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Politics, Philosophy and Economics (3 Years) [BA]

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Course description

  • Are you interested in philosophical and political arguments and their economic context?
  • Do you want to gain insights from different fields and apply them to pressing policy concerns?
  • Would you like to be able to analyse and evaluate sources, and form rigorous arguments?
  • Would you like a chance to study abroad for a semester?
  • Take the right course units and you can apply for a paid summer internship through Manchester's Q-Step programme .

The BA (Hons) Politics, Philosophy and Economics programme - or PPE for short - is a structured, balanced, yet flexible programme of study, informed by today's freshest research.

The course covers a wide range of topics, problems and issues in contemporary politics, philosophy and economics.

Our PPE degree is based in the School of Social Sciences and provides a great opportunity to join a vibrant community spanning three interrelated disciplines.

You will learn how key insights from different fields can be applied to pressing policy concerns and in doing so can gain an unusually broad and rich set of intellectual and critical skills.


 This degree aims to:
  • enhance your capacity to analyse and evaluate competing arguments about political events, ideas and institutions;
  • give you an understanding of economic systems and theories and place the study of economics in its broader institutional and political context
  • develop your ability to formulate rigorous arguments and philosophical positions.

Special features

  • All permanent members of philosophy teaching staff are internationally recognised researchers publishing their work in journals and books and giving talks around the world.
  • From 2015 Manchester is the new home of the British Election Study
  • Excellence in teaching: Politics Staff have won University teaching excellence awards (2010-11, 2011-12) and achieved national recognition, twice winning the Political Studies Association, Sir Bernard Crick Prize for Outstanding Teaching (2007, 2012).
  • Our students can also apply for a valuable summer work placement in their second year through our Q-Step programme.

Our students

Philosophy students in figures (2014):

  • Students on the course came from 15 countries
  • Their ages ranged from 18 - 29
  • The male / female ratio was 63 : 37

Meet our students

Teaching and learning

Most course units feature formal lectures supported by smaller tutorials or seminars, in which you will be able to explore the contents of lectures and recommended reading in greater depth.

Tutorials and seminars are also key elements in improving your written and oral communication skills through group discussions, essay-writing and presentations.

Students are assigned an Academic Advisor, an academic member of staff who takes a friendly interest in your progress and can advise you on selecting course units and career opportunities.

Coursework and assessment

Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) uses a variety of assessment methods, including exams and assessed essay work, but you'll also get weekly worksheets (in Logic).

We are also piloting a range of new methods of assessment including seminar presentations and how you perform in tutorials.

In your final year you will complete a dissertation.

Course content for year 1

In your first year your studies are split equally across the three disciplines. The grounding you gain in each subject allows you to progress smoothly into your second year and gives you the requisite knowledge to make informed decisions about which courses to choose.

You would take 120 credits overall (or 8 individual course units) from:


Compulsory unit

  • Introduction to Political Theory

Optional units include

  • Introduction to Comparative Politics
  • Britain in the Global Context
  • Introduction to International Politics.


Compulsory unit

  • Critical Thinking

Optional units include

  • Values We Live By
  • Discovering Reality
  • Mind and World
  • Philosophy and Social Sciences


Compulsory units

  • Microeconomics
  • Macroeconomics
  • Mathematics and Statistics

Course units for year 1

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Critical ThinkingPHIL1004120Mandatory
Introduction to Political TheoryPOLI1070220Mandatory
Further MathematicsECON1000110Optional
Microeconomic PrinciplesECON1004110Optional
Macroeconomic PrinciplesECON1004210Optional
Introductory MathematicsECON1006110Optional
Advanced MathematicsECON1007110Optional
Advanced StatisticsECON1007210Optional
The UK Economy - MicroeconomicsECON1008110Optional
The UK Economy - MacroeconomicsECON1008210Optional
Further StatisticsECON1013210Optional
Introduction to EthicsPHIL1002120Optional
History of PhilosophyPHIL1040220Optional
Introduction to Metaphysics and EpistemologyPHIL1062220Optional
Mind and WorldPHIL1063220Optional
Philosophy & Social SciencePHIL1064120Optional
Study SkillsPOLI101000Optional
Introduction to Comparative PoliticsPOLI1020120Optional
Introduction to Comparative PoliticsPOLI1020220Optional
Making Sense of PoliticsPOLI1030220Optional
British Politics: Power and the StatePOLI1040220Optional
Politics of the Global EconomyPOLI1050120Optional
Introduction to International PoliticsPOLI1060120Optional
Introductory Statistics for EconomistsSOST1006210Optional
Displaying 10 of 25 course units for year 1

