Undergraduate Programs

Certificate Program in Ethics, Law, and Society

For questions about the Certificate Program, please contact Prof. Erin Kelly or Prof. Lionel McPherson, who serve as co-directors.

The goal of this program is to prepare students for leadership positions by enabling them to use philosophy to think, argue, and write about ethical questions that arise in public life. These include questions connected with public policy, such as the limits of free expression, the aims and justification of punishment, and reparations for racial injustice. They include questions that arise in the professions of law, medicine and business, such as: the nature of attorney-client confidentiality, the ethics of euthanasia, and the ethical obligations of international corporations. They also include matters that concern the international community: human rights, foreign intervention, and just causes for war. The program is designed to help students to develop these intellectual resources.

Requirements for the certificate in Ethics, Law, and Society include six courses and an individual research project, in conjunction with a required seminar. The certificate program is in addition to a student's concentration (or major), and no more than half of the courses used to fulfill the certificate requirements may be used to fulfill concentration requirements. The six courses required for the certificate are as follows:

  1. One introductory course (below 100 level) in philosophy.
  2. One or two upper division courses (100 level or above) in ethical theory.
  3. One or two upper division courses (100 level or above) in political philosophy or the philosophy of law.
  4. One or two courses in applied ethics, chosen from the following list:
    • Introduction to Ethics (Phil 24)
    • Justice, Equality and Liberty (Phil 43)
    • Feminist Philosophy (Phil 48)
    • Bioethics (Phil 124)
    • Racism and Social Inequality (Phil 125)
  5. Seminar in Ethics, Law and Society (Phil 197)


The individual research project is initiated during the Ethics, Law, and Society seminar.