Ethics (minor only)

Ethics focuses on the principles that guide the choices of individuals, groups, institutions and professions. Ethical questions concerning what is right or wrong, good or bad, arise in nearly every field. Ethics is a central part of the Lasallian mission of Manhattan College.

Why Choose Ethics?

Ethics Matter

Today we face an increasing number of ethical questions and challenges, many of which are due to new technology and changes in business. Many public and private companies are adding ethical awareness to their missions and operations. As an ethics minor, you can choose to major in anything because ethical questions arise in all fields, such as:

  • medicine
  • biology
  • engineering
  • computer technology
  • business
  • education

A strong background in ethics makes you a more desirable and competent professional in nearly every field.

Personalized Study

The ethics minor draws on faculty and course offerings from across the College, and can be tailored to compliment your major. You will meet with a faculty adviser to plan a course of studies best suited to your interests and needs.

There are also internship opportunities available in a variety of fields. You could choose to work at a corporation, a hospital or in government. These workplaces all have advisory boards dealing with ethical issues.

  • Meet an Ethics Minor: Olivia Smith
    Ethics Student

    “When I was looking at colleges, I was mainly applying to criminal justice programs because I want to go to law school. Manhattan offers a crime law and social justice concentration within the sociology major, so it fit. I also have minors in music and ethics. Sophomore year, I took a Philosophy of Law course which sort of pointed me toward the ethics minor. I loved the class and loved the professor, and just kept taking more classes. Ethics seemed like a good way to bring together law and sociology. They all kind of fit together, and you read a lot of the same material.

    "Ethics is an interdisciplinary program. You have to take an Ancient Greek Philosophy class and the Ethics course. But you also get to pick a couple elective classes out of a list including communication classes, religion classes. So they bring in other subjects within ethics. It's much broader than just philosophy.

    "Sociology is a small department. Sophomore year, I took a class with the department head and now he's my adviser, and I go to him all the time. It's really easy to just talk to your professors, which is cool. And it’s the same within the Philosophy department and the professors that teach most of the ethics classes. The class sizes have gotten smaller along the way. Freshman year there were usually about 20-25 people. But I've taken a philosophy class that had nine people, which was cool. We sat in a circle and tried to figure out life — which is exactly what philosophy is!

    I" have an internship this semester with a company called The Common Good, which is a nonprofit downtown. Their mission is to hold events with politicians and journalists and try to foster bipartisanship, because you can't really get much done in a hyper-partisan environment.

    "Through all this, I’ve struggled with deciding if I actually want to go to law school. In high school I thought ‘I'm going to go to law school, that's what I want to do,’ and then at the beginning of this semester, I was starting to study for the LSAT, and I thought, ‘Do I want to do this?’ which is what every single person going into law school goes through at some point. So I sat with Career Development for a really long time, and just talked about my options. One of my philosophy professors, Dr. Pascoe, she's also really helpful with these kinds of things. I feel like if you go to anyone with any problem, especially an 'I don't know what I want to do with my life,' problem, they're really helpful. Because you're 20-21 years old! You really shouldn't have to be able to make that decision on your own, and it's normal, which is something they try to stress.

    "I've decided to take the LSAT and go to law school. I want to be able to practice law in the city, and eventually I want to be a judge. That's an end goal in 20 years. Now I'm just deciding on whether or not to take a gap year. I might try to do some service work for a year before I go. I went on L.O.V.E. New Orleans last year, and then I led the trip this year. I'm considering going down there to volunteer for a year. It's a really special city.”

What Will You Learn?

The ethics minor is designed to help you address ethical questions in both personal and professional settings. To prepare for this, you will:

  • Study both practical and theoretical issues
  • Use critical thinking skills and ethical theory to respond to moral dilemmas

Some examples of timely ethical dilemmas debated in class include:

  • Does the government have a right to gather private information about its constituents?
  • Is it ethical for corporations to sell information they have gathered on customers’ buying habits to other companies?
  • It is unethical for a U.S. company to bribe people in other countries to do business if this is the standard practice in these countries, but not the U.S.?
  • Is there anything morally wrong with copying downloaded movies for friends who haven’t paid for them?
  • What are our ethical obligations in the face of natural disasters or international crises? Do normal ethical rules apply in these extreme conditions, or do we need to rethink ethical requirements in dire circumstances?
  • Does America have a moral obligation to help prevent genocide in other countries if it means a loss of American lives?
  • What are our ethical obligations in the face of climate change?
  • Is it ethical to bioengineer a genetically identical pet to replace one that has died?
  • Can we have obligations to the environment or to animals?
  • Is extreme economic inequality unethical?
  • Is assisted suicide ethical?

See the minor requirements

What Will You Do?

The ethics minor prepares you to be a critical thinker, which is a valued skill in any profession. Many students choose to pursue careers in law, medicine, business, education, research or media.