Philosophy Department Creates New Major

The Department of Philosophy has developed a new philosophy, politics and law major that is aimed toward students interested in pursuing careers in law or politics, according to Philosophy Department Chair John Lysaker.

The major requires students to complete 34 credit hours of core and elective courses. Required classes including Phil 110: Introduction to Logic, Phil 220: History of Political Philosophy, Phil 300: Metaphysics and Epistemology, Phil: 321: Philosophy of Law and a capstone seminar on philosophy, politics and law. Of the five elective courses, students must take two non-philosophy electives on politics and law, respectively.

The major was designed with prospective law school students in mind.

“A lot of philosophy majors already are interested in going to law school … so we wanted to structure the major somewhat to better prepare them,” Lysaker said.

Undergraduate students who express interest in pursuing a legal career do not have specific majors they are required to pursue to later attend a law program. Political science was the most popular major for law school applicants in the 2017-18 admissions cycle, with 18 percent of students earning a degree in the discipline, according to the Law School Admissions Council. About 3.4 percent of applicants last year majored in philosophy.

Dean of Emory College of Arts and Sciences Michael A. Elliott also noted that the major would benefit students preparing for legal careers.

This new major was proposed by the Department of Philosophy — with the support of other departments — to connect better the faculty strength in the philosophy of politics and law with the interests of students who might be considering legal or political careers,” Elliott wrote in a Sept. 10 email to the Wheel.

Schools including the University of Southern California and Northern Arizona University also offer the major.

Taylor Anderson (21C), who plans to attend law school after her undergraduate studies, said she likes the new major offering.

“I think it’s good that they’re opening up more opportunities for pre-law students,” Anderson said. “If I had known that that was a thing I probably would have considered it more.”