Last Updated on May 24, 2022
Philosophy, politics and economics was established as a degree course at the University of Oxford in the 1920s, as a modern alternative to classics (known as “literae humaniores” or “greats” at Oxford) because it was thought as a more modern alternative for those entering the civil service. It was thus initially known as “modern greats”. The first PPE students commenced their course in the autumn of 1921.
The regulation by which it was established is Statt. Tit. VI. Sect. 1 C; “the subject of the Honour School of Philosophy, Politics, and Economics shall be the study of the structure, and the philosophical and economic principles, of Modern Society.” Initially it was compulsory to study all three subjects for all three years of the course, but in 1970 this requirement was relaxed, and since then students have been able to drop one subject after the first year – most do this, but a minority continue with all three.
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Philosophy politics and economics
Philosophy, politics and economics, or politics, philosophy and economics (PPE), is an interdisciplinary undergraduate or postgraduate degree which combines study from three disciplines. The first institution to offer degrees in PPE was the University of Oxford in the 1920s.
This particular course has produced a significant number of notable graduates such as Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese politician and State Counsellor of Myanmar, Nobel Peace Prize winner; Princess Haya bint Hussein, daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan; Christopher Hitchens, the British–American author and journalist; Oscar-winning writer and director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck;
Philippa Foot and Michael Dummett, British philosophers; Harold Wilson, Edward Heath and David Cameron, former Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom; Hugh Gaitskell, William Hague and Ed Miliband, former Leaders of the Opposition; former Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto and Imran Khan; and Malcolm Fraser, Bob Hawke and Tony Abbott, former Prime Ministers of Australia. The course received fresh attention in 2017, when Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai earned a place.
In the 1980s, the University of York went on to establish its own PPE degree based upon the Oxford model; King’s College London, 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).
It is now offered at several other leading colleges and universities around the world. More recently Warwick University and King’s College added a new degree under the name of PPL (Politics, Philosophy and Law) with the aim to bring an alternative to the more classical PPE degrees.
In the United States, it is offered by three Ivy League universities – the University of Pennsylvania, Yale University (under the designation Ethics, Politics and Economics), and Dartmouth College. In 2020, in addition to its undergraduate degree programs in PPE, Virginia Tech established one of the first research centers in the world dedicated to interdisciplinary research in PPE.
Several PPE programmes exist in Canada, most notably the first endowed school in the nation – the Frank McKenna School of Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Mount Allison University. In Asia, Tsinghua University, NUS, Tel-Aviv University and Ashoka University are among those that have PPE or similar programs.
Best ppe programs in the us
Claremont McKenna College
Duke – administered jointly with UNC
King’s College (New York)
Princeton (Values and Public Life)
Princeton (Program in Political Economy)
Tulane University (Political Economy)
University of Akron
University of Arizona (PPE and Law)
University of Iowa (Ethics and Public Policy)
University of Michigan
University of North Carolina – administered jointly with Duke
University of Pennsylvania
University of Richmond (PPE and Law)
University of Virginia (Political Philosophy, Policy and Law)
Western Washington University
Yale University (Ethics, Politics and Economics)
Best universities for ppe in europe
- Bifröst University, Iceland
- Lund University, Sweden
- Stockholm University, Sweden
- University of Tromsø, Norway
- Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy (under the designation of “Philosophy, International Studies and Economics” abbreviated “PISE”, more recently “Philosophy, International and Economic Studies”)
- Free University of Bolzano, Italy
- Libera Università Internazionale degli Studi Sociali Guido Carli, Rome (Italy)
- University of Milan, Italy (BA International Politics, Law, and Economics, MA Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs )
- UCLouvain, Belgium
- Utrecht University, Netherlands (Philosophy, Politics and Economics BSc)
- Leiden University, Netherlands
- University of Amsterdam, Netherlands under the designation: PPLE, Politics, Psychology, Law and Economics
- VU Amsterdam, Netherlands, Bachelor’s Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the John Stuart Mill College
- CEVRO Institute, Prague, Czech Republic
- Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic, BA & MA programsCentral European University, Vienna, Austria
- University of Vienna, Austria (MA Philosophy and Economics)
- University of Salzburg, Austria
- University of Graz, Austria (under the designation of MA “political, economic and legal philosophy” abbreviated “PELP”)
- Bard College Berlin, Germany (under the designation of BA “Economics, Politics and Social Thought” abbreviated “EPST”)
- University of Bayreuth, Germany (Philosophy and Economics)
- University of Hamburg, Germany (under the designation of M.Sc. “politics, economics and philosophy” abbreviated “PEP”)
- University of Düsseldorf, Germany
- Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany
- Witten/Herdecke University (bachelor and master), Germany
- University of Zurich, Switzerland (under the designation of MA “economic and political philosophy”)
- University of Bern, Switzerland (under the designation of MA “political, legal and economic philosophy” abbreviated “PLEP”)
- University of Lucerne, Switzerland