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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 2023

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Apply for the Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom) through the Dunedin campus in 2023

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Apply for the Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) through the Dunedin campus in 2023

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Apply for the Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA(Hons)) through the Dunedin campus in 2023

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Apply for the Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) through the Dunedin campus in 2023

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Apply for the Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) through the Dunedin campus in 2023

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Apply for the Bachelor of Commerce with Honours (BCom(Hons)) through the Dunedin campus in 2023

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Apply for the Diploma for Graduates (DipGrad) through the Dunedin campus in 2023

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Apply for the Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects (PGDipArts) through the Dunedin campus in 2023

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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, and CLAS 346 may be substituted for one 300-level POLS 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:
  • Three further 400-level ECON, PHIL, POLS papers

  • No more than 100 points may be from any one of the component disciplines. CLAS 440 may be substituted for one 400-level PHIL paper.

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

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a selection of on-campus papers will be made available via distance and online learning for eligible students.
Find out which papers are available and how to apply on our COVID-19 website

PHIL papers

Paper code Year Title Points Teaching period
PHIL101 2023 Mind and Reality 18 points Semester 1
PHIL103 2023 Ethical Issues 18 points Semester 2
PHIL105 2023 Critical Thinking 18 points Semester 1
PHIL106 2023 Radical Philosophy 18 points Semester 2
PHIL222 2023 Introduction to Formal Logic 18 points Semester 1
PHIL223 2023 Metaphysical Questions 18 points Semester 1
PHIL225 2023 Philosophy of Science 18 points Semester 2
PHIL227 2023 Morality and Politics: Hobbes to Hume 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2024
PHIL228 2023 Ethics 18 points Semester 1
PHIL229 2023 Reason, Belief and the Sacred 18 points Semester 2
PHIL231 2023 Early Modern Philosophy A: Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2024
PHIL232 2023 Early Modern Philosophy B: Locke, Berkeley, Hume 18 points Semester 2
PHIL233 2023 Philosophy of Mind and Language 18 points Semester 1
PHIL234 2023 Are there moral facts? 18 points Semester 2
PHIL235 2023 Environmental Philosophy 18 points Semester 2
PHIL236 2023 An Introduction to the Philosophy of Language 18 points Semester 2
PHIL239 2023 Bertrand Russell: Ethics, Logic, Pacifism and Truth 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2024
PHIL240 2023 Epistemology: The Theory of Knowledge 18 points Semester 1
PHIL312 2023 Advanced Formal Logic 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2024
PHIL314 2023 No-Ought-From-Is and the Slavery of Reason 18 points Semester 1
PHIL315 2023 Are There Moral Facts? 18 points Semester 2
PHIL323 2023 Metaphysical Questions 18 points Semester 1
PHIL329 2023 Reason, Belief and the Sacred 18 points Semester 2
PHIL331 2023 Early Modern Philosophy A: Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2024
PHIL332 2023 Early Modern Philosophy B: Locke, Berkeley, Hume 18 points Semester 2
PHIL333 2023 Philosophy of Mind and Language 18 points Semester 1
PHIL334 2023 Philosophy of Biology 18 points Not offered in 2023
PHIL335 2023 Why Be Moral? 18 points Semester 1
PHIL336 2023 An Introduction to the Philosophy of Language (Advanced) 18 points Semester 2
PHIL338 2023 Ethical Theory 18 points Semester 2
PHIL339 2023 Bertrand Russell: Ethics, Logic, Pacifism and Truth (Advanced) 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2024
PHIL340 2023 Epistemology: The Theory of Knowledge (Advanced) 18 points Semester 1
PHIL401 2023 Advanced History of Philosophy 20 points Not offered in 2023
PHIL405 2023 Philosophy of Biology 20 points Not offered in 2023
PHIL406 2023 Why Be Moral? 20 points Semester 1
PHIL409 2023 Advanced Metaphysics 20 points Not offered in 2023
PHIL413 2023 Ethical Theory 20 points Semester 2
PHIL414 2023 No-Ought-From-Is and the Slavery of Reason 20 points Semester 1
PHIL415 2023 Meaning and Metaphysics 20 points Not offered in 2023
PHIL451 2023 Special Topic 20 points Not offered in 2023
PHIL458 2023 Special Topic 20 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2024
PHIL462 2023 Special Topic: Philosophy of Mathematics 20 points Not offered in 2023
PHIL480 2023 Research Essay 20 points Semester 1, Semester 2
PHIL490 2023 Dissertation 60 points Full Year, 1st Non standard period
PHIL590 2023 Research Dissertation 60 points 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period

