Utrecht University

Applied Ethics, M.A.

  • Application Deadline
  • 12 months
  • English


The Master of Arts in Applied Ethics is offered by the Utrecht University.

Moral problems occur in all areas of life: professional, personal, political. Should banks impose strict criteria on clients to promote corporate social responsibility? How to allocate fairly the benefits and burdens of climate change policy options? For which purposes is the use of big data morally permissible? Do you believe it is ethical for us to use biological enhancement technologies to make us better, rather than simply well? Can it be justified to use biotechnology to change animals in order to avoid welfare problems in livestock? Such problems require careful reflection on the facts – but also on our basic moral values.

At the end of your studies, you’ll possess a thorough theoretical background in ethics, including important methods and debates in applied ethics. You will also understand the implications of legal and political frameworks for ethical argumentation.

Interdisciplinary studies

Our interdisciplinary approach offers you multiple avenues of investigation into applied ethics. In addition to studying philosophy, you’ll learn about the contexts in which moral problems arise and the different types of analysis that may be needed in various contexts. You’ll also examine how viewpoints from different disciplines can strengthen ethical reflection and argumentation.

Internationally oriented programme and research

This English-taught, one-year Master’s programme attracts international and Dutch students with diverse disciplinary backgrounds (for example, philosophy, medicine, law, international studies, economics) as well as people with professional experience (for example, health care professionals, lawyers, veterinarians, management consultants in corporate social responsibility & business ethics, or journalists). This unique student body provides a wide range of cultural viewpoints through which you can explore ethical dilemmas. The programme offers the opportunity to do an internship with a national or international organisation or NGO, and to participate in elective Master-level courses abroad.

The Master’s programme in Applied Ethics is embedded in Utrecht University’s Ethics Institute, a research-driven organisation that focuses on human dignity and human rights, education ethics, animal ethics, sustainability ethics, public health ethics, and bioethics.

After Graduation

During your studies in this programme, you’ll develop the necessary skills to analyse important current ethical issues. You’ll learn to critically propose possible solutions as well as to engage professionals and other concerned individuals in reflection on the moral dimensions of their practice. After completing the programme, you’ll have the skills to:

  • Identify and analyse ethical arguments about moral problems in different social and professional contexts.
  • Present sound input to public debates on moral issues.
  • Formulate theory-based policy recommendations regarding moral issues in specific practices.
  • Organise constructive ethical deliberation in institutional and professional contexts.

Career prospects

There are various career opportunities after graduating with a degree in Applied Ethics. A recent survey shows that around 30% of our graduates work at a university today, either as teachers or as PhD students. After finishing the programme, you are also able to teach ethics to professionals or to work as a consultant in governmental and diplomatic services. Some of our alumni work in journalism or in various NGOs or banks.


Accredited by the NVAO - Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders.

Programme Structure

Courses included:

  • Ethical Theory & Moral Practice
  • Ethics And Public Policy
  • Ethics Of Institutions
  • Methods & Tools In Practical Philosophy
  • Economic Ethics
  • Medical Ethics And Philosophy Of Medicine
  • Sustainable World: Humans, Animals And Nature
  • Digital Ethics
  • History and Philosophy of Objectivity
For more information please visit the programme website.

Detailed Programme Facts

English Language Requirements

You only need to take one of these language tests:

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    Book IELTS
  • Minimum required score (Grade B):


    The CAE test – or the Cambridge Advanced English – is an exam for applicants who wish to get a Certificate in Advanced English. To receive the Advanced certificate, test-takers must score between 142 and 210 on the Cambridge English: Advanced test. Read more about CAE.

    Note: degree programmes and applications may require a more specific minimum score for admission.

  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL – or Test Of English as a Foreign Language – offers an internet-based test (iBT). The final, overall iBT score ranges between 0 and 120, and includes a scaled average from the four components (reading, listening, speaking, and writing). Read more about TOEFL (iBT).

Academic Requirements

Besides TOEFL, IELTS and CAE, also Cambridge Proficiency in English (CPE - at least Grade C) is accepted as a proof of English Proficiency.

  • a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, or
  • a Bachelor’s degree in a different discipline combined with a major in Ethics or Philosophy, or
  • a Bachelor’s degree combined with a minor in Ethics of at least 30 EC. A minor in Ethics should contain courses at both the introductory and advanced undergraduate levels.
  • You are able to express yourself in proficient English, both orally and in written text, as evidenced by your motivation letter and/or writing sample, and the interview that is part of the selection procedure.

Tuition Fee

  • International Applies to you

    15575 EUR/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 15575 EUR for the full programme and a duration of 12 months.
  • EU/EEA Applies to you

    2060 EUR/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 2060 EUR for the full programme and a duration of 12 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.
For more information about tuition fees and exemptions have a look at the programme website.

Living costs for Utrecht

  • 900 - 1450 EUR/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


Scholarships, fellowships, and grants offered by Utrecht University, the Dutch government, and other organisations can help fund your studies at the university.  You can begin your search for funding by reviewing the list below, which contains some of the scholarships and loans available to international students:

  • Utrecht Excellence Scholarships
  • Holland Scholarships
  • Orange Tulip Scholarships
  • Canadian student loans
  • Fulbright / NAF
  • US Federal Loans
  • Erasmus+ Master loans

StudyPortals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

The Global Study Awards: get funded with up to £10,000 to study abroad

Together with the ISIC Association and British Council IELTS, StudyPortals offers you the chance to receive up to £10000 to expand your horizon and study abroad. We want to ultimately encourage you to study abroad in order to experience and explore new countries, cultures and languages.