The Ethics Track is for UAB students who are interested in focusing on moral questions and reasoning in their time as an undergraduate and after graduation. It serves as a specific way to tailor the Philosophy major for students interested in ethical and social issues, including those aiming to work in business, law, and the health professions.

To enroll in the individually designed track simply consult with the department chair.

Requirements:

Choose four of these courses (12 Credit Hours Total)

  • PHL 115: Contemporary Moral Issues (3 credit hours)
  • PHL 116: Bioethics (3 credit hours)
  • PHL 216: Intermediate Bioethics (3 credit hours)
  • PHL 230: Social and Political Philosophy (3 credit hours)
  • PHL 315: Ethics: Theories of Good and Evil (3 credit hours)
  • PHL 335/435: Philosophy of Law (3 credit hours)
  • PHL 390: Special Topics in Ethics (3 credit hours)
  • PHL 391: Special Topics in Ethics (3 credit hours)
  • PHL 392: Special Topics in Ethics (3 credit hours)
  • PHL 402: Neuroethics (3 credit hours)

Choose one of these courses (3 Credit Hours Total)

  • PHL 490: Special Topics in Ethics (3 credit hours)
  • PHL 491: Special Topics in Ethics (3 credit hours)
  • PHL 492: Special Topics in Ethics (3 credit hours)

Any five philosophy courses (15 credit hours total) so long as the student satisfies the general requirements for the philosophy major.

A complete list of course descriptions for this track are available in the UAB Undergraduate Catalog.

Why an Ethics Track?

There are a range of career paths in which recent UAB philosophy graduates are actively engaged, but many involve moral issues and reasoning. Several recent UAB philosophy graduates have attended medical schools at places like Harvard, Vanderbilt, and UAB Medical School. Other recent graduates are in law school or practicing attorneys, working for the government or nonprofit organizations, or employed at financial institutions.

Such fields require dealing with sensitive moral and social issues. A good doctor, for example, not only knows how to heal the human body but also how to treat patients ethically and how to be sensitive to the moral dilemmas they face in their personal lives. This has been recognized by the American Association of Medical Colleges. The current MCAT format includes a “Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills” section that includes questions from “humanities disciplines, including ethics and philosophy, cross-cultural studies, and population health.” Philosophy majors, particularly those well-trained in ethics, have significant advantages when it comes to pursuing graduate education in medicine. They have a 50% medical school acceptance rate, which is higher than students from any other major.

Philosophy majors tend to outperform their peers in other tests required for admission to graduate programs in a variety of disciplines. Philosophy students perform the best overall on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), they tie with Economics majors for the highest average score on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), and they have the third highest scores on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).

Philosophy covers many topics not just in ethics, such as the difference between knowledge and mere belief, the possibility of self-aware machines, and the formal study of logic. Students on the Ethics Track touch on these sorts of questions but focus on social, moral, and political issues, such as the ethics of human cloning, the objectivity of morality, and the authority of legal institutions.

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