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A minor springing from philosophy and religion

Augustana is one of a very few colleges in the Midwest to offer a program in ethics.

To study ethics is to study right and wrong, good and bad — with a special emphasis on the reasons for making such judgments.

Sometimes this takes the form of reflection (what makes “good” good?), and sometimes it takes the form of practical decision-making (should I cheat on this exam?). Sometimes ethics is about group decisions or the political sphere (should abortion be legal?) and sometimes it’s about individual character (how can I be more brave?)

In class, we rarely determine the answers to questions of right and wrong, but we always raise intriguing questions that can help you understand the moral dimensions of your personal and professional life.

Anyone in any field and any career path can benefit from studies that foster well-reasoned thinking and good citizenship. Careful reasoning about right and wrong in general, and about ethical issues in particular, is an important aspect of a liberal arts education.

What you'll learn

Ethical citizenship

Ethical citizenship

Examine and embrace your strengths, passions and values. Develop ethical convictions and act on them.

Critical thinking and information literacy

Critical thinking and information literacy

Judge and construct arguments, raise questions and define problems. Make a conclusion based on evidence.

Disciplinary knowledge

Disciplinary knowledge

Gain a deep understanding of your subject and how it connects to other subjects.

Intellectual curiosity

Intellectual curiosity

Set yourself up for lifelong intellectual growth. Take responsibility for your own learning.

Creative thinking

Creative thinking

Combine ideas to create something new. Use imaginative ways of solving problems.


• The religion and philosophy departments offer the jointly administered minor in ethics. The minor is especially suitable for students majoring in business, education, the health fields or law, or any other field related to serving the public. The ethics minor is open to all students.

Recent graduates

Taylor Curley ’21 is pursuing her master’s in nursing at Rush University, Chicago.

Genesis Li ’21 is a Master in Public Administration (MPA) candidate at Cornell University, Brooks School of Public Policy in Ithaca, N.Y.

Leah Flanagan ’20 is pursuing a Doctor of Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

Lauren Clapp ’19 is a behavioral health coordinator at University of Iowa Health Care in Iowa City.

Daniel Williams ’19 is the CASA program coordinator at EveryChild (formerly the Child Abuse Council) in the Quad Cities.

Ebony Allen ’15 is the ethics and compliance manager at Beecan Health in Los Angeles, Calif.

Vanessa Reyes ’15 is the fair fight bond fund coordinator at the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network in Seattle, Wash.

Genesis Li
More Than I Imagined Genesis Yinuo Li
“I am forever grateful for the network of mentors that I have here.”
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kevin pettit
More Than I Imagined Kevin Pettit
“I had always assumed that laboratory research would be for me, but I have cultivated new, unexpected interests in medical ethics and health care policy.”
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christopher carter
More Than I Imagined Christopher Carter
“I entered as a pre-medicine/biology student ready to go to medical school. Today, I find myself studying a field that crosses the sciences and philosophy: bioethics.”
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Ethics Essay Contest winners announced

Alison Lawrence, a senior from Roscoe, Ill., majoring in women, gender, and sexuality studies and pre-medicine, is the winner of the 17th annual Ethics Essay Contest for her paper, "Black Lips Don't Turn Blue."

Haley DeGreve

DeGreve '20 brings mental health support to even more schools

Three years after she co-founded Augustana's The Gray Matters Collective —a mental health support and suicide awareness organization — Haley DeGreve continues to spread the message of hope and healing.

Nelly Cheboi

Teaching tech literacy to change children's lives

2016 grad Nelly Cheboi’s goal for her nonprofit TechLit Africa: expand the digital literacy initiative to 100 more schools and reach an additional 40,000 kids in Kenya in 2022.