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Applied Ethics for Professionals

Since 2002, the Wits Philosophy Department has offered an integrated, part-time programme in Applied Ethics for Professionals. As the name suggests, the programme is tailored for experienced and successful people in all walks of professional life, and is now affiliated with the recently created Wits Centre for Ethics. The programme leads to a Master of Arts degree (MA) and does not presuppose any background in philosophy.

The programme is divided into two components: coursework and research. The course work component consists of three-hour seminars on Saturday mornings. Approximately sixteen such Saturdays are involved during the first year, eight per semester, and eight further seminars complete the course work during the first half of the second year. The research component is completed in the student’s own time, under the guidance of a supervisor from the Wits Department of Philosophy.

The next intake in the programme will be in 2020. For information on how to apply, please contact the Programme Coordinator (details below).


  • An Honours degree or a professional qualification at least equivalent to an Honours degree (e.g., MBA, BSc(Eng), CA, LLB (second degree), MBBCh);
  • At least one year’s experience in a professional, managerial or leadership position;
  • Excellent English comprehension and writing skills;
  • Ready and convenient access to email and the Internet;
  • The ability to attend the Saturday seminars on the Wits campus.


The course work takes a year and a half to complete. The course work is followed by a Research Report of 15,000–20,000 words, often, but not necessarily, on an ethical topic related to the participant’s professional field.  In total, the MA programme is intended to take two years to complete, with Research Reports submitted within 8 months following completion of the course work.

Programme Structure

First Year of Study

Term 1 (February – June): Required core course: Methods of Applied Ethics (8 Saturday seminars)

Term 2 (July – October): Two from a set of three electives on offer (4 Saturday seminars each, 8 in total)

Summer Break (November – February):  Work on Research Report proposals, with proposal presentations held in early February of the second year

Second Year of Study

Term 1 (February – June): Two further electives from a set of three electives on offer (8 Saturday seminars)

Term 2 (June – February of third year): Individual supervised work on research reports (MA stream only)

Approved Electives

Six of the following courses will be offered during any two-year cycle, normally in consultation with programme participants:

  • Cultural Pluralism and Ethics
  • Ethical Theory 
  • Ethics and the Environment
  • Ethics and International Affairs 
  • Information and Privacy 
  • Issues in Biomedical Ethics 
  • Morality and the Law
  • Morality and the Marketplace 
  • Social Justice
  • The Value of Life

For more information on each of these electives, click here.


Participants in the AEP programme range in age from the mid-20s to the late-60s. They also come from a vast variety of different professional fields.

Contact Details

Programme Coordinator

Dr. Dylan Futter

Phone: 27 11 717 4344