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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.

Developed originally at Oxford, 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.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

Requirements

PHPE papers

Paper Code Year Title Points Teaching period
PHPE201 2024 Political Economy I: Method, Philosophy, Applications 18 Semester 1
PHPE301 2024 Research Essay 18 Semester 1, Semester 2

ECON papers

Paper Code Year Title Points Teaching period
ECON112 2024 Principles of Macroeconomics 18 Semester 2
ECON201 2024 Microeconomics 18 Semester 1
ECON202 2024 Macroeconomics 18 Semester 2
ECON206 2024 The World Economy 18 Semester 2
ECON207 2024 Environmental Economics 18 Semester 1
ECON210 2024 Introduction to Econometrics 18 Semester 1
ECON271 2024 Intermediate Microeconomic Theory 18 Semester 1
ECON301 2024 Labour Economics 18 Semester 1
ECON302 2024 International Trade 18 Semester 2
ECON303 2024 Economics of Developing Countries 18 Semester 1
ECON306 2024 Economics of Health and Education 18 Semester 2
ECON308 2024 Public Economics 18 Semester 1
ECON316 2024 Open Economy Macroeconomics 18 Not offered in 2024
ECON317 2024 Urban and Regional Economics 18 Not offered in 2024
ECON318 2024 Behavioural Economics 18 Semester 1
ECON319 2024 Game Theory 18 Semester 2
ECON350 2024 Special Topic 18 Not offered in 2024
ECON351 2024 Special Topic 18 Not offered in 2024
ECON371 2024 Microeconomic Theory 18 Not offered in 2024
ECON375 2024 Econometrics 18 Semester 2
ECON376 2024 Macroeconomic Theory 18 Not offered in 2024
ECON377 2024 Mathematical Economics 18 Semester 2
ECON402 2024 Growth, Institutions and Development 20 Not offered in 2024
ECON403 2024 Monetary Economics 20 Semester 2
ECON404 2024 International Economics 20 Not offered in 2024
ECON405 2024 The Economics of Natural Resources and Public Choice 20 Not offered in 2024
ECON406 2024 Labour and Population Economics 20 Semester 2
ECON407 2024 Topics in Advanced Economics 20 Semester 2
ECON410 2024 Advanced Microeconomic Theory 20 Semester 2
ECON411 2024 Advanced Macroeconomic Theory 20 Semester 1
ECON412 2024 Macroeconometrics 20 Semester 1
ECON413 2024 Microeconometrics 20 Semester 1
ECON480 2024 Dissertation 40 Full Year
ECON485 2024 Master's Thesis Preparation 20 Semester 1, Semester 2, Full Year
ECON492 2024 Dissertation for Philosophy, Politics and Economics 60 Full Year
ECON590 2024 Research Dissertation 60 Semester 1, Semester 2, 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period, 3rd Non standard period

POLS papers

Paper Code Year Title Points Teaching period
POLS101 2024 Political Philosophy - Basic Problems 18 Semester 2
POLS102 2024 New Zealand Politics - Introduction 18 Semester 2
POLS104 2024 International Relations - Introduction 18 Semester 1
POLS105 2024 Comparative Politics - Introduction 18 Semester 1
POLS202 2024 Theories of Justice 18 Semester 2
POLS207 2024 Environmental Politics 18 Not offered in 2024
POLS208 2024 Democracy 18 Not offered in 2024
POLS210 2024 Politics of the Middle East 18 Not offered in 2024
POLS211 2024 Global Political Economy 18 Semester 1
POLS213 2024 New Zealand Foreign Policy 18 Not offered in 2024
POLS216 2024 Politics of the European Union 18 Semester 2
POLS217 2024 War and Politics 18 Not offered in 2024
POLS218 2024 Interventions, Peacekeeping and the Global South 18 Not offered in 2024
POLS221 2024 New Zealand Political Parties and Elections 18 Semester 2
POLS228 2024 Contemporary Issues in Global Politics 18 Not offered in 2024
POLS230 2024 Special Topic: Settler State Politics in Aotearoa and Australia 18 Semester 1
POLS234 2024 Asian Security 18 Semester 2
POLS243 2024 Political Ideologies 18 Not offered in 2024
POLS250 2024 International Security in a Globalising World 18 Semester 1
POLS301 2024 Power and Liberty 18 Not offered in 2024
POLS303 2024 New Zealand's Political Economy 18 Not offered in 2024
POLS306 2024 Politics and the Media in New Zealand 18 Semester 1
POLS307 2024 Nature, Conflict, and the State 18 Semester 1
POLS308 2024 United States Foreign Policy since 1945 18 Not offered in 2024
POLS310 2024 Turkey and Its Neighbours 18 Not offered in 2024
POLS312 2024 Ethics and International Relations 18 Semester 2
POLS315 2024 Nationalism and Identity 18 Not offered in 2024
POLS318 2024 Chinese Foreign Policy 18 Semester 1
POLS319 2024 Treaty Politics 18 Semester 2
POLS321 2024 Public Policy in New Zealand 18 Summer School
POLS323 2024 Marxism: Classical and Contemporary 18 Not offered in 2024
POLS325 2024 International Relations: Concepts and Theories 18 Semester 1
POLS326 2024 Politics of the Arabian Peninsula 18 Semester 2
POLS330 2024 Special Topic: Politics of Climate Change 18 Semester 2
POLS375 2024 Human Rights - From the Cradle to the Grave 18 Not offered in 2024
POLS390 2024 Research Project 18 Not offered in 2024
POLS413 2024 Political Theory for the Environment 20 Semester 1
POLS475 2024 The Ethics and Politics of Resistance 20 Semester 2
POLS490 2024 Dissertation 60 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period
POLS501 2024 The 'Political': Theory and Practice 30 Semester 1
POLS512 2024 The Ethics and Politics of Resistance 30 Semester 2
POLS513 2024 Political Theory for the Environment 30 Semester 1
POLS520 2024 New Zealand Government and Politics 30 Semester 2
POLS521 2024 Politics and Society 30 Not offered in 2024
POLS530 2024 Politics Internship 30 Not offered in 2024
POLS540 2024 International Relations Theory 30 Semester 1
POLS541 2024 International Relations and the Global South 30 Not offered in 2024
POLS550 2024 Comparative Regional Conflicts 30 Semester 2
POLS552 2024 Comparative State/Minority Politics 30 Not offered in 2024
POLS553 2024 The Global Politics of Poverty and Inequality 30 Not offered in 2024
POLS590 2024 Research Dissertation 60 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period

