Jul 16, 2019  
Xavier University Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog 2018-2019 
Xavier University Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog 2018-2019

Philosophy, Politics and the Public Honors Program

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The Philosophy, Politics & the Public Program brings together many of Xavier’s traditional curricular strengths in an innovative and rigorous undergraduate honors program of study focusing on the unifying concept of “the public sphere” in democratic societies. The program is inspired by the Philosophy, Politics & Economics programs commonly found in the British university system, but differs from them by placing greater emphasis upon philosophical conceptions and historical context. The approach taken by this honors program is expressed in the meanings of the several conceptions identified in its very name. In its original meaning, philosophy denotes “the love of wisdom.” Aristotle, one of the greatest and most influential philosophers of the western tradition, defined politics as “the master science of the good.” “The public” represents a multi-dimensional domain of shared consciousness, ideals and action. Through course work that is both multi-disciplinary as well as centered in a particular disciplinary concentration, students are encouraged to follow their own interests in the theoretical engagement of the public in its many embodiments and meanings. In addition, the theoretical work in the program is complemented by engagement in the active world of politics through working on political campaigns, lobbying of behalf of legislation, internships in local and national government offices and summer study in Paris that includes a seminar in Brussels, the seat of the European Union. The program is highly selective, with 15 to 20 freshman students enrolling each fall.

The Philosophy, Politics & the Public Core Sequence

The program finds its center in two main areas. Students take the core interdisciplinary course sequence during sophomore and junior year. The sophomore year sequence brings together faculty from history and political science. Its focus is on America’s civic culture in its growth and development, with special emphasis upon electoral and legislative politics. The junior year sequence is primarily philosophical and centers upon the philosophical ideas of the Enlightenment culminating in the French Revolution as a primary shaper of both modern democratic institutions as well as modern conceptions of “the public.” The course will culminate with the students traveling to Paris and Brussels to meet with French specialists and students who are likewise investigating the changing contours of the modern Western democracies that this revolution had so profoundly affected. Details of these sequences appear below.

The Philosophy, Politics & the Public Elective Concentration

Together with the Constructing the Public sequence, the Elective Concentration forms the heart of the individual student’s PPP program. Students are encouraged to choose an Elective Concentration in a discipline that most closely fits their own academic interest in “the public.” In this way, the Elective Concentration provides the conceptual center of the PPP student’s course of study, supplying the dominant framework from which he or she investigates the complex content of “the public.” There are a total of 18 hours of available electives in the PPP honors program. Students may choose an Interdisciplinary minor or one that is departmentally based. Some examples are:

  1. Philosophy, Politics & the Public combined with an Interdisciplinary Minor
    1. Concentration in Gender & Diversity
    2. Concentration in International Studies
    3. Concentration in Latin American Studies
    4. Concentration in Peace Studies
    5. Concentration in Catholicism & Culture
  2. Philosophy, Politics & the Public combined with a Discipline-based Minor
    1. Concentration in Business
    2. Concentration in Economics
    3. Concentration in History
    4. Concentration in International Studies
    5. Concentration in Philosophy
    6. Concentration in Political Science
    7. Concentration in Art

The Senior Capstone Research Thesis

In the senior year, all PPP students will submit a research thesis for public defense. This thesis will be multidisciplinary in content and will address issues concerning the public that flow from the student’s own elective concentration.

Additional Course Requirements in the Program

In addition to these required core and elective courses, students in Philosophy, Politics and the Public must complete either a full minor in a foreign language or complete two languages through intermediate proficiency, one additional course from a history survey of the student’s choice, and two courses in economics.

Graduation Requirement

The HAB in Philosophy, Politics and the Public requires a 3.2 GPA to graduate.

Philosophy, Politics and the Public Curriculum

57 Credit Hours

Course Requirements

39 Credit Hours

Elected Concentration

18 Credit Hours

Note: If the concentration chosen is a 15 credit hour concentration, the student must complete an additional 3 credit hour elective in consultation with their advisor.

The Undergraduate Track Concentrations

Economic Sustainability & the Public Sphere Concentration

15 Credit Hours



  • BIOL 120 Life, Ecology & People (core science requirement)       
  • BIOL 250 Ecology (core science requirement)                                
  • ECON 305 Microeconomic Analysis             


  • ECON 320 Ecological Economics I
  • ECON XXX Ecological Economics II
  • ECON 420 Urban & Regional Economics
  • ECON 341 Economics of Developing Countries
  • ECON XXX Sustainable Development
  • ECON XXX Environmental Economics
  • ECON XXX Environmental Policy Seminar

Media, Politics & the Public Sphere Concentration

15 hours chosen from the following; at least six hours in both COMM and POLI

  • COMM 206 Writing for the Media
  • COMM 211 Media Literacy
  • COMM 270 Principles of Strategic Communication
  • COMM 323 Race, Class, Gender and the Media
  • COMM 426 Media Law and Policy
  • COMM 477 Strategic Communication Ethics and Society
  • POLI 120 Comparative Government and Politics
  • POLI 140 American Government and Politics
  • POLI 277 International Relations
  • POLI 301 Political Philosophy
  • SOCI 200 Foundational Social Thought
  • SOCI 240 Population and Globalization
  • SOCI 264 Social Change
  • SOCI 271 New Social Movements
  • SOCI 365 Class and Class Conflict

Global Cultures & Publics Concentration

15 Hours



  • ECON 316/HIST 350/POLI 316  Globalization


ELECTIVE (4 from more than one discipline)

  • HIST 276 History of Nicaragua
  • HIST 343 Religion & Empire in Latin America
  • HIST 346 Modern Japan
  • HIST 428 Latin America & the United States
  • HIST 451 Seminar: France & West Africa
  • HIST 463 Seminar: Cold War US Foreign Policy
  • ECON 300 International Trade & Business
  • ECON 341 Economy of Developing Countries
  • POLI 224 Arab Spring & Middle East Politics
  • POLI 277 International Relations
  • POLI 320 Global Islamic Politics
  • POLI 372 International Political Economy
  • POLI 374 US Foreign Policy
  • POLI 390 Seminar in International Relations
  • SOCI 240 Population & Globalization

Political Science & the Public Sphere Concentration

15 Hours



  • POLI 120 Comparative Government & Politics
  • PHIL 338 Enlightenment & Revolution
  • PHIL 339 The Revolution & Its Aftermath



  • POLI 277 International Relations
  • POLI 309 Montesquieu & Tocqueville
  • POLI 412 Paris Seminar in Political Theory
  • POLI 300 Level Elective
  • POLI 300 Level Elective
  • POLI 300 Level Elective

Specialized Concentration

15 Hours

  • In instances when a student is interested in a specific area of study, they will work with their Academic Advisor to craft a specialized concentration.

Fifth Year Masters Transition Concentration

18 Hours


For students that opt for the 5th Year Master’s program, the concentration courses will consist of:


  • PHIL xxx - Private Interest & Public Good I (3 hours)
  • PHIL xxx - Private Interest & Public Good II (3 hours)
  • COMM xxx - Media, Democracy & Public Sphere (3 hours)
  • POLI xxx - Advanced Political Analysis (3 hours)
  • POLI xxx - Campaign Politics (3 hours)
  • ECON xxx - Economics of Public Policy (3 hours)

TOTAL Minimum Hours Required for Degree: 120 Semester Hours

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