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Study Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Otago

Solve the world's problems.

In Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) we prepare students to solve the world’s problems by combining the analytical reasoning of philosophy, the social insight of political studies, and the methodological rigour of economics. Students complete a challenging course of study in logic, ethics, collective action, human behaviour, political theory, economics, and the history of ideas.

Originally developed at Oxford and now available around the globe (and only at Otago in New Zealand), our programme in PPE includes a foundation in the classic texts of the human sciences, engagement with the best new ideas about society, and analysis of present-day policy challenges. Today’s policy challenges are more complicated than ever, and PPE’s interdisciplinary course of study prepares students to meet them.

Apply for the Bachelor of Arts (BA) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA(Hons)) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Bachelor of Commerce with Honours (BCom(Hons)) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Diploma for Graduates (DipGrad) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Master of Arts (Coursework) (MA(Coursework)) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects (PGDipArts) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Why study PPE?

Students in the Otago PPE programme complete rigorous courses of study in the three core disciplines, in addition to interdisciplinary seminars and original research.

There are natural affinities and common roots among several strands of philosophy, politics, and economics. For example, economics developed from the field of political economy, welfare economics utilises concepts of social justice from philosophy, and the philosophy of science has important implications for methodologies adopted in economics and politics.

The aim of the programme is to give a broader exposure to the range of analytical approaches in these three disciplines than would be gained within any one of the traditional single-discipline majors.

Background required

No special background is required to begin a PPE major.

However, a student who has achieved mainly Excellences and Merits in each of the three subjects Economics, English and Mathematics with Calculus or Mathematics with Statistics at NCEA Level 3 may apply to the Department of Economics to enter the second required paper (ECON 112) without completing the first (BSNS 113).

Career opportunities

Graduates with a PPE degree go on to apply their analytical skills in many different fields: recent graduates are working as diplomats, journalists, lawyers, project managers, academics, business executives, entrepreneurs, accountants, and policy analysts.

There are PPE graduates in entertainment, in tourism, and in information technology; those in government work at the Supreme Court and at the Ministries for the Environment, Treasury, Social Development, and Inland Revenue, among others.

You can find people with Otago PPE degrees in government, industry, academia, and civil society in New Zealand, North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

Student exchange

We encourage PPE majors to participate in student exchange, and many do so. There are twelve universities that offer PPE programmes for exchange with students from Otago, as well as dozens more without formal PPE programmes that offer appropriate course work. You can participate in student exchange while moving forward with your degree and paying domestic fees.

PPE at Otago

The PPE programme was founded in 1999 as the first and only such course of study in New Zealand, and one of only a few in Australasia. From the beginning PPE has attracted high-achieving students curious about the world and interested in employing their talents in public service.

Students begin in first year with introductory papers in economics, politics, and philosophy, but quickly progress to advanced work in small interdisciplinary seminars. Usually in the second year or the first term of third year, students may participate in student exchange.

The humanities internship practicum, in which students go out into the community to provide research services, is available for second and third year students. Third year students may pursue supervised independent research on a topic of their choosing by taking the PHPE 301 paper.

Degree options

You can pursue a number of different qualification options to study PPE. The PPE major is compatible with double degrees in other subjects such as law or computer science. PPE students can complete double majors and add minor subjects as listed in the Guide to Enrolment. High achieving students may apply for postgraduate study, which consists of small seminars in each of the core disciplines plus completion of a dissertation.

Qualifications

Explore your study options further. Refer to enrolment information found on the following qualification pages.

Programme requirements

Bachelor of Arts (BA) majoring in Philosophy, Politics and Economics

Level Papers Points
100-level

BSNS 113 Economic Principles and Policy

ECON 112 Principles of Economics 2

One 100-level PHIL paper (PHIL 103 Ethical Issues, recommended)

One 100-level POLS paper (POLS 102 New Zealand Politics - Introduction, recommended)

18

18

18

18

200-level

PHPE 201 Political Economy 1: Method, Philosophy, Applications

ECON 201 Microeconomics or ECON 271  Intermediate Microeconomic Theory

One further 200-level ECON paper

One 200-level PHIL paper

One 200-level POLS paper

one further 200-level ECON, PHIL or POLS papers

18

18

18

18

18

18

300-level

Six 300-level ECON, PHIL, PHPE, or POLS papers, including at least one paper in each of Economics, Philosophy, and Politics.

