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William R. Heaston

William R. Heaston

I enrolled in the Ethics & Legal Studies Doctoral Program following the completion of my first year of studies at Penn Carey Law. My main research interests are in the areas of organizational corruption, anti-corruption law, and corporate compliance. I plan on employing theoretical and methodological approaches from law, ethics, and organizational studies to generate new insights on how governments and companies can better tackle corruption, craft effective compliance programs, and build ethical organizational cultures.

As a joint J.D. / Ph.D. student, I really appreciate how the doctoral program fully embraces interdisciplinary study. The faculty and students here approach their research interests from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. These perspectives range from doctrinal legal research and philosophical ethics to historical analysis and behavioral ethics approaches spanning various social science disciplines. Our department’s expertise in multiple disciplines made it easy for me to find faculty who are doing research in areas that interest me and who are receptive to my plans to study corruption using tools from different disciplines.

I would advise applicants to find a faculty member in our department whose research interests are closely aligned with their own. At its core, a Ph.D. is essentially an individually tailored apprenticeship, and identifying a faculty advisor early on who shares your own interests can make a world of difference in terms of acquiring the tools and information needed to succeed as a researcher. Applicants should also feel free to reach out to current Ph.D. students and alumni. The best practical advice I received was from these sources, and potential applicants should take full advantage of both of them.