EA syllabi and teaching materials

by Julia_Wise3 min read5th Sep 201816 comments


Effective altruism educationCollections and resources

I've been collecting a list of all the known courses taught about EA or closely related topics. Please let me know if you have others to add!

"Are we doomed? Confronting the end of the world" at University of Chicago

Spring 2021, Daniel Holz & James A. Evans


"Ethics and the Future" at Yale

Spring 2021, Shelly Kagan


"The Great Problems" at MIT

Spring 2021, Kevin Esvelt


Improving Science Reading Group

2021, EA Cambridge

Reading list

Longtermism syllabus

2021, Joshua Teperowski Monrad


Effective Animal Advocacy Fellowship

Winter 2021, EA at UCLA

Syllabus and discussion guide

Social Sciences & Existential Risks Reading Group

Winter 2021

Reading list

Global Development Fellowship

Winter 2021, Stanford One for the World


"Ethics for Do-Gooders" at University of Graz

Summer 2020, Dominic Roser


Cause Area Guide: Institutional Decision Making

May 2020, EA Norway

Guide, with reading list (focused on forecasting)

Intro to Global Priorities Research for Economists

Spring 2020, David Bernard and Matthias Endres

Description, with link to reading list and materials

Governance of AI Reading List

Oxford, Spring 2020, Markus Anderljung

Reading list

EA course at Brown University

Spring 2020, Emma Abele and Nick Whittaker, based on Harvard Arete fellowship syllabus


"Psychology of (Effective) Altruism" at University of Michigan

Winter 2020, Izzy Gainsburg


"Philosophy and Philanthropy" at University of Chicago

Winter 2020, Bart Schultz


Syllabus: Artificial Intelligence and China

Jan. 2020, Ding, Fischer, Tse, and Byrd

Reading list

In-Depth Fellowship at EA Oxford

Reading list

"Topics in Global Priorities Research" at Oxford University

Spring 2019, William MacAskill and Christian Tarsney


AI alignment reading group at MIT

Fall 2019

Reading list

"Normative Ethics, Effective Altruism, and the Environment" at University of Vermont

Fall 2019, Mark Budolfson


Arete fellowship at MIT

Fall 2018, MIT EA group

Syllabus with discussion prompts

"Safety and control for artificial general intelligence" at UC Berkeley

Fall 2018, Andrew Critch and Stuart Russell


"Artificial Intelligence and International Security"

July 2018, Remco Zwetsloot

Reading list

“The Psychology of Effective Altruism” at University of New Mexico

Spring 2018, Geoffrey Miller


“Training Changemakers” program

Spring 2018, Philanthropy Advisory Fellowship at Harvard University

Program plan

“The Ethics and Politics of Effective Altruism” at Stanford University

Spring 2018, Ted Lechterman


“Effective Philanthropy: Ethics and Evidence” at London School of Economics

2017/2018, Luc Bovens and Stephan Chambers


Seminar on EA at University of Toronto

Fall 2017, Jordan Thomson


"Effective altruism" course at University of St Andrews

2016-2017, Theron Pummer and Tim Mulgan


“How to actually change the world” session at MIT

Fall 2016, Angelina Li and Daniel Ziegler

Evaluation and course materials

EA course at St. Catherine’s University

Fall 2016, Jeff Johnson and Kristine West


EA course at University of Saint Andrews

Fall 2016, Theron Pummer and Tim Mulgan


EA course at University of York

Spring 2016, Richard Yetter Chappell


EA Syllabus

Stefan Schubert and Pablo Stafforini

This syllabus is intended for use in philosophy, political science, or general humanities programs.

EA courses at UC Berkeley

In spring 2015 and 2016, students at UC Berkeley have led a full-semester class on effective altruism.

Organizers spring 2015: Ajeya Cotra, Oliver Habryka

Organizers spring 2016: Ajeya Cotra, Rohin Shah


Syllabus 2015

Syllabus 2016


Retrospective after leading the first class

Practical Ethics course at Oxford

Michaelmas term 2014, Julian Savulescu

Outline (with syllabus available)


Stanford “Doing Good in the 21st Century” course for high schoolers


Taught Spring 2014 by Michael Dickens and Kelsey Piper

Ethics course at UC San Diego

(with EA emphasis)

Taught Winter 2014 by Theron Pummer


Peter Singer’s Coursera MOOC

(Adapted from Practical Ethics course at Princeton, fall 2013)

You can join the course to see all materials.

Other resources

EA teaching resources database from EA St. Andrews

Suggested reading list by Pablo Stafforini

EA reading list by Oisín Moran and Richard Batty

Facebook group on EA for teachers (mostly aimed at elementary to high school)

Giving Games by The Life You Can Save, including lesson plan

Students for High-Impact Charity


16 comments, sorted by Highlighting new comments since Today at 4:38 AM
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Check out the new EA teaching resources database (built at St Andrews University): https://effectivealtruism.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk/?_ga=2.220916632.1221540258.1574519560-1711956814.1566911816

I took this class, Are we Doomed? Confronting the End of the World which I thought was fairly EA-aligned (in terms of addressing existential risk, and including a link to 80k): https://docs.google.com/document/d/1YSs8_COvHQBiE2msm37C2Nt6Sc29GcJJq3fpl2Tii0I/edit?usp=sharing 

*edit Oh, and Philosophy and Philanthropy explicitly read EA texts: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NnhmKR-hXcyHkVPWFQ7roeVzTlSMIYnh0mWD3obSV-k/edit?usp=sharing 

Thanks! I added the first one to this list.

Thanks, added to the post!

I taught a class in Winter, 2020 called "Psychology of (Effective) Altruism" at University of Michigan. 

Here's the syllabus link!


Thanks! Added.

If MIT's alignment reading group is here, this course should also belong to the list: AGI Safety @ UC Berkley (Fall 2018).

This is an excellent collection - thank you!

Thanks for making this collection! One thing I don't think has been mentioned yet is the "sample syllabus on existential risks" from the website associated with The Precipice.

This is a sample syllabus on existential risk, intended as a helpful resource for people developing courses on existential risk — in schools, universities, independent reading groups, or elsewhere. It assumes that those participating have access to The Precipice, so takes this as the central text.

The syllabus is divided into 10 topics, covering many facets of existential risk. One could remove, add, or merge topics to cater to longer or shorter course. Each topic has one or two highlighted readings (marked with an asterisk) and supplementary readings for those who wish to explore further. There are also a few key questions to guide thinking and discussion.

The syllabus is by no means comprehensive, and I’m very open to suggestions on how it could be improved or made more helpful to educators. Please send any comments to syllabus@theprecipice.com.


1. Foundations

2. Ethics of existential risk

3. Thinking about existential risk

4. Natural risks

5. Nuclear weapons

6. Climate change

7. Pandemics

8. Unaligned artificial intelligence

9. Political institutions

10. Macrostrategy

Thank you!

Other than the one from David Bernard and Matthias Endres, do you know if any of these are Economics-focused and/or involve formal maths and/or quantitative content?

Thanks for this resource!  @velutvulpes just posted one that you may want to add: Ethics and the Future seminar at Yale

Just added this to save Julia some time :-)

If you were to organize an effective altruism course around William MacAskill's book Doing Good Better, what additional readings would you give to students to fill in the holes of the book?