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AK2003 Technology and Ethics 7.5 credits

This is a basic course on the ethical aspects of technology and engineering.

Course offering missing for current semester as well as for previous and coming semesters
Headings with content from the Course syllabus AK2003 (Spring 2016–) are denoted with an asterisk ( )

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

Our point of departure will be practical ethical problems. These will vary each time the course is given, but classical examples include conflicts between safety and economy or function, the environmental effects of technology, the conflict between the engineer's professionalism and her/his loyalty to the employer, work with morally disputable technologies, insider problems and industrial espionage, integrity issues related to IT, etc. In order to analyze such questions we will use tools from moral philosophy (ethics). We will acquaint ourselves with important ethical theories such as utilitarianism and deontological ethics, as well as with useful notions, e.g. moral dilemmas.

An important part of this course is an individually written essay under supervision. This work deepens the knowledge of a particular ethical problem that can be selected in accordance to the student's previous experience and education.   

Intended learning outcomes

Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to

-- summarize important ethical theories,

-- discuss and analyze, orally and in written form, ethical problems that may arise in engineering,

-- analyze more thoroughly ethical problems that arise in some particular field related to engineering or technology.

Course disposition

Lectures, seminars, essay writing under supervision.

Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

120 credits of university studies.

Recommended prerequisites

No information inserted




  • The main course literature (course book) is settled no later than four weeks before the course commences.
  • List of additional literature items (articles) will be posted on the course web site at course start.

Examination and completion

If the course is discontinued, students may request to be examined during the following two academic years.

Grading scale

A, B, C, D, E, FX, F


  • DEL1 - Participation and Prepatory Assignments, 1.5 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • INL1 - Home Assignment, 4.0 credits, grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F
  • TEN1 - Exam, 2.0 credits, grading scale: P, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

Other requirements for final grade

To obtain a final course grade, the student has to pass all course components (DEL1, TEN1, and INL1). 

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

No information inserted

Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

No information inserted


Profile picture John Cantwell

Ethical approach

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

Course web

Further information about the course can be found on the Course web at the link below. Information on the Course web will later be moved to this site.

Course web AK2003

Offered by


Main field of study

Built Environment

Education cycle

Second cycle

Add-on studies

No information inserted