Philosophy, Politics and Economics

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Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) is a popular interdisciplinary undergraduate/post-graduate degree which combines study from three disciplines.

The first institution to offer degrees in PPE was the University of Oxford and this particular course has produced a significant number of notable graduates such as Christopher Hitchens, the British American author, philosopher, polemicist, debater, and journalist,[1] David Cameron, the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Ed Miliband, the former Leader of the Opposition, and Tony Abbott, the current Prime Minister of Australia,[2]

In the 1980s, the University of York went on to establish its own PPE degree based upon the Oxford model; the University of Warwick, the University of Manchester, and other British universities later followed. According to the BBC, the Oxford PPE "dominate[s] public life" (in the UK).[3] It is now offered at several other leading colleges and universities around the world.


Philosophy, Politics and Economics was established at the University of Oxford in the 1920s,[4] as a modern alternative to classics (known as "greats" at Oxford) because it was thought that a course in philosophy and ancient history was no longer relevant for those entering the civil service. It was thus initially known as "modern greats".[3][5] Christopher Stray has pointed to the course as one reason for the gradual decline of the study of classics, as classicists in political life began to be edged out by those who had studied the modern greats.[6]

Dario Castiglione and Iain Hampsher-Monk have described the course as being fundamental to the development of political thought in the UK, since it established a connection between politics and philosophy. Previously at Oxford, and for some time subsequently at Cambridge, politics had been taught only as a branch of modern history.[7]

Course material[edit]

The programme is rooted in the view that to understand social phenomena one must approach them from several complementary disciplinary directions and analytical frameworks. In this regard, the study of philosophy is considered important because it both equips students with meta-tools such as the ability to reason rigorously and logically, and facilitates ethical reflection. The study of politics is considered necessary because it acquaints students with the institutions that govern society and help solve collective action problems. Finally, studying economics is seen as vital in the modern world because political decisions often concern economic matters, and government decisions are often influenced by economic events. The vast majority of students at Oxford drop one of the three subjects for the second and third years of their course. Oxford now has more than 600 undergraduates studying the subject, admitting over 200 each year.[8]

Academic opinions[edit]

Oxford PPE graduate Nick Cohen and former tutor Iain McLean consider the course's breadth important to its appeal, especially "because British society values generalists over specialists".

Geoffrey Evans, an Oxford fellow in politics and a senior tutor, critiques that the Oxford course's success and consequent over-demand is a self-perpetuating feature of those in front of and behind the scenes in national administration, in stating "all in all, it's how the class system works". In the current economic system he bemoans the unavoidable inequalities besetting admissions and thereby enviable recruitment prospects of successful graduates. The argument itself intended as a paternalistic ethical reflection on how governments and peoples can perpetuate social stratification.[3]

List of universities offering PPE[edit]

United Kingdom and Ireland[edit]


United States[edit]

South Africa, Nigeria, Australia and New Zealand[edit]

Continental Europe[edit]

Middle East and Asia[edit]

