The PPEL Major

The Philosophy, Politics, Economics and Law Major consists of 36 credit hours divided among 3 course groups: The Groundwork Courses, the Core PPEL Courses, and the PPEL Track Courses. All students complete their major with a capstone course, PPEL4800.

PPEL Majors begin their studies with 4 Groundwork Courses which provide a foundational understanding of the core issues and methods of Philosophy, Politics and Economics.

PHIL 1250: Contemporary Moral Issues introduces students to the analytical method of contemporary philosophy by exploring some of the most pressing moral issues of our time, including human obligations towards animals and the environment, the ethics of war, terrorism and torture, and the proper relationship between governments and their citizens.

POLS 1100: American Government or POLS1710: Introduction to Compartive Government introduce students to common methodologies of political science by exploring the essential parts and processes of the United States government (POLS1100) or by comparing various political systems (POLS1710).

ECON 2020: Principles of Microeconomics introduces students to the core methods of economic analysis and evaluation of economic policy. This course emphasizes key economic ideas including price theory, supply and demand, and income distribution.

ECON 2030: Principles of Macroeconomics expands students' tools of economic analysis to include larger scale economic phenomena such as national income and employment, economic growth, and international economics.

With a foundation in each major element of PPEL, students will move on to integrate the various methodologies, tools, and considerations and apply them to complex historical and contemporary issues.

PPEL 2240: Philosophy, Politics, & Economics introduces students to integrated ways of understanding and evaluating social institutions. Topics will vary by semester, but include economic justice, the ethics and economics of wealth creation, markets and morality, and democratic theory.

PPEL 3000: The History of Political Economy introduces students to the history of integrated research in philosophy, politics, economics and law by exploring and evaluating the relationship between political and economic institutions and structures. This course will also explore the challenges raised by the professionalization and separation of the fields of philosophy, politics, economics and law.

PPEL 3100: Methods of Philosophy, Politics, and Economics ties all the previous work together to provide students with powerful tools for formal analysis of philosophical, political and economic issues.

With powerful methods and analytical tools in hand, students select from one of three specialized tracks for further independent research, completing 12 credit hours (usually four courses).

The Law Track is ideal for students interested in moving onto law school or pursuing a career related to the law. Students may select from courses focused on the history of the law, legal philosophy, American law and legal systems, as well as specific aspects of the law including environmental and international law.

The Ethics & Policy Track emphasizes research into various aspects of public policymaking and public administration. Students will be well prepared for research and careers in public health, non-profit and policymaking.

National & International Perspectives is ideal for students interested in careers in government and non-governmental organizations, whether domestically or abroad. Students may select from courses focused on the history and current state of international politics, international law and conflict resolution.

More about PPEL Tracks

Students complete their major with an independent research project in PPEL4800.

Students will apply the integrative approach emphasized in PPEL coursework to a public policy research project chosen by the student and developed in consultation with the instructor. The public policy research project will aim to answer questions about how social institutions can and should operate, and , if possible, including a service learning or internship component.