CLAS 340 may be substituted for one 300-level PHIL paper.

108

Plus 72 further points which may be taken from outside Arts 72
Total   360

Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA(Hons)) in Philosophy, Politics and Economics

Papers
  • One of:
    • ECON 492  Dissertation for Philosophy, Politics and Economics
    • PHIL 490  Dissertation
  • Three further 400-level ECON, PHIL, POLS papers

  • No more than 100 points may be from any one of the component disciplines.

Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects (PGDipArts) in Philosophy, Politics and Economics

The Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects (PGDipArts) programme in Philosophy, Politics and Economics is the same as the programme for the degree of Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA(Hons)).

Master of Arts (Coursework) (MA(Coursework)) in Philosophy, Politics and Economics

Papers

No more than 90 points may be from any one of the component disciplines.

CLAS 440 may be substituted for one 400-level PHIL paper.

Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) majoring in Philosophy, Politics and Economics

Level Papers Points
100-level

BSNS 113  Economic Principles and Policy

ECON 112  Principles of Economics 2

PHIL 105  Critical Thinking

One 100-level POLS paper (POLS 102 New Zealand Politics - Introduction, recommended)

BSNS 111 Business and Society, BSNS 112 Interpreting Business Data, BSNS 114 Financial Decision Making, BSNS 115 Accounting and Information Systems – must normally be taken in first year of study.

18

18

18

18

 

72

200-level

PHPE 201  Political Economy 1: Method, Philosophy, Applications

ECON 201  Microeconomics or ECON 271  Intermediate Microeconomic Theory

One further 200-level ECON paper

One 200-level PHIL paper

One 200-level POLS paper

one further 200-level ECON, PHIL or POLS papers

18

18

18

18

18

18

300-level

MANT 331  Business Ethics

Five 300-level ECON, PHIL, PHPE, or POLS papers, including at least two papers in Economics and at least one paper in each of Philosophy and Politics.

CLAS 340 may be substituted for one 300-level PHIL paper.

18

90

Total   360

Bachelor of Commerce with Honours (BCom(Hons)) in Philosophy, Politics and Economics

Papers
  • One of:
    • ECON 492  Dissertation for Philosophy, Politics and Economics
    • PHIL 490  Dissertation
  • Three further 400-level ECON, PHIL, POLS papers

  • No more than 100 points may be from any one of the component disciplines.

