The Moral Psychology Minor


A minor in moral psychology draws students from a variety of majors and provides them with guidance in creating a stimulating academic plan of moral psychology coursework from across disciplines, including philosophy, law, psychology, economics, sociology, along with experiential learning opportunities with community partners to bring the coursework to life. Students will finish the minor prepared to lead the future development of scientifically informed solutions for today's ethical challenges.The minor is available throughout the university to all undergraduate students.

Moral Psychology Speaker Series
150 Warren Hall
4:30 – 5:30pm
Always on a Monday

December 5
Nicole Giannella, Dept. of Classics, Cornell University

January 23
Anthony Burrow, Dept. of Psychology, Cornell University

March 6
W. Bradley Wendel, Cornell Law School

March 20
Jason D’Cruz, Dept. of Philosophy, University at Albany

April 10
Natalia Velez, Dept. of Psychology, Princeton University

April 24
Alex Ophir, Dept. of Psychology, Cornell University


General Requirements

Basic Requirements for the Minor:

  1. Register, ideally, by the beginning of the second semester of junior year.
  2. Successfully complete five courses (minimum of 15 credits) from the Approved Course List. Although only five courses are required to complete the minor, we assume students interested in moral psychology will often end up taking more. Courses taken for the moral psychology minor by freshmen and sophomores, may not be used toward a student’s major or another minor. Juniors and seniors may “double count” two courses from their major toward the moral psychology minor.
  3. It is suggested, but not required, that students attend at least two Moral Psychology events within each academic year. (This is separate and apart from individual course requirements.)
  4. Submit the Certification for Graduation form. Students are expected to keep track of the courses they have taken toward the minor. When the minimum of 15 credits has been achieved, the Certification for Graduation form must be submitted to the program manager for verification. This form is required in order to have the minor designation added to your final transcript.

AEM 4940 - Moral Psychology in Action

“Moral Psychology in Action” is an applied psychology course taught each spring for students who want to make a difference in the world through ethical leadership and positive contributions in organizations, and who are drawn to scholarly work on psychology, ethics, and morality.

The course is experiential and takes place mostly outside the classroom through community engagement. Students will work with an industry or organization partner specializing in areas including stewardship and sustainability, human rights, well-being and healthy living, and reforming criminal justice, to name a few.

Students will gain practice in applied science that will be beneficial to future work in many occupational settings, including for-profit businesses, non-profits, and with policymakers and government organizations.

Classroom work and course assignments will be individualized to encourage independent development of connections between relevant theory and practice.

If you’d like to take AEM 4940 and work with one of our partners, please send a note stating which partner(s) best suits your interests, along with your CV, to the moral psychology program manager, Julie Simmons-Lynch at

Community Partner List

Durland Alternative Library/Prisoner Express

Prisoner Express provides information, education, and opportunities for creative self-expression to 4,000 active participants. They do this through a variety of distance learning classes that encourage critical thinking, introspection, and developing better communication skills, while offering programs in psychology, philosophy, chess, art, creative writing, meditation, mental health, and many other topics. Much of their programming for prisoners is created by Cornell students, with bi-annual hard copy newsletters sent to the participants.  The moral psychology students who participate will have their eyes opened to the humanity of incarcerated women and men who share their thoughts through personal letters and program assignments.

Possible Projects

Create a course to be shared with participants; work on a journal program for prisoners; work with the director on a multitude of projects, including writing, editing, and office work.


EcoVillage at Ithaca is part of a global movement of people seeking to create positive solutions to the social, environmental, and economic crises our planet faces. Since 1991 their mission is to promote experiential learning, including ways of meeting human needs for shelter, food, energy, livelihood, and social connectedness that are aligned with the long-term health and viability of Earth and all its inhabitants.

Possible Projects

  1. Work with the new PR team on social media/communications: Conveyance of EV brand, i.e., define target, possible oral histories of EV residents, choose appropriate social media, etc.
  2. Community/town relations: Address community diversity; start campaign to integrate EV, making the village more relevant to all. Conduct a survey what do stakeholders want? Affordable housing, etc. Organize open house meal in the spring to introduce EV to Ithaca.
  3. Food Share Market: This would be up to a student to fully research and propose a village market where bulk food and locally grown produce and prepared foods could be purchased. Important outcomes: community interaction, reduction of waste and carbon footprint, etc.
  4. Land Connection: Removal of invasives and planting of native trees and shrubs. There is always outdoor work. In colder months, develop nature education programs for children and adults.

Food Bank of the Southern Tier

The Food Bank of the Southern Tier works to build and sustain hunger-free communities throughout the entire Southern Tier. Please note: the FBST is in Elmira, NY, thus a student should have a means of transportation.


A student would intern with one of the Food Bank’s Client Driven Service managers, along with working p/t in the warehouse, thus engaging in a diverse experiential learning internship. Other possibilities, to be student driven, would be working in the Community Advocates Training program and community story collection.

Friends of Stewart Park 

Friends of Stewart Park (FSP) has observed that Stewart Park is a welcoming and inclusive place, where people of all backgrounds feel safe and comfortable. This is based purely on anecdotal evidence with no empirical evidence to validate this observation. FSP is interested in learning more about how park users of color experience Stewart Park. Do they feel safe and comfortable while using the park? Have there been incidents where they felt discriminated against or been made to feel unwelcome while in the park?


FSP would like to work with a student in developing, testing, and conducting a survey of park users that would address this question. The student should anticipate meeting with two or three community  leaders of color to develop a short set of questions and a protocol for finding park users willing to participate in this short survey. In addition, the student will be responsible for writing a summary of observations from the survey.

Friendship Donations Network

Friendship Donations Network rescues fresh, nutritious food that would otherwise be thrown away from stores and farms and redistributes them to neighbors in need. They provide food donations to hunger relief programs that serve more than 2,000 people a week, and divert over 1,000 lbs. of good food from local landfill every day. A model of efficiency, they are almost entirely volunteer-run.


Open to student proposal to fit FDN mission.

Greater Ithaca Activities Center (GIAC)

GIAC is the home to teen and youth programs, the Urban Art Club, My Brother’s Keeper, senior programming, the Alex Haley pool, and more.


GIAC will provide a community experience to plan, market, and coordinate a multievent celebration focusing on the 50 years GIAC has been an important hub of the Ithaca/Tompkins County community.  Students will engage with all-levels of GIAC staff members, highlighting the growth and importance of this Ithaca mainstay, all-the-while learning about nonprofit management, social media and public relations in the community, and just how important being part of a community is.

Ithaca City of Asylum

Universally, writers, journalists, visual artists, filmmakers, musicians, actors, and other creative people are censored, harassed, imprisoned, or killed for speaking their minds or exercising their imaginations. Since 2001, ICoA has offered refuge to serious artists who have been forced to leave their home countries.


Developing and posting news stories about ICoA on social media; scanning Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for postings to share (including those from other free‑expression organizations such as PEN and other Cities of Asylum); sharing posts from present and past artists in residence (including Dmitry Bykov, Pedro X. Molina, and Sonali Samarasinghe); and helping to keep the ICoA website up-to-date.

Ithaca Public Education Initiative (IPEI)

IPEI serves as a nonprofit sponsor for innovative ideas and activities in the 12 Ithaca City schools. During the ’20 – ’21 school year, IPEI funded $50K worth of projects ranging from classroom supplies to school-wide outdoor education initiatives. In the current year, they have funded $11,000 in various grants.


A student working with IPEI would be asked to review the active grants funded within the last year, and follow-up with teachers, staff and/or students to inquire about its productivity and impact, perhaps in light of the goals outlined in the application document. Many grants relate to teachers tackling the issues of the day, from equity and inclusion to mental health, while others are meeting students’ day-to-day needs like art supplies and distance learning.

Justice for Migrant Families

JFMF is a nonprofit agency that promotes justice for migrant families by providing support to individuals in the federal detention facility in Batavia, information and resources to families in the community, and advocacy both within and beyond the local community.


Student(s) who choose to work with JFMF will be doing the following: Fieldwork (coordinating volunteers to work, or working themselves, on a phone line shift to take calls from people detained at Buffalo Federal Detention Facility); education outreach (working on social media education campaigns with JFMF teams to raise awareness and engage volunteers in current regional immigration issues; and researching flows of transfers and profits in local immigration detention centers for a larger campaign. Student(s) will work on all of these projects with members of the JFMF staff.

Mother Up!

Mother Up! aka Mama’s Comfort Camp, is a project of the Center for Transformative Action. Their mission is to normalize the struggles of motherhood, facilitate the asking (and receiving) of help, amplify the voices of mothers and increase the influence of parents and caregivers on policymaking towards racial and social justice, while fostering a nurturing economy and a culture of kindness.


This position would require a female-identifying student in order for them to be able to join their women-only spaces. LGBTQ+ candidates are welcome. Collaboration would include help with fundraising (grant writing, crowdfunding) and social media promotion, especially on Instagram. Creative skills such as graphic design and video editing are also very much desired. A student who will be working with MU! will be guided in understanding the social dilemmas of parents and caregivers, and be involved in the creation/delivery of live/in-person and online programming in the period of collaboration.

Wharton Studio Museum

Quiet on the Set!

Wharton Studio Museum is a nonprofit preserving and celebrating Ithaca's role in early American filmmaking, and developing the historic Wharton Studio building in Stewart Park into a park center with exhibits and installations about film history.


WSM is offering an interested student an opportunity to produce and manage a student film festival of short silent films, Quiet on the Set!, open to middle and high schoolers in the Southern Tier. With 85 schools in total, the work involves planning and outreach to the schools (connecting with principals, media arts teachers, etc.); social media promotion and marketing of the festival; and organization of the screening and awards ceremony held in May in the Park Auditorium at Ithaca College. Working closely with the managing director on all aspects of the production, this is a fun and challenging project for anyone interested in film and event planning.

Contact Information


For more information contact:
Julie Simmons-Lynch, Program Manager
278A Uris Hall
Phone: 607-255-6431