South America[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 'Hitchens, Christopher Eric', Who's Who 2012, A & C Black, 2012; online edn, Oxford University Press, December 2012 ; online edn, January 2012 accessed 5 December 2014
  2. ^ Kenny, Mark (November 25, 2013). "Tony Abbott's Oxford transcript released". Sydney Morning Herald. 
  3. ^ a b c Kelly, Jon (2010-08-31). "Why does PPE rule Britain?". BBC News. Retrieved 2010-09-02. 
  4. ^ [1] "Balliol was the birthplace of the modern degree of PPE in the 1920s. A.D. Lindsay, who subsequently became the master of the college, played a key role in the establishment of the degree and Balliol has long remained a major college for the study of PPE, and PPE has long been a major subject within Balliol."
  5. ^ "History of Philosophy at Oxford – Faculty of Philosophy". 2009-11-19. Retrieved 2010-06-02. 
  6. ^ Christopher Stray, Classics Transformed: Schools, Universities, and Society in England, 1830–1960. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998. Pp. xiv, 336. $85. ISBN 0-19-815013-X.
  7. ^ Dario Castiglione and Iain Hampsher-Monk, The history of political thought in national context, Cambridge University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-521-78234-1
  8. ^ "Why Study PPE at Oxford?". 
  9. ^ "Philosophy, Politics and Economics - Durham University". 2012-12-11. Retrieved 2013-09-24. 
  10. ^ "BA (Hons) Politics, Philosophy & Economics, Goldsmiths, University of London". Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
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  30. ^ "Sussex PPE". Retrieved 2012-03-05. 
  31. ^ "Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Full-Time)". Retrieved 2014-11-02. 
  32. ^ "The PEP School at York". Retrieved 2010-06-02. 
  33. ^ "Mount Allison University - Philosophy, Politics, and Economics". Retrieved 2014-10-03. 
  34. ^ "Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) – Bachelor of Arts Programs – Faculty of Arts and Sciences – Faculties, Schools, and Colleges – Okanagan Calendar 2010/11 – UBC Student Services". Retrieved 2010-06-02. 
  35. ^ "Philosophy, Politics and Economics Program (PPE) - Faculty of Arts - University of Regina". Retrieved 2015-04-23. 
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  37. ^ "Wilfrid Laurier University – Student Recruitment Office – Academic Programs – Faculty of Arts – Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE)". Retrieved 2010-06-02. 
  38. ^ "Carroll University :: Philosophy, Politics and Economics :: The Program". Retrieved 2010-06-02. 
  39. ^ "Welcome to EHPP - Ethics, History, & Public Policy - Carnegie Mellon University". Retrieved 2013-08-02. 
  40. ^ "Ppe At Cmc". Retrieved 2010-06-02. 
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  42. ^ "Political Science: PPE Certificate". Retrieved 2013-09-03. 
  43. ^ "EOU's General Catalog". Retrieved 2010-06-02. 
  44. ^ "Eastern Oregon University". Retrieved 2010-06-02. 
  45. ^ "Welcome to one of the best small, private liberal arts colleges :: Emory & Henry College". 
  46. ^ "Philosophy, Politics, and Economics". 
  47. ^ "Juniata College Catalog". Retrieved 2010-06-02. 
  48. ^ "The King's College - Politics, Philosophy and Economics". Retrieved 2012-12-04. 
  49. ^ "La Salle University - Political Science, Philosophy, and Economics". Retrieved 2014-09-04. 
  50. ^ "College of Liberal Arts: Philosophy, Politics and Economics". Mercer University. Retrieved 26 May 2013. 
  51. ^ "Department of Philosophy – Minnesota State University, Mankato". 2006-10-11. Retrieved 2010-06-02. 
  52. ^ The Murphy Institute. "Undergraduate Program in Political Economy". 
  53. ^ [3][dead link]
  54. ^ "Transylvania University - Program Overview". Retrieved 2015-05-08. 
  55. ^ "The PPE Concentration". Dept. of Philosophy, University of Alabama at Birmingham. Retrieved 2011-06-24. 
  56. ^ "Philosophy, Political Science, Economy Curriculum" (PDF). Academic Advising Center, University of Akron. Retrieved 2010-02-19. 
  57. ^ "Philosophy, Politics, Economics, and Law". Retrieved 2012-05-26. 
  58. ^ "Ethics & Public Policy". Retrieved 2011-12-16. 
  59. ^ "College of Literature, Science, and the Arts: Students :: PPE Concentration". Retrieved 2012-05-26. 
  60. ^ Philosophy, Politics & Economics. Retrieved on 2013-08-12.
  61. ^ "Department of Philosophy // University of Notre Dame". Retrieved 2010-06-02. 
  62. ^ "PPE at The University of Pennsylvania". Retrieved 2010-06-02. 
  63. ^ "Politics and Philosophy Major". Retrieved 2010-09-08. 
  64. ^ "Philosophy, Politics, Economics, and Law - University of Richmond School of Arts & Sciences". 4 March 2015. 
  65. ^ "PPE Degree - Taylor University". 
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  67. ^ "Wesleyan University – College of Social Studies". Retrieved 2011-04-17. 
  68. ^ "Politics/Philosophy/Economics, BA". Retrieved 2013-06-25. 
  69. ^ "Political & Economic Philosophy Major - Wheeling Jesuit University". Retrieved 2015-05-08. 
  70. ^ "Program in Ethics, Politics and Economics | Yale University". Retrieved 2010-06-02. 
  71. ^ "ANU - STUDY 2012 - Bachelor of Philosophy, Politics and Economics". ANU. Retrieved 2012-03-25. 
  72. ^ "Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics - La Trobe University". La Trobe University. 2010-05-06. Retrieved 2013-09-20. 
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  74. ^ "Department of Political Science, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife". Retrieved 2010-06-02. 
  75. ^ "Philosophy, Politics & Economics (PPE) Programme". School of Economics, University of Cape Town. Retrieved 2009-04-21. 
  76. ^ "University of KwaZulu-Natal – Faculties – Humanities, Development and Social Sciences". Retrieved 2010-06-02. [dead link]
  77. ^ Qualification stream: Philosophy, Politics and Economics, Accessed 2014-06-19.
  78. ^ "Háskólinn á Bifröst – BA in PPE". Retrieved 2010-06-02. 
  79. ^ "MA in IEPS". Charles University, Faculty of Social Sciences. 
  80. ^ "MA programme in Philosophy, specialisation Philosophy, Politics and Economics". Masters in Leiden. Leiden University, Faculty of Humanities. Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  81. ^ "Il nostro mondo ti piacerà". LUISS Guido Carli. Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  82. ^ "Executive-Masterstudiengang Philosophie, Politik, Wirtschaft". Retrieved 2010-05-21. 
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  84. ^ Universiteit van Amsterdam. "PPLE (in English)". 
  85. ^ "Philosophy & Economics – Bachelor and Master programmes". Faculty of Law, Business Administration and Economics, University of Bayreuth. Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  86. ^ "Master Political, Legal and Economic Philosophy (PLEP)". Faculty of Philosophy, University of Bern. Retrieved 2011-08-22. 
  87. ^ "Politische Ökonomie und Philosophie". Faculty of Philosophy, University of Zurich. Retrieved 2013-08-09. 
  88. ^ "Master Political, Economic and Legal Philosophy (PELP)". Department of Philosophy, University of Graz. Retrieved 2012-10-29. 
  89. ^ "Master Program Politics, Economics and Philosophy (M.Sc.)". University of Hamburg. Retrieved 2013-02-01. 
  90. ^ "Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Politics and Economics". University of Lucerne. Retrieved 2013-06-17. 
  91. ^ [5][dead link]
  92. ^ Philosophie, Politik und Ökonomik B.A.
  93. ^ 北京大学元培学院. (2009-11-10). Retrieved on 2013-08-12.
  94. ^ Sogang University. Retrieved on 2013-08-12.
  95. ^ "School of Political Science and Economics | WASEDA University". Retrieved 2010-06-02. 
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  97. ^ "AMITY SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS". Retrieved 2012-08-17. 

External links[edit]