Philosophy majors consistently receive the highest scores on the law school admissions test (LSAT). This program positions them to excel in law and public policy.
The enterprise of philosophy requires sharpening the skills necessary for clarifying premises, uncovering presuppositions (one’s own and those of others), weighing the pros and cons of conflicting values, and analyzing concepts and issues, all of which are crucial for graduate programs in law and public policy. Courses in philosophy serve to develop and enhance these skills. Some courses concentrate on specific philosophical issues. Others provide an overview of an entire area of human inquiry or endeavor (such as the sciences, the arts, political theory and law, medicine, social justice, and how our minds, senses, and emotions work) or of the philosophical foundations that characterize a historical period.
The department welcomes students from other majors or programs who wish to acquire excellent training for law schools, public policy programs, and the competitive admissions processes to these programs.
The Concentration in Philosophy and Law includes three units from related fields. This gives students an opportunity to integrate courses offered by other departments into the major, so long as those courses are substantially concerned with law and approved by an advisor. Undergraduate advisors are also authorized by the department to designate units obtained in other departments as satisfying unit requirements. Neither students nor advisors should view this as an escape clause which enables a student who has not quite satisfied the requirements of the Philosophy and Law Concentration to do so. Units outside the department are to be designated for use in the major on the basis of their contribution to the student’s major program. To avoid confusion on this point, students should obtain written approval from an advisor before obtaining non-department units to be utilized in the major.
Students who have not taken PHIL 110 may begin the program but should complete this course or its equivalent at the earliest opportunity. Equivalencies must be approved by a departmental advisor.
The Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy: Concentration in Philosophy and Law requires a minimum of 43 units, with at least 31 of these units being upper-division. The program culminates in a one-unit personalized learning outcomes course in which students reflect philosophically on their own development of skills and knowledge. This learning outcomes course, PHIL 696, can be taken in either the first or second semester of the student’s senior year.
To best take advantage of the program’s tremendous resources in preparing students for law school, students pursuing the concentration in philosophy and law are urged to lay out a tentative program of courses with their advisors early in their tenure at the university. Depending upon the student’s area of specialization, up to six units of courses outside the philosophy department may be approved by a department advisor as elective units for the B.A.