The Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) degree 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
Politics, Philosophy and Economics Degree highlights
Although the PPE degree only began at Queen’s in 2009, it has already been successful in placing graduates in top positions in business and government. This includes one currently serving minister in the Northern Ireland Executive.
- Study Abroad: students have study opportunities in other European universities through our Erasmus programme, and also in the USA and Canada.
- Although practicing politics, philosophy, or economics does not usually require professional accreditations, many of our staff and students are members of many of the key professional associations in these subject areas. This includes the Political Studies Association, the British Philosophical Association, the Political Studies Association of Ireland, the American Political Science Association, and the Royal Economic Society.
- The School offers a range of employment placements where students can gain real world work experience which is invaluable in terms of employment after graduation. Given that Belfast is a regional capital with devolved powers, we can offer students placements in the high profile political and related institutions on our doorstep – for example in the Department of Justice, Equality Commission, Police Ombudsman’s Office, or BBC Northern Ireland.
- Queen’s is a member of the Russell Group and, therefore, one of the 20 universities most-targeted by leading graduate employers. Studying for a Politics degree at Queen‘s will assist students in developing the core skills and employment-related experiences that are valued by employers and academic institutions.
- PPE graduates from Queens have moved into areas such as further postgraduate study (internationally and in Britain and Ireland), teacher training, banking, consultancy, the civil service, and politics. Recent graduates have gone on to work for employers such as the Bank of England, major companies like PricewaterhouseCoopers, and major political parties (including an MLA at Stormont).
- The School offers a range of employment placements where students can gain real-world work experience which is invaluable in terms of employment after graduation. Given that Belfast is a regional capital with devolved powers, we offer students placements in the high profile political and related institutions on our doorstep – for example, in the Department of Justice, Equality Commission, Police Ombudsman’s Office, or BBC Northern Ireland.
World Class Facilities
- Research-led Teaching: cutting-edge research drives our externally commended teaching, most recently evidenced in the latest student satisfaction survey.
Internationally Renowned Experts
- The Head of School, Professor Yvonne Galligan, OBE, is an internationally recognised expert in the politics of gender. She was a member of an Independent Commission of Inquiry on The Consequences of Devolution for the UK House of Commons (the McKay Commission), in 2013. She was also independent chairperson of the Markievicz Commission in Ireland on measures to implement the candidate gender quota of 30%, in 2014. She was awarded an OBE in the Birthday 2014 Honours List. Prof. Beverley Milton Edwards has advised various governments in her role as an expert on the Middle East, and is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Brooking Institution. Professor David Phinnemore is an expert on EU Treaty reform and EU enlargement, which led to his secondment as an advisor to the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
- Our uniquely supportive pastoral care/ personal tutor system is equalled only by the academic guidance available. Our vibrant PPE Society provides a welcome and stimulating environment for new students. We have students from around the UK, Ireland, Europe and the wider world, ensuring a rich mix of students with different experiences and backgrounds.
“The School is of not too large a size as to be impersonal, and therefore the relationships between the students and with the staff were strong and highly inclusive. The relatively small intake of the PPE programme meant that across all three years there were plenty of opportunities to interact with the other students, and the PPE society always had great socials as well as academic events.”
Ed Livingstone, BA Politics (2013), Philosophy, and Economics
In order to ensure that students studying on the PPE degree have sufficient grounding in all three subjects, they have a prescribed list of four modules at both Levels 1 and 2 (with two optional modules each year). At level 3, students have greater flexibility in terms of their module choices, having the option to substitute either a dissertation or internship in place of some of their modules.
• two Economics modules
• one Politics module
• one Philosophy module
And have two choices.
Students take two core interdisciplinary modules designed specifically for PPE students to show how politics, philosophy, and economics are deeply intertwined:
• 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 take two additional modules of their choice, with module choices across all three subjects. The following provides an indicative list of the range of module choices at level 2:
• 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
• Data analysis and optimisation
• British politics in crisis
Students take the equivalent of six modules: either a double-weighted dissertation, or double- or single-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.
The module choices available to PPE students cover a wide range of topics in each of the three subjects. In Economics, modules cover issues such as labour economics, public economics, and economic history. In philosophy, topics include ethics, metaphysics, and philosophy of science. Politics options include development, comparative political behaviour and institutions, foreign policy and international relations, and issues of gender and ethnic minorities.
