Philosophy (PHIL) 334

Professional Ethics in Heritage Resources Management (Revision 2)

PHIL 334

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Humanities

Prerequisite: None

Precluded Course: : PHIL 334 and HERM 334 are cross-listed, which means that if one of these courses has been taken for credit, the other cannot.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

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Heritage Resources Management Program home page

PHIL 334 is not available for challenge.

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Philosophy 334 / Heritage Resources Management 334: Professional Ethics in Heritage Resources Management examines the ways that ethical issues and moral theories shape heritage practice as well as critical methods for analyzing and evaluating a variety of positions on these issues. These issues and theories are approached through an understanding of moral reasoning as well as the various principles in ethics that have been accepted as framing heritage practice. It also deals with formal ethical guidelines and less formal rules that govern practice. Through this course students will gain an understanding of the reasons and imperatives for ethical behaviour in professional life, and the unique ethical dilemmas that heritage practitioners face in regards to collection, preservation, representation, and exhibition. This course is divided into two parts. Part I, “An Introduction to Professional Ethics in Heritage Resources Management,” presents conceptual and foundational issues, while Part II, “Ethical Issues in Heritage Resources Management,” discusses ethical issues that are specifically raised in heritage resources practice. Although it is unlikely that all moral and ethical dilemmas can be resolved, it is the intent of this course to offer both the structural background in traditional and modern philosophies of ethics and morals, and a variety of approaches to some key questions or problems.

HERM 334 is a required course in the Heritage Resources Management program, but welcomes all students.

Course Outline

Part I: An Introduction to Professional Ethics in Heritage Resources Management

  • Unit 1: What is a Profession?
  • Unit 2: Heritage Resources Management and Ethical Codes
  • Unit 3: Moral and Ethical Principles for Heritage Resources Management: Foundations of Ethical Practice
  • Unit 4: Institutional versus Personal Ethics: Policies, Procedures, and Virtue Ethics
  • Unit 5: Legal, Cultural, and Ethical Responsibility: Cultural and Intellectual Property

Part II: Ethical Issues in Heritage Resources Management

  • Unit 6: Standards of Ethics in Conservation and Heritage Management
  • Unit 7: Cultural Relativism: Appropriation, Human Remains, and Indigenous “Others”
  • Unit 8: Feminist Ethics and Heritage Resources Management
  • Unit 9: Censorship and Heritage Ethics
  • Unit 10: Conflict of Interest, Looting, and Repatriation
  • Unit 11: Stewardship, Heritage Discourse, and Justice


To receive credit in PHIL 334 / HERM 334 you must complete all of the assignments and write the final examination and achieve a minimum composite course grade of D (50 percent). The chart below summarizes course activities and the credit weight associated with each assignment.

Activity Weighting
Assignment 1: Critical Essay 30%
Assignment 2: Case Study 35%
Final Examination 35%
Total 100%

The final examination for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

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

Course Materials

The course is comprised of a combination of online resources and academic support. There is no course package.

Course Information

The Course Information provides essential information specific to the course and the procedures you should follow to complete the course successfully. Instructions for completing the assignments are located in the “Assignments” section of the Course Information, as well as on your course home page.

Study Guide

The Study Guide comprises the 11 units of the course. Each unit provides learning objectives, commentary, a reading assignment, guiding and study questions, references, and additional resources (supplementary materials). Together, these units direct your study of the course material. The Study Guide is accessible in electronic format through the course home page.

Student Manual

The Student Manual provides essential generic information about studying at Athabasca University and outlines the procedures you should follow to complete the course successfully.

Other Materials

All required readings for this course are available through AU library’s Digital Reading Room.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the HERM 334 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.

Essay Exam Total
40% 60% 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 2, March 24, 2016.