Philosophy (PHIL) 333

Professional Ethics (Revision 3)

PHIL 333 Course Cover

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Humanities

Prerequisite: None required, but PHIL 152/252 is recommended.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Philosophy Studies home page

PHIL 333 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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Philosophy 333 highlights ethical issues pertaining to journalists, engineers, medical doctors, accounting and finance specialists, and lawyers. What distinguishes the professions from non-professional jobs? What moral qualities should professionals exhibit? What does professional responsibility consist in? Should professionals be judged using a different moral standard than that by which we ordinarily judge ourselves and each other? When in conflict, how should the obligations, responsibilities, and interests of professionals, clients, and society be weighted and prioritized? How should (particular kinds of) professionals conduct themselves in morally problematic situations involving public safety and public trust, privacy and confidentiality, honesty or deception, informed consent, objectivity and conflicts of interest, or whistleblowing?


  • Unit 1: Morality, Ethics, and Reasoning
  • Unit 2: Normative Ethical Theories
  • Unit 3: Professional Ethics
  • Unit 4: Ethics & Engineering
  • Unit 5: Ethics & Medicine
  • Unit 6: Ethics & Journalism
  • Unit 7: Ethics & Law
  • Unit 8: Ethics & Accounting and Finance
  • Unit 9: Concluding Remarks

Learning Outcomes

After completing Philosophy 333, you should be able to achieve the following learning outcomes:

  1. Effectively identify moral situations and moral issues encountered by a wide range of different professionals.
  2. Critically apply ethical theories, principles, and concepts to specific moral situations and issues faced by professionals.
  3. Accurately apply the methods and criteria for evaluating moral arguments to develop and present persuasive arguments relevant to resolving these moral issues and moral situations in written work.
  4. Conduct independent research in professional ethics with scholarly rigour to produce well-supported philosophical written work that reflects university standards in information literacy and academic integrity.


To receive credit for this course, you must complete and submit all of the work outlined below and receive a course composite grade of at least a D (50 percent). The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Assignment Weighting
Study Plan and Introductory Forum 2%
Skills Module 1: Academic Integrity and Quiz 1 3%
Skills Module 2: Library and Research and Quiz 2 3%
Skills Module 3: Documentation and Quiz 3 2%
Assignment 1: Case Study 25%
Assignment 2: Philosophy Research Paper 30%
Final Examination 35%
Total 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Allhoff, Fritz, and Anand J. Vaidya, eds. Professions in Ethical Focus: An Anthology. Peterborough, ON: Broadview Press, 2008.

Other Materials

All other materials are available online.

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university-level course.

Full information about Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the PHIL 333 challenge registration, you must complete the two parts of the challenge exam and achieve a grade of at least D (50 percent) on both parts.

Activity Weighting
Philosophy Research Paper 50%
Invigilated Examination 50%
Total 100%

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 3, Oct 5, 2018.

View previous syllabus