Note that this is not an exclusive list and these options are subject to staff availability.
Dissertation: In their final year, students can to write a dissertation based on a research topic of their choice and under one-to-one supervision by an academic with specialist knowledge in the chosen field.
Contact Teaching Times
|Large Group Teaching|
6 (hours maximum)
hours of lectures
|Medium Group Teaching|
6 (hours maximum)
6 hours of practical classes, workshops or seminars each week
30 (hours maximum)
30 hours studying and revising in your own time each week (10 hours per module), including some guided study using handouts, online activities, etc.
|Small Group Teaching/Personal Tutorial|
2 (hours maximum)
2 hours of tutorials (or later, project supervision) each week
Learning and Teaching
Examples of the opportunities provided for learning on this course are:
Information associated with lectures and assignments is often communicated via a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) called Queen’s Online. Many of the course readings are supplied via Queen’s Online, and e-learning experiences are also embedded in the degree programme through the use of, for example, interactive support materials, podcasts and web-based learning activities.
These introduce foundation information about new topics as a starting point for further self-directed private study/reading. As the module progresses this information becomes more complex. Lectures, which are normally delivered in large groups to all year-group peers, also provide opportunities to ask questions and seek clarification on key issues as well as gain feedback and advice on assessments.
This is an essential 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.
A significant amount of teaching is carried out in small groups (typically 8-15 students). These sessions are designed to explore, in more depth, the information that has been presented in the lectures, and reading material that has been set for the course. These sessions provide students with the opportunity to engage closely with academic staff who have specialist knowledge of the topic, to ask questions of them and to assess their own progress and understanding with the support of their peers. During these classes on some courses, students will be expected to present their work to academic staff and their peers.
Details of assessments associated with this course are outlined below:
The way in which students are assessed will vary according to the learning objectives of each module. Details of how each module is assessed are shown in the Student Handbook which is provided to all students during their first year induction. Modules are typically assessed by a combination of different forms of assessment, which consist of: academic essays exploring and critiquing specific economic issues; class tests; case study research and analysis of particular political, philosophical, or economic issues; computer generated practical exercises where students have to manipulate real-world political/economic data; small group projects; presentations; unseen written examinations; and “learning logs” based on weekly reading.
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 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 you, as an individual or as part of a group, have submitted.
Face to face comment. This may include occasions when you make use of the lecturers’ advertised “office hours” to help you to 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, or during a 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 you can review in your own time.
Comment and guidance provided by staff from specialist support services such as, Careers, Employability and Skills or the Learning Development Service.
Once you have reviewed your feedback, you will be encouraged to identify and implement further improvements to the quality of your work. All students are required to meet with their Personal Tutor to discuss their overall academic progress and performance at least once a semester. They are encouraged to bringing assignment mark-sheets to these meetings to help with discussing ways of improving assignment performance and preparing for exams.
In philosophy, every lecture, tutorial and seminar is a ‘feedback’ session, where students get a better sense of their academic progress by being actively encouraged to discuss anything they do and don’t understand with each other and their class leader.
In addition, to the entrance requirements above, it is essential that you read our guidance notes on 'How we choose our students' prior to submitting your UCAS application.
Applications are dealt with centrally by the Admissions and Access Service rather than by individual University Schools. Once your on-line form has been processed by UCAS and forwarded to Queen's, an acknowledgement is normally sent within two weeks of its receipt at the University.
Selection is on the basis of the information provided on your UCAS form, which is considered by the Selector for that particular subject or degree programme along with a member of administrative staff from the Admissions Service. Decisions are made on an ongoing basis and will be notified to you via UCAS.
Applicants must meet the subject specific requirement of GCSE Maths grade B. GCSE English Language grade C is also required.
