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Political and Moral Philosophy

Students in this concentration analyze policy and policy-making through a lens of political and moral philosophy. The emphasis is on the foundational philosophies upon which public and private policy-making institutions are based.  Students pursuing this concentration consider Ancient Greek, Enlightenment, and Modern political ideas and take into account questions of morality in policy-making.  These basic issues can then be applied to issues within fields such as medicine, law, business, education, politics, the non-profit sector, and the environment.

Advisors: Robert Reich, Debra Satz, Alison McQueen, David Hills

Below is a list of suggested courses. The list includes classes that students have taken in the past to complete this particular concentration, as well as additional classes that may be considered toward this topic. Students may choose to take other courses, though all concentration courses must be discussed with and approved by the faculty adviser whether or not they are on the suggested list. Students may also propose directed reading, Overseas Studies (BOSP), and Bing Stanford in Washington (BSIW) courses.


African & African American Studies


  • BIOS 224. Big Topics in Stem Cell Ethics 


  • CLASSICS 181. Classical Seminar: Origins of Political Thought

Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages


  • EDUC 247. Moral and Character Education

Ethics in Society

Business (General)


  • HISTORY 208S. Facing the Past: The Politics of Retrospective Justice

Human Biology


  • LAW 5802. Modern American Legal Thought


  • NBIO 101. Social and Ethical Issues in the Neurosciences 



Political Science

  • POLISCI 131L. Modern Political Thought: Machiavelli to Marx and Mill 
  • POLISCI 134P. Contemporary Moral Problems 
  • POLISCI 236. Theories of Civil Society, Philanthropy, and the Nonprofit Sector
  • POLISCI 351C. Institutions and Bridge-Building in Political Economy 

Public Policy