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BAPhilosophy, Politics & Economics

Why this course?

The BA in Philosophy, Politics & Economics (PPE) combines the excellence of the University of Strathclyde’s world-renowned Business School with one of the UK’s top politics schools.

PPE provides a practical introduction to the social sciences. To understand public decision-making, students need the techniques of economics and political science, as well as the ability to see things from an ethical perspective.

This course equips students with the tools they need to pursue careers in government, politics, the public sector, journalism and business. You'll learn the analytic and quantitative techniques of economics, as well as the argumentative, critical and writing skills from philosophy and political science.

The philosophy element of PPE is practical. Students learn the philosophical techniques they need to understand economic and political decision-making. For example, you'll learn how to consider the ethical dimensions of public policy, how to logically critique political arguments and how to design research programmes.

You'll study

This course can be taken as a three of four-year honours degree. Students opting to do the latter will undertake a foundation year on the BA programme that will incorporate economics, politics and one other subject.

Three-year course

  • Year 1: Topics include Political Philosophy, Comparative Politics, International Relations and Global Politics, Logical and Ethical Reasoning, Microeconomics, Macroeconomics
  • Year 2: Students have the opportunity to study abroad in Europe or North America or stay at home and study Research Methods for Political Scientists Logic of Scientific Inquiry, Ethics, and a broad range of optional courses in politics and economics
  • Year 3: All honours students undertake a dissertation in either Economics or Politics, as well as an interdisciplinary seminar in PPECourse options are selected from Politics and Economics classes

Four-year course

  • Year 1: Foundation years with introductory courses in philosophy, politics and economics
  • Year 2: Topics include Political Philosophy, Comparative Politics, International Relations and Global Politics, Logical and Ethical Reasoning, Microeconomics, Macroeconomics
  • Year 3: Students have the opportunity to study abroad in Europe or North America or stay at home and study Research Methods for Political Scientists Logic of Scientific Inquiry, Ethics, and a broad range of optional courses in politics and economics
  • Year 4: All honours students undertake a dissertation in either Economics or Politics, as well as an interdisciplinary seminar in PPE. Course options are selected from Politics and Economics classes

Student competitions

You'll have the opportunity to get involved in international essay writing competitions, external and internal internship programmes as well as awards within both the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences and the School of Government & Public Policy for being the best student in the year.

Course content

The course runs as a three or four-year programme and is based on the existing Politics & Economics joint degree. Most classes are already taught by the schools of Government & Public Policy and Economics with the addition of some new classes.

New classes include a first year class in logical/ethical reasoning and a second year class in the philosophy of science and ethics. There is also a final year seminar in philosophy, politics and education, taught by the School of Government & Public Policy.

In the final year, (Year 3 for three-year degree students, Year 4 for four-year degree students) you'll write an honours dissertation of 10,000 words, doing original research.

Study abroad options are also available on both programmes.

Three-year degree

Year 1

Microeconomics 2
This is the core microeconomics class in second year. It aims to develop your understanding of: the concepts of consumer choice; the motives of the firm and profit maximisation; the market and its role in achieving equilibrium prices and quantities; and the implications of market power. It will introduce you to mathematical techniques commonplace in economics, giving you the ability to apply these in a wider economic context.  
Macroeconomics 2
The class builds upon the macroeconomic foundations established in the first year Economics class and both extends and deepens analysis. In particular this class will develop your ability to use key macroeconomic models and will also provide an introduction to the analysis of economic data.
Comparative Politics

This class focuses on the comparative study of institutions in democratic and authoritarian political systems and what influences their performance and stability. You'll learn what forms economic, social, cultural and political institutions take, and what their effects are on democratic and authoritarian political systems.

This class enhances that knowledge by outlining research questions about democracy in its various forms and ways they can to be addressed by empirical evidence.

International Relations & Global Politics

This class introduces students to the academic study of International Relations (IR).

This class is taught from a "levels of analysis" approach that separates out the different actors in the international system. Each of the traditional "big" IR paradigms are presented in the relevant level. After examining how each level affects the perception of interstate politics, the course then examines topics such as the changing nature of war, international security and international institutions.

Logic & Ethical Reasoning

This philosophy class covers logic and argumentation. Students first learn how to analyse arguments. They will also learn how to apply these principles to ethical argument and persuasive writing. These skills are further developed in the second year class Ethics, Politics & Justice.

