About the Course

PPE is an unusual course, and the three subjects, philosophy, politics and economics, offer highly contrasting intellectual styles and challenges.

There is great variety and scope for specialization within the course, and you should have little difficulty in selecting papers that meet your intellectual needs and interests. At one extreme you can keep all three subjects going for the full three years and by the end of this particular programme you will have a clear grasp of the major institutions, thinkers and ideas that have shaped modern society. At the other extreme you can concentrate primarily on one subject, dropping another altogether after the first year, and doing only a few papers in the third. You could thus, for example, ‘major’ in economics treating politics or philosophy as a subsidiary. In this way you could reach a high standard in economics, but backed up by the intellectual variety of papers in another, contrasting discipline.

The College has an undergraduate library with books and some of the main periodicals covering the various aspects of the PPE course. It has reading rooms, but is also a lending library. The main University library (the Bodleian) has a very large collection, for reference only. In addition there are University departmental Libraries with borrowing facilities at the Social Sciences Library (Manor Road), and at the Philosophy Sub-faculty Centre (Merton Street).

There is no need to have studied any of the three subjects at AS/A2 level before starting PPE. Some people have done extremely well at PPE having studied, for example, French, German and Latin, others having studied Maths, Physics and Chemistry. Although a background in Mathematics is not formally required for admission, PPE applicants should have sufficient interest in, and aptitude for, mathematics to cope with the mathematical elements of the course. Mathematics is a particular advantage for the Economics component of the course, as well as for the first year logic course in philosophy, and for understanding theories and data in politics.

PPE students go on to a wide range of careers, although in many cases you must expect to undertake a further period of professional training. If you want to become a professional economist (either in government or academic life) you must take a post-graduate course like the MPhil. Postgraduate work (whether in Philosophy, Politics, Economics or Sociology) is generally popular. Other common destinations are accountancy, banking, finance, industry (often on the marketing side), management consultancy, the Civil Service, journalism and social work

Subject notes

To see the latest subject notes for Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) - which contain information about our tutorial fellows, the admissions process and the course itself - please consult the below link.