Curriculum and Areas of Specialization

The Master’s degree program in Ethics and Society can be completed in one year on a full-time basis. Part-time study and evening courses are also available. Our 10-course (30 credit) curriculum, taught by Fordham’s world-class faculty, is highly interdisciplinary, integrating moral philosophy, theology, bioethics, professional ethics, and the ethical approaches of the social and natural sciences. Consistent with Fordham’s Jesuit intellectual tradition, this curriculum pairs cross-disciplinary graduate education in foundational ethical frameworks with practical and applied educational opportunities that directly confront pressing issues in ethics and social justice. While offering a breadth of ethical knowledge, this curriculum is also highly flexible: through our personalized advising, and optional thematic areas of specialization, students have the opportunity to tailor their education to further their personal academic interests and career goals.

Course Requirements 

To complete the Master’s, Ethics and Society students will take two cross-disciplinary ethics courses, two courses in moral philosophy, two courses in moral theology, two courses in the social or natural sciences, and two electives (click here for a full list of our approved courses):

Cross-Disciplinary Ethics Introductory and Capstone Course

All students will take two required Cross-Disciplinary Ethics courses, offered through the Center for Ethics Education.

CEED 5050: Ethics and Society: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives

Our introductory course, Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives, provides students a broad, interdisciplinary foundation in ethical theory and practice. Students are introduced to important concepts, theories, methodologies, and applications from a variety of ethical traditions and disciplinary perspectives. This course features guest lectures from experts at Fordham and elsewhere representing moral philosophy, theology, social justice, bioethics, research ethics and ethics in science, professional and business ethics, ethics in law, and more. 

CEED 6100: Theories and Applications in Contemporary Ethics

Theories and Applications is a three-day intensive course that exemplifies our innovative approach to interdisciplinary ethics education. Over three days in May, this team-taught course brings together six instructors from different disciplines who engage in a collaborative and interactive examination of contemporary ethical issues, utilizing the methods of their individual disciplines to analyze the ethical and social dimensions of a given theme. Some of the recent themes include Identity; Boundaries: Individual, Cultural, and Global Challenges; and Conscience and Conscientious Practice. In recent years, faculty have represented African American Studies, Anthropology, American Studies, Biology, Cognitive and Clinical Psychology, Communication and Media Studies, Education, Law, Medicine, Neurophysics, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology, and Theology.

Moral Philosophy

Students will take at least two courses in moral philosophy offered through Fordham’s Department of Philosophy and the Center for Ethics Education. These philosophy offerings will deepen the student’s understanding of the theory, methodology, and history of moral philosophy, and will enable students to use these tools to examine issues of contemporary ethical and social import. Students can choose between courses like Normative Ethical Theory or Natural Law: The Nature, Foundations, and Content of Justice, which dive deeper into the dominant perspectives within philosophical moral theories; courses that focus on the thought of prominent historical figures, such as Aristotle, St. Thomas Aquinas, or St. Augustine; or courses that focus on specific issues in applied ethics, such as Confronting Moral Controversy, Bioethics Analysis of Clinical Case Studies, Environmental Philosophy and Ethics, or Special Topics in Ethics and Society.

Moral Theology

Students will take at least two courses in moral theology offered through Fordham’s Department of Theology. These courses examine theological approaches to ethics rooted in scripture, tradition, reason, and experience, paying particular attention to Catholic Social Teaching and the rich diversity of Catholic Christian Theology. In the Jesuit tradition, these courses integrate theological analysis, a practical concern for concrete ethical and social issues, and an overarching commitment to promoting social justice. Some courses, such as Systematic Liberation Theology, Introduction to Theological Ethics, Biblical Ethics, Feminist Theology, Socially Engaged Theology, African American Theological Ethics, and Catholic Social Thought examine important theological approaches and perspectives. Other courses, such as Sexual Ethics, Christian Ecological Ethics, Ethics and Economics, Theology and Science, and Bioethics provide more thorough examination of specific areas of ethical concern.

Social & Natural Sciences

Students will complete at least two courses in the Social and Natural Sciences. These courses examine how ethics should be integrated into scientific practice, while demonstrating how the tools, methods, and findings of the social and natural sciences can be brought to bear in identifying, analyzing, and addressing ethical questions and challenges. Demonstrating the importance of ethics to Fordham’s entire academic community, courses are available from a variety of graduate departments, including Psychology, Economics, Political Science, Biological Sciences, Communication and Media Studies, and Sociology. Course options include Health Disparities and Social Inequalities; Conservation Biology; Gender and Economic Development; Race, Gender, and Digital Media; Campaign Finance and Ethics; Ethics in Psychology; Psychology and Criminal Law; Issues in Urban Sociology; and Research Ethics and Social Justice, among many others. 


