Philosophy, Politics and Law (BA)

Program Overview

The philosophy, politics and law (PPL) major is an interdisciplinary major focused on law, policy, government and citizenship. It draws on philosophy, political science, history and other areas of study. PPL majors learn how to think critically, write well and cogently debate about social, political, ethical and legal issues.

The degree allows students to focus on topics of particular interest to them. You can choose classes that focus on international issues or human rights, environmental ethics, U.S. law, theories of justice and many other topics.

Degrees Offered

  • BA in Philosophy, Politics and Law
  • BA in Philosophy, Politics and Law: Global Affairs & International Law
  • BA in Philosophy, Politics and Law: Political & Ethical Theory
  • BA in Philosophy, Politics and Law: Public Policy

Internships, Research Opportunities and More

PPL majors frequently pursue internships in law offices, state and local government agencies, political campaigns, non-profit organizations, university programs and a variety of other organizations. These can be valuable experiences, and PPL encourages students to begin actively seeking out internships early in their undergraduate careers. Guidance concerning identifying and securing internships can be found at the Fleishman Career Center. Information about service learning programs can be found at the Center for Civic Engagement.

The PPL program also encourages participation in education-abroad programs. PPL faculty advisers will work individually with students to ensure that coursework taken abroad is compatible with completing the major in proper time. Information about studying abroad and specific education-abroad opportunities can be found at the Office of International Education and Global Initiatives.

Independent research is actively supported by the PPL Honors Program. The program provides intensive faculty support in the writing of an honors thesis that reflects students’ research interests in PPL topic areas. In recent years, students have written theses on human rights, immigration, citizen responsibility in unjust legal systems, inequality, legal interpretation, monetization in law, constitutional theory, asylum for sex-trafficking victims, corporate liability, basic income, and the obligation to obey the law, among other topics.

Incoming students interested in PPL may also be interested in a residential learning community, particularly the Politics, Law, and Society community at College-in-the-Woods. This learning community brings together first- and second-year students who are interested in electoral politics, public policy, public administration and the legal professions. All first-year students will be assigned a returning student member as a peer mentor. The community will feature courses just for community members in philosophy, political science, history and writing.


Some courses to consider in your first year:

After You Graduate

A PPL degree prepares students for a range of career opportunities. Due to the knowledge about institutions and the many critical thinking and analytical skills students acquire, PPL students are a benefit to organizations in both the public and private sectors. A few of the careers open to PPL majors are shown below, although some may require additional education or experience:

  • attorney
  • business administrator or manager
  • development officer
  • journalist
  • labor relations representative
  • legislative aid
  • librarian
  • nonprofit administrator
  • politician
  • public policy analyst
  • public relations executive
  • publisher
  • social worker
  • teacher

Accelerated/4+1 Degrees

You may also be interested in our accelerated/4+1 degree programs which allow students to complete their bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in just 5 years!

For more information, visit the Philosophy, Politics and Law website.