Philosophy, Politics, and Law Certificate


The Philosophy, Politics, and Law (PPL, pronounced "People") certificate provides students with the opportunity to learn about the philosophical foundations, history, and social practice of human rights and liberties in modern democracies. Students are expected to gain a deep understanding of how our legal and political institutions have functioned in the past, how they currently function, and how they ought to function, as well as how citizens might play a meaningful role in them.

While philosophical analysis focuses on what constitutes legitimate political authority and its exercise over individual behavior, one also need to understand how human social and political life actually works. Conversely, one's grasp of political, legal, and social behavior is greatly enriched by a conceptual and foundational perspective on the norms of behavior. Political Science, philosophy, and other disciplines such as history, sociology, or economics are thus perfectly complementary when it comes to advancing one's understanding of our legal and political institutions.

Students who successfully complete the PPL certificate will gain substantial knowledge of democratic political ideas, practices, and institutions from multiple disciplines as well as solid skills in reading, writing, oral communication, and analytic thinking.This is a useful background for students planning to pursue graduate degrees in law, philosophy, political science, or history. It is also a good springboard for careers in business, public service, international affairs, journalism, and teaching.


The PPL certificate requires students to take a total of 27 credits (9 courses), including:

  1. 9 credits (3 courses) in Philosophy (at least 3 upper-division credits - 1 course),
  2. 9 credits (3 courses) in Political Science (at least 3 upper-division credits - 1 course)
  3. 9 credits (3 courses) in either history, sociology, or economics.

The certificate will be easy to complete for students who decide to major or minor in either Philosophy or Political Science, or both. Courses taken to fulfil the PPL certificate also satisfy a wide range of general education requirements, including E, H, S, X and Y.

Students interested in pursuing the PPL certificate must receive formal approval from one of the primary contacts listed below


Primary contacts for the PPL certificate are:


Among the courses that counts towards the certificate are:

  1. Philosophy
    1. Lower-division: PHL 114E, PHL 233, PHL 112E, PHL 210E
    2. Upper-division: PHL 311 (Relativism), PHL 316 (Marx), PHL 317EY, PHL 323, PHL 412, PHL 449, PHL 450, PHL 455, PHL 502, PHL 508.
  2. Political Science
    1. Lower-division: PSCI 210SY, PSCI 220S, PSCI 230X, PSCI 250E
    2. Upper-division: PSCI 320, PSCI 332, PSCI 345, PSCI 352, PSCI 370, PSCI 381, PSCI 433, PSCI 443, PSCI 452, PSCI 453, PSCI 457 (formally 357), PSCI 471, PSCI 474
  3. History, Sociology, or Economics:
    1. History: HSTA 101H, HSTA 103H, HSTA 102H, HSTA 104H, HSTR 101H, HSTR 102H, HSTR 103H, HSTR 104H, AAST 141H, HSTR 272E, HSTA 315, HSTA 320, HSTA 321, HSTA 322, HSTA 323, HSTA 324, HSTA 342H, HSTA 343H, HSTA 344, HSTA 361, HSTA 370H, HSTA 371H, HSTA 377, HSTA 380, HSTA 382H, HSTA 415, HSTA 417.
    2. Sociology: SOCI 211, 220SY, SOCI 221, SOCI 260S, SOCI 312, SOCI 325, SOCI 332, SOCI 345, SOCI 355, SOCI 382, SOCI 423, SOCI 435, SOCI 443, SOCI 446, SOCI 455, SOCI 485.
    3. Economics: ECNS 217X, ECNS 310, ECNS 312, ECNS 313, ECNS 320, ECNS 405, ECNS 406, ECNS 433.

To stay in the program, students must maintain an overall G.P.A. of 3.0. All courses chosen for the certificate must be completed with a grade of C or better.