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Ethics: An Overview - On Demand E-learning from Oxford Royale Academy

Our online Ethics course provides the perfect platform to delve deeper into this insightful subject in the comfort of your own home.

Why study Ethics?

Are you fascinated by the fundamental questions of ethics? Are you thinking of studying ethics or philosophy at university? Our online Ethics course provides the perfect platform to delve deeper into this insightful subject in the comfort of your own home. You will encounter some of the key thinkers in the realm of ethics including Bentham and Kant and understand how they have responded to significant questions such as ‘what makes an action right or wrong’? Explore key theories including ‘divine command’ and ‘deontology’ to question the possibility of a universal theory of ethics. This online course is ideal preparation if you are thinking of studying ethics, philosophy, classics, history, or related subjects at university.

Join our Ethics: An Overview online course, with Oxford Royale Academy and fuel your interest in this fascinating field.

Ethics: An Overview

Learn Any Time, Anywhere, With Oxford Royale Academy

Oxford Royale Academy’s online learning platform offers a wide range of exciting and intellectually stimulating online courses, primarily designed to help students thinking of applying to study at university in the UK.

Our online courses are instantly accessible from all over the world, and provide students with an insight into subjects that takes them far beyond the school curriculum.

This insight allows students an insight into what studying a subject at university may be like, while also providing them with invaluable material for applications and interviews. All of which, as our student testimonials show, is invaluable help in an increasingly competitive university applications process.

What's in the Ethics: An Overview On-Demand Course?

Course Summary

What makes an action ‘right’ or ‘wrong’? Is it related to the amount of pleasure or pain caused, how an action accords with universal laws, or or for reasons stemming from some other, perhaps divine, source? In this course you will examine some of the major ways philosophers have tried to tackle questions of morality and ethics over the centuries, and will ask whether it is even possible to devise a universal theory of ethics.

The course begins with a look at divine command theory, perhaps the oldest school of ethical thought, which states that what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ is purely dependent on what a deity states it to be. It then moves on to discuss utilitarianism and the thought of Jeremy Bentham, who placed pleasure and pain at the heart of moral decisions. You will explore deontology and the thought of Kant, who attempted to find universal laws of morality and ethics, and conclude by asking whether or not such overarching theories of morality are even possible to find and apply. Perhaps, instead, experience of the world and acting upon such experience is what counts.

Topics Covered

During this course you will…

  • Understand the key ideas relating to ethical philosophy
  • Encounter some of the key thinkers within the realm of ethics
  • Appreciate the complexities of ethical and moral debates in the present day

By the end of this course you will be able to…

  • Understand the different schools of thought that have attempted to explain morality and ethics
  • Discuss with confidence the thinking of some major philosophers, such as Kant and Aristotle
  • Embark on your own further study of the subject

What’s Included?

  • 4 x Interactive Tutorials
  • Online quizzes and exams
  • Access to the course discussion forum
  • Course worksheets and case studies
  • ORA Certificate of completion



Tutorial 1: Meta-Ethics (1 - 1.5 hours)

It is sometimes said that if God does not exist, everything is permitted. The idea behind this is that without some ultimate standard, morality becomes a mere matter of opinion. According to Divine Command Theorists, actions are right if God commands them and wrong if he forbids them. In this lecture, we’ll discuss the merits of this view as well as some serious problems with it. Even if we think God exists, the idea that morality is dependent on God can lead to some unfortunate consequences.

Tutorial 2: Consequentialism (1 - 1.5 hours)

According to utilitarians like John Stuart Mill, we don’t need God to lay down the ultimate standards of morality. Instead, actions are right if they make people happy and wrong insofar as they cause them pain and suffering. This is an attractive theory, and offers a good explanation of what went wrong in the sad case described above. In this lecture, we’ll examine whether it stands up to more sustained philosophical scrutiny.

Tutorial 3: Deontology (1 - 1.5 hours)

Immanuel Kant wanted us to see things differently. According to him, pleasure and pain do not have much to do with morality. Instead, actions are right if they place us in the right sorts of relations with ourselves and others. In fact, he thought that morality could be summed up by just one rule: Act only on those maxims that you can also will to become a universal law. In this lecture, we’ll be asking what Kant might have meant by this ‘categorical imperative’, and whether it really solves the problem.

Tutorial 4: Virtue Ethics & Applied Ethics (1 - 1.5 hours)

Over the course of these lectures, we will have seen a number of problems with attempts to find a common principle that explains morality. Some contemporary philosophers have become so impressed by the problem that they have claimed there is no such principle. At first glance, this might look like giving up. But the suggestion that morality is fundamentally resistant to principles will take us back to one of the most innovative and influential thinkers in the history of Western philosophy: Aristotle.

Key Details

Course Pre-requisites

Advanced level of English
An interest and enthusiasm for critical thinking and philosophical thought!

Course Level

For students thinking of applying for philosophy-related subjects at university



Prior Knowledge

No prior knowledge is required to take this course, just enthusiasm for the subject.




4-6 hours (further independent study is encouraged)

How to Enrol

  1. Choose the enrolment that best suits you
  2. Click ‘Enrol Now’ on your preferred option

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What's included?

  • Access to interactive course content
  • Discussion boards, exams, resources
  • Personal learning profile
  • Course certificate
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Single License


What's included?

  • Access to all 30+ courses for 3 months
  • Interactive course content
  • Discussion boards, exams, resources
  • Personal learning profile
  • Course certificate
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Single License


What's included?

  • Access to all 30+ courses for 6 months
  • Interactive course content
  • Discussion boards, exams, resources
  • Personal learning profile
  • Course certificate
Find a Course

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