Philosophy Major, Law and Policy Specialization

Program Requirements

  • Total units required: 27

This specialization is especially recommended for students who intend to pursue a career in law or public policy. The track involves taking certain specific courses for the major (and possibly a few extra courses) that will provide the student with additional preparation and a competitive edge when applying to law school, postgraduate programs in public policy, and related jobs.


  • Phil 100G Logic and Critical Analysis or Phil 301G Symbolic Logic
  • Strongly recommended: a 100-level class in addition to Phil 100G Logic and Critical Analysis
  • One core course in Contemporary/Analytic and one core course in History

Contemporary/Analytic Courses:

Phil 306GPhilosophy of Language3
Phil 3113Theory of Knowledge3
Phil 315Philosophy of Mind3
Phil 321GPhilosophy of Science3
Phil 3481Introduction to Metaphysics3
Phil 361Philosophy of Emotions3

History Courses:

Phil 347CAncient Philosophy3
Phil 349CDescartes to Hume3
Phil 357CKant and 19th-Century Philosophy3
Phil 358Conceptual Foundations of Modern Science3
  • Phil 340F Social and Political Philosophy and Phil 346 Philosophy of Law
  • Strongly recommended: at least one other Value Theory course:
Phil 340FSocial and Political Philosophy3
Phil 346Philosophy of Law3
or Phil 361 Philosophy of Emotions
  • Strongly recommended: at least one 200-level course
  • Phil 390 Philosophical Writing or another core course
  • Phil 3991 Philosophy Capstone Course or Phil 499 Study for Honors
  • At least 21 units at the 300 level or above (including core courses)*
  • At least 6 of those 21 units at the 400 level**
  • Courses taken Pass/Fail cannot count toward the major.

Additional Information

Senior Honors

Eligible majors are encouraged to work toward Senior Honors. To qualify, students must have the agreement of a faculty member to serve as their thesis advisor. In addition, at the end of their junior year, they must have an overall grade point average of at least 3.65. For important additional information regarding Senior Honors, consult our Undergraduate Honors webpage.

The Writing-Intensive Seminar

Majors are encouraged to fulfill their writing-intensive requirement by taking Phil 390 Philosophical Writing, which is specially designated as writing intensive. It is typically taken during the junior year, and it is limited to 15 students. Significant attention is devoted to conceiving, researching, writing, revising, critiquing and presenting philosophical essays. A philosophy major who does not take a philosophy writing-intensive seminar must take a fourth core course from any of the three core areas. Registration priority for Phil 390 is given to philosophy majors and minors who have not yet completed their writing-intensive requirement. 

Capstone Experience

All philosophy majors are required to complete a capstone experience either by writing an honors thesis or by taking Phil 3991 Philosophy Capstone Course. Please be aware that the capstone course is offered only in the spring semester, so students will need to plan their class schedules accordingly if they decide not to write an honors thesis. To qualify to write an honors thesis, at the end of their junior year, students must have a GPA of at least 3.5 in the major, a GPA of at least 3.5 in advanced philosophy courses, and an overall GPA of at least 3.65. Alternatively, majors should sign up for Phil 3991 (a 3-credit course), which will draw together a variety of different philosophical areas. Only philosophy majors of senior standing may take this course; preference is given to students not pursuing honors.

Study Abroad

Students can pursue the philosophy major while studying abroad. The department has special study abroad arrangements with University College, London; King's College, London; Trinity College, Dublin (Ireland); Sussex University (U.K.); Utrecht University (the Netherlands); and the University of Auckland (New Zealand). Information about study abroad and specific overseas programs is available from the departmental website and the study abroad advisor.

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