Politics, Philosophy and Economics is an exciting new course providing students with the opportunity to study three disciplines that are crucial for an understanding of the complex dynamics of today’s world. Students study a common foundation in the first year, and an advanced seminar and dissertation unit in their final year that develops links across the three disciplines – a distinctive feature of the course. There is the flexibility to vary your degrees in such a way as to graduate with one of three awards: BSc Politics, Philosophy and Economics; BA Politics, Philosophy and Economics; and BA Politics and Philosophy with Economics.
You will focus on the particulars of the each of the three key disciplines, while developing a link across the three. Your studies will introduce you to political ideas and processes in countries throughout the world, allowing you to examine issues fundamental to our times. You will gain a solid foundation in politics and government in Britain and abroad, with the option to study further subjects such as democracy in Britain, modern political thought, comparative European political institutions, migration, ethnicity, and multiculturalism.
The study of Philosophy will introduce you to key forms of philosophical enquiry, including logic, epistemology and metaphysics, which will in turn broaden your appreciation of why philosophical questioning is so important today. A wide range of options includes courses such as: ancient philosophy, contemporary analytic and continental philosophy.
You will also gain a complete education in the theories and methods of economics, with a strong focus on analytical methods. You will develop skills in mathematics and statistics and learn to tackle economic problems, and, should you proceed to advanced level courses, have the opportunity to study courses in labour economics, game theory, economic history and more.
- Flexibility to graduate with a BA or BSc in PPE.
- Three departments with their own specialisms.
- Excellent preparation for a variety of careers.
- Strong focus on analytical methods of economics.
- Learn to tackle economic problems through political and philosophical enquiry.
Core ModulesYear 1
Introduction to Politics and Government
This module will introduce you to the academic study of politics and to the ‘real world’ of contemporary politics. As a foundational course, it will give you all the essential tools to understand the nature of politics and analyse the way different political systems work. You will be introduced to key concepts such as politics, power, rights, ideologies, democracy and representation, and will learn about the different actors, institutions and processes that make up politics today.
Epistemology and Metaphysics
In this module you will develop an understanding of how the ‘new philosophy’ of the seventeenth century set the modern philosophical agenda. You will look at the work of some of the most ground breaking philosophers of the period, such René Descartes and John Locke, and consider how later philosophers such as Gottfried Leibniz and David Hume took up and expanded their ideas. You will consider the fundamental questions which became central to the European Enlightenment, including those concerning knowledge and understanding and the relation between science and other human endeavours.
Principles of Economics
In this module you will develop an understanding of the theories of macroeconomics, that of the economy as a whole, and of microeconomics, the behaviour of individuals, firms and governments. You will look at how the goods and assets markets underpin growth, inflation and unemployment, and the role that fiscal and monetary policy play in macroeconomic management. You will examine the theoretical basis to supply and demand and the role of government intervention in individual markets. You will consider how to solve economic problems by manipulating a variety of simple diagrammatic and algebraic models in macro- and microeconomics, critically evaluating the models and their limitations.
Quantitative Methods of Economics 1
In this module you will develop an understanding of the basic mathematical, quantitative, computing and statistical tools for the study of economics. You will look at techniques such as algebraic manipulation, functions, simultaneous equations, optimisation, descriptive statistics, probability theory and regressions, and learn how to apply these to economic problems.
Introduction to Logic
In this module you will develop an understanding of the formal study of arguments through the two basic systems of modern logic - sentential or propositional logic and predicate logic. You will learn how to present and analyse arguments formally, and look at the implications and uses of logical analysis by considering Bertrand Russell’s formalist solution to the problem of definite descriptions. You will also examine the the broader significance of findings in logic to philosophical inquiry.
Mind and Consciousness
In this module you will develop an understanding of the relationship between the mind and the brain. You will examine the key theories, from Descartes' dualist conception of the relationship between mind and body through to Chalmers's conception of consciousness as 'the hard problem' in the philosophy of mind. You will also consider some of the famous thought experiments in this area, including Descartes's and Laplace's demons, the Chinese Room and the China Brain, Mary and the black-and-white room, and the problem of zombie and bat consciousness.
