MSc Global Ethics and Justice

Are you looking to explore Global Justice topics such as international trade, climate change, war and violence and terrorism and apply ethical theories to these areas?

This flexible programme offers a range of modules in the field of ethics, in addition to the opportunity to participate in a research seminar or undertake a placement with an NGO or the equivalent. The programme is designed to accommodate those wishing to study part-time around other commitments. It is equally suitable for recent graduates or post-experience students, for those wishing to go on to further research in one or more of the topics, or for those with a personal interest in the field of global ethics.

We also offer this programme by distance learning - see Global Ethics and Justice MSc (Distance Learning).

 
Dr Jonathan Parry

Dr Jonathan Parry

Director of the Centre for the Study of Global Ethics

“The Centre for the Study of the Global Ethics is home to a team of world-leading researchers, working on topics such as: health and wellbeing, climate change and the environment, human rights and global justice, war and intervention, bioethics, and gender justice. We take an interdisciplinary approach to ethics and international affairs, drawing on expertise from across the university, in order to equip our students with the skills needed to critically analyse complex issues in a globalised world.”

You will study six modules, three of which are core Global Ethics modules (see Modules tab for descriptions): 

  • Ethics and Global Ethics
  • Topics in Global Justice
  • Research Skills and Methods

Your remaining three modules are optional, and can be chosen from a range which typically includes:

  • Bioethics 
  • Global Ethics Placement
  • God, Freedom and the Meaning of Life
  • Human Rights   
  • Philosophy of Health and Happiness
  • Philosophy and Mental Health 

Assessment

Modules are assessed by written assignment. You will also complete a 15,000-word dissertation with support from a supervisor; the dissertation may be entirely literature-based, or may be based on a placement project.  

Why study this course

  • Taught by experts – You will study alongside some of the finest minds in Philosophy. We are ranked second among all Philosophy departments in the UK in the most recent Research Excellence Framework.
  • Optional placement – Gain hands on experience by exploring the practice of global ethics by undertaking a placement in an organisation of your choice, such as a Non-Government Organisation (NGO) or policy-making organisation. Previous students have enjoyed placements with Oxfam, development NGOs in Tanzania and UK-based Human Rights and activist organisations.
  • Friendly and relaxed atmosphere – Staff within the Department of Philosophy are very approachable and happy to offer additional advice on academic performance.
  • Small classes – Teaching on the masters-level modules involve mainly small-group seminars allowing you to really get to grips with the learning material. 
  • Be a part of an active postgraduate community – You will join a lively and stimulating Department where you can contribute to on-going research activities, including research seminars and events such as our weekly speaker series and various workshops, reading groups and conferences throughout the year.

One of our alumna explains how the course benefited her:

"The Global Ethics course allows space to grapple some of the most pressing global problems in the modern world in a robust philosophical way. I found the combined applied and theoretical approach particularly useful and illuminating, and most suited to my interests in global justice and moral and political philosophy more broadly. It was an excellent experience that led me to continue onto a PhD (on female suicide bombers and models of autonomy) in the department." 
Herjeet Marway

Hear from our graduates

Modules

You will study three core modules:

Ethics and Global Ethics

This module aims to introduce you to key concepts and debates in ethics, with some focus on the global dimension of current ethical problems. First, we will explore several prominent traditions in ethical theory; next we will apply these normative ethical theories to concrete ethical questions. In investigating these theories and applications, you will be encouraged to question your presumptions about the nature of ethics and moral values. The module also develops critical reasoning and argumentative skills through philosophical discussion and writing. The theoretical tools of analysis and argument can be applied in all aspects of ethics and global ethics.
Assessment: One or two written assignments totalling 4,000 words

Topics in Global Justice

This module will focus on applications of the dominant contemporary moral theories to significant issues in global ethics and politics. The topics to be approached on the basis of these theories are a selection of the following debates: world poverty and the obligations of the affluent; justice and the global economic order; global distributive justice; structural injustice; human rights theory; human development and care ethics; climate change; cosmopolitanism vs priority for compatriots; immigration and freedom of movement; just war theory; terrorism, humanitarian intervention; global gender justice; issues around a global ‘democratic deficit'.
Assessment: One or two written assignments totalling 4,000 words

Research Skills and Methods

This module provides an introduction to the methods of contemporary philosophy. Topics addressed typically include: critical thinking in philosophy, reading in philosophy, research skills, dissertation planning, and presenting philosophical arguments in written work. You will also participate in online sessions focused on generic research skills.
Assessment: Two 2,000-word essays

Your remaining three modules are optional, and can be chosen from a range which typically includes:

  • Bioethics
  • God, Freedom and the Meaning of Life
  • Human Rights
  • Philosophy of Health and Happiness
  • Philosophy and Mental Health

For more information, see our Philosophy postgraduate modules.