Political Philosophy

This class covers the key normative concepts used in political philosophy. This includes justice, equality, democracy, the state, collective action and rights. Students study different approaches to these concepts, analysing political practices and applying the concepts to political institutions.

The class will reference students’ knowledge of empirical political science (political institutions, political behaviour), learnt in other politics classes. Students will also consider the application of political philosophy to practical policy making problems.

Year 2

Students will take the classes below as well as one optional class from any field.

Microeconomics 3
Adam Smith's hidden hand - markets result in efficient outcomes - doesn't always work. We seek to understand why through the study of market power, externalities and public goods, and then go on to apply these ideas to issues of education, healthcare provision and crime and punishment.
Macroeconomics 3
This class builds on the Macroeconomics you studied in second year by covering four topics in detail: (i) models of economic growth; (ii) the effects of macroeconomic policy in an open economy; (iii) the interrelationships between money growth, output, unemployment and inflation; and (iv) the implications of high government debt.
Research Methods for Political Scientists

On the basis of the knowledge acquired in this course, students will be able to critically assess the validity and reliability of published research, to develop a research design, and to collect, analyse and present data.

You'll learn about different methods of:

  • social science research
  • distilling information from academic work
  • collecting and analysing data
  • the basic design of surveys conducive to quantitative analysis and conducting of qualitative interviews
  • • the use of SPSS as an analytical tool used by many businesses and organisation
  • the basics of uni-variate and bi-variate statistical analysis
Philosophy of Economic Policy
This class explores the relationship between economic ideas and public policy. It takes the central economic ideas that have guided policy and subjects them to philosophical analysis.
Logic of Scientific Inquiry

This class considers the philosophical foundations of the research process in the social sciences. It thus relates philosophy to the study of the social sciences, and prepares students to engage in research.

Ethics, Politics & Justice

A central aspect of this course is the application of ethics to issues of public policy. This is the core ethics class.

Year 3

Students will take four optional honours classes from the Politics & Economics programme as well as the Seminar in Philosophy, Politics & Economics.

Seminar in Philosophy, Politics & Economics

The seminar explores the overlap between philosophy, politics and economics, and whether it is possible to find a unified framework to reconcile the claims of the different disciplines. It also applies this to practical problems of public sector decision-making.

Four-year degree

Year 1

Students will take the below classes as well as 40 credits' worth of optional classes from any subject.

Introduction to Economics
The purpose of this class is to provide you with a balanced introduction to economics which will be at once self-contained and lay the foundation for further study in economics and more generally. The work of the class will be based on a programme of systematic directed reading, supplemented by tutorials, using group projects and in-class short answer tests as cumulative assessment.
Politics 1A: Concepts

This class provides an introduction to the study of politics. In order to study politics fully, we devote attention to domestic and international politics and how they interact.

We cover a series of key concepts, the meaning of power, democracy and authoritarianism, structures and institutions – including elections, referendums and international organisations - that are essential to understanding how modern politics works.

While these subjects primarily relate to domestic politics, considerable attention is given to the impact of how international processes between states and external events affect domestic outcomes in contemporary politics.

Politics 1B: Government & Governance

This class provides an introduction to the actors, processes and outcomes that are key to modern government and governance. It covers a range of political processes that take place within democratic and non-democratic states and beyond; including, for instance, the role of the media. Considerable attention is given to the impact of international processes on outcomes in contemporary politics. The class examines a range of outcomes that influence the lives of citizens and residents of states, including the policies associated with modern welfare states and international trade agreements.

Logic & Argumentation

This class equips students with analytical skills to decompose an argument into constituent parts. It develops critical skills to identify the assumptions on which arguments rely and the ability to effectively argue in writing.

Year 2

Microeconomics 2
This is the core microeconomics class in second year. It aims to develop your understanding of: the concepts of consumer choice; the motives of the firm and profit maximisation; the market and its role in achieving equilibrium prices and quantities; and the implications of market power. It will introduce you to mathematical techniques commonplace in economics, giving you the ability to apply these in a wider economic context.  
Macroeconomics 2
The class builds upon the macroeconomic foundations established in the first year Economics class and both extends and deepens analysis. In particular this class will develop your ability to use key macroeconomic models and will also provide an introduction to the analysis of economic data.
Comparative Politics

This class focuses on the comparative study of institutions in democratic and authoritarian political systems and what influences their performance and stability. You'll learn what forms economic, social, cultural and political institutions take, and what their effects are on democratic and authoritarian political systems.