Course content for year 2

In your second year you deepen your understanding of Philosophy, Politics and Economics. Your studies are again split equally over the three disciplines and there are compulsory course units in each, but you have more freedom to choose courses reflect your developing interests.


Compulsory unit

  • Freedom and Equality: Contemporary Debates

Optional units include

  • The Politics of (in)Security
  • Questions about International Politics
  • Arguing about Politics
  • Chinese Politics Today
  • Politics of Policy Making
  • France under the Fifth Republic
  • National Politics of Germany and Mediterranean Politics


A compulsory unit from

  • Formal Logic
  • Ethics
  • 20th Century Analytical Philosophy
  • Aesthetics

Optional units include

  • any of the other compulsory units
  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Philosophy of Science
  • Philosophy of Mind
  • Phenomenology
  • Philosophical Methods.


You need to take 20 credits (or two courses) from:

  • Microeconomics IIA
  • Microeconomics IIB
  • Macroeconomics IIA
  • Macroeconomics IIB.

You can either choose the remainder of your courses from Micro/Macroeconomics or choose your remaining 20 credits from:

Managerial Economics, Operational Research, Economics of Environment Management, Econometrics, Mathematical Economics, Marketing Research, Development Economics, Business Economics, Applied Environmental Economics, Policy Analysis.

Course units for year 2

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Understanding the Financial Crisis: Competing PerspectivesBMAN2409110Optional
Managerial Economics IECON2000020Optional
Environmental Economics IIAECON2010110Optional
Mathematical Economics IECON2012020Optional
Further MathematicsECON2028110Optional
Further StatisticsECON2029210Optional
Development Economics IIAECON2032110Optional
Development Economics IIBECON2033210Optional
Business Economics 1AECON2034110Optional
Business Economics IBECON2034210Optional
Microeconomics IIAECON2035110Optional
Microeconomics IIBECON2035210Optional
Macroeconomics IIAECON2040110Optional
Macroeconomics IIBECON2040210Optional
Economics for Public PolicyECON2043110Optional
International Institutions, Crisis and the Global EconomyECON2044210Optional
Philosophy of ReligionPHIL2002120Optional
Formal LogicPHIL2004220Optional
Locke, Berekley, HumePHIL2021220Optional
20th Century Analytical PhilosophyPHIL2024220Optional
Philosophy of SciencePHIL2026120Optional
Philosophy of MindPHIL2027220Optional
Philosophical MethodsPHIL2089120Optional
The Politics of (in)SecurityPOLI2033220Optional
Questions About International PoliticsPOLI2052120Optional
Politics & Society in Britain Since 1940: From Blitz to the 'Big SocietyPOLI2053120Optional
Arguing About Politics: Political Theory in the WorldPOLI2060220Optional
Chinese Politics TodayPOLI2061110Optional
The Politics of GlobalisationPOLI2071120Optional
The Politics of DevelopmentPOLI2072220Optional
The Politics of Policy MakingPOLI2080220Optional
Ideals of Social JusticePOLI2088120Optional
Comparative European PoliticsPOLI2091210Optional
France under the Fifth RepublicPOLI2092110Optional
National Politics of GermanyPOLI2093110Optional
Mediterranean PoliticsPOLI2094110Optional
Comparative Politics of East-Central EuropePOLI2095210Optional
Challenges for Democratic PoliticsPOLI2096120Optional
Environmental PoliticsPOLI2098220Optional
What is Europe?POLI2099210Optional
Market ResearchSOST2004110Optional
Displaying 10 of 49 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

In your final year you can concentrate on two of the three disciplines, pursuing the interests that you have developed over the preceding two years.

