Applied and Professional Ethics MA

Year of entry

Masters subject talks

Explore our recorded Masters subject talks to discover how you can take your knowledge to the next level. Find out more

Start date
September 2023
Delivery type
Online exclusive
12 months full time
24 months part time
Entry requirements
A bachelor degree + experience.
Full entry requirements
English language requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in all components.
UK fees
£10,750 (total)
International fees
£10,750 (total)

Course overview

Students in tutorial

Explore the ethical issues raised by different professional contexts, and discover how ethical principles can be applied to help us navigate our increasingly complex working environments.

This online course allows you to examine current issues, debates, and theories around the application of ethics in professional settings.

Using a blend of theory and real-life case studies, you’ll gain a critical understanding of issues such as trust, integrity, privacy, consent and professional responsibility.

Throughout, you’ll benefit from teaching that blends insights from industry professionals with the latest in ethical research. With the expert guidance of your tutors, you’ll use the theoretical understanding you gain to respond to social, technological, and political developments as they occur.

Our diverse community includes people from a wide variety of countries and backgrounds, with many opportunities to network and connect with our online community throughout your time studying with us, including various events and activities we run as an active and thriving applied ethics research centre. Many of our students have achieved the publication of a paper as a result of their time studying with us and some of them have been interviewed on our podcast. Whether you’re looking for career progression, a change of direction, or knowledge of a new subject area, you’ll receive all the support you need to succeed.

This course is taught online and can also be studied at PGDip level. Both of these options are available both full time and part time.

Specialist support

We have extensive experience in providing high quality online learning, having run this course for over a decade. You’ll study at the times and pace that suit you, whether taking the course full time or part time, sharing insights with other students as you learn. Throughout, you’ll receive expert support as well as opportunities for live discussions with your module leaders, and your Academic Personal Tutor.

The IDEA Centre is an interdisciplinary specialist unit for teaching, research, training and consultancy in applied ethics, and we consult with practitioners and professional bodies to ensure that our work reflects the latest social, technological, and political developments worldwide. Our expert tutors work in partnership across the University with many disciplines and subjects and bring this experience and knowledge to your course.

Extensive resources

You’ll study using course materials that have been specially designed for online distance learning, including reading, supplements and exercises. You can easily access these at any time using the University’s virtual learning environment, Minerva.

The IDEA Centre is an active and thriving centre of research and learning, with regular research seminars, podcasts, and annual events such as our Medical Ethics Evening and Ilkley Colloquium all available for you to take part in. We maintain close ties with our alumni and external professionals who often share their insights and expertise at our events.

Leeds University Library is one of the UK’s major academic research libraries, and has extensive holdings to support your studies. You can access a wide range of books, journals and other items online, as well as webinars on academic skills.

Course details

You’ll study modules designed to give you a solid base of theoretical knowledge and high level research skills.

As you progress through your studies, you’ll apply what you’ve learned in an independent research project on a topic of your choice.

If you choose to study part-time, you’ll study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Applied and Professional Ethics MA Full Time in the course catalogue

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Applied and Professional Ethics MA Part Time in the course catalogue

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Introduction to Ethics: Reasons, Motivation, Obligations and Happiness 15
Professional Issues 1 15
Agents and Professional Responsibility 15
Dissertation 60

Year 1 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Professional Issues 2: Privacy and Confidentiality 15
Professional Issues 3: Consent and Contracts 15
Justice: Fairness, Equality and Diversity 15
Global Environmental Ethics 15
Business Ethics 15
Professional Ethics Project 15

Learning and teaching

This course is taught entirely online, so there are no lectures or seminars. You won’t have to attend Leeds at any point during the course, although if you can travel there may be chances to meet other students.

Instead, you’ll used specially designed interactive teaching materials and participate in structured collaborative activities. You’ll contribute to discussion groups in Minerva, our Virtual Learning Environment, so you can share experiences and perspectives with students from different backgrounds worldwide. Our tutors respond to queries by email as well as contributing to the online discussion groups and holding live webinars for each module.

Watch our Applied, Professional and Biomedical Ethics subject talk to get a flavour of what it’s like to study at Leeds.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


Because you study online, you won’t have to take any exams during this course. Instead, most of the time you’ll be assessed using essays and coursework assignments. You’ll receive support from our tutors and be able to discuss your work with them before you submit it. Group projects, presentations and regular contributions to discussion forums may also be used to assess your progress in some modules.


