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BA (Hons) Philosophy, Politics and Economics

Delve into the issues that influence governments and develop your critical capacities - prepare to shape the future

Year of entry: 2023/24
Show year of entry: 2024

UCAS code


Institution code



3 years full-time

Typical offer

AAB (full entry requirements)

Start date

September 2023 (semester dates)

UK (home) fees

£9,250 per year

International and EU fees

£21,950 per year

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Discover York

Learn from internationally respected experts from across three highly regarded departments. Build the understanding and analytical skills valued by top employers and become an agent of change.

Applications for this course are closed to UK (home) applicants for 2023/24. Applications for 2024/25 will open in September.

Understand the forces at work where power and money intersect with ideals. Grapple with the problems that shape society, explore the theory behind policy and question the morality of competing systems of government. By what right do our rulers govern? What conditions create poverty and how does wealth interact with political unrest?

Our flexible course lets you tailor your degree to your strengths. You'll learn with a diverse and international student body. Our active Club of Politics, Economics and Philosophy (PEP) encourages debate beyond the classroom, and with opportunities to study abroad you can develop a truly global perspective.

We also offer Philosophy, Politics and Economics (BSc).

16th in the UK

for Politics, according to Complete University Guide (CUG) 2024


With degrees in PPE, Economics and Philosophy, Economics and Politics, and Philosophy and Politics you can choose the right degree to develop your strength across these interconnected disciplines.

Course content

The BA PPE (Philosophy, Politics, and Economics) equips you to approach difficult societal issues in a rounded and nuanced way. The three PPE disciplines require different but complementary skills—the mathematical precision of the economist, the insistence on logical argument and the probing of key principles and concepts found in philosophy, and the need for solid evidence typical of all social sciences.

You'll choose from a large range of option modules that will help you tailor the course to your own interests, meaning you can develop your strengths in your second and third years.

First Year will give you a grounding in the core approaches and debates in your three disciplines. Second Year enables you to start to specialise in the areas of Philosophy, Politics and Economics that interest you most. Third Year students select a PPE module that builds on, and enhances, interdisciplinary learning, and they can choose options from a wide range of research-led specialist modules across the three PPE Departments.

Course transfer within PPE

It is reasonably easy to transfer between the courses in the School of PPE, subject to space being available on the course you want to move to and providing you have the required qualifications. 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.

Study abroad

There are opportunities for you to spend time abroad during your course:

Placement year

The university-wide placement scheme gives you the chance to work for a year as part of your degree to prepare you for the world of work. Previous placements have included GlaxoSmithKline, HSBC, British Airways, DAI and Lloyds Bank.


There are opportunities to spend time in industry as part of this course.

Year 1

Your first year will give you a grounding in the core approaches and debates in your three disciplines.

Core modules

Option modules

You will also study four option modules. These will include two modules from Philosophy and two modules from Politics. In previous years, options have covered topics such as:


The options available to you will be confirmed later in the year. For further information please get in touch.

Academic integrity module

In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module.

Year 2

You will take a core module covering Economics, Philosophy and Politics, with the option to choose five additional modules from either Politics, Philosophy or PPE. 

Core modules

Option modules

You will also study five option modules. One from Economics, one from Philosophy and one from Politics. You may then choose any two from Economics, Philosophy or Politics.




The options available to you will be confirmed later in the year. For further information please get in touch.

Year 3

In your third year, you will choose from the same selection of modules covering Economics, Philosophy, Politics and PPE. You can then choose to weight your studies towards one or two subjects.


You can choose to write a PPE dissertation of 4,000-5,000 words bridging at least two of the disciplines covered in the School. You'll receive one-to-one support from a supervisor throughout the year. The dissertation can be chosen instead of the additional two options modules from any subject.

Examples of previous dissertation titles include:

  • A Feminist Critique of Drone Warfare
  • A Politico-economic Analysis of the 2012-13 Financial Crisis in Cyprus
  • Is it Wrong not to Vote? 

Option modules

You will also study five (if you choose the dissertation) or six option modules. You will choose one module from each of Economics, Philosophy, Politics and PPE. You may then choose to write a dissertation, or study two additional options from any subject. There is also the opportunity to study an elective module from another department.



The options available to you will be confirmed later in the year. For further information please get in touch.

Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.

Learning by design

Every course at York has been designed to provide clear and ambitious learning outcomes. These learning outcomes give you an understanding of what you will be able to do at the end of the course. We develop each course by designing modules that grow your abilities towards the learning outcomes and help you to explain what you can offer to employers. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Identify issues and situations in society where concepts and principles from economics, politics and philosophy can provide insight, and confidently deploy those concepts and principles as appropriate.
  • Apply flexibly the analytical tools and methods used in philosophy, politics and economics, with an understanding of the purpose, scope and limitations of such methods.
  • Propose and evaluate creative solutions to complex problems by gathering and analysing a variety of data and information (including statistical, mathematical, and interpretative data) and drawing upon the concepts, methods, and theories of the three disciplines.
  • Communicate the issues, methods and results of the three disciplines in a clear and accessible way in a variety of verbal and written formats demonstrating a sound understanding of their complementarity.
  • Use interdisciplinary thinking to reflect upon and engage with complex issues arising in contemporary societies, thereby acquiring a deeper understanding of the connections between the PPE disciplines by drawing on the complete set of skills developed in these disciplines.
  • Critically engage with, and, when necessary, synthesise academic and professional research in all three disciplines, thereby becoming a versatile and multi-skilled analyst.
  • Improve academic and personal performance by developing initiative, self-organisation and time management skills, as well as the ability to assimilate advice and feedback in individual or collaborative work.
  • Demonstrate intercultural awareness and a reflective approach to differing visions of the public good in light of the values of tolerance and inclusivity.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees

UK (home) International and EU
£9,250 £21,950

UK (home) or international fees?

The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status.

Fees for subsequent years

  • UK (home) fees may increase within the government fee cap in subsequent academic years. We will notify you of any increase as soon as we can.
  • International fees are subject to increase in subsequent years in line with the prevailing Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate (up to a maximum of 10%).

More information

For more information about tuition fees, any reduced fees for study abroad and work placement years, scholarships, tuition fee loans, maintenance loans and living costs see undergraduate fees and funding.

Additional costs

There are no mandatory additional fees, but we do recommend that you set aside some money for photocopying. Course books will be available from the Library and online reading packs are available for most modules, but you may wish to buy your own copies. 


We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2023/24 throughout the year.

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll study and learn with academics who are active researchers, experts in their field and have a passion for their subjects. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Teaching format

We teach in two main ways: seminars and lectures. The main focus of your coursework will be in seminar groups, normally of 10-15 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 the first year, you will take introductory modules alongside students from a wide range of degree courses. In the second and third year modules, lectures are smaller - often with as few as 20 students.

Timetabled activities

In your first year, you can expect:

Lectures8 hours per week
Seminars4 hours per week
Practicals0-2 hours per week

These figures are representative of a typical week. Your contact hours will vary throughout the year due to your module choices, non-compulsory classes, exam periods and changes to scheduled activities.

Outside your timetabled hours, you'll study independently. This may include preparation for classes, follow-up work, wider reading, practice completion of assessment tasks, or revision.

In the UK, full-time students are expected to spend 1,200 hours a year learning. That's about 40 hours of classes and independent study each week during semesters. Everyone learns at a different rate, so the number of hours you spend on independent study will be different to other students on your course.

Teaching location

The School of Philosophy, Politics and Economics is located in Derwent College, on Campus West. Teaching on this course takes place at various locations across Campus West including Vanbrugh, Derwent and the Spring Lane Building.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

The majority of your assessments will be either unseen examination papers or essays, which will vary depending on the department 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. Assessments occur throughout the three years of study.

