Politics, Philosophy and Economics (BA Hons) LV00

BA Honours

Politics, Philosophy and Economics


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Key Course Information

Entry Year


Course length

3 year(s)

A-Level Requirements *



Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences



Professional Year Out





History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics

*Indicative Only. Please see the Course Entry Requirements section for details on subject specific or GCSE requirements.


The Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) degree was launched in September 2009. It takes its title from the prestigious Oxford programme of the same name that was established in 1920, initially as the basis for a career in the senior ranks of the Civil Service. The PPE at Queen's takes a more integrated approach to the study of PPE than many comparable programmes. It is based on the view that, to understand public phenomena, one must approach them from several disciplinary directions. This degree illuminates how these three areas complement one another.

  • Politics acquaints students with the institutions and processes that produce decisions governing our lives
  • Philosophy develops analytical rigour, the ability to reason logically, critically and ethically
  • Economics helps in understanding government policy and the choices facing businesses, governments and society

Why Queen's?

  • Optional Internship/Study abroad
  • Specially designed core interdisciplinary modules


Course Content (including module information)

Level 1

Students take:

  • two Economics modules
  • one Politics module
  • one Philosophy module

and have two choices.

Levels 2 and 3

Students take two core interdisciplinary modules:

  • Democracy and Ethics and Economics
  • Politics and Economics of the Devolved UK

They also take two other core modules:

  • Macroeconomic Policy and Performance
  • Moral Theories

and have two choices from the list below:

Level 2 optional modules: 

  • American Politics
  • History of Philosophy
  • Industrial Organisation
  • International Organisations
  • International Relations
  • Knowledge and Reality
  • Managerial Economics
  • Modern Political Thought
  • Mind and Language
  • Politics and Policies of the European Union
  • Scholastic Ethics
  • Security and Terrorism
  • Studying Politics
  • The Politics of Deeply Divided Societies 

Level 3
Students take six modules: either a double-weighted dissertation, or double-weighted internship; and modules from at least two of the three subject areas of Politics, Philosophy and Economics. Students can also spend a semester abroad at Level 3.

Level 3 modules:

  • Applied Ethics
  • Asylum and Migration in Global Politics
  • Contemporary Critical Theory
  • Contemporary Epistemology
  • Contemporary Political Philosophy
  • Economic consulting
  • Economic History
  • Ethics, Power and International Politics
  • Global Resource Politics
  • International Trade
  • Issues in Philosophy of Science
  • Labour Economics
  • Middle Eastern Politics
  • Philosophical Theology
  • Philosophy for Children
  • Philosophy of Law
  • Philosophy of Science
  • Political Parties, Representation and Democracy
  • Politics, Public Administration and Policy Making
  • Public Economics
  • Scholastic Metaphysics
  • Security and Technology
  • The Far Right in Western Europe and North America
  • The Politics of Sustainable Development
  • US Foreign Policy
  • Women and Politics

Assessment & Feedback

Assessment (general):  The way in which students are assessed will vary according to the Learning objectives of each module.  Some modules are assessed solely through project work or written assignments.  Others are assessed through a combination of coursework and end of semester examinations.  Details of how each module is assessed are shown in the Student Handbook which is provided to all students during their first year induction.

Feedback (general):  As students progress through their course at Queen’s they will receive general and specific feedback about their work from a variety of sources including lecturers, module co-ordinators, placement supervisors, personal tutors, advisers of study and your peers.  University students are expected to engage with reflective practice and to use this approach to improve the quality of their work. Feedback may be provided in a variety of forms including:

  • Feedback provided via formal written comments and marks relating to work that students, as individuals or as part of a group, have submitted. 
  • Face to face comment.  This may include occasions when students make use of the lecturers’ advertised “office hours” to help address a specific query.
  • Placement employer comments or references.
  • Online or emailed comment.
  • General comments or question and answer opportunities at the end of a lecture, seminar or tutorial.
  • Pre-submission advice regarding the standards you should aim for and common pitfalls to avoid.  In some instances, this may be provided in the form of model answers or exemplars which students can review in their own time. 
  • Feedback and outcomes from practical classes.
  • Comment and guidance provided by staff from specialist support services such as, Careers, Employability and Skills or the Learning Development Service.

Once students have reviewed their feedback, they are encouraged to identify and implement further improvements to the quality of their work. 

Learning and Teaching

Queen’s PPE stands out for its emphasis on interdisciplinarity, linking moral philosophy to political economy. It provides a number of modules in political philosophy and political economy. Students are encouraged to make links between politics, philosophy and economics and to think about how these areas relate to and complement one another. This gives students a rounded and integrated intellectual training, which combines the versatility of an understanding of all three subject areas, with the dexterity to move between and supplement the different modes of thinking that the three disciplines involve.

Student choice is a feature of the programme as students are able to design and structure the programme to suit their interests, within a tightly defined structure, that provides a training in all three areas.

The School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy’s well established and highly successful internship programme gives students the opportunity to develop vocational skills and build up workplace based experience, in areas such as public policy analysis, formation and delivery, private sector consultancy and analysis, political broadcasting and journalism.

Examples of the opportunities provided for learning on this course are:

  • Lectures: introduce basic information about new topics as a starting point for further self-directed private study/reading.  Lectures also provide opportunities to ask questions, gain some feedback and advice on assessments (normally delivered in large groups to all year group peers). 
  • Seminars/tutorials:  Significant amounts of teaching are carried out in small groups (typically 10-20 students).  These provide significant opportunity for students to engage with academic staff who have specialist knowledge of the topic, to ask questions of them and to assess your own progress and understanding with the support of peers.  Students should also expect to make presentations and other contributions to these groups. 
  • Self-directed study:  This is an important part of life as a Queen’s student when important private reading, engagement with e-learning resources, reflection on feedback to date and assignment research and preparation work is carried out. 
  • E-Learning technologies:   Information associated with lectures and assignments is often communicated via a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) called Queen’s Online.  A range of e-learning experiences are also embedded in the degree through, for example, online discussion forums, research methods modules involving statistics, additional learning resources, online readings, and opportunities to use IT programmes in project- based work.
  • Supervised research:  In final year, students will be expected to carry out a significant piece of research. This may be a project directly related to their internship, which draws on academic literatures and applies it to an issue or question relevant to the organization to which they have been seconded, and ties in with the role they have played in that organization. Alternatively, students may produce a piece of academic research on a topic of their choosing, carried out over the entire academic year. Students will receive support to guide them in terms of how to carry out their research and will be provided with feedback in person and via email. 
  • Personal Tutor:  Undergraduates are allocated a Personal Tutor from their first day at the university. The Personal Tutor is available to meet with them and to give advice throughout their time at Queen’s, in support of their academic development and to act as an important point of contact with the School. 
  • Study abroad opportunities: Students have the opportunity to spend some time studying in one of our linked universities through Socrates/ Erasmus and Study Abroad schemes. For example, this can take the form of a semester’s study in Sweden (Lünd) (for which credits are transferred back to your degree here in Queen’s), in the Netherlands (Rotterdam), (teaching in English) and in the United States or Canada 
  • Prizes: The highest achieving students in Politics, Philosophy and Economics are given year and graduating awards, we also support our students entering essays to the annual Undergraduate Awards, for which one of our students received a prize in the Social Science category in 2011.

Entry Requirements


Selection Criteria

In addition to the entrance requirements below, it is essential that you read the How We Choose Our Students pdf prior to submitting your UCAS application.

Entrance Requirements

A-level: AAA + GCSE Mathematics grade B

Irish Leaving Certificate: H2H2H3H3H3H3 + if not offered at Higher Level then Ordinary Level grade O3

International Students

For information on international qualification equivalents, please click on Your Country in the International Students website.

If you are an international student and you do not meet the entrance requirements, you should consider a preparation course at INTO Queen's University Belfast, which will prepare you for successful study on these degree courses. INTO at Queen's is based on the University campus and offers a range of courses including the International Foundation in Business, Humanities and Social Science.

For students whose first language is not English

An IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each test component or an equivalent acceptable qualification, details of which are available at:

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability to entry to this degree. Please click the links below for more information:

  • English for University Study - an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
  • Pre-sessional English - a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English 

How To Apply

Applications for admission to full-time undergraduate courses at Queen’s should normally be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Full information can be obtained from the UCAS website at:

When to Apply

UCAS will start processing applications for entry in Autumn 2017 from 1 September 2016.

The normal closing date for the receipt of applications is 15 January 2017.

Applicants are advised to apply as early as is consistent with having made a careful and considered choice of institutions and courses.

Earlier applicants normally receive decisions more quickly, however, UCAS accepts that some applicants, especially those from outside the UK, may find this difficult. Late applications are, in practice, accepted by UCAS throughout the remainder of the application cycle, but you should understand that they are considered by institutions at their discretion, and there can be no guarantee that they will be given the same full level of consideration as applications received by the advisory closing date.

Take care to enter the details of the institutions and courses clearly and correctly on the application. For Queen's, the institution code name is QBELF and the institution code is Q75. These should be entered in the Choices section of your UCAS application. A Campus Code is not required. For further information on applying to study at Queen’s, please click here.

