirements by using ProctorU’s “Test It Out” utility.

Upon the exam day and hour, students will log in to ProctorU and click on “exams”. After following the procedures outlined at ProctorU’s web site, the student will log in to Brightspace and locate their correct exam. The proctor will then allow student access to that exam.

Students must use ProctorU and must follow all proctoring requirements for their exams to be credited.

Proctored exams are not available for review at any time. You will not be able to see the questions, nor the answers you’ve given, after completing the exams. Please contact your instructor for specific feedback.

Course Discussions

Discussion board assignments cover interesting current events or materials related to this course that contribute to a deeper understanding of key concepts and allow you to interact with your classmates and the instructor. Each assignment may require you to conduct internet research, read additional materials (a short journal or magazine article), visit a specific webpage, AND/OR view a short video prior to writing a response following the specific guidelines in the assignment.

To earn full credit: you will need to post a response to the discussion topic, respond to the original posts of at least two other students, and then contribute meaningfully to an ongoing discussion. You will need to post your initial response before you will see any posts from your classmates. Please keep in mind that only this initial response is included in your assignment grade, so make sure you have followed all of the guidelines and written a complete response prior to submitting the post. For special cases where one or two students are accelerating faster through the course, the instructor will participate in the discussion so that everyone has the opportunity to interact.

Please see Brightspace for a full description, along with specific guidelines, for each assignment. Discussion board assignments should be completed, along with all other assignments in the course, in the order that they appear. Due to the course design, you may be unable to take a proctored exam if you do not complete all assignments that appear prior to that exam.

Please also refer to the Grading Policy/Grade Breakdown section of the syllabus to learn the percentage of your grade that each discussion board assignment is worth.

Technology Requirements

Please review the technical requirements for UNE Online Programs: Technical Requirements

Course Length

A schedule of lectures and assignments is included in this syllabus. This is, however a self-paced course and you can complete the course in less time.

  1. Courses in the SPHP program are equivalent to one-semester courses designed to be completed in 16 weeks
  2. Enrollment in the course begins the day your section opens which is listed in the Academic Calendar found on the Student Success Portal.
  3. Course start and end dates are in respect to Eastern Time.

Withdrawal and Refund Policies

Please visit the enrollment page to review the withdrawal and refund policies.

Grade Policy

Students are expected to attempt and complete all graded assignments and proctored exams by the end date of the course. View the incomplete grade policy..


Due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, only the student may request official transcripts. This may be done online by going to the University of New England Registrar website and following the directions on the page.

To view your unofficial UNE student transcript:

  1. Log into uonline at
  2. Select Student Services
  3. Select Student Records
  4. Select Academic Transcript

To request your official UNE student transcript:

Please review your Unofficial Transcript prior to requesting an Official Transcript.

  1. Log into uonline at
  2. Select Student Services
  3. Select Student Records
  4. Select Request Printed/Official Transcript
  5. Follow the prompts

After you click Submit Request, your official transcript will be put into the queue to be printed in the Registrar’s Office.

Academic Integrity

The University of New England values academic integrity in all aspects of the educational experience. Academic dishonesty in any form undermines this standard and devalues the original contributions of others. It is the responsibility of all members of the University community to actively uphold the integrity of the academy; failure to act, for any reason, is not acceptable.

Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to the following:

  1. Cheating, copying, or the offering or receiving of unauthorized assistance or information.
  2. Fabrication or falsification of data, results, or sources for papers or reports.
  3. Action which destroys or alters the work of another student.
  4. Multiple submission of the same paper or report for assignments in more than one course without permission of each instructor.
  5. Plagiarism, the appropriation of records, research, materials, ideas, or the language of other persons or writers and the submission of them as one’s own.

Charges of academic dishonesty will be reviewed by the Program Director. Penalties for students found responsible for violations may depend upon the seriousness and circumstances of the violation, the degree of premeditation involved, and/or the student’s previous record of violations. Appeal of a decision may be made to the Dean whose decision will be final. Student appeals will take place through the grievance process outlined in the student handbook.