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: WWS 370 / CHV 301 / POL 308: Ethics and Public Policy; POL 307 / CHV 307: The Just Society; POL 306 / CHV 306 / PHI 360: Democratic Theory; 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. 

Note: the following VPL courses and junior/senior seminars are being offered in 2017-2018:

Fall 2017

POL 313/CHV 313: Global Justice – Charles Beitz

WWS 370/POL 308/CHV 301: Ethics and Public Policy – Stephen Macedo

The two VPL Junior/Senior seminars being offered in the fall are:

VPL Junior/Senior Seminars:

  • POL 405/CHV 406: The Ethics of Borders and Migration – Anna Stilz
  • POL 415/CHV 415: Civil Disobedience, Protest & Resistance – Jan-Werner Mueller (please note, enrollment in this course is by application or interview; the application deadline is Friday, April 21st)

The following VPL seminars are planned for spring 2018:

  • Capitalism, Utopia and Social Justice (WWS) – Marc Fleurbaey (NEW course)
  • CHV 332/PHI 347: Ethics and Pathologies of Attachment – Monique Wonderly (spring '16 course details)
  • CHV 333/PHI 344: Bioethics: Clinical and Population Level – Johann Frick/Daniel Putnam (spring '16 course details)

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) 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. In addition, no course counted toward the certificate may be taken P/D/F.