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 fundamental values. 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.

Please note that students may not minior in PPL. The current major requirements are as follows:

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 201 (Microeconomics).  The first two co-requisites must be selected from the following menus:

(1) History of Political Thought

PHIL 256 Classical Political Philosophy

PHIL 2770 Political Philosophy

PLPT 3010 Ancient and Medieval Political Theory

PLPT 3020 Modern Political Theory

PLPT 3030 Contemporary Political Theory


(2) Legal History and Public Policy

HIUS 355 Early American Law

HIUS 356 Modern American Law

PLAP 381 Constitutional Interpretation

COMM 341 Commercial Law I


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)

(a) All PPL majors must take PPL 2010 in the Fall semester of their third year.

(b) All PPL majors must take PPL 4010 (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.

(A) Theoretical Foundations

  • PLPT 1010 – Introduction to Political Theory
  • HIEU 3812 - Marx
  • PPL 3999 – Philosophical Perspectives on Freedom
  • PLPT 3050 - Survey of American Political Theory
  • PLPT 4030 - Democracy and Its Critics  
  • PLPT 4070 - Liberalism and its Critics
  • PLPT 4050 – Concepts of Law
  • PHIL 368 - Crime and Punishment
  • ANTH 3230 - Introduction to Legal Anthropology  
  • ECON 4010 - Game Theory  
  • ECON 4080 - Law and Economics  
  • HIUS 3756 - American Legal Thought since 1880  
  • PHIL 2060 - Philosophical Problems in Law  
  • PHIL 2690 - Justice, Law, and Morality  
  • PHIL 3670 - Law and Society  
  • SOC 4055 - Sociology of Law  


B. Policy and Law

  • COMM 3410 - Commercial Law I  
  • HIEU 3091 - Ancient Law and Society  
  • HIEU 3471 - English Legal History to 1776  
  • HIEU 3721 - Witchcraft  
  • HIUS 3031 - The Era of the American Revolution  
  • HIUS 3752 - The History of Early American Law  
  • HIUS 3753 - The History of Modern American Law  
  • PLAP 3820 - Civil Liberties and Civil Rights  
  • PLAP 4830 - First Amendment  
  • PLAP 4840 - Race and Constitution  
  • RELC 3200 - Medieval Church Law  
  • RELJ 3310 - Jewish Law  
  • COMM 3420 - Commercial Law II  
  • ECON 4080 – Law and Economics
  • ECON 4160 - Economics of Health  
  • ECON 4180 - Regulating Infrastructure  
  • ECON 4200 - Antitrust Policy  
  • ECON 4210 - International Trade: Theory and Policy  
  • ECON 4310 - Economics of the Public Sector  
  • PHIL 3650 - Justice and Health Care  
  • PLAN 3060 - Law, Land and the Environment  
  • PLAP 3190 - Judicial Process and Policy-Making  
  • PLAP 3650 - Gender Politics  
  • PLAP 3810 - Constitutional Interpretation: Separation of Powers and Federalism  
  • PLIR 3110 - International Law: Principles and Politics  
  • PLPT 4800 - Political Economy  
  • PSYC 3460 - Psychological Study of Children, Families, and the Law Credits: 4
  • PSYC 4499 - Psychology and Law: Cognitive and Social Issues  
  • SOC 2055 - Law and Society
  • SWAG 3810 – Feminist Theory

Admission Procedures

Students must apply for admission to the PPL program.  The application process takes place in the spring semester. More information will be available in January. Contact Vijay Phulwani, for questions and additional information.

The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record represent the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at http://records.ureg.virginia.edu/index.php.