Basic Ethical-Philosophical Studies (EPG)

The Basic Ethical-Philosophical Studies (EPG) programme is part of the department’s teacher education programme. Its aim is to qualify future teachers to ask, address and reflect on ethical questions that arise in connection with the subjects they teach and to integrate them into their teaching practice.

With this innovate format, the EPG has met with great interest from teacher education students. The study seminars serve to consolidate the competencies acquired and to ensure that these can be applied during the third part of the teacher education programme. The EPG has been designed to encourage our students to reflect on their own actions; at the same time, however, it also impacts other study programmes, the university as a whole and its research.

Profile and organisation

The Basic Ethical-Philosophical Studies programme is comprised of two modules:

  • The EPG 1 module, which consists of an introductory seminar to help students familiarise themselves with the basic terms, questions and theories of (philosophical) ethics; EPG 1 courses are typically offered by the Department of Philosophy.
  • The EPG 2 module, which is subject-oriented, interdisciplinary and, like the EPG 1 module, consists of only one course. EPG 2 courses are offered by the Department of Philosophy as well as in other teacher education subjects.

Students attending EPG 2 courses will usually already have completed the EPG 1 module. An EPG programme with a sufficient number of EPG 1 and EPG 2 courses is available to teacher education students every semester. The EPG curriculum is designed by the EPG coordinator; she also advises students on all matters pertaining to the EPG programme.

The contents

Generally speaking, EPG 1 is not about “moral instruction” as such. Understood as a reflection of morals, ethics is a cognitive enterprise. EPG 1 seminars teach basic ethical competencies. They convey the basic terms and theories of ethical judgement and illuminate the relationship between basic concepts of ethical argumentation and action. Concrete ethical problems serve to challenge our students to apply and test ethical tools they have acquired.

EPG 2 seminars focus on the ethical dimension of academic subjects. They address the fact that the various disciplines work on and further develop existing bodies of knowledge that are of considerable significance with regard to individual, social and professional action. Expert knowledge, for instance, opens up new fields of action that come with their own set of ethical questions. It also provides insights that are relevant for reflecting on, criticising and developing individual objectives and social norms. Finally, it also helps us reflect on research practice and the practice of a profession itself, as in the field of “professional ethics”.

EPG 2 seminars aim to explicitly address normative questions and to include them in the development of expert knowledge. What is important in this context is to remain conscious of the above-mentioned levels of ethical reflection at all times and to move among them in a methodologically sound manner. Since EPG 2 seminars are highly interdisciplinary in nature, students can obtain their EPG records of academic achievement by attending seminars in departments other than their own.

Records of academic achievement and grades

In 2010, the GymPo examination regulations for teacher education students came into effect. The prior version of the examination regulations from 2001 remains in effect for some very few teacher education students. There is a difference between the two examination regulations as regards EPG.

Students studying under the old version of the examination regulations: You cannot register for your EPG programme using StudIS/ZEuS. Your EPG records of academic achievement are issued on special paper. Grades are awarded in half grades.

Students studying under the GymPo examination regulations that came into effect in 2010: Please register via StudIS/ZEuS; the record of your academic achievements and your grades are made available in StudIS/ZEuS. Grades are awarded in thirds (x.0; x.3; x.7, etc.).

The examination regulations for the teacher education programmes were amended in the winter semester 2015/16. In the 2015 version of the exam regulations, both EPG modules are no longer part of the bachelor and master of education programmes. Instead, the Department of Philosophy offers the following two required electives: “Praktisches Argumentieren” (practical argumentation) and “Ethische Grundkompetenzen für den Lehrberuf” (basic ethical competencies for teaching). You will not receive a grade for your coursework in these two required electives.