Ethics and Public Policy

Lincoln Memorial

Why study Ethics and Public Policy?

Clark University offers undergraduate students interested in ethical issues of public concern the opportunity to select an interdisciplinary concentration in Ethics and Public Policy. This concentration is especially recommended to students intending to pursue professional or career interests in such fields as:

  • law
  • government
  • health care
  • public administration

The concentration is administered by the Department of Philosophy and allows students with a strong interest in this crucial subject to take a coherent series of courses designed to serve as an extension of their major field of study. The interdisciplinary Ethics and Public Policy concentration can be taken in conjunction with any major at Clark.

Clark University's extraordinary strength in the area of Ethics and Public Policy is reflected in the teaching, research, and publications of faculty in more than a dozen departments and programs ranging from the physical sciences to the humanities.

This concentration engages students in both a theoretical and case-study approach to analyzing the development of shared political values and the formulation of public policy. The concentration requirements familiarize students with the basic concepts and methods of both ethical analysis and policy analysis.

What subjects are addressed?

Students who choose the Ethics and Public Policy concentration will have the opportunity to discuss some of the most pressing issues of our time. Questions addressed through the concentration might include:

  • What is the relationship between ethics and public policy?
  • What obligation do major food-producing nations have to starving people in less-developed nations?
  • How should care and treatment of HIV-related diseases be funded?
  • How can environmental values be balanced against economic development values in the United States and in developing nations?
  • Is the purpose of public education to teach values?
  • Should the United States require population control activities as a condition of giving foreign aid to developing African nations?
  • What is good public policy regarding abortion?
  • Should the world's lender nations cooperate to relieve debt in burdened developing nations?
  • What is the relationship between law and morality?
  • How can the problems of housing and homelessness be effectively addressed?
  • Is capital punishment good public policy?
  • Should national tax systems favor "family values"?
  • How can "ethics consultants" and "policy analysts" balance the competing claims of the "expert" and "advocate" roles?
  • Should the United States implement a national health insurance plan?