Duration: 3 years full time
UCAS code: L0V0
Institution code: R72
Politics, Philosophy and Economics (BA)
Politics, Philosophy and Economics is an exciting 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 write an advanced dissertation unit in their final year that develops links across the three disciplines. 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 each of the three key disciplines while developing an awareness of the links 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 include modules in 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 subjects 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.
From time to time, we make changes to our courses to improve the student and learning experience. If we make a significant change to your chosen course, we’ll let you know as soon as possible.
You will take the following modules in Politics:
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.
You will take the following module in Philosophy:
Knowledge is often thought to be the highest achievement of rational creatures, the thing that distinguishes us from other animals and is the basis of our ability to predict and control our environment. Beginning with the most Platonic of questions—‘what is knowledge?’—this course introduces you to basic topics in contemporary epistemology. Among the questions it goes on to address are: why is knowledge valuable?; how do we acquire knowledge and how do we pass it on to others?; how do we become better knowers?; is there such a thing as collective knowledge?; do animals have knowledge?; is there such a thing as knowledge at all?
You will take one of the following modules in Philosophy:
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.
This module will introduce students to some key theories and problems in ethics. Ethical theories examined may include deontology, utilitarianism, moral sense theory, and virtue ethics. Theoretical issues may include the nature of value, theories of rights and responsibilities, and the role of competing conceptions of human nature. Practical topics may include euthanasia, abortion, poverty, personal relationships, equality, animal ethics, and punishment. The precise topics covered may vary from year to year, according to staff availability and interests. The module will lay the foundations for subsequent modules at Level 5 and 6, including ‘Ancient Ethics’, ‘Existentialist Ethics’, and ‘Philosophy of Medicine and Bioethics’.
You will take the following modules in Economics:
Principles of Economics is a first-year undergraduate module in how the economy works. The module is suitable for students with or without A-Level economics or equivalent. We will cover the basic theories of macroeconomics (that of the economy as a whole) and microeconomics (the behaviour of individuals, firms and governments and the interactions between them).
The module adopts the state-of-the-art CORE approach (Curriculum Open-access Resources in Economics) to teaching Principles of Economics. The approach has three pillars which we rely on throughout the module:
- Formulate a problem that our society is facing now or has faced in the past;
- Build a theory to explain and solve the problem;
- Evaluate the usefulness of the theory by using data observations and more novel theories.
Data Skills for Economists is about understanding the data we encounter constantly in everyday life and the data that social science researchers create as they explore and analyse the world around us. We'll endeavour to understand such questions as:
- Where does data come from and how can we harvest it?
- What useful information does the data contain?
- How can we create new data to generate useful insights?
Computers equipped with statistical software are a big part of the answer to the third question (above) so, accordingly, you'll spend much of your time learning to analyse and display data using the R statistical software package (R is the industry standard).
We'll develop an ethos of clear communication of numerical information that will be supported by our growing understanding of statistical concepts and our growing proficiency with computers.
Simultaneously, we'll delve into the seamy underside of the tricksters who try to fool you with falsified data. Understanding their game can provide at least some degree of inoculation against their attacks.
The aims of the module are to cover the basic mathematical and quantitative tools used by economists every day. The module gives an emphasis to the mathematical tools, which are applicable to solving a wide range of economic problems. The first half of the module is devoted to linear algebra, specific functions of one and more variables used in economics, manipulating those functions and finding their minima and maxima. In addition, the first half of this module delivers the rules of integration and differentiation, which prepares the you to apply constrained and unconstrained optimisation techniques in their subsequent 2nd and 3rd year of studies. Constrained and unconstrained optimisation techniques are also discussed. The second half of the module is devoted to optimisation theory which in turn will use the concepts of vectors and matrices, drawn from linear algebra, and require the study of concave functions. The knowledge of matrices will help you solve systems of linear equations, which are used in both microeconomic and macroeconomic planning and forecasting.
You will take the following modules in Philosophy:
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.
In this module you will develop an understanding of how the rationalist and empiricist traditions in philosophy influence contemporary thought in the philosophy of mind. You will look at the continuing relevance of the mind-body problem to the question of what it is to be a human being and consider the connections between the analytic and European traditions in philosophy with respect to language, subjectivity, and the phenomenology of experience. You will also examine the importance of consciousness to contemporary debates in philosophy, psychology and cognitive science.
You will undertake a short ‘reflecting on feedback’ exercise in order to progress into the final year of study.
- All modules are optional
You will take the following module:
In this module you will plan, structure and write an extended piece of work in a topic of your choice through independent research with the support and guidance of a supervisor.
There are a number of optional course modules available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course modules that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new modules may be offered or existing modules may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.
All modules are core
Optional modules in Politics may include:
- Government and Politics of the United States
In this module you will develop an understanding of the most important features of the history of the development of the non-West. You will look at the distinctive political dynamics characterising the contemporary non-West and consider the thoughts of prominent non-Western political thinkers.
I in this module you will develop an understanding of contemporary British politics. You will look at the ways in which British government has evolved, how it continues to operate, and why it operates in the way it does. You will consider the causes and consequences of major political change in Britain and examine the underlying assumptions upon which theoretical disputes in political science are based.
In this module you will develop an understanding of some of the key concepts in political theory today. You will look at political obligation, civil disobedience, democracy, citizenship, equality, global justice, human rights, and freedom and toleration. You will consider important theorists including Berlin Rawls, Nozick, Sandel, Okin and Pettit, examining the recent major theoretical perspectives in the context of contemporary politics.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the relationship between states and markets, power and wealth. You will look at the key concepts and theoretical debates in International Political Economy, such as the globalisation of trade, finance, and production, the continued problems of development and democratic governance in the world economy, and emerging questions surrounding global flows, networks and spaces. You will consider the history of regimes, crises, and competing theories of political economy from the nineteenth century to the present day and examine how political institutions operate in international politics to regulate the creation of wealth, and who benefits from these arrangements.
In this module you will develop an understanding of security studies as a subfield of International Relations. You will look at the issue of war and it is/should be fought. You will consider the theories of security and how these have changed, especially in an age of terrorism, and examine a wide variety of security including nuclear weapons, drone warfare, genocide, and gun control.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the themes, arguments, and interpretations of major political thinkers from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. You will look at the works of Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, Mill, Marx and Nietzsche and consider how the ideas articulated by these thinkers continue to underpin contemporary debates about the nature of freedom, human rights, value pluralism, popular sovereignty, state legitimacy, and the modern condition. You will also examine how study of these thinkers illuminates contemporary debates even where these debates no longer make reference to them.
In this module you will develop an understanding of how citizens, politicians and the media interact across Western democracies during both electoral and governing periods. You will look at the production and consumption of political news, consider election campaigns and their effects, and examine contemporary debates in political communication, including ethical issues.
Optional modules in Philosophy may include:
- Philosophy: The Dialogues of Plato
- The Philosophy of Aristotle
Optional modules in Economics may include:
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.
Optional modules in Politics may include:
In this module you will combine participation in a workplace environment for one day a week during term time (and three days a week for each term's reading week) with scholarly reflection on the nature of the organisational, professional, and policy contexts of the placement. Your placement will be in an organised setting such as Parliament, local government, the office of an MEP, NGO, campaigning or activist organisations, a political party, a media organisation, or the policy or communications division of a local company working in a relevant field.
In this module you will develop an understanding of regulation in the European Union, including delivery of policy and administration. You will look at how the world's largest market operates, with a focus on EU public policy, including de-regulation, re-regulation, budgets and spending. You will examine the concept of the single market, the Euro and its crisis, justice, home affairs and counter-terrorism, the EU budget, agriculture, regional development, and social and environmental policies.
- Political Theories of Freedom
- Politics of the Law and Rights
Party leaders, and their public image, are increasingly considered important for a party’s electoral success, for the smooth running of government and for regime legitimacy. Perhaps the most important variable for successful politicians is their ability to effectively communicate and connect with their audiences. This module will first, show you the techniques most frequently used my politicians, communicators and speechwriters to effectively deliver their messages in different contexts and settings. Next, you will analyse how these techniques have been used by the greatest leaders in the word to justify their regimes. By the end of the module you will be able to evaluate leadership styles during and after elections and design communication strategies that will deliver political messages effectively.
- Military Change in the 21st Century
- Radical Political Theory
Optional modules in Philosophy may include:
- Modern European Philosophy 2: Critical Theory and Hermeneutics
- Stoics, Epicureans and Sceptics
Optional modules in Economics may include:
The module aims to introduce the student to what factors affect corporate financial decisions. Particular emphasis is given to the concepts of Net Present Value and Risk. The learning outcomes include: Understand what the goals of a firm are; Understand how investments are valued (Internal rate of returns) in order to help with good financial planning); Understand the concepts of risk, agency costs and how they feed into financial decision making; Understand the process of price formation in financial markets; Understand venture capital and different types of debt finance and debt valuation, including leverage.
- Economics of Warfare 2
Teaching & assessment
The course has a modular structure, whereby you will 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: ABB-BBB
- GCSE Maths at grade A or 7.
- 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. For students who are from backgrounds or personal circumstances that mean they are generally less likely to go to university, you may be eligible for an alternative lower offer. Follow the link to learn more about our contextual offers.
We accept T-levels for admission to our undergraduate courses, with the following grades regarded as equivalent to our standard A-level requirements:
- AAA* – Distinction (A* on the core and distinction in the occupational specialism)
- AAA – Distinction
- BBB – Merit
- CCC – Pass (C or above on the core)
- DDD – Pass (D or E on the core)
Where a course specifies subject-specific requirements at A-level, T-level applicants are likely to be asked to offer this A-level alongside their T-level studies.
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 you to recognise your own strengths, skills and abilities so that you can make strong applications for your chosen job or further study. We also provide support through employability workshops, events and guest speakers.
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 & scholarships
Home (UK) students tuition fee per year*: £9,250
EU and international students tuition fee per year**: £23,800
Other essential costs***: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course.
How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, scholarships and bursaries. UK students who have already taken out a tuition fee loan for undergraduate study should check their eligibility for additional funding directly with the relevant awards body.
*The tuition fee for UK undergraduates is controlled by Government regulations. For students starting a degree in the academic year 2024/25, the fee is £9,250 for that year.
**This figure is the fee for EU and international students starting a degree in the academic year 2024/25
Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase tuition fees annually for overseas fee-paying students. Please be aware that tuition fees can rise during your degree. The upper limit of any such annual rise has not yet been set for courses starting in 2024 but will advertised here once confirmed. For further information see fees and funding and our terms and conditions.
***These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree at Royal Holloway during the 2024/25 academic year, and are included as a guide. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.