Papers

PHIL papers

Paper code Year Title Points Teaching period
PHIL101 2021 Mind and Reality 18 points First Semester
PHIL103 2021 Ethical Issues 18 points Second Semester, Summer School
PHIL105 2021 Critical Thinking 18 points First Semester
PHIL106 2021 Radical Philosophy 18 points Second Semester
PHIL222 2021 Introduction to Formal Logic 18 points First Semester
PHIL223 2021 Metaphysical Questions 18 points First Semester
PHIL225 2021 Philosophy of Science 18 points Second Semester
PHIL227 2021 Morality and Politics: Hobbes to Hume 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
PHIL228 2021 Ethics 18 points First Semester
PHIL229 2021 Reason, Belief and the Sacred 18 points Second Semester
PHIL231 2021 Early Modern Philosophy A: Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
PHIL232 2021 Early Modern Philosophy B: Locke, Berkeley, Hume 18 points First Semester
PHIL233 2021 Philosophy of Mind and Language 18 points Second Semester
PHIL234 2021 Are there moral facts? 18 points Second Semester
PHIL235 2021 Environmental Philosophy 18 points First Semester
PHIL236 2021 An Introduction to the Philosophy of Language 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
PHIL239 2021 Bertrand Russell: Ethics, Logic, Pacifism and Truth 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
PHIL240 2021 Epistemology: The Theory of Knowledge 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
PHIL312 2021 Advanced Formal Logic 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
PHIL314 2021 Themes from Hume 18 points First Semester
PHIL315 2021 Are There Moral Facts? 18 points Second Semester
PHIL323 2021 Metaphysical Questions 18 points First Semester
PHIL329 2021 Reason, Belief and the Sacred 18 points Second Semester
PHIL331 2021 Early Modern Philosophy A: Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
PHIL332 2021 Early Modern Philosophy B: Locke, Berkeley, Hume 18 points First Semester
PHIL333 2021 Philosophy of Mind and Language 18 points Second Semester
PHIL334 2021 Philosophy of Biology 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
PHIL335 2021 Why Be Moral? 18 points First Semester
PHIL336 2021 An Introduction to the Philosophy of Language (Advanced) 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
PHIL338 2021 Ethical Theory 18 points Second Semester
PHIL339 2021 Bertrand Russell: Ethics, Logic, Pacifism and Truth (Advanced) 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
PHIL340 2021 Epistemology: The Theory of Knowledge (Advanced) 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
PHIL401 2021 Advanced History of Philosophy 20 points Second Semester
PHIL405 2021 Philosophy of Biology 20 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
PHIL406 2021 Why Be Moral? 20 points First Semester
PHIL409 2021 Advanced Metaphysics 20 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
PHIL413 2021 Ethical Theory 20 points Second Semester
PHIL414 2021 Themes From Hume 20 points First Semester
PHIL415 2021 Meaning and Metaphysics 20 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
PHIL416 2021 Philosophy of Memory 20 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
PHIL451 2021 Special Topic 20 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
PHIL458 2021 Special Topic 20 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
PHIL462 2021 Special Topic: Philosophy of Mathematics 20 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
PHIL480 2021 Research Essay 20 points First Semester, Second Semester
PHIL490 2021 Dissertation 60 points Full Year, 1st Non standard period
PHIL590 2021 Research Dissertation 60 points 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period

POLS papers

Paper code Year Title Points Teaching period
POLS101 2021 Political Philosophy - Basic Problems 18 points Second Semester
POLS102 2021 New Zealand Politics - Introduction 18 points Second Semester
POLS104 2021 International Relations - Introduction 18 points First Semester
POLS105 2021 Comparative Politics - Introduction 18 points First Semester
POLS202 2021 Theories of Justice 18 points First Semester
POLS205 2021 The Good Society and the Market 18 points Not offered in 2021
POLS207 2021 Environmental Politics 18 points First Semester
POLS208 2021 Democracy 18 points Not offered in 2021
POLS210 2021 Politics of the Middle East 18 points Second Semester
POLS211 2021 Global Political Economy 18 points Second Semester
POLS213 2021 New Zealand Foreign Policy 18 points First Semester
POLS216 2021 Politics of the European Union 18 points Second Semester
POLS217 2021 War and Politics 18 points Not offered in 2021
POLS218 2021 Interventions, Peacekeeping and the Global South 18 points First Semester
POLS221 2021 New Zealand Political Parties and Elections 18 points Second Semester
POLS228 2021 Contemporary Issues in Global Politics 18 points Not offered in 2021
POLS234 2021 Asian Security 18 points Second Semester
POLS250 2021 International Security in a Globalising World 18 points Not offered in 2021
POLS301 2021 Power and Liberty 18 points Not offered in 2021
POLS303 2021 New Zealand's Political Economy 18 points Not offered in 2021
POLS305 2021 The Good Society and the Market (Advanced) 18 points Not offered in 2021
POLS306 2021 Politics and the Media in New Zealand 18 points Second Semester
POLS307 2021 Nature, Conflict, and the State 18 points Second Semester
POLS308 2021 United States Foreign Policy since 1945 18 points Summer School
POLS310 2021 Turkey and Its Neighbours 18 points Not offered in 2021
POLS312 2021 Ethics and International Relations 18 points First Semester
POLS315 2021 Nationalism and Identity 18 points Second Semester
POLS317 2021 News Media and International Crises 18 points Not offered in 2021
POLS318 2021 Chinese Foreign Policy 18 points First Semester
POLS319 2021 Treaty Politics 18 points Not offered in 2021
POLS320 2021 Pacific Geopolitics in the 21st Century 18 points Not offered in 2021
POLS321 2021 Public Policy in New Zealand 18 points Summer School
POLS323 2021 Marxism: Classical and Contemporary 18 points Second Semester
POLS325 2021 International Relations: Concepts and Theories 18 points Second Semester
POLS326 2021 Politics of the Arabian Peninsula 18 points First Semester
POLS330 2021 Special Topic: Anti- and Post-Colonial Theory 18 points Not offered in 2021
POLS375 2021 Human Rights - From the Cradle to the Grave 18 points First Semester
POLS390 2021 Research Project 18 points First Semester
POLS402 2021 Community, Culture and Rights 20 points Not offered in 2021
POLS501 2021 The 'Political': Theory and Practice 30 points First Semester
POLS510 2021 Community, Culture and Rights 30 points Not offered in 2021
POLS520 2021 New Zealand Government and Politics 30 points Second Semester
POLS521 2021 Politics and Society 30 points First Semester
POLS530 2021 Politics Internship 30 points Not offered in 2021
POLS540 2021 International Relations Theory 30 points First Semester
POLS541 2021 International Relations and the Global South 30 points Not offered in 2021
POLS550 2021 Comparative Regional Conflicts 30 points Second Semester
POLS551 2021 Conflicts, Crises and New Zealand Foreign Policy in the Pacific 30 points Not offered in 2021
POLS552 2021 Comparative State/Minority Politics 30 points Not offered in 2021
POLS553 2021 The Global Politics of Poverty and Inequality 30 points Not offered in 2021
POLS590 2021 Research Dissertation 60 points 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period