Introduction to Aesthetics and Morals
In this module you will develop an understanding of the central problems and debates within moral philosophy and aesthetics. You will look at questions relating to both metaphysical and ethical relativism, including the ways we view our moral commitments within the world, how the individual is related to society, and the value and nature of the work of art. You will also examine approaches from the history of philosophy, including the Anglo-American tradition and recent European philosophy.
Introduction to European Philosophy 1: Kant to Hegel
In this module you will develop an understanding of the major debates in European and some Anglo-American philosophy. You will look at the key texts by eighteenth and nineteenth-century philosophers Immanuel Kant and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, examining the continuing significance of their ideas. You will consider the major epistemological, ethical and aesthetical issues their idea raise, and the problems associated with the notion of modernity. You will also analyse the importance of the role of history in modern philosophy via Hegel's influence.
- Mind and World
In this module you will develop an understanding of the models of individual optimisation and their applications. You will look at the key determinants of an individual’s behaviour in a variety of circumstances and the behaviour of firms in different market environments, such as perfect competition, monopoly and oligopoly. You will consider how changing circumstances and new information influences the actions of the economic agents concerned, and examine the properties of competitive markets and the need for government intervention to correct market failures.
In this module you will develop an understanding of macroeconomics and macroeconomic policy-making. You will look at a variety of contemporary and historical macroeconomic events, and the differences between the short, medium and long run. You will consider why some countries are rich and some are poor, why different economies grow at different rates, and what determines economic growth and prosperity. You will examine the role of monetary and fiscal policy, its impact on the economy and its limitations. You will also analyse how taxation, budget deficits, and public debt affect the economy.
- Advanced Seminar and Dissertation in Politics, Philosophy and Economics
Optional ModulesYear 1
Research Methods in Politics and International Relations
This module will provide you with the analytic skills and resources to evaluate, understand, and criticise research findings in politics research. It will also provide you with the practical skills to carry out your own independent research so that you can produce a high-quality dissertation in your final year and graduate with transferable skills that will prepare you for the job market. The module aims to encourage a critical and rigorous approach to research, both in terms of how you evaluate the research of others and how you do your own. These twin goals are important for getting the most out of your time studying politics.
Introduction to International Relations
This module offers a broad introduction to theory and history in international relations since 1870. You will look at a variety of different theoretical lenses, ranging from orthodox to critical perspectives, in order to understand events from the collapse of the Bismarckian European order and the origins of World War 1 to the contemporary War on Terror. Along the way you will also explore the origins and the end of the Cold War, decolonisation and the End of Empire, the rise of international institutions, humanitarian intervention and new security issues.
Classic and Contemporary Readings in Politics and International Relations
This module will introduce you to foundational thinkers and texts in the history of political thought and international relations theory. The first half will explore ideas of community, politics, order and justice in ancient early Christian thought from Socrates to Augustine. The second half will explore how themes of war, peace and the state, as well as liberalism, imperialism and resistance, are developed from the early modern to contemporary period in thinkers such as Hobbes, Kant, Hegel, Smith, Mill, Marx and Fanon.
Understanding the European Union: Politics and Theory
In this module you will analyse the contemporary politics of the European Union and its institutions, amid the challenges of the triple crisis of economics, migration and Brexit. You will learn about the political history of European integration after 1949 and the contemporary theory of European integration. The first term will begin with an introduction to the European Union as a political system followed by an overview of the European Union's historical development. The second term will focus on contestation of the European Union and the theories that underpin this, in order to explain how the EU developed and the challenges that it faces. Topics will include Euroscepticism, party politics, public opinion, Brexit and EU-UK relations, and European Parliament elections. The theory sessions comprise of federalism, neo-functionalism, liberal intergovernmentalism and the new institutionalisms.
- Democracy in Britain
- Contemporary Political Theory
- Modern Political Thought
- The Politics of Human Rights
- Introduction to Political Communication
- Introduction to European Philosophy 2: The Critique of Idealism
- Varieties of Scepticism
- Modern French Philosophy
- Practical Ethics
- The Varieties of Scepticism
- Philosophy of Religon
- Body and Soul in Ancient Philosophy
- All modules are core
Teaching & assessment
The course has a modular structure, whereby students take twelve course units at the rate of four per year. Some course units are compulsory while others are elective thereby offering flexibility and choice.
Assessment is by a mixture of coursework and end-of-year examination in varying proportions, depending on the course units you choose to take. The first year is foundational and marks do not count towards your final degree. The second year and final year marks do count, with more importance being given to the final year marks in order to reward progress and achievement.
A Levels: AAB-ABB
Required: Applicants can either be taking Maths, Biology, Chemistry or Physics at A-Level, or have a GCSE Maths grade A to meet the Maths requirement for this programme At least five GCSEs at grade A*-C or 9 - 4 including English and Mathematics.
Where an applicant is taking the EPQ alongside A - levels, the EPQ will be taken into consideration and result in lower A-level grades being required. Socio - economic factors which may have impacted an applicant's education will be taken into consideration and alternative offers may be made to these applicants.
Other UK Qualifications
International & EU requirements
English language requirements
All teaching at Royal Holloway (apart from some language courses) is in English. You will therefore need to have good enough written and spoken English to cope with your studies right from the start.
The scores we require
- IELTS: 6.5 overall. Reading and writing 6.0. No other subscore lower than 5.5.
- Pearson Test of English: 61 overall. Reading and writing 54. No subscore lower than 51.
- Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE III.
- Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) grade C.
For more information about country-specific entry requirements for your country please visit here. For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, we offer an International Foundation Year, run by Study Group at the Royal Holloway International Study Centre. Upon successful completion, students can progress on to selected undergraduate degree programmes at Royal Holloway, University of London.
Your future career
A Politics, Philosophy and Economics degree at Royal Holloway, University of London will equip you with an enviable range of transferable skills which combined with the knowledge gained, will make you highly employable. It can lead to a broad range of careers in both the private and public sectors and also for professional training in areas such as law, accountancy and management.
We will help students to recognise their own strengths, skills and abilities so that they can make strong applications for their chosen job or further study.
- Graduates are highly employable; between 85 and 93% of Philosophy, Economics and Politics graduates were in full time employment or further study within six months of graduation (Unistats 2015).
- Politics and International Relations are ranked in the top ten UK university Politics departments for career prospects.
- In recent years, graduates entered many different roles in the different roles including the Civil Service, accountancy, management, journalism, broadcasting, computing, higher education, teaching, and politics and diplomacy themselves.
Our outstanding record of success for work and further study puts Royal Holloway in the top 10 for graduate career prospects (Complete University Guide, 2015). It goes to show that our degree programmes not only promote academic achievement but also the means to hone the life-skills necessary to excel, post-graduation.
Choosing a politics based degree at Royal Holloway provides you with a wide range of important transferable skills, enabling you to approach problems in a rigorous, analytical and critical way and to communicate clearly and concisely in both speech and writing. Our graduates leave us with skills and knowledge that not only makes them attractive to employers in a broad spectrum of careers, but prepares them for further advanced study and research.
Fees & funding
Home and EU students tuition fee per year*: £9250
International students tuition fee per year**: £16500
Other essential costs***: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course.
*The tuition fee for UK and EU undergraduates is controlled by Government regulations, and for students starting a degree in the academic year 2018/19 will be £9,250 for that year. The UK Government has confirmed that EU students starting an undergraduate degree in 2018/19 will pay the same level of fee as a UK student for the duration of their degree.
**Fees for international students may increase year-on-year in line with the rate of inflation. The policy at Royal Holloway is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see fees and funding and our terms and conditions.
***These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.