Compulsory units

  • Topics in PPE - an interdisciplinary course designed specifically for PPE students
  • Dissertation

Optional units include

Politics : Politics of the European Union; Pluralism, Democracy and Citizenship, The Politics of Hate, Business and Politics in Britain, News Media & International Crisis, International Political Economy, Global Justice, Politics of Social Policy, Terrorism and Political Violence in Europe, Contemporary Parliamentary Studies and British Political Tradition, Politics of Obscenity and Politics of Public Spending

Philosophy : Jurisprudence, Philosophy of Social Science, Philosophical Logic, Metaphysics, Special Author: Wittgenstein, Philosophy of Language, Issues in Epistemology, Philosophy of Psychology, Philosophy of Action, Philosophy of Music and Personhood and Freedom of the Will

Economics : Advanced Macroeconomics, The Macroeconomics of Labour Markets, The Chinese Economy, Natural Resource Economics, Mathematical Economics, Mathematical Economics, Cross Section Economics, Business Forecasting, Mathematical Finance, Time Series Economics, Financial Economics, Development Economics, History of Economic Thought, Money, Banking & Financial Markets and Economic Policy Analysis.

Course units for year 3

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Topics in PPESOCS3000120Mandatory
Dissertation in EconomicsECON3010020Optional
Dissertation (20 credit)PHIL3000020Optional
The Politics of the European UnionPOLI3003220Optional
Russian PoliticsPOLI3007220Optional
Gender, Sex and PoliticsPOLI3023120Optional
Elections and Voters in BritainPOLI3024120Optional
Political MoralityPOLI3027120Optional
Ethical Issues in World PoliticsPOLI3032220Optional
Political Ideologies in Modern BritainPOLI3036220Optional
Politics of HatePOLI3045220Optional
News Media & International CrisisPOLI3069120Optional
Introduction to International Political EconomyPOLI3072120Optional
Gender, War & MilitarismPOLI3079120Optional
Political Communication: Language and PowerPOLI3084220Optional
Africa & Global PoliticsPOLI3086120Optional
Terrorism and Political Violence in EuropePOLI3089220Optional
War, Genocide, Terror: Understanding Organised ViolencePOLI3089220Optional
Comparative Protest Politics -Voting with their FeetPOLI3092220Optional
Ideologies of Global CapitalismPOLI3100220Optional
War Memories and Reconciliation in East AsiaPOLI3101120Optional
Children, Family and Social JusticePOLI3103220Optional
American Politics: Why Do They Do That?POLI3106120Optional
The Politics of Climate ChangePOLI3107220Optional
Knowledge Production in Peace-building: Practices and ProcessesPOLI3108220Optional
Anarchy and AuthorityPOLI3203120Optional
Contemporary Parliamentary Studies and the British Political TraditionPOLI3204120Optional
Politics of ObscenityPOLI3205120Optional
Fear and Loathing in International Relations: The Problem of Identity and DifferencePOLI3206120Optional
Fear and Loathing in International Relations: The Problem of Identity and DifferencePOLI3206220Optional
Between War and PeacePOLI3207120Optional
Sex, Bodies and Money: Gendering International Political EconomyPOLI3209220Optional
The Politics of Public SpendingPOLI3210220Optional
Theories of RightsPOLI3212220Optional
Displaying 10 of 35 course units for year 3

What our students say

'Choosing my degree programme was the biggest investment decision I had made at that stage in my life. I wanted to make sure that I left university with a respected degree that is highly regarded by graduate employers. PPE certainly does that.'

Tom Danaher , PPE student.

'My favourite thing about studying PPE has been that in the first couple of years I had the opportunity to study a broad range of topics across the social sciences so when it came to third year I really knew what interested me and have had the chance to specialise accordingly. The PPE society acts as a brilliant support system both socially and academically and has been a massive part of my University experience.'

Catherine Boggild , PPE student.

'If you are looking for a broad and deep understanding of contemporary affairs then PPE at Manchester is for you. There is also a lot of flexibility on the programme so if you want to specialise in a particular discipline, two or all of the fields you can tailor what you do around your interests and future plans. Aside from the brilliant teaching there is also a really active and intimate student society which can really help when make friends at the university.'

Matthew Fright , PPE student.


Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: