Information on individual educational components (ECTS-Course descriptions) per semester

Degree programme: Master Sustainable Energy Systems
Type of degree: FH Master´s Degree Programme
Summer Semester 2022

Course unit title Human Rights and Professional Ethos
Course unit code 800101010700
Language of instruction German / English
Type of course unit (compulsory, optional) Elective
Semester when the course unit is delivered Summer Semester 2022
Teaching hours per week 2
Year of study 2022
Number of ECTS credits allocated Second Cycle (Master)
Number of ECTS credits allocated 3
Name of lecturer(s) Sharon DU PLESSIS-SCHNEIDER, Hans WALZ

Prerequisites and co-requisites


Course content
  • Brief history of human rights from basic needs perspective
  • Findings of brain research on human cooperation
  • Human rights documents and instruments 
  • Selected case studies related to human rights and sustainable development
  • Explore ideas and questions regarding ethical principles and controversies Professional practice and ethical standards in the workplace
  • Science-based principles for a sustainable way of living and working together.

Learning outcomes


  • critically reflect on human rights documents and instruments 
  • identify ways to apply human right principles to add value to the workplace 
  • develop approaches to implement ethical principles in businesses and in interdisciplinary teams 
  • analyse the impact of corporate actions on human rights and sustainable development
  • develop ethically justifiable actions and problem-solving strategies
  • participate in discussions on professional ethics.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods
  • lectures
  • self-directed learning 
  • small group dialogue
  • reflection
  • reading based activities 

Assessment methods and criteria

Performance assessment (group project during course time)


Field trip to a sustainably managed business: Students explore how human rights are realised and how sustainable business practices promote cooperation and participation of different social groups.


Cost per person: 10 €




Recommended or required reading

Galtung, J. (1994). Human Rights in Another Key, 1 edition, Cambridge: Polity Press.

Gil. D. G. (2012). Confronting social injustice and oppression: Concepts and strategies for social workers. NY: Columbia University Press.

Gandhi, M. (1993). The Penguin Gandhi reader. New York: Penguin Press.

Ignatieff, M. (2002). Human Rights as Politics and Idolatry, Princeton University Press.

Margalit, A. (1996) The Decent Society. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Schneider, S. (2013) Transcultural School Social Work, In: Abdi-Koegeler Martina and Parmcutt, Richard (2013) Interculturality, Practice meets Research, Cambridge Scholars Publishing: Newcastle, pp. 50-69.

Shewell, H. (2010). Social Rights are Human Rights: Furthering the Democratic Project, In Jane Pulkingham, Human welfare, rights and social activism, University of Toronto Press: 114- 135.

Staub-Bernasconi, S. (2007). Economic and Social Rights: The Neglected Human Rights. In: Reichert, Elisabeth. (Ed.), Challenge in Human Rights, New York: Columbia University Press, 138-161.

Warks, J. (2013). The Human Rights Manifesto, Winchester & Washington: Zero Books.

Wronka, J. (2008). Human rights and social justice: Social action and service for the helping and health professions. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Mode of delivery (face-to-face, distance learning)
  • Interdisciplinary and interactive workshop on "Human rights and their significance for professional ethics"
  • Field trip to examine financial business practices with a broad focus on human rights and sustainable public-private and civil society partnership
  • Student-led work groups to analysis case examples from practice with the focus on professional ethics to find commonalities and differences across disciplines
  • Field trip and video material (e.g. reports, interviews) associated with sustainable business practices to promote human rights principles in company policies.