Politics, Philosophy & Law Minor


Completing PPL requires five courses, 4 of which are upper division lectures or seminars, and one of which is a one semester capstone project, for a total of 5 courses. Examples of possible pathways are below.

  • Minors will take 4 upper division courses, from the list under Courses on this website, in Philosophy, Political Science, Legal Studies, and Political Economy, with no more than 2 courses in a single department, and no more than 2 courses in the student’s major (of which only 1 can count for both major and minor). The list includes courses in moral, political and legal theory, as well as courses focusing on issues in governance, constitutionalism and legal regulation, and topics in moral theory.  Other courses may be added to the list or approved individually by the Faculty Advisor, including courses in other departments.  Only one course from an outside department can count towards the Minor.
  • One of these courses must be either a seminar with an intensive writing experience (approved by the Faculty Advisor), or a Writing-Intensive section of a lecture class. Writing-intensive courses will feature an iterative writing experience, along with oral presentation components.
  • Students will develop, in individual discussions with the PPL Faculty Advisor, a thematic emphasis for their path through the Minor. The theme might include additional courses on normative topics, in any department or program. Examples of possible themes are: social equality, environmental justice, public policy and future generations, democracy and diversity in theory and practice, justice in law and literature, immigration and borders, the history and politics of human rights, bioethics, multiculturalism in practice, global justice, religion and secularism in public life. This theme would likely support completion of the thesis requirement, below.
  • All students will undertake, as a 5th course in the Minor, a capstone senior year writing project, either in conjunction with their major department’s honors thesis program, or as a 199 independent writing project. The PPL Minor will provide additional supervision for this project, including regular colloquium meetings where students would develop proposals and present work to one another, and would provide additional, individualized writing supervision.  Students in a writing-intensive internship can also satisfy the Capstone requirement with their written product.  A self-standing thesis will be 25-30 pages long.
  • Students will participate in additional extra-curricular programming and cohort-forming events. Such events might include attending relevantly-themed local theatre events or films, with discussion afterwards; career- and graduate-school oriented events; skills workshops relevant to public leadership; and informal discussions and debates of current topics. The Law School’s Kadish Center is already a hub for much relevant intellectual activity, and a number of undergraduates already attend its weekly flagship Workshop in Law, Philosophy and Political Theory.  We anticipate 2-3 such events per semester.

The 4 courses will be chosen from the list on the Courses tab, subject to the following constraints:

  • (a) No more than 2 classes may be taken in any one Department, not counting any required capstone honors thesis seminar.
  • (b) No more than 1 class may be counted both for the student’s major and the minor.
  • (c) No more than 2 classes may be in the student’s majors.
  • (d) One of the courses must be seminar with a substantial supervised writing component or Writing Intensive section of a lecture course. These are indicated with an asterisk. Students may ask that other seminars also be counted as satisfying the requirement.
  • (e) All courses for the Minor must be taken for a letter grade, and the student must have an overall average of 3.3 or higher for all courses for the Minor. An exception will be made for students who complete the Capstone requirement with a 199 (ungraded) course.

It is strongly recommended that all students in the Minor take at least one of these courses: Legal Studies 107 or Pol. Sci. 115 (“Theories of Justice”), Phil 108 (“Moral Philosophy”) or Phil 115 (“Political Philosophy”), or PolEcon 100 (“Classical Theories of Political Economy”). Note that some of these recommended classes will also have WI sections, thus satisfying requirement (d).


You must declare the minor no later than the semester before your EGT (Expected Graduation Term).

You will need to complete minors within your semester limit and unit ceiling to complete a minor. Your semester limit and unit ceiling do not change as a result of adding on a minor. If you are unable to finish your minor within your limits, you will need to drop your minor.

If you are unsure whether or not your minor plan will fit within your time limits for your degree, bring your major and minor program plan to an L&S College Adviser for help understanding your options.

You can use a total of two courses in common with your major and the PPL minor: (1) one upper division course and (2) one thesis or capstone writing course.

You can count one course from a department other than Philosophy, Political Science, Legal Studies, or Political Economy towards the Minor, provided the content of the course fits with the PPKL themes and/or your capstone project interests, and with permission of the Faculty Advisor.

During the semester you graduate, you must complete and submit a minor completion form with all required signatures. For form, instructions and deadlines, please see this page.

The following are some imagined ways a student might put together courses to satisfy the Minor:

A. Legal Studies Major

Phil 104 (“Ethical Theories”)
LS 107WI (“Theories of Justice”)
LS190.3 (“Basic Legal Values”)
PS 124C (“Ethics of International Affairs”)
Honors thesis sequence in LSH195A&B.  Thesis topic: “Global Distributive Justice”

B.  Pol. Sci Major:

PS 115WI (“Theories of Justice”)
PS191 (“Democratic Erosion”)
PolEcon 100 (“Classical theories of Political Economy”)
LS 119 (“Philosophy and Law of Ancient Athens”)
Honors Thesis Sequence PS190A&B.  Thesis topic: “Wealth and Oligarchy in Democratic Politics.”

C.  Economics Major:

Phil 108 (“Contemporary Ethical Issues”)
PolEcon 111 (“Poverty and Social Policy”)
LS 107WI (“Theories of Justice”)
PS 147G (“Comparative Politics of the Welfare State”)
Independent Study in PS for senior thesis.  Thesis topic: “Justice, welfare and poverty.”

D. Philosophy major:

Phil 100 (“Philosophical Methods”)
PS 115 (“Theories of Justice”)
PS 116 (“History of African-American Political Thought”)
LS 181 (“Psychology & the Law”)
Capstone thesis in Philosophy.  Thesis topic: “The wrongness of bias.”

E.  Engineering major:

LS107 WI (“Theories of Justice”)
LS 123 (“Data, Prediction and the Law”)
Phil 121 (“Moral Questions of Data Science”)
PS 191 (“Human Rights”)
Capstone thesis advised in Legal Studies.  Thesis topic: “Should Data Privacy be Protected by Human Rights Law?”

F.  American Studies major (or second minor):

LS 177 (“American Legal and Constitutional History”)
LS 107WI (“Theories of Justice”)
Phil. 117 (“Philosophy of Race and Ethnicity”)
Pol. Econ. 111 (“Poverty and Social Policy”)
Capstone thesis advised in American Studies.  Thesis topic: “Overcoming America’s racialized justice system”