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The study of Ethics provides an excellent grounding in evaluative theory and reasoning for a professional future in the public service, the health sector, social work, with environmental agencies, and in business.

Please note: Ethics may be taken as a supporting subject, but there will be no new enrolments in the Ethics major, Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma from 2017. Students who enrolled in any of these programmes in 2016 or prior should consult the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences for advice (

Studying Ethics will give you the tools and capabilities you need to become an inspirational leader in the community and in your working life, and will enable you to feel confident in your capability to reflect on doing “the right thing” and following through on that reflection.

Ethics at Waikato is an interdisciplinary programme with a philosophical core. It includes the study of fundamental moral concepts and the nature of morality as well as applications of evaluative thinking to diverse subject areas such as politics, law, management, Māori and Pacific Studies, religion, art, the media, and the environment. With a theoretical core but an applied emphasis it provides a pathway into any government and private sector employment where sensitivity to ethical issues is a significant requirement.

A great strength of the Ethics programme is that it offers an edge in employability when combined with other professional degrees. Examples include law, counselling, management, teaching, accountancy and computer science.

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Key information

Study Locations: Hamilton; Tauranga; Online

Career opportunities

  • Business Consultant
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Health Policy Advisor
  • Human Resource Manager
  • Policy Analyst
  • Public Relations Practitioner
  • Teacher

100 level

Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
PHILO106Social and Moral Philosophy18A (Hamilton) & 18A (Online)
A study of key concepts in areas of applied ethics including abortion, euthanasia, health care, children's rights, pornography, justice, environmental issues, religion and ethics, and other issues.

200 level

Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
MAORI202Nga Iho Matua: Maori Philosophy18B (Hamilton)
This paper examines the philosophical underpinnings of seminal tikanga Maori concepts, and their influence both historically and in contemporary Maori culture.
MNGT221Business Law, Ethics, Sustainability and the Treaty of Waitangi18A (Hamilton) & 18B (Hamilton)
This paper overviews the sources of New Zealand business law and obligations that arise under this law, and critically examines the importance of ethics, sustainability and the Treaty of Waitangi to contemporary business.
PHILO215Moral and Political Philosophy: A Historical Introduction18B (Hamilton)
This paper uses Plato's Republic to introduce students to central issues in moral and political philosophy, including questions about virtue, happiness, justice, liberty, democracy, tyranny, feminism, art, censorship, and moral education.
PHILO217Environmental Ethics18S (Hamilton) & 18S (Online)
A study of ethical questions about the relation of humans to the rest of the natural world, including the attribution of value and rights to the non-human world and ethical issues in environment and development.
PHILO218Ethics at Work18T (Online)
This is an applied ethics paper focussing on the professions, research and business. It examines contemporary issues relevant to a wide range of occupations graduates might enter.
PHILO225Happiness and Wellbeing18A (Hamilton)
Drawing on ancient wisdom and modern science, this paper investigates the meaning and value of happiness, and the role it plays in making our lives go well for us.
POLSC201Modern Political Thinkers18A (Hamilton) & 18A (Online)
This course examines the ideas of a number of modern political thinkers such as Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Hegel, and Marx.
POLSC224Terrorism, Violence and the State18A (Hamilton)
Terrorism is an increasingly prominent global phenomenon. We will clarify it conceptually and situate it historically with theory and case studies in situating it in comparative political and International Relations analysis.

300 level

Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
MPDV300Contemporary and Critical Issues in Maori, Pacific and Indigenous Development18A (Hamilton)
A critical engagement of contemporary phenomenon such as ideologies, the market and indigenous development discourses and the transformations this brings to communities.
PHIL305Philosophy of Religion18B (Hamilton)
A detailed examination of selected issues in the field of philosophy of religion including the idea of God, the problem of evil, religious language and religious experience.
PHIL309Ethical Theory18A (Hamilton)
A philosophical analysis of moral concepts and the foundations of morality.
PHIL315Democracy, Justice and EqualityThis paper will not be taught in 2018.
This paper will not be taught in 2018.
PHIL316Philosophy and the ArtsThis paper will not be taught in 2018.
This paper will not be taught in 2018.
PHIL390Directed Study18A (Hamilton), 18B (Hamilton) & 18Y (Hamilton)
Admission to this paper is at the discretion of the Philosophy Programme Convenor.
POLS300Religion and Political Violence18A (Online), 18B (Online), 18S (Online) & 18T (Online)
This paper in the history of political ideas examines Christian attitudes to political violence over the past 2000 years. It gives students knowledge and understanding of both Christian pacifism and Christian 'just war' thought. It does this by examining writings of major Christian thinkers, including Augustine, Aquinas, Luther and...
POLS327Political Ideas18T (Hamilton)
An introduction to a range of issues in contemporary political philosophy, in particular issues relating to questions of justice. The focus is on the examination of arguments and the clarification of concepts.
TTWA301Te Tino Rangatiratanga me te Kawanatanga: Reconciliation or Conflict?This paper will not be taught in 2018.
This paper will not be taught in 2018.

400 level

Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
LEGAL436Legal Ethics18A (Hamilton)
An introduction to the concept of a profession and the ethical and professional duties of practitioners and an introduction to ethical analysis, the applicability of legal analysis to legal practice and the wider responsibilities of lawyers in the community.

Prescriptions for the GradCert(Ethics) and GradDip(Ethics)

A Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma are available to graduates who have not included Ethics at an advanced level in their first degree.

For further details, contact the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

Graeme Mackenzie I chose Waikato as the political science and public policy department has a good reputation, and I enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere in Hamilton.

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Subject links

Philosophy Programme

Subject Requirements

Ethics is available as a supporting subject for the BA and BSocSc. Ethics may also be taken as a supporting subject within other undergraduate degrees, subject to academic approval of the Faculty or School of Studies in which the student is enrolled.



Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences:
Phone: 0800 800 145 or +64 7 838 4030
General and Undergraduate Email Enquiries: