2024-2025 Undergraduate Course Catalog 
    Jul 24, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate Course Catalog

Political Philosophy, BA

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Verena Erlenbusch-Anderson
524 Hall of Languages
Dennis Rasmussen
Political Science
313B Maxwell Hall


See faculty listings under the programs in Philosophy  and in Political Science .

Political philosophy is reflective thought on group activity. It differs from political science in that it is a conceptual inquiry, while political science is a more empirical and practical application of that inquiry. The program enables students to pursue studies using the resources of both the philosophy department and the political science department. Students take coursework in ethics, political theory, history of political thought, law, and human nature. Some other topics of study include governmental structures and their ideal implementation, political behavior, civil liberties, the relationship between individuals and governments, and philosophy of law.

For all Arts and Sciences|Maxwell students, successful completion of a bachelor’s degree in this major requires a minimum of 120 credits, 96 of which must be Arts and Sciences|Maxwell credits, completion of the Liberal Arts Core requirements, and the requirements for this major that are listed below.

Dual Enrollments:

Students dually enrolled in Newhouse* and Arts and Sciences|Maxwell will complete a minimum of 122 credits, with at least 90 credits in Arts and Sciences|Maxwell coursework and an Arts and Sciences|Maxwell major.

*Students dually enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences|Maxwell as first year students must complete the Liberal Arts Core. Students who transfer to the dual program after their first year as singly enrolled students in the Newhouse School will satisfy general requirements for the dual degree program by completing the Newhouse Core Requirements.

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Explain core concepts in political philosophy (such as liberty, equality, rights, federalism, etc.)
2. Identify and reconstruct political arguments, including the ability to identify premises and conclusions in political arguments
3. Read and critically evaluate literature in political thought, including historical texts, scholarly publications, and public scholarship
4. Write short analytical essays in political thought
5. Apply theories and concepts to relevant political case studies

Major Requirements

The program requires a total of 30 credits.

In addition, students choose two of the following four areas

In addition, students choose two of the following four areas, and take nine credits in each: (1) history of political thought; (2) law; (3) ethics and politics; and (4) human nature and political theory. Each course selection needs the approval of a political philosophy advisor. The courses listed below satisfy these area requirements. However, additional courses in philosophy or political science, such as selected topics courses, may be approved, as may certain courses in other departments such as history or sociology, as well as appropriate courses given outside of the arts and sciences. Each political philosophy student consults with the advisor about course selections each semester. The illustrative examples are:

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