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Before choosing courseAK2011 Technology and Ethics 7.5 creditsAdministrate About course

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* Retrieved from Course syllabus AK2011 (Autumn 2019–)

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, environmental effects of technology, conflicts between the engineer’s professionalism and his/her loyalty to the employer, work with morally dubious technologies, insider problems and industrial espionage, integrity issues related to IT, etc. In order to analyse these issues we will use tools from moral philosophy (ethics). We will acquaint ourselves with important theories from moral philosophy 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 amounts to a specialisation in an ethical problem that can be selected in accordance with the student’s previous experiences and studies. The main aim of this work is the analysis, from an ethical perspective, of technology relevant to the student’s studies. In order to be able to apply the ethical theories and the tools from the course, substantial familiarity with the relevant technical aspects is required.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of the course, the student should

- be able to account for important ethical theories,

- be able to discuss and analyse, in writing and orally, ethical problems that may arise in engineering work,

- within some engineering or technological field, in a more advanced way be able to analyse ethical problems,

- be able to apply ethical theory and analysis in practical engineering or technological activities.

Course Disposition

Lectures and seminars.

Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

120 credits higher education.

Recommended prerequisites

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- Main course literature (book) will be established no later than four weeks before start of the course.

- List of other literature (articles) will be posted on the course web page at the start of the course.

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 preparatory assignments, 1,5 hp, betygsskala: P, F
  • TENA - Exam, 3,0 hp, betygsskala: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F
  • ÖVN1 - Home assignments, 3,0 hp, betygsskala: A, B, C, D, E, FX, 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

DEL1 (participation and preparatory assignments), 1.5 credits, grading scale PF

TEN1 (examination), 3.0 credits, grading scale PF

Övn. (written assignment), 3.0 credits, grading scale A-F

The final course grade is determined by the INL1 grade.

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

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Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

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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 AK2011

Offered by


Main field of study

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Education cycle

Second cycle

Add-on studies

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Barbro Fröding,