PHIL papers

Paper Code Year Title Points Teaching period
PHIL101 2024 Mind and Reality 18 Semester 1
PHIL103 2024 Ethical Issues 18 Semester 2
PHIL105 2024 Critical Thinking 18 Semester 1
PHIL106 2024 Radical Philosophy 18 Semester 2
PHIL222 2024 Introduction to Formal Logic 18 Semester 1
PHIL223 2024 Metaphysical Questions 18 Semester 1
PHIL225 2024 Philosophy of Science 18 Semester 2
PHIL227 2024 Morality and Politics: Hobbes to Hume 18 Semester 2
PHIL228 2024 Ethics 18 Semester 2
PHIL229 2024 Reason, Belief and the Sacred 18 Semester 2
PHIL231 2024 Early Modern Philosophy A: Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz 18 Semester 2
PHIL232 2024 Early Modern Philosophy B: Locke, Berkeley, Hume 18 Not offered, expected to be offered in 2025
PHIL233 2024 Philosophy of Mind and Language 18 Semester 1
PHIL234 2024 Are there moral facts? 18 Semester 2
PHIL235 2024 Environmental Philosophy 18 Semester 1
PHIL236 2024 An Introduction to the Philosophy of Language 18 Not offered in 2024
PHIL239 2024 Bertrand Russell: Ethics, Logic, Pacifism and Truth 18 Not offered in 2024
PHIL240 2024 Epistemology: The Theory of Knowledge 18 Not offered, expected to be offered in 2025
PHIL312 2024 Advanced Formal Logic 18 Not offered, expected to be offered in 2026
PHIL314 2024 No-Ought-From-Is and the Slavery of Reason 18 Not offered in 2024
PHIL315 2024 Are There Moral Facts? 18 Semester 2
PHIL323 2024 Metaphysical Questions 18 Semester 1
PHIL329 2024 Reason, Belief and the Sacred 18 Semester 2
PHIL331 2024 Early Modern Philosophy A: Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz 18 Semester 2
PHIL332 2024 Early Modern Philosophy B: Locke, Berkeley, Hume 18 Not offered, expected to be offered in 2025
PHIL333 2024 Philosophy of Mind and Language 18 Semester 1
PHIL334 2024 Philosophy of Biology 18 Not offered in 2024
PHIL335 2024 Why Be Moral? 18 Not offered, expected to be offered in 2025
PHIL336 2024 An Introduction to the Philosophy of Language (Advanced) 18 Not offered in 2024
PHIL338 2024 Ethical Theory 18 Semester 1
PHIL339 2024 Bertrand Russell: Ethics, Logic, Pacifism and Truth (Advanced) 18 Not offered in 2024
PHIL340 2024 Epistemology: The Theory of Knowledge (Advanced) 18 Not offered, expected to be offered in 2025
PHIL401 2024 Advanced History of Philosophy 20 Not offered, expected to be offered in 2025
PHIL406 2024 Why Be Moral? 20 Not offered, expected to be offered in 2025
PHIL409 2024 Advanced Metaphysics 20 Not offered in 2024
PHIL413 2024 Ethical Theory 20 Semester 1
PHIL414 2024 No-Ought-From-Is and the Slavery of Reason 20 Not offered in 2024
PHIL415 2024 Meaning and Metaphysics 20 Not offered in 2024
PHIL417 2024 Advanced Issues in Foundational Philosophy 20 Semester 1
PHIL418 2024 Advanced Problems in Applied Philosophy 20 Semester 2
PHIL451 2024 Special Topic 20 Not offered in 2024
PHIL458 2024 Special Topic 20 Not offered, expected to be offered in 2025
PHIL480 2024 Research Essay 20 Semester 1, Semester 2
PHIL490 2024 Dissertation 60 Full Year, 1st Non standard period
PHIL590 2024 Research Dissertation 60 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period

More information

Contact us

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

Studying at Otago

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Regulations on this page are taken from the 2024 Calendar and supplementary material.

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