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2024/25 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

IDEA5221M Professional Ethics: Key Concepts

15 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Joshua Hobbs

Taught: 1 Nov to 31 Jan View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

Module replaces

IDEA5220M Professional Issues 1: Trust and Integrity

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This is an introduction to professional ethics. It begins with what makes a profession before asking questions such as: do professional roles imply moral standards, what is the purpose of professional codes of ethics, why is trust so important in professional relationships, and what is the nature of professional integrity? Various professional duties will be critically discussed, such as honesty, integrity, trust and confidentiality.


1. To gain an understanding of some of the philosophical and ethical issues and arguments within professional ethics and the implications they have for professional conduct and society more generally.

2. To develop critical awareness of the roles professions may play in society, how they ought to be organised and if, and how, they should be changed.

3. To understand the relationship between ethics and professional ethics.

The objectives will be fulfilled through:
• Independent online learning where students are introduced to core concepts, readings, and arguments and are encouraged to read texts critically and reflect on and analyse these arguments and concepts.
• Online discussion forums and synchronous webinars where students have the opportunity to develop their own arguments on the topics and test these through critical reflection with other learners and academic staff.

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of the module students will be able to:
1. Explain and discuss some of the key concepts in professional ethics.
2. Critically evaluate arguments in professional ethics concerning the nature of professional ethics, and its relationship to general ethics and professional responsibilities.
3. Construct clear, insightful, and well-justified arguments in professional ethics.
4. Describe and discuss a wide range of debates in professional ethics.

Skills Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the module students will have demonstrated the following skills learning outcomes:

5. Communicate ideas and understanding clearly and concisely, using appropriate academic language (Academic and Work Ready skill)
6. Critically analyse source material and demonstrate independence of thought (Academic and Work Ready skill)
7. Search for appropriate material to support knowledge and analysis of topics (Academic, Work Ready, Digital and Sustainability skill)
8. Conform to standards of academic integrity including when and how to appropriately acknowledge someone else’s work and ideas (Academic and Work Ready skill)
9. Identify ethical questions and use ethical frameworks when analysing issues and source material (Sustainability skill)
10. Digital communication, collaboration and participation (Digital and Work Ready skill)


Topics may include:
The understanding of professional ethics
- What is a profession, what does it mean to be a professional, and what are the implications for professional ethics?
Issues within professional ethics
- The role of professional codes in ethics
- Trust and professional relationships
- Personal and professional integrity
- The problem of fragmentation (making a clear demarcation between one's professional life and one's personal life, having different ethical practices in each)
- Conflicts of interest
- Honesty and deception in a professional context

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours34.00
Private study hours100.00
Total Contact hours16.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Opportunities for formative feedback will include a reflective component and a formative assessment:
Reflective component:
 Students will have the opportunity to reflect on guidance on how to write a philosophy essay. This will include written materials and a short video provided on Minerva. After reflecting on these materials students will record the main takeaways in their personal learning blog (on Minerva).
 This requires students to engage with the materials we provide to help them with their summative assessments
Formative assessment:
 Critical response: students provide a 500-word exposition of an argument from one of the key readings.
 This allows students to practice one of the skills that they themselves have identified as key to writing a good philosophy paper in the reflective exercise above.
The first summative essay will also provide formative feedback for the second essay.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
EssayEssay (1500 words)45.00
EssayEssay (1500 words)45.00
Group DiscussionContributions to online discussion10.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

The resit for the discussion contributions will be an essay demonstrating familiarity with a wide range of debates and will be descriptively as opposed to analytically focused.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 07/06/2024 15:34:54


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