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.

Students in a Politics seminar
Economics students in a lecture

Free online courses

Get a taste of university-level study on one of York's free short courses.

Careers and skills

The Philosophy, Politics and Economics degree is a highly sought after by employers. With our diverse student body and opportunities for internships and study abroad you'll be prepared to enter the global marketplace.

The Club of PEP also provides a platform for students to meet with experts and industry insiders through their careers branch, YorkWorks.

Career opportunities

Recent graduate careers include:

  • Brexit Policy Editor, The Guardian
  • Economist, Nordic Investment Bank
  • Consultant, PwC
  • Policy Advisor to Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
  • Correspondent, ITV News

Others have gone on to work in:

  • Public administration
  • Local and national government
  • Industry
  • The ‘not-for-profit’/non-governmental (NGO) sector (including international work)
  • The creative, media and broadcasting industries
  • Marketing
  • Accountancy, banking and finance
  • Law
  • Social welfare
  • Education

Transferable skills

  • Analytical and problem solving skills
  • Debating and clear expression of ideas
  • Development and structuring of arguments
  • Processing information
  • Time management
  • Working collaboratively in a diverse environment
  • Working and learning independently
  • Ability to understand numerical and written information

Entry requirements

Typical offer
A levels

AAB including Mathematics GCSE Grade 7(A)

Access to Higher Education Diploma 36 credits at Distinction and 9 credits at Merit or higher plus Mathematics GCSE 7(A)
BTEC National Extended Diploma DDD including Mathematics or with Mathematics GCSE 7(A)
Cambridge Pre-U D3, D3, M2 with Mathematics GCSE 7(A)
European Baccalaureate 80% overall including 60% or higher in Compulsory Mathematics
International Baccalaureate 35 points including Higher Level or Standard Level Mathematics (either Analysis and Approaches or Applications and Interpretations) or Mathematics GCSE 7(A)
T levels We will consider a range of T Level qualifications for entry. Please visit our dedicated T Levels page for a full list of accepted T Levels.
Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers Scottish Highers - AABBB

Advanced Highers - not required for entry

We may also be able to consider three Advanced Highers or a combination of Highers and Advanced Highers, where an applicant does not meet the grade requirement through Highers alone. Please contact us to discuss your qualifications.
International foundation programme Foundation Certificate from our International Pathway College or an appropriate alternative.
Other qualifications We welcome applications from mature students (ie those aged over 21), and usually admit a number each year. 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.
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

Alternative offers

Meeting the following additional criteria may qualify you for an alternative offer.

Criteria Adjustment
Widening participation If you successfully complete one of the following programmes, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to three A level grades (or equivalent) below our typical offer: Black Access Programme, Next Step York, Realising Opportunities, YESS, YorWay to York. More about widening participation.
Contextual offers If you have experience of local authority care or live in an area with low progression to university, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to two A level grades (or equivalent) below our typical offer. More about contextual offers.
EPQ If you achieve A or higher at EPQ, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to one A level grade (or equivalent) below our typical offer.

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Minimum requirement
IELTS (Academic and Indicator) 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each component
C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency 176, with a minimum of 169 in each component
Duolingo 120, minimum 105 in each component
GCSE/IGCSE/O level English Language (as a first or second language) Grade C / Grade 4
LanguageCert SELT B2 with a minimum score of 33/50 in each component
LanguageCert International ESOL B2 Communicator with a minimum score of 33/50 in each component
PTE Academic/PTE Academic Online 61, with a minimum of 55 in each component
TOEFL 87 overall, with a minimum of 21 in each component
Trinity ISE III Merit in all components

For more information see our undergraduate English language requirements.

If you've not met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current English language test scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.


To apply to York, you will need to complete an online application via UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).

Next steps

Contact us

Get in touch if you have any questions

Dr Sara Van Goozen

Learn more

School of Philosophy, Politics and Economics

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