Queen’s University Belfast Terms and Conditions 2017 Entry
The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study.

Career Prospects

Overview: PPE graduates are ideally placed for work in a range of occupations, including the civil service, public services, policy analysis, media, research, teaching, business, the voluntary sector, commerce, marketing and management. Some graduates build on the degree by undertaking postgraduate training in fields such as Legislative Studies, Economics and Finance, Politics, International Relations, International Law and Cognitive Science, as well as social science research and teaching. Tailored careers advice and study guidance is available to all students throughout their time at Queen’s

The particular benefit of PPE is that it provides students with a multi-disciplinary approach to problems and issues. It enables students to understand the political, philosophical and economic issues involved, and the overlap between them, in the course of the making of a particular policy, or business decision. The programme is policy relevant and has a particular focus on policy analysis. Students will leave with a good level of economic and financial literacy. The testimonies of PPE graduates repeatedly reveal that the biggest single advantage a PPE degree programme has provided them with is the versatility and dexterity that results from a training and grounding in three different disciplines. It is this versatility, flexibility and dexterity that opens up such a wide range of career options for PPE graduates, and is highly valued by employers, giving PPE students an advantage over many other Social Science graduates

The diversity of interests and topics covered in the discipline, plus the wide range of skills it equips you with, means that our students enter a wide range of careers on graduation. These include the public sector (e.g. social services, education, civil service,) private sector (e.g. market research, policy analysis, human resources, banking), and third sector (e.g. policy analyst, researcher, charity fundraiser). A number of our students also go on to postgraduate study, on a full or part-time basis.

Famous PPE graduates include in the field of politics include David Cameron, Yvette Cooper, David Miliband, and Ed Balls), the civil service journalism, the media and broadcasting (David Dimbleby, Nick Robinson and John Sergant).

The first cohort of QUB PPE students are currently graduating and are moving into areas such as further postgraduate study (internationally and in Britain and Ireland), teacher training, banking, consultancy, the civil service and politics, including as a StormontMLA. 

Consultations with Employers:  The School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy includes an active and engaged Employers Forum, which is a panel composed of individuals of high ranking in organisations in fields directly relevant to our degree programmes, including Northern Bank, Price Waterhouse, Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action, a range of government departments based at Stormont,  and the BBC. The members of this panel advise staff in incorporating employability skills in the development of our degree programmes and in helping prepare our students for the world of work. They also contribute to advisory sessions for students on careers and employability.

Other Career-related information: Queen’s is a member of the Russell Group and, therefore, one of the 20 universities most-targeted by leading graduate employers.  Queen’s students will be advised and guided about career choice and, through the Degree Plusinitiative, will have an opportunity to seek accreditation for skills development and experience gained through the wide range of extra-curricular activities on offer.  See Queen’s University Belfast fullEmployability Statementfor further information.

Degree Plus and other related initiatives:  Recognising student diversity, as well as promoting employability enhancements and other interests, is part of the developmental experience at Queen’s.  Students are encouraged to plan and build their own, personal skill and experiential profile through a range of activities including; recognised Queen’s Certificates, placements and other work experiences (at home or overseas), Erasmus study options elsewhere in Europe, learning development opportunities and involvement in wider university life through activities, such as clubs, societies, and sports. 

Queen’s actively encourages this type of activity by offering students an additional qualification, the Degree Plus Award (and the related Researcher Plus Award for PhD and MPhil students).  Degree Plus accredits wider experiential and skill development gained through extra-curricular activities that promote the enhancement of academic, career management, personal and employability skills in a variety of contexts.  As part of the Award, students are also trained on how to reflect on the experience(s) and make the link between academic achievement, extracurricular activities, transferable skills and graduate employment. Participating students will also be trained in how to reflect on their skills and experiences and can gain an understanding of how to articulate the significance of these to others, e.g. employers.

Overall, these initiatives, and Degree Plus in particular, reward the energy, drive, determination and enthusiasm shown by students engaging in activities over-and-above the requirements of their academic studies.  These qualities are amongst those valued highly by graduate employers.

Fees & Scholarships

There are different tuition fee and student financial support arrangements for students from Northern Ireland, those from England, Scotland and Wales (Great Britain), and those from the rest of the European Union. Higher education funding arrangements mean that students can study now and pay later.

Further details can be found on our fees and funding section.

Queen's works to ensure that all those who can benefit from a university education have the chance to do so, and a generous system of financial support is in place to help them. Each year Queen’s offer a range of scholarships and prize for new students. The most up to date listings are available here.

For international students, information on tuition fees, can be found here. Information on scholarships for international students, can be found here.

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History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics

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