Students will also complete at least two elective courses. Students can choose to take additional courses in moral philosophy, theology, social and natural sciences, or cross-disciplinary ethics. Or, they can take a wide variety of courses from other departments or by other Fordham graduate colleges, such as US Immigration and Ethnicity (History), Integrating Human Rights and Justice in Practice (Graduate School of Social Service), Urban Health and Environment (Urban Studies), or Jurisprudence (College of Law). Individual tutorials or independent study courses can also be arranged as electives in areas of interest for which there might not be a specific course. Examples of individualized tutorials include “Business Ethics”, “Moral Instinct and Moral Behaviors,” “Religion, Gender, and Sexuality,” and “Race, Justice, and Policing.” Students also have the option to complete an individualized practicum experience, pairing direct exposure to ethics work (such as shadowing an ethics professional or hands-on experiences working on an ethics and social justice project for a community organization) with academic work that contextualizes and analyzes the ethical dimensions of that work.

    • CEED 5050 - Ethics and Society: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives (Introductory Course Required)
    • CEED 6100 - Theories and Applications in Contemporary Ethics (Capstone Course Required)
    • CEED 5600 - Special Topics in Ethics and Society (Elective)
    • CEED 5900 - Ethics Field Practicum Experience (Elective)
      *Students in good academic standing may only register after a proposal has been approved by Program Director.
    • CEED 5250 - Bioethics Analysis of Clinical Case Studies (Case Studies in Bioethics)
    • HSGL 0322 - Natural Law: The Nature, Foundations and Content of Justice (Law School HSGL/CEED 6322)
    • JUGL 0104 - Topics in Legal Philosophy (Law School)
    • PHIL 5001 - Introduction to Plato (Philosophy)
    • PHIL 5003 - Natural Law Ethics (Philosophy)
    • PHIL 5005 – Classical Modern Philosophy (Philosophy)
    • PHIL 5009 - Introduction to Aristotle (Philosophy)
    • PHIL 5010 - Introduction to Saint Thomas Aquinas (Philosophy)
    • PHIL 5012 - Introduction to Saint Augustine (Philosophy)
    • PHIL 5014 - Modern Ethical Theories (Philosophy)
    • HADM 5100 - Health Care Ethics (Health Administration)
    • PHIL 5114 - Normative Ethical Theories (Philosophy)
    • PHIL 5301 - Environmental Philosophy and Ethics (Philosophy)
    • PHIL 5305 - Confronting Moral Controversy (Philosophy)
    • PHIL 6120 - Democratic Political Economy
    • PHIL 7340 - Humility and Arrogance (Philosophy)
    • PHIL 7650 - Aristotelian Ethics (Philosophy)
      *Students must receive permission to register from Program Director and Course Instructor
    • THEO 5500 - Religion and American Public Life (Theology)
    • THEO 5630 - Systemic Liberation Theology (Theology)
    • THEO 5640 - Introduction to Theological (Christian) Ethics (Theology)
    • THEO 6039 - Biblical Ethics (Theology)
    • THEO 6198 - Self in Early Christianity (Theology)
    • THEO 6400 - Theological Anthropology and Human Diversity (Theology)
    • THEO 6510 - Socially Engaged Theology (Theology)
    • THEO 6659 - Latinx Theology (Theology)
    • THEO 6672 - Feminist Theology (Theology)
    • THEO 6676 - Sexual Ethics (Theology)
    • THEO 6720 - Fundamental Moral Theology (Theology)
    • THEO 6721 - African American Theological Ethics (Theology)
    • THEO 6731 - Christian Ecological Ethics (Theology)
    • THEO 6732 - Ethics and Economics (Theology)
    • THEO 6733 - Theology and Science (Theology)
    • THEO 6734 - Beauty of Justice (Theology)
    • THEO 6735 - Ecological Ethics (Theology)
    • THEO 6736 - Christian Feminist Ethics (Theology)
    • THEO 6740 - Catholic Social Thought (Theology)
    • THEO 7735 - Biomedical Ethics (Theology)
    • THEO 7736 - Bioethics (Theology)
    • BISC 5510 - Conservation Biology (Biological Sciences)
    • BISC 5511 - Conservation Law and Policy (Biological Sciences)
    • CEED/PSYC 6290 - Health Disparities and Social Inequalities
    • CEED 6015/PSYC 6999 - HIV and Drug Abuse Prevention Research Ethics (Summer Session II Tutorial)
      *Students must receive permission to register from Program Director
    • ECON 5005 - Fair Trade Entrepreneurship (Economics)
    • ECON 5015 - Eco Development Policy (Economics)
    • ECON 5260 - Epidemics & Development Policy (Economics)
    • ECON 5280 - Urban Economics (Economics)
    • ECON 5415 - Gender and Economic Development (Economics)
    • ECON 5450 - Crisis, Adjustment, and Poverty (Economics)
    • ECON 5590 - Health Economics (Economics)
    • ECON 5808 - Migration, Microfinance and Poverty (Economics)
    • ECON 6460 - Agriculture and Development (Economics)
    • ECON 6480 - Environmental and Resource Economics (Economics)
    • ECON 6490 - Foreign Aid and Development (Economics)
    • ENGL 6101 - Rereading Close Reading: Historical Perspectives, Contemporary Challenges (English)
    • LALS 5007 - Working With Survivors of Violence (Latino and Latin American Studies)
    • PMMA 5101 - Freedom of Expression (Communication and Media Studies)
    • PMMA 5103 - Environment and the Media (Communication and Media Studies)
    • PMMA 5106 - Race, Gender and Digital Media (Communication and Media Studies)
    • PMMA 5204 - Civic Media (Communication and Media Studies)
    • PMMA 5201 - Social Media and Civic Engagement (Communication and Media Studies)
    • PMMA 6203 - Market and Brand in Public Interest (Communication and Media Studies)
    • POSC 5100 - American Political Behavior (Political Science)
    • POSC 5140 - Themes in Urban Public Policy and Power (Political Science)
    • POSC 5243 - Campaign Finance and Ethics (Political Science)
    • POSC 5301 - Modern Political Thought (Political Science)
    • POSC 5500 - Comparative Pol Analysis (Political Science)
    • POSC 5560 - Conflict Resolution (Political Science)
    • POSC 6530 - Political Economy of Development (Political Science)
    • POSC 6640 - Policies of Global Economic Relations (Political Science)
    • PSYC 5600 - Successful Aging (Psychology)
    • PSYC/CEED 6005 - Ethics in Psychology (Psychology)
      *Students must receive permission to register from Program Director
    • PSYC 6010/CEED 6010- Research Ethics and Social Justice (Psychology)
    • PSYC 6020 - Health Psychology (Psychology)
    • PSYC 6310 - Culture, Ethnicity, Race
      *Students must receive permission to register from Program Director and Course Instructor
    • PSYC 6350 - Applied Developmental Psychology (Psychology)
    • PSYC 6510 - Social Influences on Behaviors (Psychology)
    • PSYC 7010 - Psychology and Criminal Law (PSYC/ Law School HEGL 0369)
      *Students must receive permission to register from Program Director
    • PSYC 7020 - Psychology and Civil Law (Psychology)
    • SOCI 5410 - Gender and Sexuality (Sociology)
    • SOCI 5518 - Issues in Urban Sociology (Sociology)
    • SOCI 5806 - Religion and Globalization (Sociology)
    • SOCI 6100 - Classical Social Theory (Sociology)
    • SOCI 6101 - Contemporary Social Theory (Sociology)
    • SOCI 6125 - Ethics of Modern Selfhood (Sociology)
    • SOCI 6553 - Demography and Human Rights (Sociology)
    • SOCI 6717 - Crime and Punishment (Sociology)
  • Elective courses include any of the courses listed below. Students who wish to enroll in a course not approved for the program must first secure the permission of the director of the master’s program.

