New ASU certificate to prepare future leaders in public, private sectors


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Arizona State University’s School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership is partnering with other ASU units to launch a certificate in philosophy, politics and economics, a multidisciplinary collaboration that will expand students’ perspectives about moral, economic and political issues.

Through the program, students will acquire conceptual tools to understand and address major problems in the world today. 

“Pressing social problems, from institutional discrimination and sweatshops to criminal justice reform and food deserts, are more complex than they seem,” said Paul Carrese, director of the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership. “Obvious solutions often create unintended consequences that compound the original problem. Environmental problems such as climate change, for example, have both a scientific and a societal aspect.

"Looking only at the physical sciences and ignoring economic and social knowledge means looking at only part of the problem. Good intentions are not enough. We have to understand how political and social systems work to more adequately address complex problems.”

By integrating the approaches of philosophy, politics and economics, this certificate offers a holistic understanding of such issues and of possible solutions. Ultimately, the certificate will prepare students for leadership in the public or private sectors.

“These courses will complement their degrees and add value to their careers in public office, law, business, philanthropy, engineering or journalism, among others,” said Ross Emmett, professor of economic thought in the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership and director of the school’s Center for the Study of Economic Liberty.

In this program, students will develop analytical skills and concepts through a course in each of the three disciplines  of philosophy, politics and economics and will have the opportunity to integrate them through both an introductory and a capstone course.

Unlocking complex issues through a multidisciplinary approach

Students can enroll now through Jan. 16 in the gateway course for spring 2022, CEL 350 Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Section C: Class #34665), taught by Professor Andrew Humphries from 3–4:15 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“This course gives students insight into the beautiful and often counterintuitive workings of social systems. It reveals profound practical and moral implications of these new perspectives,” Humphries said.

The certificate is a collaboration between four ASU units: the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, the School of Politics and Global Studies, the Department of Economics in the W. P. Carey School of Business, and the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership. The Center for the Study of Economic Liberty offers further programming for students and faculty in the philosophy, politics and economics program.

Learn more about the certificate, enrollment requirements and courses.

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