This class enhances that knowledge by outlining research questions about democracy in its various forms and ways they can to be addressed by empirical evidence.

International Relations & Global Politics

This class introduces students to the academic study of International Relations (IR).

This class is taught from a "levels of analysis" approach that separates out the different actors in the international system. Each of the traditional "big" IR paradigms are presented in the relevant level. After examining how each level affects the perception of interstate politics, the course then examines topics such as the changing nature of war, international security and international institutions.

Logic & Ethical Reasoning

This philosophy class covers logic and argumentation. Students first learn how to analyse arguments. They will also learn how to apply these principles to ethical argument and persuasive writing. These skills are further developed in the second year class Ethics, Politics & Justice.

Political Philosophy

This class covers the key normative concepts used in political philosophy. This includes justice, equality, democracy, the state, collective action and rights. Students study different approaches to these concepts, analysing political practices and applying the concepts to political institutions.

The class will reference students’ knowledge of empirical political science (political institutions, political behaviour), learnt in other politics classes. Students will also consider the application of political philosophy to practical policy making problems.

Year 3

Students will take the below classes and one optional class from any field.

Microeconomics 3
Adam Smith's hidden hand - markets result in efficient outcomes - doesn't always work. We seek to understand why through the study of market power, externalities and public goods, and then go on to apply these ideas to issues of education, healthcare provision and crime and punishment.
Macroeconomics 3
This class builds on the Macroeconomics you studied in second year by covering four topics in detail: (i) models of economic growth; (ii) the effects of macroeconomic policy in an open economy; (iii) the interrelationships between money growth, output, unemployment and inflation; and (iv) the implications of high government debt.
Research Methods for Political Scientists

On the basis of the knowledge acquired in this course, students will be able to critically assess the validity and reliability of published research, to develop a research design, and to collect, analyse and present data.

You'll learn about different methods of:

  • social science research
  • distilling information from academic work
  • collecting and analysing data
  • the basic design of surveys conducive to quantitative analysis and conducting of qualitative interviews
  • • the use of SPSS as an analytical tool used by many businesses and organisation
  • the basics of uni-variate and bi-variate statistical analysis
Philosophy of Economic Policy

This class explores the relationship between economic ideas and public policy. It takes the central economic ideas that have guided policy and subjects them to philosophical analysis.

Logic of Scientific Inquiry

This class considers the philosophical foundations of the research process in the social sciences. It thus relates philosophy to the study of the social sciences, and prepares students to engage in research.

Ethics, Politics & Justice

A central aspect of this course is the application of ethics to issues of public policy. This is the core ethics class.

Year 4

Students will take four optional honours classes from the Politics & Economics programme as well as the Seminar in Philosophy, Politics & Economics.

Seminar in Philosophy, Politics & Economics

The seminar explores the overlap between philosophy, politics and economics, and whether it is possible to find a unified framework to reconcile the claims of the different disciplines. It also applies this to practical problems of public sector decision-making.

Entry requirements

Minimum grades

Highers

1st sitting: AAAA; 2nd sitting: AAAAB - Higher English, Maths/Lifeskills Maths National 5C/Intermediate 2C

We recognise a wide range of Highers. However, social science subjects should make up the majority of an applicant’s profile. In addition to Higher English, at least one Higher should come from the following list:

  • Classical Studies
  • Drama
  • Economics
  • French
  • Gaelic
  • Geography
  • German
  • History
  • Italian
  • Modern Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Politics
  • Psychology
  • Religious Moral & Philosophical Studies
  • Sociology
  • Spanish

A Levels

Year 1 entry: ABB-BBB (GCSE English Language B or English Literature B, GCSE Maths C)

International Baccalaureate

30-32 (Maths SL5)

Additional information

Business & Technology Education Council (BTEC) qualifications are dependent on units studied; the standard required is generally at distinction level; please contact us for advice.

For entry to the three-year degree, applicants must have taken either economics or a suitable quantitative subject (for example Maths) at A Level or Higher.

