BA (Hons) Philosophy, Politics and Economics

UCAS code Typical offer Length
L0V0 A*AA (See full entry requirements) 3 years full-time
Apply now

Received an offer?

Log in to You@York to track your application

A friendly School with a real sense of community

A flexible, truly interdisciplinary course

Bringing together internationally recognised departments

Studying for a PPE degree at York is a stimulating and exciting intellectual challenge.  As a PPE student you will have the opportunity to:
• experience high quality teaching from world-class academics working at the cutting-edge of their disciplines;
• study genuinely interdisciplinary modules;
• join a vibrant student society – the Club of PEP – with its own events and socials;
• apply for international exchange in your second year.

Course content

What you'll study

Year 1

In your first year you will take introductory modules in the three subjects. You have to pass the first year programme in order to progress to your second year; however, marks obtained during your first year do not contribute to your final degree classification.

Compulsory modules

You will take an introductory module in economics and acquire knowledge of mathematical techniques necessary for advanced study of the discipline. In politics, you will have a choice of general introductory modules on contemporary politics, which also support the development of the academic skills necessary for university level studies. Philosophy offers introductory modules on ethics, reason and argument, and knowledge and perception. 

Optional modules

Although most of the modules in year 1 are compulsory, there are some elements of choice.  You can choose to take either the 'standard' route, or the 'econometrics' route.  Students following the econometrics route take statistics and probability modules, and students following the standard route instead take our new interdisciplinary module, Topics in PPE.

The econometrics route has been developed for students who intend to take statistics or econometrics as second or third year modules. Econometrics is usually a requirement for students wishing to continue with an MSc in economics. This route is available only to students with at least a B grade in Mathematics at A-Level (or equivalent).

You choose between the two routes in PPE shortly before the start of your first term.

Find out more about Year 1 modules 

Years 2 and 3

Your final degree classification is determined on the basis of the 240 credits taken in your second and third years.

In your second year, you must take at least 30 credits in each of politics and philosophy; you are able to select modules from a wide range of options. In economics, you must take at least 40 credits (if you are taking the econometrics route, you will take 60 credits' worth of economics modules). 

In your third year, you must take at least 20 credits in each of the three subjects, and at least one of the PEP interdisciplinary modules (the Democratic Economy; Rationality, Morality and Economics; Ethics and Public Policy).  Beyond these constraints, you have the flexibility to choose economics, philosophy or politics modules that appeal to your personal interests.  You also have the option of taking the 'PEP dissertation', an independent piece of work in which the analytical skills that you have developed in the different disciplines are applied.

Find out more about Year 2 and 3 modules 

Course transfer within PEP

Because there is a common admissions process for all PEP courses, it is reasonably easy to transfer from one PEP course to another, subject to space being available on the course you want to move to. It is relatively easy to change within the first few weeks of the first year. After this, you may have to wait until the start of the second year, and at that point you can move only into a course for which you have taken the relevant first year introductory modules.

Academic integrity module

In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module. This covers some of the essential skills and knowledge which will help you to study independently and produce work of a high academic standard which is vital for success at York.

This module will:

  • define academic integrity and academic misconduct;
  • explain why and when you should reference source material and other people's work;
  • provide interactive exercises to help you to assess whether you've understood the concepts;
  • provide answers to FAQs and links to useful resources.

Course overview

Why study Philosophy, Politics and Economics at York?

Studying PEP at York

Here are just some of the things that make us stand out:

  • Strong international reputation for excellence in each of the 3 disciplines
  • Second largest PPE programme in the UK
  • Long established, independent School, founded in 1986
  • Excellent employability: 95% in employment or further study within 6 months (NSS, 2015)
  • Genuinely interdisciplinary modules designed and taught collaboratively
  • High quality teaching from some of the best academics and researchers in their fields

"The Club's role in developing a unique sense of friendship and community is difficult to overemphasise" (Marat, Year 3 PPE)

Join us and you will be able to...

  • Choose from a huge array of specialist, research-led modules to reflect your own interests and aspirations

"The breadth of module choices within the School is second to none" (Helen, Year 3 Philosophy & Politics)

  • Spend your second year abroad: fancy Sydney, Pennsylvania or Japan?
  • Gain a high-quality degree widely recognised by employers as a mark of excellence: your springboard to a successful career in a wide range of fields

Join us on an unforgettable intellectual journey...


How you'll be taught

Teaching is delivered in two main ways: seminars and lectures.  The main focus of your coursework will be your seminar group, normally containing 10-16 students.  In seminars you will produce and discuss your own work, under the guidance of a module tutor. Seminars are normally accompanied by lectures, attended by all of the students taking the module.  In your first year, you take introductory modules alongside students from a wide range of degree programmes, but in your second and third years modules, and hence lectures, are smaller - perhaps as few as 20 students. 

The School prides itself on the friendliness of its staff and on the support that it provides for its students. Lecturers, seminar tutors and your supervisor will all help you to get the most out of the programme and, in particular, to understand the importance of interdisciplinary study.

Most modules will also use the University's virtual learning environment 'Yorkshare', which may be used to access module resources or for more interactive work.

