The ethics and public policy major emphasizes the study of reasoning and prepares students to bring a sophisticated, cross-disciplinary perspective to diverse fields such as business, government, urban and regional planning, social work, and law.

Ethics and public policy looks at the complex connections between economics, law, philosophy, political science, and sociology--disciplines that deal with questions about how people should behave and how we should regulate the behavior of others. The consequences of these behaviors are complex. They affect our economic lives, social and legal issues and policies, and even our ideals and values.

Why Iowa?

The Departments of Economics, Philosophy, Political Science, and Sociology and Criminology collaborate to present the major in ethics and public policy. The major is administered by the Department of Philosophy.

By drawing on the faculty expertise in other areas (philosophy, economics, law, political science, and sociology), this program provides the kind of interdisciplinary educational experience you'll find only at a major university like Iowa.

Given the structure of this major, it is easy to combine it with a second major in one of the fields of specialization--economics, philosophy, political science, or sociology--or a related discipline to enhance your graduate study or career options.

In addition, if you are considering a graduate degree, the study of reasoning, an important component of this major, will help prepare you to take the exams required for admission to graduate or professional programs. 

Admission Requirements

Students interested in this major must meet the requirements for admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.


Ethics and Public Policy
Areas of Specialization
Political Science
  Honors Courses
  Four-Year Graduation Plan
Admission Process

Careers and Outcomes

The ethics and public policy major provides an ideal background for law school and prepares students to bring an important cross-disciplinary perspective to diverse fields such as government, urban and regional planning, social work, and business. 

Iowa graduates have a 95 percent job/grad school placement rate within six months of graduation. Our Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs. 

Student Opportunities

In addition to more than 500  student organizations, Iowa students choose from more than 100  study abroad programs and multiple  undergraduate research opportunities


The University of Iowa provides a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students through the Iowa Scholarship Portal. Scholarships are available to first-year, transfer, and currently enrolled students. For additional details on scholarships for your program of study, check directly with the department or college. 

The Office of Admissions and the Office of Student Financial Aid are great resources for students seeking scholarships.


This program requires eight foundation courses in philosophical reasoning, philosophical theory, political science, economics, sociology, and law. Students must take four courses in one area of specialization: political science, philosophy, economics, or sociology. Students also may work with an academic adviser to design their own specialization field. 

Students in the College of Liberal Arts must complete the requirements of the GE CLAS Core

See Ethics and Public Policy in the General Catalog to learn more about the required course work, degree requirements, and graduating with honors.