Jul 19, 2024  
Undergraduate Record 2021-2022 
Undergraduate Record 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED RECORD]

Political Philosophy, Policy, and Law

Return to: College of Arts & Sciences: Departments/Programs  

c/o Colin P. Bird
Department of Politics
University of Virginia
P.O. Box 400787
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4787
(434) 924-3615


The major in Political Philosophy, Policy and Law (PPL) provides undergraduate students with an opportunity to pursue intensive study of the connections between political philosophy and legal theory, legal thought and historical change, law and public policy. The major is based firmly on the view that the study of law has a rich humanistic tradition and that its pursuit encourages sustained reflection on the fundamental values of political association. Because the domain of law, policy and political philosophy is huge, a principal objective of the major is the integration of diverse disciplinary perspectives. But interdisciplinary dialogue on political and legal ideas, processes, doctrine, and policies can be fruitful only if the participants engage one another from a position of disciplinary strength. The requirements for the major in PPL are grounded on this presumption. 

Students may not minor in PPL.

Political Philosophy, Policy and Law is a major with three components. Majors must take:

1. three co-requisite courses
2. two required PPL courses
3. An individually tailored package of 8 courses that comprise an interdisciplinary core.
Students in PPL are encouraged to combine the PPL major with majors or minors in other disciplines, but only two courses used to satisfy requirements of another major or minor may be counted toward PPL.

1. Co-requisite courses (3 Courses)

Co-requisite courses must be completed by the end of students’ third year.
The co-requisites are (1) one course in the history of political thought,  (2) one course in legal history and public policy, and (3) ECON 2010 (Microeconomics).  The first two co-requisites must be selected from the following menus:

(1) History of Political Thought:

(2) Legal History and Public Policy:

No more than one co-reqiusite course may count toward the fulfillment of the requirements for the Interdisciplinary Core.

2. Required PPL Courses (2 courses)

  1. All PPL majors must take   in the Fall semester of their third year.
  2. All PPL majors must take   (Capstone research seminar) in their final semester.
    These classes are restricted to PPL majors.

3. Interdisciplinary Core (8 courses)

At least three courses must be taken in (A) Theoretical Foundations and at least three courses from (B) Policy and Law, with courses in each group from at least two different departments.  Each student’s specific package of courses will be individually worked out in consultation with a PPL advisor.  The courses listed below are for purposes of illustration, to indicate the kinds of courses that are appropriate for each group.  These are not complete lists.  Once again, only one co-requisite course may count towards this requirement.

Admission Procedures

Students must apply for admission to the PPL program.  Contact Colin Bird, for questions and additional information at (434) 924-3615; cpb6f@virginia.edu.