Philosophy Major: Political and Legal Philosophy Option (B.A.)
The political and legal philosophy option in the philosophy major gives students interested in politics, law and justice the opportunity to focus their philosophy major courses around their interests in a systematic and rigorous way. Philosophy has long been a major for high-achieving students interested in law, and our graduates are admitted regularly to top law schools such as Harvard, Yale, Stanford, University of Chicago, NYU and Duke, among others. We are also a home for UNH students interested and active in political philosophy. Our faculty members have considerable expertise in both political and legal philosophy, with some serving on UNH's pre-law advisory committee.
Students must fulfill the requirements of the philosophy major plus the requirements of the option. Majors must take a minimum of ten (10) philosophy courses, for a total of 40 credits. A single course can satisfy multiple requirements for the major. The required minimum overall GPA in major coursework is 2.00 and the minimum grade for all courses counting toward the major is a "C-." Candidates for a degree must satisfy additional University requirements for graduation, such as:
- University "Writing Intensive" Requirements,
- Liberal Arts Foreign Language Requirement (B.A. candidates only),
- minimum number of credits (128 credits for B.A. degree), and
- University Discovery Requirements.
Consult with your adviser early and often to plan the optimal path for fulfilling major and University requirements.
|Modern Philosophy from Descartes to Kant|
Select three (3) additional philosophy courses of the student's choice.
|Discovery Capstone Requirement||8|
PHIL 495 Tutorial Reading and PHIL 795 Independent Study normally do not count toward fulfilling major requirement credits; exceptions may be granted by special permission.
Political and Legal Philosophy Option Requirements
This option requires four philosophy courses (for a total of 16 credits) from those listed below. Students may “double count” these courses toward the general requirements of the philosophy major, for example, by counting three of these courses as the elective courses required for the major.
|Select four of the following courses:||16|
|Race, Gender and Social Justice|
|Introduction to Philosophy of Law and Justice|
|The Future of Humanity: Science, Technology, and Society|
|Ethics and Society|
|Social and Political Philosophy|
|Just Business: The Ethics of Markets and Money|
|Remaking Nature/The Ethics and Politics of Genetic Engineering|
|Philosophy and Feminism|
|Topics in Professional and Business Ethics|
|20th Century European Philosophy|
|Neuroscience and Philosophy|
|Advanced Topics in Philosophy of Law and Justice|
|Law, Medicine, and Ethics|
|Topics in Value Theory (by permission)|
|Topics in Theories of Justice|
|Special Topics (by permission)|
Note that it is in the nature of 700-level seminars to presuppose by default that students have completed the main 400-level and 500-level core requirements (PHIL 412 Beginning Logic, PHIL 500 Workshop, PHIL 530 Ethics, PHIL 570 Ancient Philosophy, PHIL 580 Modern Philosophy from Descartes to Kant) and so free reference is made to materials, views, techniques, etc. covered in those lower-level core requirements.
For students majoring in only philosophy: philosophy majors may "double count" any two courses toward the major and also to satisfy Discovery requirements. For example, a philosophy major can count (1) PHIL 412 Beginning Logic toward the major requirement as well as using this course to satisfy the Quantitative Reasoning Discovery Category and (2) they can also count PHIL 421 Philosophy and the Arts toward both the major and the Fine and Performing Arts Discovery Category. Because PHIL 412 Beginning Logic and PHIL 570 Ancient Philosophy are required for the major and also satisfy Quantitative Reasoning and Humanities Categories, respectively, all majors could simply count these two courses toward their Discovery requirements. In various circumstances—for instance if a student already satisfied those Discovery requirements before becoming a philosophy major—one might prefer to count other philosophy courses toward different Discovery Categories, and they are free to do so.
For students double majoring with philosophy: The Department sets no limits on how many courses students may "double count" toward both the philosophy major and Discovery categories if philosophy is your second major. A double major with philosophy as the second major could in principle count any of the following courses toward the major while satisfying five Discovery Categories:
- Quantitative Reasoning (QR) Discovery Category could be satisfied by PHIL 412 Beginning Logic.
- Fine and Performing Arts (FPA) Discovery Category could be satisfied by PHIL 421 Philosophy and the Arts.
- Humanities (HUMA) Discovery Category could be satisfied by PHIL 401 Introduction to Philosophy, PHIL 405 Critical Thinking, PHIL 405W Critical Thinking, PHIL 410 Happiness, Well-Being , and a Good Life, PHIL 419 Race, Gender and Social Justice, PHIL 419W Race, Gender and Social Justice, PHIL 420 Introduction to Philosophy of Law and Justice, PHIL 430 Ethics and Society, PHIL 431 Business Ethics, PHIL 436 Social and Political Philosophy, PHIL #440 Just Business: The Ethics of Markets and Money, PHIL 440A Honors/Who Are You? Personal Identity and Humanity, PHIL 440B Honors/Who's Human Now?, PHIL #444A Who Am I? Concepts of Self, PHIL 510 Philosophy and Feminism, PHIL 525 Existentialism, PHIL 531 Topics in Professional and Business Ethics, or PHIL 570 Ancient Philosophy.
- World Cultures (WC) Discovery Category could be satisfied by PHIL 440C Honors/The Copernican Lens: Finding a Place for Humanity or PHIL 520 Introduction to Eastern Philosophy.
- Environment, Technology, and Society (ETS) Discovery Category could be satisfied by PHIL 424 The Future of Humanity: Science, Technology, and Society, PHIL 435 Human Nature and Evolution, PHIL 444 Remaking Nature/The Ethics and Politics of Genetic Engineering, PHIL 447 Artificial Intelligence, Robots, and People, or PHIL 450 Environmental Ethics.
UNH philosophy majors acquire the ability to think systematically and imaginatively about fundamental and enduring issues such as morality, justice, happiness, beauty, gender, race, nature, artificial intelligence, space, time, and the meaning of life and death. Our internationally-renowned professors emphasize discussion, debate and writing in our courses. Wrestling with the “big questions” from diverse and global perspectives prepares students exceptionally well for a variety of fulfilling careers. Cultivating a lively and nurturing community personally invested in the success of our high achieving students, we take pride in watching our graduates excel in top law and graduate schools, innovative social justice programs, and various positions from Wall Street to Silicon Valley.
More concretely, we monitor the following learning objectives.
- Students understand major philosophers and philosophical ideas accurately.
- Students apply their understanding of ideas in novel contexts.
- Students write effectively.
- Students speak effectively.
- Students argue with depth, precision, balance, and insight.
- Students understand the formal structure of arguments and understand rules of inference.
- Students read analytically, critically, and empathetically.
- Students critically assess their own preconceptions, commitments and ideas.
The main way we oversee student progress is through close mentorship, early on in our 2nd year orientation designed for new majors (PHIL 500 Workshop), and culminating in their presentation of research in two required 700-level seminars. We also strongly encourage participation in the annual Philosophy Department Undergraduate Research Conference.