Program Overview

The major in Philosophy, Politics, Economics, and Law (PPEL) is a multidisciplinary undergraduate major that provides students with an integrated curriculum, drawing on the methods and insights of philosophy, political science, and economics. Its aim is to provoke critical reflection on the relationship between different institutions-political, legal, social, and economic. It emphasizes grappling with the moral and historical bases of political and economic life, while also equipping students with rigorous analytic thinking skills that are increasingly important in business, policy, law, and other fields. 

The program consists of 36 credit hours, divided into three groups. The Groundwork courses (12 credits) ensure that students have a foundation in philosophy, economics, and political science. Second, the Core courses are four PPEL major only courses (12 credits) that integrate the three fields through historical and formal analysis as well as original research. PPEL majors may then select a “Track” within the major that allows them to further pursue their research questions. Three tracks are offered: Law, Ethics & Policy, and National & International Perspectives. The tracks emphasize multidisciplinary skills. 

The minor has the same aims as the major, but requires only 21 units of coursework. The minor begins with a gateway course that provides an integrated overview of the empirical and political questions that are raised by topics like the role of government in society and the proper organization of the economy. Students are introduced to different political and economic systems of thought and methods of analysis. From there, students take six courses in philosophy, economics, and political science. 

All majors and minors take a capstone course their senior year – PPEL 4800 – where PPEL students develop research projects on advanced empirical and normative questions. Students are encouraged to use the skills they acquired in previous coursework to provide a sustained, original engagement with an important social, political, economic, or legal issue. This course can be united with internship and service learning opportunities in PPEL-related fields like law and public policy.

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