The modular system is based on a notional 40-hour week for each student. In the first year you can expect around 12 hours of ‘contact’ (lectures and seminars) per week. This will decline in the second and third years to around 6-8 hours, depending on which modules you choose. However, most of your real work is done in the library or at home, preparing for seminars and essays, reading around the subject, making connections, learning how to analyse ideas and data, and, of course, thinking.

Overall workload

As a guide, students on this course typically spend their time as follows:

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Lectures and seminars228 hours228 hours144 hours

The figures above are based on data from 2016/17.

The rest of your time on the course will be spent on independent study. This may include preparation for lectures and seminars, follow-up work, wider reading, practice completion of assessment tasks, or revision. Everyone learns at a different rate, so the number of hours will vary from person to person. In UK higher education the expectation is that full-time students will spend 1200 hours a year learning.


How you'll be assessed

There are three assessment periods during the academic year: week 1 of the Spring term, week 1 of the Summer term and weeks 5-8 of the Summer term.  Assessments occur throughout your three years of study, usually in the term immediately after the module has been taken.  The majority of assessments are either unseen examination papers or essays, which varies depending on which department is running the module. Most economics modules for example are assessed by exams, but in philosophy and politics there is more of a mixture of exams and essays.

If you successfully apply to study abroad in your second year, your time abroad replaces your second year at York, and credits taken in your exchange institution count towards your York degree.

Reasonable adjustments in assessments will be made for students with disabilities, for example extra time in exams or use of a computer.  The School works with the Disability Services team to ensure all students have the support they require.

Percentage of the course typically assessed by coursework and exams

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Written exams75%65%75%
Practical exams13%0%0%

The figures above are based on data from 2016/17.


Careers and employability

The interdisciplinary nature of the School's degrees means you develop a wide range of transferable skills.  Employers value these degrees precisely because they make you think across boundaries and engage critically with a range of different material.

Some graduates apply their specialist skills and knowledge directly as economists, statisticians or even politicians. But our degrees are not primarily vocational. They provide training in the development of analytical skills, clarity of thought and an understanding of the complexities of social, political and economic life.  Our students have therefore found employment in a wide range of sectors, including central and local government and private industry. They have become managers in banking, stockbroking, insurance, advertising and community work. Others have entered the creative arts and the media as journalists, film editors and publishers. Many graduates also go on to further study, either for higher degrees or for training in professional fields such as teaching, law, accountancy, finance and social work.  You can find out more about former students’ career paths at the links below:

The careers branch of the Club of PEP, YorkWorks, aims to provide a platform for students to meet with experts and industry insiders to learn about the world of work and find out more about a career path that interests them, for example by organising careers conferences with graduate employers. For further information visit the YorkWorks webpages.

Find out more about how we can help make you more employable 


How to apply

All applications for admission to degrees in the School of PEP must be made through UCAS. Nearly all offers of places are made solely on the basis of information given on the UCAS form, without interview or submission of written work.

We look for:

  • evidence of academic potential
  • interest in the disciplines taught in the School
  • a lively and critical intelligence
  • capacity for independent study
  • the variety of activities and experience gained in social, sporting or cultural pursuits
  • any relevant work experience.

We pay particular attention to your descriptions of yourself and your interests and ambitions, and to the confidential references provided by schools, colleges, employers or other individuals.

Entry requirements

A levels

Typical A-level offers are A*AA (not including General Studies), or AAA including Mathematics. There are two slightly different routes open to students studying PPE with us, one of which (the 'econometrics route') is more mathematical in focus, and for this, A-level Mathematics with at least a grade B is compulsory. For the standard route, we also highly recommend AS or A-level Mathematics.

However, you do not choose between these two PPE routes until you start your degree at York.


We require Grade 7 (A) GCSE Mathematics.

International Baccalaureate

A typical offer is 37 points. Higher level in Mathematics is strongly recommended.

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

A typical offer is AAAAA at Higher level and AA at Advanced Higher level. Higher level in Mathematics is strongly recommended.


A typical offer is DDD in the BTEC National Extended Diploma.

English Language Requirements

We require IELTS 6.5 with at least 6.0 in all units.

Mature students

We welcome applications from mature students (i.e. aged over 21), and usually admit a number each year. Our experience of mature students has been very positive. In view of the distinctive contribution they make to all aspects of university life, we regard them as an asset.

Some of the most successful students have been those who have prepared themselves to return to academic study by taking Access courses, or similar periods of study. Others have come to the School straight from employment in a wide variety of work, or been fully occupied in raising a family.

In all cases we look for evidence of ability, interest and commitment, but we may not require specific formal qualifications. In most cases, we prefer to interview mature candidates before offering them a place.

Mature students who are considering making an application are welcome to contact us for further advice.

Gap years

Many applicants wish to spend a year away from formal education between school and university. We welcome applications from those who are planning to do this, irrespective of whether or not they know what they intend to do in the interim.

Such students often come to university not only intellectually refreshed but with a broader experience and greater self-confidence than had they come straight from school.

Applicants wishing to do this should apply in the normal way through UCAS, indicating that they wish to defer entry for a year.

Any questions?

Contact our admissions tutor if you've got any questions:

Dr Philippe M. Frowd

More about York