Work in international aid and development, whether carried out by aid workers or teams of technical experts in agriculture, public health or engineering, and whether involving the UN or a small NGO, inevitably raises ethical issues.  This 7-week, online course helps those involved in such work, and those professionals and students who foresee themselves doing international work, to think critically and systematically about these ethical dilemmas.

Students examine case studies posing dilemmas for individuals and organizations concerning such topics as humanitarian aid, scarce resources, encounters with begging and with corruption, tensions between one’s own ideals and practical and institutional limitations, and dilemmas concerning one’s status as an outsider to the culture one hopes to help.  They are exposed to a variety of theoretical perspectives (ethical theories, theories of global justice, capabilities, human rights, human needs, various conceptions of development, etc.) that are used in thinking about these ethical issues.  

The program focuses on issues that arise in the daily practice of such work and in policy debates about them, exploring ways of analyzing and reasoning about their ethical dimensions in a way of use to such practitioners. 


This course can be taken on its own, but it is also the core module for the new Online Certificate Program in Ethics, Development and Global Practice. 

NOTE: A different 7-week online course, Ethics and Global Health, is also available at the same time-slots below.




Fred Gifford, Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Director of the Graduate Specialization in Ethics and Development.  He teaches classes in philosophy of medicine, health care ethics, ethics and development and ethical issues in global public health.  Inquiries can be sent to him at



US$500. Students in non-OECD member states are eligible for a reduced rate of US$350.

To register for the course please go to: Once you are there type in, "ethical" in the search box (or any of the words in the title -- similarly for the "Ethics and Global Health" course). 

Limited to 25 participants. 

Course taught again:

March 10 - April 25, 2014

For further information please send an email to: