Association for Practical and Professional Ethics Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl®

Leaders are asked to make difficult choices. More than that, they are asked to make choices in ambiguous and uncertain landscapes. So many of today’s problems lack clear cut solutions – and instead we must balance a conflicting set of values and priorities. The single most important thing I did in my undergraduate education to prepare me to make those difficult choices was Ethics Bowl.  

Studying ethics and participating in Ethics Bowl sharpened my ability to breakdown problems, think through their ramifications, and weigh my options against a set of important values. Ethics Bowl gave me the background and the vocabulary to think through difficult situations and then articulate my choices in a way that gave credence to all sides of an issue.  

If you want to hone your ability to reason through difficult problems and to effectively communicate your decisions to others in a way that conveys both empathy and understanding, then Ethics Bowl is for you. Ethics Bowl will give you the ability to work your way civilly and confidently through difficult and nebulous problems.  

The problems of the modern world are not black and weight – Ethics Bowl helped me sort through the sea of gray. 

Parker Bolstad

1LT U.S. Army - Military Intelligence Officer, B.S. Environmental Engineering, ‘19

The Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl (IEB) is sponsored by the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE), and is designed as a competition to test undergraduate students’ grasp of complex ethical issues, and their ability to engage in critical thinking and civil discourse. Every fall, the Mines team prepares for the Rocky Mountain Regional Competition, which takes place in November. Mines has sent a team to Nationals six times since 2015.

Recruiting for the Mines Ethics Bowl Team takes place early in fall semester. Students can participate in two ways: as presenters at competition or as researchers. The team works through fall, and if we earn a bid to Nationals, we also work in spring semester. We typically meet 4 hours/week through competition, although many students meet on their own as well. Team meetings usually involve pizza.

If you are interested in learning more about the Mines Ethics Bowl team, contact Sandy Woodson at

Information about APPE IEB can be found here:

“Not only was Ethics Bowl a great way to participate in meaningful activities on campus and develop close relationships with my classmates and professors, it provided a forum to engage in and discuss some of the most challenging ethical and philosophical dilemmas we face today. Ethics bowl truly changed my perspective on how to approach difficult issues, encouraged me to promote empathetic dialogue, trained me to think critically and form logical arguments, and pushed me to consider opposing points of view, all of which are skills that are increasingly important and continue to serve me in my professional career and personal life.”

Ian Kramer

BS '17, MS '18 in Mechanical Engineering, Ball Aerospace

“Participating in the Ethics Bowl was a cornerstone of my time at Mines. Being able to engage with deep, often unsolvable, questions with students who weren’t afraid to take a stand led to well-earned logic-based headaches and pizza-fueled laughs. More importantly, it fine-tuned a skill set based in logic, cultural understanding, and patience, something that serves me well each day.”

Sean Patrick McGinley

BS Mechanical Engineering '17, JD, Boston College, '19

“The Association for Practical and Professional Ethics is an international organization dedicated promoting ethics in the professions. APPE has sponsored the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl for over 25 years, and the National Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl is held during APPE’s annual conference.”