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School of Social Sciences

Student reading her options for studying PPE at Manchester
BA Politics, Philosophy and Economics
Examine the relationship between political and economic debates in modern society.

BA Politics, Philosophy and Economics / Course details

Year of entry: 2018

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?
  • 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 Thinking PHIL10041 20 Mandatory
Introduction to Political Theory POLI10702 20 Mandatory
Introductory Mathematics ECON10061 10 Optional
Advanced Mathematics ECON10071 10 Optional
Advanced Statistics ECON10072 10 Optional
Microeconomic Analysis 1 ECON10171 10 Optional
Macroeconomic Analysis 1 ECON10181 10 Optional
Microeconomics 1 ECON10221 10 Optional
Macroeconomics 1 ECON10252 10 Optional
Introduction to Ethics PHIL10021 20 Optional
History of Philosophy PHIL10401 20 Optional
Introduction to Metaphysics and Epistemology PHIL10622 20 Optional
Introduction to Philosophy of Mind PHIL10632 20 Optional
Philosophy & Social Science PHIL10641 20 Optional
Study Skills POLI10100 0 Optional
Introduction to Comparative Politics POLI10201 20 Optional
Introduction to Comparative Politics POLI10202 20 Optional
Making Sense of Politics POLI10301 20 Optional
British Politics: Power and the State POLI10401 20 Optional
Politics of the Global Economy POLI10502 20 Optional
Introduction to International Politics POLI10601 20 Optional
Introductory Statistics for Economists SOST10062 10 Optional
Displaying 10 of 22 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
Managerial Economics I ECON20000 20 Optional
Environmental Economics IIA ECON20101 10 Optional
Econometrics ECON20110 20 Optional
Mathematical Economics I ECON20120 20 Optional
Economic History ECON20212 10 Optional
Further Mathematics ECON20281 10 Optional
Further Statistics ECON20292 10 Optional
Development Economics IIA ECON20321 10 Optional
Development Economics IIB ECON20332 10 Optional
Business Economics 1A ECON20341 10 Optional
Business Economics IB ECON20342 10 Optional
Microeconomics IIA ECON20351 10 Optional
Microeconomics IIB ECON20352 10 Optional
Macroeconomics IIA ECON20401 10 Optional
Macroeconomics IIB ECON20402 10 Optional
Economics for Public Policy ECON20431 10 Optional
Jurisprudence LAWS20101 20 Optional
Philosophy of Religion PHIL20021 20 Optional
Formal Logic PHIL20041 20 Optional
Locke, Berkeley, Hume PHIL20212 20 Optional
Ethics PHIL20232 20 Optional
20th Century Analytical Philosophy PHIL20241 20 Optional
Philosophy of Science PHIL20261 20 Optional
Philosophy of Mind PHIL20272 20 Optional
Phenomenology PHIL20612 20 Optional
Philosophical Methods PHIL20891 20 Optional
Aesthetics PHIL20952 20 Optional
The Politics of (in)Security POLI20332 20 Optional
Questions About International Politics POLI20521 20 Optional
Politics & Society in Britain Since 1940: From Blitz to Brexit POLI20531 20 Optional
Arguing About Politics: Political Theory in the World POLI20602 20 Optional
The Politics of Globalisation POLI20711 20 Optional
The Politics of Development POLI20722 20 Optional
The Politics of Policy Making POLI20802 20 Optional
Ideals of Social Justice POLI20881 20 Optional
Challenges for Democratic Politics POLI20961 20 Optional
Environmental Politics POLI20982 20 Optional
What is Europe? POLI20991 20 Optional
Comparative West European Politics POLI21002 20 Optional
Southern European Politics POLI21012 20 Optional
Market Research SOST20041 10 Optional
Displaying 10 of 41 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 PPE SOCS30001 20 Mandatory
Dissertation in Economics ECON30100 20 Optional
Dissertation (20 credit) PHIL30000 20 Optional
The Politics of the European Union POLI30031 20 Optional
Russian Politics POLI30072 20 Optional
Gender, Sex and Politics POLI30232 20 Optional
Elections and Voters in Britain and the United States POLI30241 20 Optional
Political Morality and Dirty Hands POLI30272 20 Optional
Ethical Issues in World Politics POLI30322 20 Optional
Politics of Hate POLI30452 20 Optional
Violence, Identity and Popular Culture POLI30461 20 Optional
Introduction to International Political Economy POLI30721 20 Optional
Gender, War & Militarism POLI30791 20 Optional
Political Communication: Language and Power POLI30842 20 Optional
Africa & Global Politics POLI30862 20 Optional
War, Genocide, Terror: Understanding Organised Violence POLI30892 20 Optional
Comparative Protest Politics -Voting with their Feet POLI30922 20 Optional
Ideologies of Global Capitalism POLI31002 20 Optional
War Memories and Reconciliation in East Asia POLI31011 20 Optional
Children, Family and Social Justice POLI31031 20 Optional
American Politics: Why Do They Do That? POLI31061 20 Optional
The Politics of Climate Change POLI31072 20 Optional
Knowledge Production in Peace-building: Practices and Processes POLI31081 20 Optional
Global Capitalism, Crisis and Revolt POLI31091 20 Optional
Anarchy and Authority POLI32031 20 Optional
Contemporary Parliamentary Studies and the British Political Tradition POLI32042 20 Optional
Fear and Loathing in International Relations: The Problem of Identity and Difference POLI32061 20 Optional
Fear and Loathing in International Relations: The Problem of Identity and Difference POLI32061 20 Optional
Between War and Peace POLI32071 20 Optional
The International Political Economy of Trade POLI32082 20 Optional
United States Foreign Policy: Dominance and Decline in a Complex World POLI32132 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 31 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: