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.
Our flexible degree programmes enable you to apply to take a Placement Year, which can be spent studying abroad, working or carrying out voluntary work. You can even do all three if you want to (minimum of three months each)! To recognise the importance of this additional skills development and university experience, your Placement Year will be formally recognised on your degree certificate and will contribute to your overall result. Please note conditions may apply if your degree already includes an integrated year out, please contact the Careers & Employability Service for more information. Find out 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
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:
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.
- Economics: Data Skills for Economists
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.Year 1
- All modules are core
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 Philosophy may include:
- Philosophy: The Dialogues of Plato
- The Philosophy of Aristotle
Optional modules in Philosophy may include:
- Modern European Philosophy 2: Critical Theory and Hermeneutics
- Stoics, Epicureans and Sceptics
Optional modules in Economics may include:
In this module you will develop an understanding of the financial market, institutions, participants and traded assets that constitute a modern financial system. You will look at the theories of risk-factor pricing, such as the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) and the Arbitrage Pricing Theory (APT). You will consider the theory of, and empirical evidence on, efficient, markets and examine the process of price formation. You will also analyse the derivation and construction of efficient portfolios.
- 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: AAB-ABB
- 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.
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, the International Study Centre offers the following pathway programmes:
● International Foundation Year - for progression to the first year of an undergraduate degree.
● International Year One - for progression to the second year of an undergraduate degree. You can join the International Year One in January 2021 and progress to degree study in September 2021.
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 courses 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 (UK) students tuition fee per year*: £9,250
EU and International students tuition fee per year**: £18,800
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 2020/21, the fee will be £9,250 for that year. The fee for UK undergraduates starting in 2021/22 has not yet been confirmed.
**The Government has confirmed that EU nationals starting a degree in 2020/21 will pay the same fee as UK students for the duration of their course. For EU nationals starting a degree in 2021/22, the UK Government has recently confirmed that you will not be eligible to pay the same fees as UK students, nor be eligible for funding from the Student Loans Company. This means you will be classified as an international student. At Royal Holloway, we wish to support those students affected by this change in status through this transition. For eligible EU students starting their course with us in September 2021, we will award an automatic fee reduction which brings your fee into line with the fee paid by UK students. This will apply for the duration of your course.
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. Fees shown above are for 2020/21 and are displayed for indicative purposes only.
***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.