Widening access

We want to increase opportunities for people from every background. Strathclyde selects our students based on merit, potential and the ability to benefit from the education we offer. We look for more than just your grades. We consider the circumstances of your education and will make lower offers to certain applicants as a result.

Find out if you can benefit from this type of offer.

International students

Find out entry requirements for your country.

Degree preparation course for international students

We offer international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the entry requirements for an undergraduate degree at Strathclyde the option of completing an Undergraduate Foundation year programme at the International Study Centre.

You can also complete the online application form, or to ask a question please fill in the enquiry form and talk to one of our multi-lingual Student Enrolment Advisers today.

Fees & funding

How much will my course cost?

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.

Scotland/EU

  • tbc

Rest of UK

  • tbc

The 2018-19 fee rate will be updated when it has been confirmed by the UK and Scottish Governments. Assuming no change in Rest of UK fees policy over the period, the total amount payable by undergraduate students will be capped. For students commencing study in 2017/18, this is capped at £27,750 (with the exception of the MPharm and Integrated Masters courses); MPharm students pay £9,250 for each of the four years. Students studying on Integrated Masters degree programmes pay an additional £9,250 for the Masters year with the exception of those undertaking a full-year industrial placement where a separate placement fee will apply.

International

  • 2018/19 - £14,050

International Study Centre

Please find information about the student fees for university pathway programmes on the International Study Centre (ISC) website.

Please note: All fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.

How can I fund my studies?

Students from Scotland and the EU

If you're a Scottish or EU student, you may be able to apply to the Student Award Agency Scotland (SAAS) to have your tuition fees paid by the Scottish government. Scottish students may also be eligible for a bursary and loan to help cover living costs while at University.

For more information on funding your studies have a look at our University Funding page.

Students from England, Wales & Northern Ireland

We have a generous package of bursaries on offer for students from England, Northern Ireland and Wales

You don’t need to make a separate application for these. When your place is confirmed at Strathclyde, we’ll assess your eligibility. Have a look at our scholarship search for any more funding opportunities.

International Students (Non UK, EEA)

We have a number of scholarships available to international students. Take a look at our scholarship search to find out more.

Available scholarships

We have a wide range of scholarships available. Have a look at our scholarship search to find a scholarship.

Careers

This course is designed to train future leaders in government, commerce and industry. Graduates can go on to have careers in:

  • government
  • parliament
  • research
  • education
  • journalism & broadcasting
  • banking & finance
  • commerce & industry

Contact us

Apply

How to apply – 10 things you need to know

  1. All undergraduate applications are made through UCAS
    Go to the UCAS website to apply – you can apply for up to five courses.
  2. It costs £12 to apply for a course
    The cost is £23 for two to five courses.
  3. The deadline is 15 January each year
    This is the application deadline for most courses. However, please check the details for your particular course. View a full list of UCAS key dates.
  4. You might be asked to attend an interview
    Most of our courses make offers based on the UCAS application. However some might ask you to attend an interview or for a portfolio of work. If this is the case, this will be stated in the prospectus entry requirements.
  5. It’s possible to apply directly to Year 2
    Depending on your qualifications, you might be able to apply directly to Year 2 - or even Year 3 - of a course. Speak to the named contact for your course if you want to discuss this.
  6. There’s three types of decision
    • unconditional – you’ve already met our entry requirements
    • conditional – we’ll offer you a place if you meet certain conditions, usually based on your exams
    • unsuccessful – we’ve decided not to offer you a place
  7. You need to contact UCAS to accept your offer
    Once you’ve decided which course you’d like to accept, you must let UCAS know. You don’t need to decide until you’ve received all offers. UCAS will give you a deadline you must respond by.

    You’ll choose one as your firm choice. If the offer is unconditional or if you meet the conditions, this is the course you’ll study.

    You’ll also have an insurance choice. This is a back-up option if you don’t meet the conditions of your first choice.
  8. You don’t need to send us your exam results (Scotland, England & Wales)
    If you’re studying in Scotland, England or Wales, we receive a copy of your Higher/Advanced Higher/A Level results directly from the awarding body. However, if you are studying a different qualification, then please contact us to arrange to send your results directly.
  9. We welcome applications from international students

    Find out further information about our entry and English language requirements.

    International students who don’t meet the entry requirements, can apply for our pre-undergraduate programmes.

    There’s also an online application form.

    For further information:
  10. Here’s a really useful video to help you apply

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