Politics, Philosophy & Law at UC Berkeley

This site will help you explore the many ways you can study politics, philosophy and law at UC Berkeley, whether through a variety of joint J.D./Ph.D. degrees, or self-standing Ph.D. or J.D./LL.M./JSD programs. Our internationally renowned faculty and our graduate students come from a number of Berkeley departments and professional schools, with a shared interest in the multi-disciplinary study of law and legal institutions. These interests are anchored by Berkeley Law’s Kadish Center for Morality, Law, and Public Affairs and its weekly Workshop in Law, Philosophy and Political Theory, which brings scholars to Berkeley from around the world to discuss cutting-edge scholarship. Recent and upcoming visitors to the Workshop include Rick Brooks, Susan James, Samuel Moyn, Josh Ober, Cristina Rodriguez, TM Scanlon, Quentin Skinner, and Anna Stilz. Complete archives can be found here.

Ph.D. study: The departments of Philosophy, Political Science, Rhetoric, and the Law School’s distinctive Ph.D. program in Jurisprudence and Social Policy all provide specialization in legal philosophy and political theory. By following the links above, you can read about the faculties of each program (many of whom are cross-appointed in other programs), the specific character and entrance requirements of each doctoral program, and examples of relevant courses and recent dissertations. Keep in mind as well that Berkeley is virtually unique in the depth of its interdisciplinary connections, and that students in any one program take coursework, engage in reading and dissertation groups, and participate in colloquia and workshops across departmental and school borders. The Townsend Center for the Humanities provides another hub connecting students and faculty working broadly on normative topics, including human rights. The Law & Contemporary Theory group is one of the Townsend Center’s most active, meeting multiple times per semester.

Many graduate students at Berkeley interested in law, philosophy and politics combine a Ph.D. with a J.D. or MPP. While such combinations can be put together informally, the Jurisprudence & Social Policy Program offers a joint J.D./Ph.D. degree, with coordinated admissions, possible J.D. fee remission, and reduced time in law school classes. (About one third of JSP students take a J.D. at Berkeley Law; another third either have a law degree already or pursue one elsewhere.)