Skip to navigation | Skip to main content | Skip to footer
Menu Search the University of Manchester siteSearch
Search type

Alternatively, use our A–Z index

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

View tabs | View full page

Course description

The BA(Hons) Politics, Philosophy and Economics programme - or PPE for short -  is a structured, balanced, yet flexible programme of study, informed by current research, in which you study significant topics, problems and issues in contemporary politics, philosophy and economics. It enhances your capacity to analyse and evaluate competing arguments about political events, ideas and institutions; it gives you an understanding of economic systems and theories and places the study of economics in its broader institutional and political context; and it develops your ability to formulate rigorous arguments and philosophical positions.

Our PPE degree gives you an exceptional opportunity to join a vibrant community spanning three interrelated disciplines within the School of Social Sciences - where the PPE course finds its home. 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.

If you are interested in studying abroad whilst on the PPE degree you can spend one semester of your second year studying abroad. You can find more information about this on the  Study Abroad  website.

 You can find more information about the structure of the PPE degree and the courses that you will study on the 'Course details' tab above.

Teaching and learning

Most course units use a formal lecture programme and supporting tutorial or example classes. We issue study packs for course units, where appropriate, so you can learn independently and in groups and some course units require assessed essays or projects. You are assigned a personal tutor to whom you can turn to for general advice and support during your studies. Personal tutors take a friendly interest in your progress and can advise you on specific matters such as selecting course units and career opportunities.

Coursework and assessment

A variety of assessment methods are used. Course units tend to be examined by a combination of unseen examinations and assessed essay work, but you will also be assessed by means of weekly worksheets (in Logic). Increasingly, innovative methods are being piloted (including the assessment of oral presentations in seminars, and the assessment of tutorial performance). You complete a dissertation in the final year.

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


  • Compulsory Unit : Introduction to Political Theory
  • Optional Unit from : Introduction to Comparative Politics, Britain in the Global Context, Introduction to International Politics.


  • Compulsory Unit: Critical Thinking
  • Optional Unit from:  Values We Live By, Discovering Reality, Mind and World, Philosophy and Social Sciences


  • Compulsory Units : Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Mathematics and Statistics

You can find more information about the courses that you would study and the content of these in the PPE programme structure.

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
Values We Live ByPHIL1002120Optional
History of PhilosophyPHIL1040220Optional
Discovering RealityPHIL1062220Optional
Mind and WorldPHIL1063220Optional
Philosophy & Social SciencePHIL1064120Optional
Introduction to Comparative PoliticsPOLI1020120Optional
Introduction to Comparative PoliticsPOLI1020220Optional
Making Sense of PoliticsPOLI1030120Optional
British Politics: Power and the StatePOLI1040120Optional
Politics of the Global EconomyPOLI1050220Optional
Introduction to International PoliticsPOLI1060120Optional
Introductory Statistics for EconomistsSOST1006210Optional
Displaying 10 of 23 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 can include: The Politics of (in)Security, Questions about International Politics, Arguing about Politics Chinese Politics Today, Politics of Globalisation, Politics of Development, Politics of Policy Making, Comparative European Politics, France under the Fifth Republic, National Politics of Germany and Mediterranean Politics


  • Compulsory unit from: Formal Logic, Ethics, 20th Century Analytical Philosophy, Aesthetics
  • Optional units include the courses above as well as: 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 and Applied Environmental Economics and Policy Analysis. 

You can find more information about the courses that you will study in your second year in the PPE programme structure.

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
Ideals of Social JusticePOLI2088120Mandatory
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
Environmental Economics IIBECON2042210Optional
Economics for Public PolicyECON2043110Optional
Philosophy of ReligionPHIL2002120Optional
Formal LogicPHIL2004220Optional
Locke, Berkley, HumePHIL2021220Optional
20th Century Analytical PhilosophyPHIL2024220Optional
Philosophy of MindPHIL2027120Optional
Philosophical MethodsPHIL2089220Optional
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
Comparative European PoliticsPOLI2091110Optional
France under the Fifth RepublicPOLI2092210Optional
National Politics of GermanyPOLI2093110Optional
Mediterranean PoliticsPOLI2094110Optional
Comparative Politics of East-Central EuropePOLI2095210Optional
Market ResearchSOST2004110Optional
Displaying 10 of 40 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

In your final year you can choose to concentrate on two of the three disciplines, pursuing in depth the interests that you have developed over the preceding two years. There are two compulsory units: an interdisciplinary course designed specifically for PPE students and a dissertation on a topic of your choice.

Compulsory Units:

  • Topics in PPE
  • Dissertation

 Optional Units may 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.

You can find more information about the courses that you will study in your second year in the PPE programme structure.

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
The Politics of the European UnionPOLI3003220Optional
Pluralism, Democracy and CitizenshipPOLI3005220Optional
Russian PoliticsPOLI3007220Optional
Gender, Sexuality and PoliticsPOLI3023120Optional
Political Ideologies in Modern BritainPOLI3036220Optional
Politics of HatePOLI3045120Optional
News Media & International CrisisPOLI3069120Optional
Introduction to International Political EconomyPOLI3072120Optional
Gender, War & MilitarismPOLI3079220Optional
Africa & Global PoliticsPOLI3086220Optional
Terrorism and Political Violence in EuropePOLI3089220Optional
Global Capitalism, Crisis and RevoltPOLI3100120Optional
Ideologies of Global CapitalismPOLI3100220Optional
War Memories and Reconciliation in East AsiaPOLI3101120Optional
Borders, Identities, CitizenshipPOLI3102220Optional
Children, Family and Social JusticePOLI3103120Optional
Understanding Political Choice in BritainPOLI3104220Optional
Democracy in the European UnionPOLI3201220Optional
Contemporary Parliamentary Studies and the British Political TraditionPOLI3204120Optional
Fear and Loathing in International Relations: The Problem of Identity and DifferencePOLI3206120Optional
Fear and Loathing in International Relations: The Problem of Identity and DifferencePOLI3206120Optional
Sex, Bodies and Money: Gendering International Political EconomyPOLI3209120Optional
Theories of RightsPOLI3212120Optional
Displaying 10 of 25 course units for year 3

What our students say

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. Manchester is such a great city to spend 3 years in, now I'm coming to the end of my degree I really don't want to leave!

Catherine Boggild , current third year 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 , current third year student


  • Extensive Library Facilities: With over 4 million books and manuscripts, as well as access to the largest collection of electronic resources of any UK institution students at the University of Manchester have access to one of the UK's largest academic libraries. Students can also take advantage of our extensive range of resources and services including provision for disabled and visually-impaired students.
  • Accessible Computing Facilities: With over 10,000 PCs across campus the University has one of the largest academic computing facilities in Europe. Accessibility of our IT facilities to students is key, with 24/7 access to computer facilities on campus (including a 24-hour cluster in the Owens Park halls of residence) and optional internet access and access to the University network in most halls of residence.
  • Arts, Culture and Sport: Our campus has a wide range of facilities that students can take advantage of to pursue their extra-curricular interests; these include Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester Museum which has recently undergone a £20m extension. There are a range of sporting facilities nearby, including the Sugden Sports Centre, the Armitage site and the Manchester Aquatics Centre which are all available for students to use.

You can find out more about where you'll be studying at Manchester by having a look at our Virtual Tour

Disability support

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