Ethics in Estonia | Ethics in Estonia
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Contacts of UT units

Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Faculty phone: 
(+372) 737 5341
Faculty address: 
Jakobi 2 - 116-121, 51014, Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    + 372 737 5341
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, rooms 116 - 121, 51014, Tartu
  • Institute of History and Archaeology
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5651
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, 51014, Tartu
  • Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5221
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, 51014, Tartu
  • Institute of Philosophy and Semiotics
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5314
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, III, rooms 309-352, 51014, Tartu
  • Institute of Cultural Research
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5223
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 16, 51003, Tartu
  • School of Theology and Religious Studies
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5301
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18-310, 50090, Tartu
  • College of Foreign Languages and Cultures
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 3, 51003, Tartu
  • Viljandi Culture Academy
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 435 5232
    Faculty address: 
    Posti 1, 71004, Viljandi
Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty phone: 
(+372) 737 5957
Faculty address: 
Lossi 36, 51003, Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    + 372 737 5900
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 36, 51003, Tartu
  • Institute of Education
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 6440
    Faculty address: 
    Salme 1a, room 29, 50103, Tartu
  • Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5582
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 36, roomm 301, 51003, Tartu
  • School of Economics and Business Administration
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 6310
    Faculty address: 
    J. Liivi 4, 50409, Tartu
  • Institute of Psychology
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5902
    Faculty address: 
    Näituse 2, 50409, Tartu
  • School of Law
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5390
    Faculty address: 
    Näituse 20, 50409, Tartu
  • Institute of Social Studies
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5188
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 36, 51003, Tartu
  • Narva College
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 740 1900
    Faculty address: 
    Raekoja plats 2, 20307, Narva
  • Pärnu College
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 445 0520
    Faculty address: 
    Ringi 35, 80012, Pärnu
Faculty of Medicine
Faculty phone: 
(+372) 737 5326
Faculty address: 
Ravila 19, 50411, Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5326
    Faculty address: 
    Ravila 19, 50411, Tartu
  • Institute of Biomedicine and Translational Medicine
    Faculty phone: 
    +(372) 737 4210
    Faculty address: 
    Biomeedikum, Ravila 19, 50411, Tartu
  • Institute of Pharmacy
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5286
    Faculty address: 
    Nooruse 1, 50411, Tartu
  • Institute of Dentistry
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 731 9856
    Faculty address: 
    Raekoja plats 6, 51003, Tartu
  • Institute of Clinical Medicine
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5323
    Faculty address: 
    L. Puusepa 8, 51014, Tartu, Eesti
  • Institute of Family Medicine and Public Health
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 4190
    Faculty address: 
    Ravila 19, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Sport Sciences and Physiotherapy
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5360
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 5-205, 51014, Tartu
Faculty of Science and Technology
Faculty phone: 
(+372) 737 5820
Faculty address: 
Vanemuise 46-208, 51014, Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5820
    Faculty address: 
    Vanemuise 46 - 208, 51014, Tartu
  • Institute of Computer Science
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5445
    Faculty address: 
    J. Liivi 2, 50409, Tartu
  • Estonian Marine Institute
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 671 8902
    Faculty address: 
    Mäealuse 14, 12618, Tallinn
  • Institute of Physics
    Faculty address: 
    W. Ostwaldi Str 1, 50411, Tartu
  • Institute of Chemistry
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5261
    Faculty address: 
    Ravila 14a, 50411, Tartu
  • Institute of Mathematics and Statistics
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5860
    Faculty address: 
    J. Liivi 2, 50409, Tartu
  • Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5011
    Faculty address: 
    Riia 23, 23b-134, 51010, Tartu
  • Institute of Technology
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 4800
    Faculty address: 
    Nooruse 1, 50411, Tartu
  • Institute of Ecology and Earth Sciences
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5835
    Faculty address: 
    Vanemuise 46, 51014, Tartu
Institutions
  • Library
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5702
    Faculty address: 
    W.Struve 1, 50091, Tartu
  • Youth Academy
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5581
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 38, 51003, Tartu
  • Estonian Genome Center
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 4000
    Faculty address: 
    Riia 23b, 51010, Tartu
  • Museum
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5674
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 25, 51014, Tartu
  • University of Tartu Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 6076
    Faculty address: 
    Vanemuise 46, 51014, Tartu
Support Units
  • Administrative Office
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5606
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18a, 51014, Tartu
  • University Office in Tallinn
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6600
    Faculty address: 
    Teatri väljak 3, 10143 Tallinn
  • Estates Office
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5137
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18a, 51014, Tartu
  • Finance Office
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5125
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 4, 51014, Tartu
  • Information Technology Office
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 6000, arvutiabi: 737 5500
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18a, 51014, Tartu
  • Internal Audit Office
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 17-114, 51014, Tartu
  • Marketing and Communication Office
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5687
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, ruum 210, 50090, Tartu
  • Office of Academic Affairs
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 6215
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, 50090, Tartu
  • Office of Research and Development
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 6192
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 3, III korrus, 51003, Tartu
  • Human Resources Office
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5145
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, rooms 302 and 304, 50090, Tartu
  • Rector's Strategy Office
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5600
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, 51014, Tartu
  • Student Council
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5400
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18b, 51014, Tartu
Other Units
  • University of Tartu Academic Sports Club
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5371
    Faculty address: 
    Ujula 4, 51008 Tartu
  • Tartu Student Village
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 740 9959
    Faculty address: 
    Narva mnt 25, 51013 Tartu
  • Tartu Students’ Club
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 730 2400
    Faculty address: 
    Kalevi 24, 51010 Tartu
  • University of Tartu Press
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5945
    Faculty address: 
    W. Struve 1, 50091 Tartu
  • Tartu University Hospital
    Faculty address: 
    L. Puusepa 1a, 50406 Tartu
  • University of Tartu Foundation
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5852
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, 50090 Tartu
  • View all other units

Ethics in Estonia

1. Teaching

Courses in ethics constitute an integral part of higher education in Estonia. The majority of vocational and professional higher education institutions and all Estonian universities offer their students introductory courses in ethics and/or one or several courses in professional and business ethics in the area of their specialisation. The widest selection of courses in ethics related to various professions and scientific disciplines is offered by the largest three universities, the University of Tartu, the Tallinn University of Technology and the University of Tallinn. In addition to that, it is also possible to study philosophical ethics as a part of studies in philosophy at the University of Tartu (at all levels of higher education) and the University of Tallinn (at the Bachelor’s and Master’s level).

The University of Tartu, the largest and oldest university (founded in 1632) and the leading centre for research and teaching in Estonia, also leads in teaching in the sphere of ethics. There are general introductory courses for students regardless of their specialisation, such as “Basics of Ethics”, meant for students of Bachelor’s programmes and “Ethics and Methodology of Science” for doctoral students; there are also discipline-specific courses in bioethics, medical ethics, ethics of health care, archaeological ethics, business ethics, pedagogical ethics, and various courses in animal and environmental ethics. Students specialising in philosophy can take advanced courses in ethics, such as “Metaethics”, “Normative Ethics” and “Practical Ethics”. In addition to the regular courses, there are frequent one-time special courses, often given by visiting scholars, on a particular topic or author in ethics.

The Tallinn University of Technology specialises in research and teaching in the areas of technology (manufacture, construction and engineering) and natural sciences, with a number of programmes in social sciences, business and law. The technological orientation of the university is reflected in the focus on professional ethics, with courses, for example, in medical and health care ethics, engineering ethics, ethics of public service, ethics and law, and ethics and accounting.

The University of Tallinn (formed in 2005 as the result of consolidation of several existing universities and research institutes, including the Tallinn Pedagogical University) conducts research and teaching in a wide range of disciplines; teacher training constitutes an important part of its activities. It offers general introductory courses in ethics, such as “Introduction to Ethics” on the Bachelor’s level and “Ethical Guidelines in Science” on the Master’s level, and a number of courses on professional ethics, such as courses in ethics and law, media ethics, ethics of social work, business ethics, environmental ethics, science ethics, sports ethics, and various courses in pedagogical and teacher ethics.

2. Research in ethics and Centres for Ethics

The chair of practical philosophy at the department of philosophy of the University of Tartu acts as the centre for research in the sphere of ethics and its popularisation in Estonia. In addition to it, there exist two specialised Centres for Ethics.

The Centre for Ethics of the University of Tartu was established in June 2001 as an interdisciplinary unit associated with the Faculty of Philosophy. From 2009 it has operated as a consortium uniting almost all of the faculties of the university. It is governed by the Board that includes representatives of the faculties and the student body.

The aims of the Centre for Ethics of the University of Tartu:

  • to lead interdisciplinary research in the sphere of ethics with the focus on issues that are relevant for Estonian society and scientific research in Estonia;
  • to encourage public reflection upon the values of Estonian society by organising public colloquia, conferences and lectures;
  • to publish anthologies and textbooks on ethics and to improve teaching of ethics in Estonia;
  • to develop cooperation with other Centres of Ethics.

An overview of the research activities of the Centre is given here.

The Centre for Ethics of the Estonian Business School (EBS)  was established in 2001and in 2013 became the Centre for Business Ethics.   It focuses on the issues of business ethics, corporate responsibility and diversity, offering education, research and popularsation of business ethics for EBS students and staff, people working in the business world and Estonian society in general.

The aims of the Centre for Business Ethics of the EBS:

  • to prepare EBS students to become responsible and ethical decision-makers;
  • to lead teaching and research in the area of business ethics in Estonia, acting as a competence centre in this area;
  • to work for creating environment that encourages ethical reflection and ethical behaviour in business;
  • to participate in Estonian and international projects in the sphere of business ethics and corporate responsibility.

3. Ethics committees

Medicine and biomedical sciences as well as any research involving human subjects or animal testing raise some of the most pressing ethical questions. A number of ethics committees provide oversight over the ethical aspects of research and practice in these areas in Estonia.

Committees that provide oversight over research

Clinical ethics committees


Other ethics committees

The activities of the committees are coordinated by the Estonian Council on Bioethics (link in Estonian). The Council advices policymakers and governmental institutions in bioethics-related questions, takes part in the preparation of relevant laws and governmental acts, educates the public about the issues in bioethics and works for the creation of a shared understanding about the principles of bioethics in Estonian society.

4. Ethics codes

The recognition of ethical questions inherent in various professions has found reflection in ethics codes or codes of conduct adopted by professional organisations and companies in Estonia. The ethics code may describe the values that underlie the activities of the respective organisation, represent its position concerning various social and ethical issues and describe the procedures for addressing behaviours breaking the code.

In 2007, the Centre for Ethics of the University of Tartu published The Handbook of Codes of Conduct  that addresses different aspects of ethical codes.

The first part of the book discusses general concepts such as profession, rights, religion, etiquette etc. and gives an overview of the history of codes of conduct from Ancient Greece to the modern day. The book offers guidelines for organisations and companies intending to establish their own codes of conduct. It also suggests ways to enforce the codes and discusses problems that may arise.

The second part of the book contains eighty-six codes of conduct that are currently in effect in Estonia. Some of the codes are limited to one page with a general description of relevant values, others span multiple pages and include detailed explanations of the relationship between clients, co-workers and supervisors.

The Handbook is available in full here (in Estonian).