Social Ethics - SOCI5560

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


This module aims to provide a broad introduction to social ethics. It will give students moral frameworks with which to address contemporary issues affecting social and professional practices and relationships. The module explores how everyday encounters and practices have ethical dimensions, which are often neglected in sociological accounts. A range of topics will be examined, including euthanasia, abortion, capital punishment, prostitution, cannibalism, lying, charity and fair wage. It will draw upon several ethical perspectives, such as utilitarianism, deontology, virtue ethics, feminist ethics and theories of justice, to understand these topics.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 44
Private study hours: 256
Total study hours: 300


Runs every year
BSc Social Sciences; Criminal Justice & Criminology BA – optional module

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Coursework - Essay 1 - Analytical Essay (2500 words) - 40%
Coursework - Essay 2 - Argumentative Essay (2500 words) - 40%
Coursework - Debate and Commentary (approx. 400 words) - 20% - PASS COMPULSORY

Reassessment methods
100% coursework

Indicative reading

James Rachels and Stuart Rachels (2012), The Elements of Moral Philosophy, 7th Edition, McGraw-Hill, Boston
Christopher Bennett (2010), What is This Thing Called Ethics?, Routledge, London
Sandel, Michael (2009), Justice: What's the right thing to do?. London: Penguin Books
Tom Beauchamp (2001), Philosophical Ethics: An Introduction to Moral Philosophy, McGraw-Hill, Boston

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
8.1 Demonstrate detailed knowledge of key concepts and theories in moral philosophy particularly where they are relevant to contemporary ethical issues and social problems.
8.2 Effectively articulate knowledge of how competing ethical perspectives offer different solutions to ethical and social problems.
8.3 Demonstrate advanced scholarship in terms of accounting for the varying ways in which individuals and groups engage with ethical issues.
8.4 Critically evaluate the relevance of ethical theory to understanding contemporary public life.
8.5 Draw upon social science theories to describe and explain how social relationships and structures (including power) affect people's moral deliberations and actions.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
9.1 Demonstrate enhanced communication skills.
9.2 Find and using library and internet resources.
9.3 Working collaboratively in teams.
9.4 Synthesize theories and arguments in a coherent manner.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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