POLS papers

Paper code Year Title Points Teaching period
POLS101 2023 Political Philosophy - Basic Problems 18 points Semester 2
POLS102 2023 New Zealand Politics - Introduction 18 points Semester 2
POLS104 2023 International Relations - Introduction 18 points Semester 1
POLS105 2023 Comparative Politics - Introduction 18 points Semester 1
POLS202 2023 Theories of Justice 18 points Semester 2
POLS207 2023 Environmental Politics 18 points Not offered in 2023
POLS208 2023 Democracy 18 points Not offered in 2023
POLS210 2023 Politics of the Middle East 18 points Semester 2
POLS211 2023 Global Political Economy 18 points Semester 2
POLS213 2023 New Zealand Foreign Policy 18 points Semester 2
POLS216 2023 Politics of the European Union 18 points Not offered in 2023
POLS217 2023 War and Politics 18 points Semester 2
POLS218 2023 Interventions, Peacekeeping and the Global South 18 points Semester 1
POLS221 2023 New Zealand Political Parties and Elections 18 points Not offered in 2023
POLS228 2023 Contemporary Issues in Global Politics 18 points Not offered in 2023
POLS230 2023 Special Topic 18 points Semester 1
POLS234 2023 Asian Security 18 points Not offered in 2023
POLS243 2023 Political Ideologies 18 points Semester 1
POLS250 2023 International Security in a Globalising World 18 points Semester 1
POLS301 2023 Power and Liberty 18 points Semester 2
POLS303 2023 New Zealand's Political Economy 18 points Not offered in 2023
POLS306 2023 Politics and the Media in New Zealand 18 points Semester 1
POLS307 2023 Nature, Conflict, and the State 18 points Semester 1
POLS308 2023 United States Foreign Policy since 1945 18 points Not offered in 2023
POLS310 2023 Turkey and Its Neighbours 18 points Summer School
POLS312 2023 Ethics and International Relations 18 points Semester 2
POLS315 2023 Nationalism and Identity 18 points Semester 2
POLS318 2023 Chinese Foreign Policy 18 points Not offered in 2023
POLS319 2023 Treaty Politics 18 points Semester 1
POLS321 2023 Public Policy in New Zealand 18 points Summer School
POLS323 2023 Marxism: Classical and Contemporary 18 points Semester 1
POLS325 2023 International Relations: Concepts and Theories 18 points Semester 2
POLS326 2023 Politics of the Arabian Peninsula 18 points Not offered in 2023
POLS330 2023 Special Topic: Politics of Climate Change 18 points Semester 2
POLS375 2023 Human Rights - From the Cradle to the Grave 18 points Not offered in 2023
POLS390 2023 Research Project 18 points Semester 2
POLS402 2023 Community, Culture and Rights 20 points Not offered in 2023
POLS475 2023 The Ethics and Politics of Resistance 20 points Semester 2
POLS490 2023 Dissertation 60 points 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period
POLS501 2023 The 'Political': Theory and Practice 30 points Semester 1
POLS510 2023 Community, Culture and Rights 30 points Not offered in 2023
POLS512 2023 The Ethics and Politics of Resistance 30 points Semester 2
POLS520 2023 New Zealand Government and Politics 30 points Semester 2
POLS521 2023 Politics and Society 30 points Semester 1
POLS530 2023 Politics Internship 30 points Not offered in 2023
POLS540 2023 International Relations Theory 30 points Not offered in 2023
POLS541 2023 International Relations and the Global South 30 points Semester 1
POLS550 2023 Comparative Regional Conflicts 30 points Semester 2
POLS552 2023 Comparative State/Minority Politics 30 points Not offered in 2023
POLS553 2023 The Global Politics of Poverty and Inequality 30 points Not offered in 2023
POLS590 2023 Research Dissertation 60 points 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period

ECON papers

Paper code Year Title Points Teaching period
ECON112 2023 Principles of Macroeconomics 18 points Semester 2
ECON201 2023 Microeconomics 18 points Semester 1
ECON202 2023 Macroeconomics 18 points Semester 2
ECON206 2023 The World Economy 18 points Semester 2
ECON207 2023 Environmental Economics 18 points Semester 1
ECON210 2023 Introduction to Econometrics 18 points Semester 1
ECON271 2023 Intermediate Microeconomic Theory 18 points Semester 1
ECON301 2023 Labour Economics 18 points Semester 1
ECON302 2023 International Trade 18 points Semester 2
ECON303 2023 Economics of Developing Countries 18 points Semester 1
ECON306 2023 Economics of Health and Education 18 points Semester 2
ECON308 2023 Public Economics 18 points Semester 1
ECON316 2023 Open Economy Macroeconomics 18 points Not offered in 2023
ECON317 2023 Urban and Regional Economics 18 points Semester 1
ECON318 2023 Behavioural Economics 18 points Semester 1
ECON319 2023 Game Theory 18 points Semester 2
ECON350 2023 Special Topic 18 points Not offered in 2023
ECON351 2023 Special Topic: Economics of Households and Wellbeing 18 points Not offered in 2023
ECON371 2023 Microeconomic Theory 18 points Semester 2
ECON375 2023 Econometrics 18 points Semester 2
ECON376 2023 Macroeconomic Theory 18 points Semester 1
ECON377 2023 Mathematical Economics 18 points Semester 2
ECON402 2023 Growth, Institutions and Development 20 points Not offered in 2023
ECON403 2023 Monetary Economics 20 points Semester 2
ECON404 2023 International Economics 20 points Not offered in 2023
ECON405 2023 The Economics of Natural Resources and Public Choice 20 points Semester 2
ECON406 2023 Labour and Population Economics 20 points Not offered in 2023
ECON407 2023 Topics in Advanced Economics 20 points Semester 2
ECON410 2023 Advanced Microeconomic Theory 20 points Semester 2
ECON411 2023 Advanced Macroeconomic Theory 20 points Semester 1
ECON412 2023 Macroeconometrics 20 points Semester 1
ECON413 2023 Microeconometrics 20 points Semester 1
ECON480 2023 Dissertation 40 points Full Year
ECON485 2023 Master's Thesis Preparation 20 points Semester 1, Semester 2, Full Year
ECON492 2023 Dissertation for Philosophy, Politics and Economics 60 points Full Year
ECON590 2023 Research Dissertation 60 points Semester 1, Semester 2, 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period, 3rd Non standard period

PHPE papers

Paper code Year Title Points Teaching period
PHPE201 2023 Political Economy I: Method, Philosophy, Applications 18 points Semester 1
PHPE301 2023 Research Essay 18 points Semester 1

Key information for students

Contact us

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