UMass Boston

Ethics, Social & Political Philosophy BA

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Pursue Systematic Problems in Depth

As a student in the Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy (ESP) BA program, you will seek answers to philosophical interests as they relate to the individual, society and the state. You will pursue these questions systematically and in depth, and may seek a career in the law, government, social service, or other fields where moral issues and value questions frequently arise.

In this program, you will:

  • Develop your analytical skills and ability to critically evaluate complex ethical and political issues
  • Gain a strong grounding in both historical and contemporary perspectives on ethical and political issues, enabling you to engage with these issues in a broader context
  • Fine-tune your oral and written communication skills, and acquire the tools you need to express your ideas and arguments clearly and persuasively

Plan Your Education

How to Apply

Apply for Admission

Please review the first-year and transfer apply pages for important information about application requirements, deadlines, and application status check.

Apply as a First-Year Student

Apply as a Transfer Student

Financing Your Education

Become a Beacon and pursue your passion in UMass Boston’s diverse, supportive environment. Many students across our 200+ undergraduate and graduate programs receive financial aid—providing access to an education that’s exceptional and affordable. Click below to learn more about financial aid opportunities and deadlines.

Financial Aid Deadlines & Application Process

Scholarships for First-Year & Transfer Students

Required Courses

Introductory Philosophy Course (3 Credits):

  • PHIL 100 - Introduction to Philosophy 3 Credit(s)
  • PHIL 108 - Moral and Social Problems 3 Credit(s)

200-Level Philosophy Course (3 Credits):

  • PHIL 216 - The History of Ethics 3 Credit(s)
  • PHIL 218 - Major Social and Political Thinkers 3 Credit(s)

Philosophy Area Electives (15 Credits):
Take five courses from three areas listed below. At least one course must be completed in each area.

History Area:

  • PHIL 211 - Ancient Philosophy 3 Credit(s)
  • PHIL 216 - The History of Ethics 3 Credit(s)
  • PHIL 218 - Major Social and Political Thinkers 3 Credit(s)
  • PHIL 297 - Asian Philosophy 3 Credit(s)
  • PHIL 311 - Medieval Philosophy: Islamic, Jewish, Christian 3 Credit(s)
  • PHIL 351 - Plato 3 Credit(s)
  • PHIL 397 - Marxist Philosophy 3 Credit(s)
  • PHIL 452 - Aristotle 3 Credit(s)
  • PHIL 455 - Hegel and German Idealism 3 Credit(s)

Theory Area:

  • PHIL 290 - The Philosophy of Law 3 Credit(s)
  • PHIL 318 - Race and Racism 3 Credit(s)
  • PHIL 333 - Ethical Theory 3 Credit(s)
  • PHIL 380 - Social & Political Philosophy 3 Credit(s)
  • PHIL 395 - International Ethics 3 Credit(s)
  • PHIL 450 - Rights 3 Credit(s)

Problems Area:

  • PHIL 210 - The Philosophy of Education 3 Credit(s)
  • PHIL 215 - Philosophical Foundations of Public Policy 3 Credit(s)
  • PHIL 220 - Environmental Ethics 3 Credit(s)
  • PHIL 222 - Moral Issues in Medicine 3 Credit(s)
  • PHIL 225 - The Philosophy of Religion 3 Credit(s)
  • PHIL 230 - Philosophy and Feminism 3 Credit(s)

Additional Electives (9 Credits):
Take three additional philosophy courses from the list below.

  • PHIL 100 - Introduction to Philosophy 3 Credit(s)
  • PHIL 108 - Moral and Social Problems 3 Credit(s)
  • PHIL 120 - Introduction to Logic 3 Credit(s)
  • Any philosophy courses at the 200, 300, or 400-level except for PHIL 478 - Independent Study I and PHIL 479 - Independent Study II.

Tuition & Financial Aid

Cost & Aid
Please refer to the following Admissions pages for more information:

For additional information regarding tuition and fees, please visit the Bursar’s Office or send an email to

Related Minors

Creative Writing
The Creative Writing program is designed for students with interests in writing fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. Through the course of study, the program connects you to a creative writing community in which you can foster your writing talents and skills.

Race, Ethnicity & Literature Minor
The Race, Ethnicity, and Literature (REL) minor gives you the opportunity to encounter the literary expressions of diverse communities, including your own. If you are interested in learning more about African American, Asian American, Native American, and Latinx literature, then this is the concentration/minor for you. In addition to learning about diverse literatures and cultures, REL courses also teach literature in diverse ways so that you can take courses on everything from Race in Shakespeare to Latinx literature.

Career Possiblities

Pursue a career in law, using your analytical skills to excel as a lawyer or legal researcher. Work at a nonprofit or community-based organization, using your knowledge of ethical and political issues to address social and environmental justice issues. Or, become an educator, teaching philosophy or related subjects to the next generation of activists.  Whatever your goals, UMass Boston is here to support you.

Become a(n):

  • Lawyer/ paralegal
  • Activist
  • Politician
  • Professor
  • Corporate Responsibility Specialist
  • People and Culture Manager
  • Journalist