Demand for places differs from course to course and for PPE, past performance at GCSE and / or AS level is taken into account when deciding whether or not to make conditional offers. For last year’s entry, we started making offers to applicants with 3A and 3B grades at GCSE or ABB at AS-Level, however, at the end of the application cycle, the final threshold was a minimum of 2A and 5B grades at GCSE or average BBB at AS-level, in order to be made a conditional offer, however, please note that this threshold may change from year to year depending on the demand for places. The final threshold is not usually determined until late in the cycle, around March/April, so there may be a delay in processing candidates. Where applicants do not cash-in AS-level examinations results at the end of year 13 (Year 12 England and Wales), it is helpful if the equivalent grades are given in the personal statement or academic reference, since this will speed up the decision-making process.
Offers are normally made on the basis of 3 A-levels. Two subjects at A-level plus two at AS would also be considered. The offer for repeat applicants is set in terms of 3 A-levels. Grades may be held from the previous year.
Applicants offering two A-Levels and one BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/National Extended Certificate (or equivalent qualification), or one A-Level and a BTEC Diploma/National Diploma (or equivalent qualification) will also be considered. Offers will be made in terms of performance in individual BTEC units rather than the overall BTEC grade(s) awarded. Please note that a maximum of one BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/National Extended Certificate (or equivalent) will be counted as part of an applicant’s portfolio of qualifications. The normal GCSE profile will be expected.
Applicants offering other qualifications, such as BTEC Extended Diplomas, Higher National Certificates and Diplomas, the International Baccalaureate, Irish Leaving Certificate or an Access course, will also be considered.
The same GCSE profile is usually expected of those applicants taking a BTEC Extended Diploma qualification or a Higher National Certificate (HNC).
The current entrance requirements for applicants offering a BTEC Extended Diploma are successful completion of the BTEC Extended Diploma (180 credits at Level 3) with 160 credits at Distinction and 20 credits at Merit. For applicants offering a HNC, the current requirements are successful completion of the HNC with 4 Distinctions and remainder Merits. In both instances, applicants must also have the appropriate qualification to fulfil the entry requirements for GCSE Mathematics.
For those offering a Higher National Diploma, some flexibility may be allowed in terms of GCSE profile but, to be eligible for an offer, a minimum of 2 Distinctions and remainder Merits is necessary in the year 1 performance. Applicants must successfully complete the HND with 4 Distinctions and remainder Merits in all units assessed in the final year. Any consideration would be for stage 1 entry only and applicants must also have the appropriate qualification to fulfil the entry requirements for GCSE Mathematics.
Applicants offering Access/Certificate in Foundation Studies courses will be considered individually on their own merits and for last year the standard required was an overall average of 75% in Level 3 modules, with an average of 70% in relevant maths modules in the Access Course, where the GCSE Mathematics requirement had not already been met.
For applicants offering the Irish Leaving Certificate please note that performance at Junior Certificate is taken into account and at the end of last year’s application cycle, the Junior Cert profile was a minimum of 3A and 3B grades.
The information provided in the personal statement section and the academic reference together with predicted grades are noted however, these are not the final deciding factors as to whether or not a conditional offer can be made. However, they may be reconsidered in a tie break situation in August.
A-level General Studies and A-level Critical Thinking would not normally be considered as part of a three A-level offer and, although they may be excluded where an applicant is taking 4 A-level subjects, the grade achieved could be taken into account if necessary in August/September.
Applicants are not normally asked to attend for interview, though there are some exceptions and specific information is provided with the relevant subject areas.
If you are made an offer then you may be invited to an Open Day, which is usually held in the second semester. This will allow you the opportunity to visit the University and to find out more about the degree programme of your choice and the facilities on offer. It also gives you a flavour of the academic and social life at Queen's.
If you cannot find the information you need here, please contact the University Admissions Service (firstname.lastname@example.org), giving full details of your qualifications and educational background.
For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.
English Language Requirements
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: http://go.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs
If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.
- Academic English: 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.
INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS - FOUNDATION AND INTERNATIONAL YEAR ONE PROGRAMMES
INTO Queen's offers a range of academic and English language programmes to help prepare international students for undergraduate study at Queen's University. You will learn from experienced teachers in a dedicated international study centre on campus, and will have full access to the University's world-class facilities.
These programmes are designed for international students who do not meet the required academic and English language requirements for direct entry.
