Philosophy, Politics and Economics

The Philosophy, Politics & Economics (PPE) program is designed to integrate three academic disciplines that were once considered interrelated elements of a comprehensive study of society and politics. Their essential contributions to understanding the principles and practice of a just and thriving political and social order were recognized by Plato and explored by, among many others, St. Thomas Aquinas, Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and more recently by John Rawls and Milton Friedman.

The intersections are evident in most political issues and problems. The organization of economic life raises philosophical questions about justice, liberty, and equality that the discipline of economics cannot, by itself, answer. Similarly, political life confronts both moral and practical questions concerning efficiency, equitable distribution of wealth, and the preconditions of sustainability and prosperity that political science cannot, by itself, answer. A comprehensive understanding can come only from studying all three disciplines.

The PPE program’s interdisciplinary curriculum offers various courses that cover: ground-breaking works that laid the foundations for political and economic systems throughout the world; major moral issues and theoretical arguments related to various types of political and economic organization; a solid foundation in contemporary economics; political economy from international and comparative perspectives; historical developments in economic and political organization; complex issues in particular public policy problems; and an introduction to methods of scholarly research. The central objective of the program is to engage majors--through lectures, seminars, and symposia—in rigorous and intellectually invigorating examinations of the competing practical and theoretical arguments and visions.  

The required and elective courses train students in various modes of analytical thinking and writing, which are keystones of success in law school, graduate school, and the wide variety of careers PPE majors have pursued.

Between the required courses and electives, a major can satisfy five Foundation requirements (F2i, F3, F6, F8, F9) and complete the three course F1 requirement.