College of Arts and Letters2016-2017

Department of Philosophy

Philosophy, Politics and Law, Bachelor of Arts

This bachelor's degree prepares students to examine "truths," precedents, and proposals through critical thinking and provides exposure to great thinkers and practitioners. This major pulls from three challenging disciplines and illuminates them with the lights of history, logic, and math/economics.


What Can I Do with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Politics and Law?

The B.A. in Philosophy, Politics, and Law will prepare you for advanced study leading to careers in law and public service. This program unites historical and mathematical study of economic and political institutions with philosophical analysis, ethical reflection, and logical rigor.

University Requirements

  • To receive a bachelor's degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete at least 120 units of credit that minimally includes a major, the liberal studies requirements, and university requirements as listed below.

    • All of Northern Arizona University's liberal studies, diversity, junior-level writing, and capstone requirements.
    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s).
    • At least 30 units of upper-division courses, which may include transfer work.
    • At least 30 units of coursework taken through Northern Arizona University, of which at least 18 must be upper-division courses (300-level or above). This requirement is not met by credit-by-exam, retro-credits, transfer coursework, etc.
    • A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 on all work attempted at Northern Arizona University.
    The full policy can be viewed here.



In addition to University Requirements:

  • At least 54 units of major requirements
  • Language courses, if needed, to reach proficiency equal to 4 semesters of university-level coursework or 16 units

  • Up to 9 units of major prefix courses may be used to satisfy Liberal Studies requirements; these same courses may also be used to satisfy major requirements

  • Elective courses, if needed, to reach an overall total of at least 120 units

Please note that you may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

Minimum Units for Completion 120
Major GPA 2.0
Mathematics Required MAT 114
Foreign Language Required
Fieldwork Experience/Internship Optional
Research Optional
Study Abroad Optional
University Honors Program Optional
Progression Plan Link View Progression Plan

Purpose Statement
The Philosophy, Politics and Law degree is an interdisciplinary study of the intersection of political, legal and economic institutions and the theoretical frameworks within which these institutions are formed and evaluated.  The degree develops and applies logical, mathematical/statistical and economic analytic skills through close examination of philosophical, political, and historical work to study the human condition as manifest in these social institutions.  From the interdisciplinary conceptual foundations combining substance and analytic methods, students may pursue more broadly or in greater depth answers to questions of one or more of these disciplines.  Students completing this degree are better prepared to understand the human condition and the challenges that characterize their various roles in contemporary society.  (This degree is especially suited to students aiming to pursue the juris doctorate, graduate work in philosophy or political theory, or public service.)
Student Learning Outcomes (General)
To the end described above, we articulate four general categories of student learning outcomes cultivated by the required curriculum and subject to assessment. 

1. Substantive interdisciplinary work dealing with law and legal philosophy, politics and political authority, and economics, rationality and moral philosophy:

  • graduates of the program must acquire both breadth and depth in the study of philosophy, politics, economics and history, especially as these are brought to bear on fundamental theoretical questions about law, politics, and economics. The emphasis here is on theoretical and conceptual structures rather than the mastery of empirical data.
2. Interdisciplinary methodological and analytic tools
  • graduates of the program must demonstrate a facility with analytic tools from a variety of disciplines, including economics, math and statistics, and philosophy.  The facility specified here is general and acquired in a context broader than application of the specific skills in the domains of politics, law and economics.
3. Logic and critical thinking, expressed especially in argumentative writing:
  • graduates of the program must demonstrate a developed capacity for extended writing, especially exegetical, analytic and argumentative in nature.
4. Fourth semester proficiency in a foreign language:
  • graduates of the program must demonstrate fourth semester proficiency in reading, speaking and writing in a foreign language. 

While these skills and the disciplinary subject matter specified above in (1) through (3) are acquired in some degree of isolation, graduates of the program should develop an ability and disposition to integrate the substance and skills in appropriate circumstances, and manifest in a culminating experience.

See the full list of Student Learning Outcomes


Major Requirements
  • Take the following 54 units with a Grade of "C" or better in each course:

    Lower Division (24 units)

  • Upper Division (30 units)
    • Concentration (15 units)
    Students are required to complete a PPL seminar milestone and attend at least two seminars with distinguished visiting lecturers. Typically, a seminar will consist of no more than 15 students in a roundtable session with a guest lecturer. Students will read and be prepared to raise questions about an excerpt of work in progress by the guest.  A PPL advisor's signature on the student's graduation form indicates completion of these requirements.

    Students are advised to complete one or more of the following practicum listed below, which will require the completion of an application and specific requirements):
    • Research project in collaboration with a faculty member
    • Internship such as a legislative internship (HIS 466 or PHI 466) or with a law firm or business (PHI 408)
    • Service learning such as leading philosophy sessions in local high schools (PHI 408)
    • Semester of external study as an international or national exchange student
Foreign Language Requirement
  • You must demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English that is equivalent to four terms of university coursework in the same language. You may satisfy this requirement by taking language courses or by testing out of all or part of it by taking CLEP exams arranged by the Center for Business Outreach.

General Electives
  • Additional coursework is required, if, after you have met the previously described requirements, you have not yet completed a total of 120 units of credit. 

    You may take these remaining courses from any academic areas, using these courses to pursue your specific interests and goals. We encourage you to consult with your advisor to select the courses that will be most advantageous to you. (Please note that you may also use prerequisites or transfer credits as electives if they weren't used to meet major, minor, or liberal studies requirements.)

Additional Information
  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your advisor.

Campus Availability

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