Certificate Requirements

Students admitted to the certificate program in Values and Public Life will be required to complete three core courses, two thematic courses, and complete independent work as described below.

Core Courses (3 courses):

Students must take one course out of each of the following three categories:

(1) PHI / CHV 202: Introduction to Moral Philosophy;

(2) one of the following courses: SPI 370 / CHV 301 / POL 308: Ethics and Public Policy; POL 307 / CHV 307: The Just Society; POL 306 / CHV 306 / PHI 360: Democratic Theory; POL 312: The Ideal of Democracy; or POL 313 / CHV 313: Global Justice;

3) a Junior/Senior Seminar in Values and Public Life (topics change from year to year) or, in an exceptional scenario (e.g., study abroad), another seminar on normative issues approved by the program director. 

The following VPL courses and junior/senior seminars are being offered in Fall 2020:

Fall 2020 Courses:

PHI 202/CHV 202
Introduction to Moral Philosophy
Johann Frick 

SPI 370/POL 308/CHV 301
Ethics and Public Policy
Renee Bolinger
Stephen Macedo

Fall 2020 Seminars:

    CHV 321/ENV 321/SPI 371
    Ethical and Scientific Issues in Environmental Policy
    Peter Singer
    David Wilcove

    CHV 367/POL 475/PHI 368
    A Democratic Philosophy
    Philip Pettit

    CHV 395/PHI 393
    The Ethics of Eating
    Andrew Chignell

    The following VPL courses and junior/senior seminars are tentatively planned for Spring 2021:

    POL 307/CHV 307
    The Just Society

    Expressive Rights and Wrongs: Speech, Offense, and Commemoration
    Stephen Macedo

    Ethics of Emerging Technologies
    Johann Frick, Michal Masny

    Thematic Courses (2 courses):

    Students must identify an area of focus and take 2 courses with an explicit values component related to it, chosen by the student in consultation with the program director.  Some illustrative focus areas (or “themes”) are:

    • Bioethics
    • Cognitive psychology, ethics, and public policy
    • Democracy in theory and practice
    • Global justice and human rights
    • Constitutionalism and the rule of law
    • History of thought about political justice, human rights, or some other core concept in public morality
    • Public dilemmas in literature
    • Ethics, religion, and theology

    Independent Work

    Students will write a senior thesis (or, in exceptional circumstances, another substantial piece of independent work - see hyperlink on left menu bar) on a normative topic approved by both the director of the program and the normal procedures of the student’s department of concentration. The thesis will be written in and according to the department regulations of the student’s concentration. Students will be expected to participate in a non-credit-bearing senior thesis colloquium convened by the program.

    Note: No more than two of the courses used to satisfy the course requirements for the student’s concentration may also be counted toward satisfaction of the course requirements for the values and public life program certificate. Spring 2020, Fall 2020, and Spring 2021 courses counted toward the certificate may be taken P/D/F.