ECON papers

Paper code Year Title Points Teaching period
ECON112 2021 Principles of Macroeconomics 18 points Second Semester
ECON201 2021 Microeconomics 18 points First Semester
ECON202 2021 Macroeconomics 18 points Second Semester
ECON206 2021 The World Economy 18 points Second Semester
ECON207 2021 Environmental Economics 18 points First Semester
ECON210 2021 Introduction to Econometrics 18 points First Semester
ECON271 2021 Intermediate Microeconomic Theory 18 points First Semester
ECON301 2021 Labour Economics 18 points First Semester
ECON302 2021 International Trade 18 points Second Semester
ECON303 2021 Economics of Developing Countries 18 points First Semester
ECON306 2021 Economics of Health and Education 18 points Second Semester
ECON308 2021 Public Economics 18 points Second Semester
ECON316 2021 Open Economy Macroeconomics 18 points Not offered in 2021
ECON317 2021 Urban and Regional Economics 18 points First Semester
ECON318 2021 Behavioural Economics 18 points First Semester
ECON319 2021 Game Theory 18 points Second Semester
ECON350 2021 Special Topic 18 points Not offered in 2021
ECON351 2021 Special Topic: Economics of Households and Wellbeing 18 points Second Semester
ECON371 2021 Microeconomic Theory 18 points Second Semester
ECON375 2021 Econometrics 18 points Second Semester
ECON376 2021 Macroeconomic Theory 18 points First Semester
ECON377 2021 Mathematical Economics 18 points Second Semester
ECON402 2021 Growth, Institutions and Development 20 points Not offered in 2021
ECON403 2021 Monetary Economics 20 points Second Semester
ECON404 2021 International Economics 20 points Not offered in 2021
ECON405 2021 The Economics of Natural Resources and Public Choice 20 points Not offered in 2021
ECON406 2021 Labour and Population Economics 20 points Second Semester
ECON407 2021 Topics in Advanced Economics 20 points Second Semester
ECON410 2021 Advanced Microeconomic Theory 20 points Second Semester
ECON411 2021 Advanced Macroeconomic Theory 20 points First Semester
ECON412 2021 Macroeconometrics 20 points First Semester
ECON413 2021 Microeconometrics 20 points First Semester
ECON480 2021 Dissertation 40 points Full Year
ECON485 2021 Master's Thesis Preparation 20 points First Semester, Second Semester, Full Year
ECON492 2021 Dissertation for Philosophy, Politics and Economics 60 points Full Year
ECON580 2021 Research Dissertation 60 points First Semester, Second Semester, 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period, 3rd Non standard period

Key information for students

Contact us

Email ppe@otago.ac.nz
Website otago.ac.nz/ppe