    Elective courses may be taken in Biological Sciences, Communication and Media Studies, Economics, Latino and Latin American Studies, Law, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Social Work, and Theology.

    Students may also complete the Ethics and Society Field Practicum Course as an elective.

    Individualized tutorials (which count as a course) may also be arranged in areas of interest for which there may not be a specific course. Examples of individualized tutorials include "Business Ethics", "Religion, Gender and Sexuality" and "Moral Instincts and Moral Behaviors."

    Fordham University School of Law

    • EHGL 0203 - Professional Responsibility
    • EHGL 0204 - Professional Responsibility: Ethics In Public Interest Law
    • EHGL 0208 - Professional Responsibility: Corporate Counsel
    • EHGL 0209 - Professional Responsibility: Criminal Advocacy
    • EHGL 0213 - Professional Responsibility: Civil Litigation
    • EHGL 0299 - Professional Responsibility: Lawyers and Justice
    • HEGL 0369 - Psychology and Criminal Law
    • ITGL 0042 - Human Rights Law
    • ITGL 0445 - Human Rights: Holocaust and Law
    • JUGL 0104 - Topics in Legal Philosophy
    • JUGL 0295 - Feminist Jurisprudence
    • JUGL 0347 - Jewish Law: Sources, Principles, and Jurisprudence
    • JUGL 0357 - Introduction to Jurisprudence
    • JUGL 0358 - Jurisprudence
    • JUGL 0393 - Catholic Perspectives on Conflict Resolution

    Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service

    • SWGS 6014 - Women, Work and Poverty
    • SWGS 6040 - Integrating Human Rights and Justice in Practice
    • SWGS 6050 - Human Rights and Social Justice
    • SWGS 6109 - Capacity Building with Faith Communities: Meeting the Challenges of Poverty

    Fordham University Graduate School of Arts and Science

    • HIST 6731 - U.S. Immigration and Ethnicity
    • HUST 5410 - Gender Integration in Humanitarian Action