The INTO progression course suited to this programme is
INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)
Studying PPE at Queen’s has several unique advantages:
• Studying in Belfast, a regional political and economic capital city, allows for one to interact directly with key decision makers in the area
• Situated on the island of Ireland, the PPE degree at Queen’s offers a unique international setting
• Studying politics, philosophy, and economics in a divided society allows one to explore how these subjects work to shape conflict
• Small class sizes promote the building of close friendships and networks
Employment after the Course
A PPE degree provides a stimulating programme of study and intellectual training useful in many walks of life and future career paths. Graduates are equipped with the necessary attributes for graduate employment or postgraduate education and training, and are able to make a difference in whatever future career they choose. PPE graduates enter careers in areas such as marketing, journalism, broadcasting, education, the Civil Service, equal opportunities, banking, business, public relations, local government, and even politics itself.
The School also maintains an Employers Forum – a direct link to businesses and organisations who look to recruit from among our school’s graduates.
Placements: Students have the opportunity in the final year to undertake a part-time placement within a local organisation to gain direct experience of policy-making and political decision-making.
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.
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.
Additional Awards Gained(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)
Prizes and Awards(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)
Degree plus award for extra-curricular skills
In addition to your degree programme, at Queen's you can have the opportunity to gain wider life, academic and employability skills. For example, placements, voluntary work, clubs, societies, sports and lots more. So not only do you graduate with a degree recognised from a world leading university, you'll have practical national and international experience plus a wider exposure to life overall. We call this Degree Plus. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.
|Northern Ireland (NI)||£4,275|
|England, Scotland or Wales (GB)||£9,250|
|Other (non-UK) EU||£4,275|
Tuition fee rates are calculated based on a student’s tuition fee status and generally increase annually by inflation. How tuition fees are determined is set out in the Student Finance Framework.
Additional course costs
Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.
Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library.
If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. A programme may have up to 6 modules per year, each with a recommended text.
Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.
Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.
If a final year includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.
Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.
There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.
Politics, Philosophy and Economics costs
In Year 2 students can apply for a number of optional exchanges with institutions in the USA. The cost will vary depending on the institution and length of exchange and can range from £500 - £6,000. Students who undertake a period of study or work abroad, are responsible for funding travel, accommodation and subsistence costs. These costs vary depending on the location and duration of the placement. Students should be aware that placement and internship modules do not normally involve payment or financial support from either Queen’s or the placement/internship provider. If the placement is undertaken under the European Erasmus programme, students are normally eligible to receive a top-up grant to contribute towards these costs of approximately €300 per month. A limited number of Erasmus grants are available.
How do I fund my study?
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.
Information on funding options and financial assistance for undergraduate students is available at http://www.qub.ac.uk/Study/Undergraduate/Fees-and-scholarships/.
Each year, we offer a range of scholarships and prizes for new students. Information on scholarships available.
Information on scholarships for international students, is available at http://www.qub.ac.uk/International/International-students/International-scholarships/.
How to Apply
Application for admission to full-time undergraduate and sandwich courses at the University should normally be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Full information can be obtained from the UCAS website at: www.ucas.com/apply.
When to Apply
UCAS will start processing applications for entry in autumn 2019 from 1 September 2018.
Advisory closing date: 15 January 2019 (18:00).
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.
Applicants are encouraged to apply as early as is consistent with having made a careful and considered choice of institutions and courses.
The Institution code for Queen's is QBELF and the institution code is Q75.
Further information on applying to study at Queen's is available at: http://www.qub.ac.uk/Study/Undergraduate/How-to-apply/
After an offer is made this will be notified to applicants through UCAS. Confirmation will be emailed by the Admissions and Access Service and this communication will also include Terms and Conditions (www.qub.ac.uk/Study/TermsandConditions) which applicants should read carefully in advance of replying to their offer(s) on UCAS Track.
Additional Information for International (non-EU) Students
- Applying through UCAS
Most students make their applications through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) for full-time undergraduate degree programmes at Queen's. The UCAS application deadline for international students is 30 June 2019.
- Applying direct
The Direct Entry Application form is to be used by international applicants who wish to apply directly, and only, to Queen's or who have been asked to provide information in advance of submitting a formal UCAS application. Find out more.
- Applying through agents and partners
The University’s in-country representatives can assist you to submit a UCAS application or a direct application. Please consult the Agent List to find an agent in your country who will help you with your application to Queen’s University.
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