Technology Ethics Minor

the words Undergraduate Minor in Tech Ethics next to a globe emanating a beam of light and lines of computer code and covered in various digital images

What are the ethical responsibilities associated with developing artificial intelligence systems? What about the moral obligations of the companies and other entities that subsequently use those AI systems to automate aspects of their work? How do we address and prevent bias in decisions made by computers?

Or take the many and ever-expanding ways our lives are lived online. Can we do anything to fight mis- and disinformation? How much privacy should we expect in exchange for the convenience of online transactions? What do institutions owe us when it comes to protecting our data?

The undergraduate minor in tech ethics is designed for Notre Dame students interested in answers to questions like these.

Introduction to the Minor

Open to students from all colleges and schools at Notre Dame, the undergraduate minor in tech ethics consists of five courses totaling 15 credits, broken up as follows:

  • One required gateway course called “Fundamentals of Technology Ethics and Society” (3 credits; first philosophy course is a prerequisite, and this course fulfills the University’s second philosophy requirement)
  • One required advanced seminar on a current issue in tech ethics (3 credits)
  • Three electives (9 credits)

Electives are taught by faculty members from various disciplines—but especially those from the College of Arts and Letters, College of Engineering, Mendoza College of Business, and Keough School for Global Affairs—and have been designated as counting toward the minor in tech ethics.

By the end of your studies, you will:

  • Possess a basic understanding of foundational concepts and issues in technology ethics
  • Be able to identify ethical, social, and policy implications of technology
  • Be familiar with normative theories that inform ethical thinking
  • Know how to address issues in technology ethics from multiple disciplinary perspectives

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Application Process

Admission to the minor will be reviewed and approved by the academic directors based upon students’ demonstrated interest, academic standing, and space availability. You’re encouraged to take the gateway course before applying for the minor but are not required to do so.

Apply to the Minor

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Fall 2022 Courses

Undergraduate tech ethics courses being offered in fall 2022 are listed below. More information about any of them can be found on Notre Dame’s Class Search website by going to the “Any Department” dropdown menu and selecting “Technology Ethics.”

Undergraduate Tech Ethics Courses: Fall 2022
Course Instructor Schedule
Fundamentals of Technology Ethics and Society
(TEC 20101; counts as second philosophy)
Warren von Eschenbach TTh
11:00 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
Algorithms, Data, and Society
(TEC 20110/SOC 20919)
Simone Zhang TTh
3:30 p.m.–4:45 p.m.
Science, Technology, & Society
(TEC 20112/STV 20556)
Anna Geltzer TTh
12:30 p.m.–1:45 p.m.
Ethics of Emerging Weapon Technologies
(TEC 20203/PHIL 20628)
Robert Latiff

Two sections available:

TTh
11:00 a.m.–12:15 p.m.

TTh
12:30 p.m.–1:45 p.m.

Application, Ethics, and Governance of AI
(TEC 30205/KSGA 30411)
Yong Suk Lee MW
9:30 a.m.–10:45 a.m.
Technology, Self, and Society
(TEC 33999/EG 33999)
Megan Levis

Two sections available:

TTh
11:00 a.m.–12:15 p.m.

TTh
2:00 p.m.–3:15 p.m.

Digital Peacebuilding and Peacetech
(TEC 40302/MGA 60140)
Lisa Schirch TTh
11:00 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence
(TEC 43101/PHIL 43903)
Brian Cutter MW
11:00 a.m.–12:15 p.m.

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Regularly Taught Courses

The courses listed below, which have been designated as meeting a requirement for the tech ethics minor, aren’t necessarily being offered in the upcoming semester but are taught regularly.

Regularly Taught Courses in the Tech Ethics Minor
Course Title Course Number
Fundamentals of Technology Ethics and Society TEC 20101
Data Feminism AMST 30104
Race and Technologies of Surveillance AMST 30125
How to Do Things with Data ANTH 43316
Technology, Self, and Society EG 33999
Ethics of Data Analytics ITAO 40150 (1.5 credits)
Case Studies in Ethics of Data and Analytics TEC 4XXXX (1.5 credits; cross-listed and taken concurrently with ITAO 40150)
Application, Ethics, and Governance of AI KSGA 30411
Future of Labor MGA 60764/ECON 40410
Ethics of Emerging Weapon Technologies PHIL 20628
Data Ethics PHIL 24455
Robot Ethics PHIL 24632
Algorithms, Data, and Society SOC 20919
Science, Technology, & Society STV 20556
Seminar on Current Issues in Tech Ethics (TEC 43XXX)

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Additional Courses

Beyond the courses listed above, there are others that can be counted toward the tech ethics minor. These additional courses are taught more infrequently and/or limited to students enrolled in a specific program.

  • AI and Social Good (CSE 40171)
  • Ethical and Professional Issues in Engineering (CSE 40175/EG 44175)
  • Modern Physics & Moral Responsibility (PHIL 20604)
  • Philosophy of Technology (PHIL 20608)
  • Environmental Justice (PHIL 43308)
  • Science and Social Values (PHIL 43704)
  • Philosophy of Science and Public Policy (PHIL 43715)
  • Ethics & Policy in Tech Management (PHIL 43722)
  • Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence (PHIL 43903)
  • Data and Politics (POLS 30111)

Away From Main Campus

  • History of Design: Form, Value, Technology (ARHI 44580) (Perth, Australia)
  • Posthuman Studies: Intro to Transhumanism (PHIL 24281) (Athens, Greece)
  • Tech & Innovation Ethics (PHIL 24448) (Silicon Valley)
  • Applied Ethics: Information Ethics (PHIL 24520) (Galway, Ireland)
  • Philosophy of Science & Technology (PHIL 24608) (Twickenham, England)
  • Ethics of Emerging Technology (PHIL 24622) (Rome, Italy)
  • Ethics & Environmental Justice (POLS 34617) (Santiago, Chile)

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Double-Counting Courses

A number of elective courses count for particular majors and minors. The University’s rules for double-counting have changed starting with the Class of 2022. You should consult with your college/school academic advisor if you are interested in double-counting courses for other majors or minors. The authority to approve a double-count lies with the academic dean in each college or the dean’s designee, not with the director or associate director of the tech ethics minor. You should also consult with the academic dean or the dean’s designee of your major college regarding transfer credits and credits for study abroad courses that would be cross-listed within that college.

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