Entry requirements

A bachelor degree. Professional experience may also be considered. If you want to apply for this MA course but don't have a degree, you could begin your studies by completing the PGDip before applying for the MA.
We look for your willingness and ability to think clearly and independently, as well as good writing skills, a basic understanding of philosophical ethics and any relevant experiences of ethical issues in practice

We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. Contact the Admissions Office for more information.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in all components.. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for this programme may be able to study our postgraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

This pre-sessional course is designed with a progression route to your degree programme and you’ll learn academic English in the context of your subject area. To find out more, read Language for Arts and Humanities (6 weeks) and Language for Social Science and Arts: Arts and Humanities (10 weeks).

We also offer online pre-sessionals alongside our on-campus pre-sessionals. You could study a part-time online course starting in January, or a full-time course in summer. Find out more about online pre-sessionals.

You can also study pre-sessionals for longer periods – read about our postgraduate pre-sessional English courses.

How to apply

Documents to include

  • Your degree certificate and transcripts of all relevant qualifications, or a partial transcript if you’re still studying.

  • CV (optional).

  • Details of two academic referees whom we can contact if needed.

  • Evidence of your English language test scores, if English isn’t your first language.

  • A personal statement in response to the questions asked in the supporting statement section of the application form. There's no word limit but you should include:

    • Why you want to study your chosen course at Leeds

    • What role ethics play in your professional life (if relevant)

    • What knowledge and understanding you currently have of ethics (if relevant)

    • How studying ethics will contribute to your academic and/or professional development

  • Application essay: this will be used to assess your ability to construct arguments and defend a coherent ethical position. It should be 1000-1500 words long and address a topic relevant to your chosen course. You can choose from the questions below, or contact us about an alternative:

    • Can personal integrity and professional integrity ever conflict? If so, which should win out?

    • What is trust, and why is it so important in professional life?

    • Is a system of bonus pay compatible with a fair system of rewards?

    • What is Corporate (Social) Responsibility and to whom is such responsibility owed?

    • Does justice require equal pay for equal work?

    • Can deception in the workplace or in professional life ever be justified?

    • Can deception in research ever be justified?

    • When, if ever, would a professional be justified in breaching a client's confidentiality?

Application deadlines

There’s no formal deadline for applications, but you should aim to submit your completed application as early in the year as possible. This will allow you time to organise your visa and transport arrangements (if relevant) and also meet the deadlines for any funding opportunities you pursue.

If you want to apply for a scholarship with us, the deadline for this is 30 June.

Next steps

If we're interested in making you an offer to study with us, we'll invite you to an interview. This will be either in person if you'll be coming to Leeds to study, or over Skype or a similar platform if you'll be studying through online learning.

The Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures receives very large numbers of high-quality applications and regrets that it cannot make offers to all of its applicants. Some particularly popular schools may have to reject many that hold the necessary academic qualifications.

The ‘Apply’ link at the top of this page takes you to information on applying for taught programmes and to the University's online application system.

If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy 2024

This course is taught by

Inter-Disciplinary Ethics Applied Centre

Contact us

Admissions Team



UK: £10,750 (total)

International: £10,750 (total)

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

Part-time fees
Fees for part-time courses are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course. For example, if you study half the course credits in a year, you will pay half the full-time course fees for that year.

Additional cost information

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There may be help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.  Find out more at Masters funding overview.

We offer a number of scholarships to help support you while you're studying with us, and will consider flexible fee payment options if you're studying part-time or through online learning.

Find out more about our applied and professional ethics scholarships.

Career opportunities

Studying applied ethics will allow you to develop transferable skills in research, critical thinking and communication. It will also give you more confidence to handle situations with ethical implications in the workplace.
All of this is good preparation for a range of careers, while it could also benefit you in your current role. In particular, this course gives you scope to develop your career in growing areas such as compliance and corporate social responsibility.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more about Careers support.

Staff profile: Graham Bex-Priestley

I’m very proud to lead such a unique and important course, which has been running for over a decade and has had students from over 40 countries.
Find out more about Graham Bex-Priestley's time at Leeds

Student profile: Kevin Layne

In my professional life, I am now able to give seminars and lectures on ethics in the workplace because of the knowledge gained on the course.
Find out more about Kevin Layne's time at Leeds