Politics, Philosophy and Economics

Politics, Philosophy and Economics


To change the world, you need to understand it…

UNSW’s Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) provides graduates with a powerful combination of intellectual tools to understand and act in the world.

The PPE draws together the perspectives of three crucial academic disciplines to address contemporary national and global issues, such as justice, inequality and climate change.

First established at Oxford University in 1921, PPE programs are now offered at a number of leading universities. They have produced some of the most distinguished political and thought leaders in Australia, the UK and around the world. These include renowned alumni such as Malcolm Fraser, Benazir Bhutto and Christopher Hitchens, and current PPE student and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai.

Alongside courses from the disciplines of Politics & International Relations, Philosophy, and Economics, the UNSW PPE degree includes courses designed to enable you to explore the synergies and tensions between them, and to assess their relevance to meeting humanity's most difficult challenges.

PPE graduates are sought globally for careers in politics and public policy development, including the highest reaches of government and the public service.


What will I study?

This program offers a distinct methodological suite of courses introducing you to critical techniques and modes of thinking specific to each discipline.

The PPE is a rigorous three-year degree during which you will complete 144 units of credit (UoC).

Studying a PPE will ensure you are capable of independent and collaborative enquiry, rigorous in your analysis, critique and reflection. In addition, you will be able to connect the study of Philosophy, Politics and Economics to the historical and contemporary challenges of local, regional and global contexts


Politics & International Relations

Politics and International Relations covers some of the most pressing issues facing the world today. You will learn to think critically about the challenges of governance at both a national and global level, using comparative, theoretical and historical perspectives to equip yourself with the tools to understand the complexities of the world.

You will develop an advanced understanding of contemporary global challenges and how we seek collectively to address them. You will be encouraged to be a critical and creative thinker, with the ability to identify the effects of significant political events and actors in world politics.

The solutions to many national and global problems are often intricately connected with regional and global processes, structures, mechanisms, forces, interests, customs and institutions. Knowing how to identify these solutions, their context and histories, is often challenging, frequently rewarding, and always interesting.


What is knowledge? What most fundamentally exists? What is freedom? How should we live? What is justice?

These are among the perennial questions of philosophical inquiry. How we answer these questions drives, in turn, the work we do in countless other fields – in politics, law, business, peacemaking and warfare, the creative arts, science and technology. Philosophy teaches you ways to think about these questions, and why these questions matter.

Our courses are designed to help you form habits of clear and imaginative thought. You will focus on different methods of persuasion and justification and explain their roles in philosophical arguments and contributions to knowledge.


Become an agent for change as you examine the behaviours of individuals, firms and government and the effect of their choices on living standards.

Economists study the cause and effect of unemployment and inflation, economic growth and development, income inequality, public policy and environmental management. Collecting and calibrating data, economists make recommendations to Commonwealth and state government departments, international organisations (such as OECD) and the private sector.

Course structure

Students completing the PPE are required to complete 144 Units of Credit (UoC), including:

• 108 UoC of PPE courses which include 18 UoC (3 courses) of integrative PPE courses developed specifically for this program

• And at least 30 UoC (5 courses) of nominated courses in each of Politics & International Relations, Philosophy and Economics, including a 24 UoC sequence of methodological courses focussing on fundamental skills and concepts from each of the three disciplines.


PPE graduates are recognised globally as leaders and commentators in all aspects of public life. Potential careers include:

• Government agencies (including foreign affairs)

• Political parties and lobby groups

• Public service

• NGOs

• Social activist organisations

• Consultancy work

• Strategic advising to major corporations


Work-integrated learning

The PPE provides you with key leadership skills and a pathway to international student experience. International experience has particular relevance to students seeking careers in NGOs, inter-governmental bodies and other transnational organisations with a focus on global problems such as justice, inequality and climate change.

Students are encouraged to undertake an internship as one of their free electives to assist with developing their careers.

Overseas exchange program


UNSW Handbook

Degree program structure and academic rules information:

Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics

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Degree Structure
PPE (PDF) [649 Kb]
Domestic International
3FT / 6PT
Term 1
94 (2019 Lowest Selection Rank) / 96 (2020 Guaranteed Entry)
Yes, Mathematics
On Campus