University of Montana Catalog 2023-2024

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 9 credits (3 courses) in philosophy, 9 credits (3 courses) in political science, and 9 credits (3 courses) in either history, sociology, or economics.  In philosophy and political science, it is required that at least 1 course (3 credits) be upper-division in each discipline. 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.

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.

The certificate is jointly administered by the Department of Philosophy, the Department of Political Science, and the Pre-Law Program.  Primary contacts are Prof. Soazig Le Bihan ( and Prof. Ramona Grey (, Chair of the Political Science Department.

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

Post-Secondary Certificate - Philosophy, Politics, and Law


Political Science9
History, Sociology, and Economics9
Total Hours27

Degree Specifics: 27

Required Cumulative GPA: 3.0


Rule: At least one of the course taken must be upper-division (300-level or above).

Complete three of the following core ethics courses:9
Introduction to Ethics
Intro Ethics and Environment
Intro to Political Ethics
Moral Philosophy
Intro to Logic: Deduction
History of Ancient Philosophy
History of Modern Philosophy
Historical Figures in Phil
Law and Morality
Law and Discrimination
Ethics of Climate Change
History of Moral and Political Philosophy
Contemporary Moral/Political Theory
Iris Murdoch's Ethics
Topics in Value Theory
Philosophy of Law
Total Hours9

Minimum Required Grade: C-

Political Science

Rule: At least one of the course taken must be upper-division (300-level or above).

Complete three of the following courses:9
Intro to American Government
Intro to Comparative Government
Intro to International Relations
Intro to Political Theory
Experimental Offering: Comparative Politics
Global Environmental Politics
American Political System
American Political Thought
Courts and Judicial Politics
State Formation
Experimental Offering: Comparative Politics
International Law & Organization
Politics of Social Movements
Utopianism and its Critics
Modern Political Theory
American Constitutional Law
Civil Rights
Politics of the World Economy
Total Hours9

Minimum Required Grade: C- 

History, Sociology, and Economics

Complete three of the following courses:9
Black: From Africa to Hip-Hop
Issues in Economic Development
Labor Economics
Money and Banking
Public Finance
Game Theory
Industrial Organization
Economics of the Environment
American History I
American History II
Honors American History I
Honors American History II
Early American Republic
Birth of Modern US
America in Crisis
U.S. History: WWII to Present
U.S. in the 1950s
U.S. in the 1960s
African American History to 1865
African-American Struggle for Equality
The American South
Native American History to 1830
Native American History from 1830
Women in America: Colonial Period to Civil War
Women in America: From the Civil War to the Present
Alcohol in American History
American Constitutional History
History of American Law
The Black Radical Tradition
Prayer & Civil Rights
Freedom, Slavery, Equality: Early American Perspectives
Western Civilization I
Western Civilization II
Honors Western Civilization I
Honors Western Civilization II
Terrorism: Violence in the Modern World
Democracy: Ancient to Modern
Introduction to Criminology
Race, Gender & Class
Criminal Justice System
Social Stratification
Sociology of the Family
Sociology of Organizations
SOCI 355
Sociology, Psychology, and Social Structure
Sociology of Punishment
Sociology of Corrections
Seminar in Crime & Deviance
Deviant and Criminal Behavior
Capstone: Inequality and Social Justice
Sociology of Poverty
Prostitution & Human Trafficking
Classical Sociological Theory
Total Hours9

Minimum Required Grade: C-