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Philosophy, Politics and Economics

Degree: BA

Campus: Columbus

College: Arts and Sciences

"Is this an economic problem or a political problem? Is this a technical or a moral question?" Often, the answer is “both.” Many social and political problems can be better understood if they are studied from more than one perspective, using more than one set of tools.

The philosophy, politics and economics major combines broad and rigorous training in the foundations of these three disciplines to equip students with the skills needed to think carefully and critically about the complex problems that modern societies face.

Upon admission to the university, students can declare a major in philosophy, politics and economics within the College of Arts and Sciences.

The curriculum for the philosophy, politics and economics (PPE) program requires students to complete a minimum of 36 credit hours of course work across the three areas which constitute the major. Students will begin by taking 18 hours of foundational course work in formal and normative reasoning, economics, and political economy.

Beyond the foundational courses, PPE students will take two required courses: Economy, Polity and Community (three hours) and Tradition, Progress and Utopia (three hours). Students will also complete at least four upper-level courses in a concentration of their choosing. Suggested concentrations include:

  • Choice and behavior
  • Global cooperation and conflict
  • Justice and moral reasoning
  • Law, policy and governance

Both the economics and political science departments have active programs that can assist students in finding relevant internships. Internships can be counted for up to three credit hours toward the PPE major.

Many philosophy, politics and economics required courses are offered as Honors versions, including several foundational courses such as Economics 2001, Economics 2002, Political Science 2400, Political Science 3780 and Political Science 4553.

Students may be interested in the Ohio State Philosophy, Politics and Economics Society, a student organization dedicated to creating community outside the classroom. In addition to social get-togethers, this organization hosts movie screenings, book discussions, guest speakers and other events of interest. This group is a recognized chapter of the international Philosophy, Politics and Economics Society.

As many employers are interested in hiring people who can think across traditional boundaries and address complex problems, graduates of the philosophy, politics and economics program can expect to find employment in a wide variety of professions in both the public and private sectors. Specifically, the analytical tools and interdisciplinary perspective that the PPE program provides will prepare students for careers in law, business, finance, consulting, public policy and public service, secondary and higher education, journalism, and more.

Upon graduation from the philosophy, politics and economics major, students will have a fundamental understanding of:

  1. the philosophical justifications that have been offered for existing political and economic systems and the leading philosophical criticisms of those systems.
  2. the theories, research methods and substantive issues that guide the study of politics.
  3. the theories, research methods and substantive issues that guide the study of economics.
  4. the ways in which the disciplines of philosophy, political science and economics complement and challenge one another.

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Founded at Oxford in the 1920s, philosophy, politics and economics programs have spread to more than one hundred universities around the world. Students can become part of an active international network of universities, faculty and students with similar interests by joining the PPE Society.