Philosophy, Politics and Economics

The Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) major is designed to give students a more integrated understanding of the world by teaching them how to investigate the connections among economic, political, philosophical and ethical phenomena. It aims to foster a multidisciplinary, empirically informed, and philosophically reflective approach. The PPE major will provide students with a wider set of qualitative and empirical tools of analysis, and conceptual forms of knowledge, than would be gained by specialising in just one of the three disciplines of philosophy, politics, or economics. It is designed for those students who want to explore the interconnections between such things as ethical and normative issues, institutional arrangements, political relations, production, trade or market mechanisms, religious institutions and customs and legal orders.

Students in the PPE major will thus be required to integrate the three disciplinary perspectives to explore a chosen topic in their capstone project: e.g., how do our economic, political and legal orders interact to affect the distribution or redistribution of material resources, political rights and duties, or forms of recognition and honour? Are mechanisms of decision-making in our political and economic institutions complementary or conflictual, and how are these differences grounded in various philosophical, religious, or ethical traditions? What different forms are taken by justice, equality, responsibility, or liberty in various economic, political, and legal institutions?

The PPE major teaches students how to think creatively across boundaries and to address a range of different subject areas in a critical fashion. It is also designed to combine social scientific forms of knowledge and modes of analysis with more philosophical and normative methods of inquiry. For these reasons, the PPE major prepares students for a wide range of different careers: law, public policy, government, non-governmental organisation (NGO) work, business, social work, journalism, market analysis, accounting, finance, and academia.

STRUCTURE

Class of 2017 and Class of 2018:

To complete this major, students are required to take eight courses adding up to 40 Modular Credits (MC) [as specified below), and to complete a two-course or 10 MC equivalent capstone project (ten courses in total). In addition, students are strongly encouraged (though not required) to devote an additional three electives to courses supporting the major and leading up to the capstone.

Gateways to the major:

All students are required to take one course in Economics and one course in Politics before choosing their 6 remaining courses from 2 of the 3 categories: Philosophy, Politics and Economics.

  • Economics Course: Students are required to take either Intermediate Micro-Economics or Intermediate Macro-Economics.
  • Politics Course: Students should choose from one of the following three Politics courses:
    • Students who plan to take advanced courses in comparative politics should take Introduction to Comparative Politics in their second year.
    • Students who plan to take courses in international relations should take Introduction to International Relations in their second year.
    • Students who plan to specialise in economics and philosophy, and take no further courses in politics, may take any politics course of their choosing, in consultation with the Head of Study.

Categories of the major:

In consultation with the Head of Study, students should then choose their remaining courses from two of the three categories: philosophy, politics and economics:

  • Philosophy: See the philosophy major for a description of courses.
  • Politics: See Global Affairs Major, in addition to PPE specific courses, which may include Human Rights, Chinese Political Thought, Republicanism, Ancient Greek Political Thought, Ideas Of India, etc. Students should refer to the current year’s course offerings or consult with the Head of Studies.
  • Economics: See the Economics major for a description of courses.

Class of 2019 and onwards:

To complete this major, students are required to take 44 MC of courses, and to complete a 10 MC capstone project (approximately eleven 5-MC courses in total).

The required 44 MCs will be made up of 19 or 20 MC (4 courses) in the primary field, 14 or 15 (3 courses) in the secondary field, and 9 or 10 (2 courses) in the tertiary field.

In addition, students are strongly encouraged to devote an additional three electives (around 15 MC) to courses supporting the major and leading up to the capstone.

There are six possible pathways through PPE depending on the choice of primary, secondary and tertiary fields of study from Philosophy, Politics and Economics.

In view of the breadth of PPE, the variety of pathways, and multifarious course offerings, students are strenuously urged to consult closely with their advisors, so as to ensure that they have created a coherent study programme.

Economics
For students whose primary field of interest is Economics, the 20 MC will be Intermediate Microeconomics, Intermediate Macroeconomics, Econometrics, and one advanced course. These students are strongly encouraged to include further courses in economics among their electives, over and above those required.

For those whose secondary field is economics, the 15 MC will be two of the following three courses: Intermediate Microeconomics, Intermediate Macroeconomics, and Econometrics; and a course chosen from the list of economics modules.

Those whose tertiary field is Economics must take one of the following three courses: Intermediate Microeconomics, Intermediate Macroeconomics, and Econometrics; and another course chosen from the list of economics modules.

The Economics major gives a fuller description and listing of the available economics modules.

Politics
For students whose primary field is Politics, the 20 MC must include either Introduction to Comparative Politics or International Relations, Methods In The Social Sciences (unless Econometrics is taken), and up to three approved additional courses with politics content, as needed.

For those who secondary field is Politics, the 15MC must include either Introduction To Comparative Politics or International Relations, Methods In The Social Sciences (unless Econometrics is taken), and up to two approved additional courses with politics content, as needed.

For those who tertiary field is Politics, the 10 MC must include Introduction To Comparative Politics or International Relations, and an approved additional course with politics content.  These students are strongly recommended to take Methods In The Social Sciences (unless Econometrics is taken).

Philosophy
For students whose primary field of interest is Philosophy, the 20 MC must include Philosophy courses which guide them in their development as philosophers along two dimensions:
I. An appreciation for philosophy in multiple traditions at least one tradition.
II. Fundamental philosophical skills, of which the courses chosen should develop two of the following four: (a) Textual Analysis; (b) Problem Solving; (c) Formal Analysis; (d) Applications.

Those students who are including Philosophy as a secondary or tertiary field should follow the recommendations of their advisor and take three or two courses as appropriate, which develop an appreciation of philosophical traditions and a suitable range of fundamental skills as listed above.

The pages on the Philosophy major give a description of courses available and indicate their contributions to the traditions and skills referred to above.

CAPSTONE

The final-year capstone project offers students in the PPE major the ability to apply the interdisciplinary set of skills they have acquired to a more focused set of issues or problems in order to produce a substantial piece of research. Students will complete this programme of directed reading and research under the supervision of an advisor. Proposals for alternative types of capstone projects that involve such things as policy papers in conjunction with an internship project will be considered and may be undertaken with the approval of the Head of Studies.

Either Econometrics or Methods In The Social Sciences should be completed before the start of the academic year in which the capstone project is undertaken, since ability to use either qualitative or quantitative research methods, or both, will be essential to most capstone projects.

MINOR

There is no minor in PPE.