You also have the opportunity to undertake a placement for one of your options: 

Global Ethics Placement

You will undertake a placement in an organisation of your choice, such as a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) or policy-making organisation. This module allows you to explore the practice of global ethics. Previous students have enjoyed placements with Oxfam, development NGOs in Tanzania and UK-based Human Rights and activist organisations.  
Assessment: 6,000-word project report


Please note that the optional module information listed on the website for this programme is intended to be indicative, and the availability of optional modules may vary from year to year. Where a module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you to make other choices.

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2018/19 are as follows:

  • UK / EU: £9,000 full-time; £4,500 part-time
  • International: £16,290 full-time

The above fees quoted are for one year only; for those studying over two or more years, tuition fees will also be payable in subsequent years of your programme.

Fee status

Eligibility for UK/EU or international fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students

We can also confirm that EU students who are already studying at the University of Birmingham or who have an offer to start their studies in the 2018-19 academic year will continue to be charged the UK fee rate applicable at the time, provided this continues to be permitted by UK law. The UK Government has also confirmed that students from the EU applying to courses starting in the 2018-19 academic year will not see any changes to their loan eligibility or fee status. This guarantee will apply for the full duration of the course, even if the course finishes after the UK has left the EU.

Paying your fees

Tuition fees can either be paid in full or by instalments. Learn more about postgraduate tuition fees and funding.

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available. To discover whether you are eligible for any award across the University, and to start your funding application, please visit the University's Postgraduate Funding Database.

International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

Entry requirements

The programme allows for multi-disciplinary entry. You need an upper second-class Honours degree, or equivalent, in Philosophy or another relevant subject (e.g. Theology, Sociology) or a Joint Honours degree of which Philosophy or another relevant subject is a component.

Learn more about entry requirements

International students

Academic requirements

We accept a range of qualifications; our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements

You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:

How to apply

International students requiring visas

Monday 2 July 2018 is the application deadline for international students who require a visa to study in the United Kingdom. We are not able to consider applications for 2018 made after this date - a new application should be made for September 2019. Applications will reopen for 2019 entry by 21 September 2018.

Before you make your application

You may wish to register your interest with us to receive regular news and updates on postgraduate life within this Department and the wider University.

Making your application

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

As well as the taught modules you take on this programme, you are encouraged to participate in our weekly Postgraduate Seminar and in the regular meetings of PhilSoc, so you'll be able to gain insight from a range of academics and peers from across the department.

Support with academic writing

As a postgraduate student in the College of Arts and Law, you have access to the Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) which aims to help your transition from undergraduate to taught Masters level, or back into academia after time away. The service offers guidance on writing assignments and dissertations for your MA/MSc programme with individual support from an academic writing advisor via tutorials, email and the provision of online materials.

International students can access support for English Language development and skills through the Birmingham International Academy (BIA).

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University.

The University's Careers Network provides advice and information specifically for postgraduates that will help you to develop an effective career and skills development strategy, and to make the most of your time with us at the University. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated careers and employability team to deliver tailored programmes of careers events and local support.

You will have opportunities to: meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs; attend employer presentations and skills workshops; receive individual guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique; and access to comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.

You will also be able to access our full range of careers support for up to two years after graduation.

Postgraduate employability: Philosophy

Birmingham's Philosophy postgraduates develop a range of skills that are highly desirable in the job market, including: articulacy; precise analytical thought; clarity; rigour in formulating complex problems; and the ability to analyse and construct sound arguments.

Due to the transferable nature of their skills, Philosophy postgraduates traditionally enter a wide range of employment areas, from teaching and lecturing to publishing. Employers that graduates have gone on to work for include: BBC; Friends of the Earth; Birmingham Children?s Hospital; Highways England; and University of Birmingham.

Many of our alumni have found that the course provides an ideal foundation for their careers, such as James Hodgson:

"Having studied Global Ethics, I have found that my understanding of the diversity of human experience and philosophies has been greatly expanded. The course taught me to question my own assumptions and opened my eyes to the potential within humanity. The staff and my peers' passion for exploring ideas and concepts created a wonderful learning environment. Since graduating I have worked for international NGOs including Medecins Sans Frontieres and ECPAT International both within the UK and internationally. Currently I am in Kigali, Rwanda working with a number of NGOs here and still finding the skills and knowledge I acquired during my Masters of great value professionally and personally."
James Hodgson

Birmingham has been transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.

Get involved

The Guild of Students hosts over 250 student groups and societies to suit a wide range of interests. These include the Postgraduate and Mature Students Association which runs a regular and varied programme of events specifically tailored to postgraduate students.

In addition, you will find that each Department runs its own social activities, research fora and student groups.

Accommodation

We offer accommodation for postgraduates on or near to campus, although many of our students also choose to live privately in student accommodation, shared houses or flats. If you do choose to live in private accommodation, the University has dedicated support services to help you to find properties from accredited landlords.

The City of Birmingham

One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and cultures, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work. Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.