Loyola University Chicago

Department of Philosophy

BA in Philosophy: Social Justice Emphasis

The BA in Philosophy with social justice emphasis forms in our students the habit of critical and positive reflection on the questions that challenge humanity today. Within the discipline of philosophy there are many subdisciplines, of which Social Justice is one of the most ancient and yet most relevant to our own day and the University's Mission.

The social justice emphasis has a distinctive theoretical-plus-applied character. The philosophy department already offers a significant number of strong undergraduate courses in this area, including not only various foundational studies in the nature of justice, but also the workings of justice in contemporary social and political contexts. The courses for this program will be offered in a carefully planned sequence and the faculty who teach them will make a conscious effort to highlight the Social Justice dimensions of their respective subject matter. For example, the program will have as its anchor course a special section of PHIL 321, Ethics and Society, modified to include a service learning component along the lines of the Magis program, and offered primarily for philosophy students who have declared a major with this emphasis. Also, the scheduling of the capstone seminars required of all philosophy majors (392-399) will ensure that an appropriate number are devoted to justice issues, for philosophy majors specializing in Social Justice.

Required Courses

There are eleven (11) courses that make up the Philosophy Major with an Emphasis in Social Justice. The required courses for this program are the same as those for the regular Philosophy major, except that Phil 321, and three upper-level electives and the capstone seminar must have a Social Justice orientation. Note that 300-level courses have a prerequisite of two philosophy courses.

  • One lower level philosophy course in the ethics group (181, 182, 283, 284, 285, 286, 287, 288, 289, or a 300-level equivalent)
    *182 (Social and Political Philosophy) is strongly recommended
  • One lower level philosophy course in the metaphysics or epistemology group, including Being Human, but not Logic (271, 272, 273, 275, 276, 277, 279, or a 300-level equivalent)
  • One course in logic (274 or 301)
  • One course, Ancient Philosophy (304)
  • One course, Classical Modern Philosophy (309)
  • One anchor course, Ethics and Society (321)
  • One 300-level social justice elective*
  • One 300-level social justice elective*
  • One 300-level social justice elective*
  • One open philosophy elective (any philosophy course at any level)
  • One capstone seminar (395-399) with a social justice orientation

*Social-justice-oriented electives include: 326 (Phil of Law), 326 (Political Phil), 327 (Topics in Political Phil), 375 (Phil of Marxism), 388 (History of Ethics). They may also include, depending on content, 322 (Perspectives on Women), 324 (Topics in Ethics), 389 (Contemporary Phil Issues) and 300-level courses pertaining to Bioethics when they focus on justice issues. Such decisions about course content will be made by the Social Justice Emphasis Director.

Suggested Sequence of Courses

  • First year—two core courses—in metaphysics/epistemology and ethics/social political (27x, 18x)
  • Second year—three courses—in logic, ancient philosophy, and classical modern philosophy (274/301, 304, 309)
  • Third year—three courses—the anchor course 321, and two 300-level social justice electives
  • Fourth year—three courses—two electives (of which one is 300-level social justice), plus a capstone social justice seminar

Course Checklist

For further information, contact the Social Justice Emphasis Director, Dr. Thomas Wren, at twren@luc.edu.