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Durham University


VL52 Philosophy, Politics and Economics BA Undergraduate  2020


UCAS code VL52
Degree BA
Mode of study Full Time
Duration 3 years
Location Durham City
Typical Offers A Level
International Baccalaureate
Please also check Requirements and Admissions.
Alternative qualifications
Contextual Offers You may be eligible for an offer which is one or two grades lower than our standard entry requirements. Find out more.
More information Still have questions?
Department(s) Website

Course Summary


Our BA (Hons) Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) is a prestigious programme offering you the opportunity to explore three subjects – their connections, influences and impact. You’ll gain an understanding of how and why they’ve been so inextricably linked historically, and the ways in which they’ve developed and diverged over the course of the last two centuries, both in content and in method.

Throughout the course you’ll investigate the subjects in theory and practice, gaining the knowledge and skills to pursue different lines of inquiry and interrogate your own ideas. All this provides a rigorous academic framework which is highly-regarded as excellent preparation for a successful career, no matter what path you take. 

Year 1

In the first year, two modules will be studied in each of the three departments providing the specific foundations for the subsequent years at an appropriate depth.

In Philosophy, the compulsory modules have in the past included Ethics and Values, and Knowledge and Reality.  In Politics there is one core theory module plus one from a list of options to be studied.  In Economics introductory micro- and macro-economic theory is covered as well as a quantitative module which provides students with the necessary mathematical and statistical skills for subsequent studies in Economics.

Year 2

Whilst the first year is dominated by the necessity to build the foundations for all three subjects, the choice opens up quite substantially in the second and third year. The basic rule that needs to be met is that for each of the three subjects a minimum of two modules must be studied in the second and third year. At no stage can any one of the three be dropped altogether. In Years 2 and 3 combined, you will take two core modules in Economics looking at the principles of Macro and Microeconomics; either The Philosophy of Economics or Political Philosophy and one further module in Philosophy; and two modules in Politics. Aside from these, and provided that individual module requirements are met, you can specialise and tailor your choices from a wide selection of optional modules in the three subjects. This gives the degree the flexibility and eclecticism that are its defining characteristics.

At this stage, you can choose to add an extra dimension to your studies, by extending your course with a work placement or an international exchange, which can help you stand out in a crowded job market.

Year 3

In the third year, the Dissertation (double module) must be done in one of the three departments and it must be associated with another third-year module of the same subject.

We review course structures and core content (in light of e.g. external and student feedback) every year, and will publish finalised core requirements for 2020 entry from September 2019.

Placement Year

You may be able to take a work placement. Find out more.

Course Learning and Teaching

Students on this degree learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials (Politics and Economics), workshops (Economics only), informal but scheduled one-to-one support, and self-directed learning, such as research, reading, and writing. 

All of these are supported by a virtual learning environment, Durham University Online (duo).  Seminars, tutorials, and workshops are much smaller groups than lectures, with tutorials often involving between eight and 20 students working with a member of staff; seminars and workshops can be larger but are still small enough to allow interaction with the tutors. 

This emphasis on small-group teaching reflects a conscious choice to enhance the quality of the learning experience rather than the number of formal sessions. In fact, the degree is designed to feature fewer formal sessions and more independent research as you move from your first to your final year.

Small-group teaching and meetings with a personal academic advisor (provided for all students when they enter the course) are part of the learning experience throughout, but by the final year, classroom time gives way, to some extent, to independent research, including a capstone dissertation that makes up a third of final year credits. 

In this way, the degree systematically transforms you from a consumer of knowledge in the classroom to a generator of knowledge, ready for professional or postgraduate life. These formal teaching arrangements are supported by “drop-in” surgeries with teaching staff and induction sessions that begin in the week before the start of the degree and continue at key times during each year of the course.

Admissions Process

Subject requirements, level and grade

A level offer – A*AA including an arts/humanities subject and Mathematics.
If you are taking Mathematics and Further Mathematics, a further two subjects must be taken at A2 level.

BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma/OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma – D*DD and A level requirements
as above.

IB Diploma score – 38 with 666 in higher level subjects, including an arts/humanities subject and Mathematics.

In addition to satisfying the University’s general entry requirements, please note:

  • We welcome applications from those with other qualifications equivalent to our standard entry requirements and from mature students with non-standard qualifications or who may have had a break in their study. Please contact our Admissions Selectors.
  • We do not accept Advanced Higher Statistics as a substitute for AH Mathematics. If you are taking both of these subjects at this level then a further two Advanced Highers are necessary.
  • For students taking the IB we are happy to accept either Higher Level grade 6 or Standard Level grade 7 in Mathematics. Mathematical Studies is not acceptable.
  • One Arts/Humanities subject at A level or equivalent is required. In the past successful applicants have commonly satisfied this condition, by studying one or more of the following subjects: History, Philosophy, Government and Politics, English Literature; any ancient or modern language; Geography, Religious Studies. Such a list cannot be comprehensive, so if you are unsure over whether the subjects that you are currently following or are planning to take, meet our standard requirements please contact our Admissions Selector for further details.
  • If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to this degree, you may be eligible to take an International Foundation Year pathway programme at the Durham University International Study Centre.

English Language requirements

Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

How to apply

Information relevant to your country

Fees and Funding

Full Time Fees

EU Student £9,250.00 per year
Home Student £9,250.00 per year
Island Student £9,250.00 per year
International non-EU Student £20,500.00 per year

The tuition fees shown for home and EU students are for one complete academic year of full time study and are set according to the academic year of entry. Fees for subsequent years of your course may rise in line with an inflationary uplift as determined by the government.

The tuition fees shown for overseas students are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and funding 

Career Opportunities

Philosophy, Politics and Economics

Careers Advisory Service

These impressive statistics result from Durham's worldwide academic reputation. They also show the effectiveness of our unique college structure.

What you achieve academically and experience as a person whilst at Durham will say a lot about you in the future. One of the main reasons for our system of colleges and college mentors is to equip our students with adaptable and marketable workplace skills.

The opportunities we provide to become involved in committees, clubs and societies and to be active in voluntary or paid work experience will help you develop an enviable set of professional techniques enabling you to be more successful in the graduate job market. Your Durham University experiences will help you build up skills in teamworking, problem-solving, communication, negotiation and leadership. These are all qualities highly valued by regional, national and international employers who know that a degree combined with a unique Durham life experience is just what they need from graduates that they recruit.

Of students that left in 2017:

- 78% are in employment or further study six months after graduating

Of those in employment:

- 94% are in graduate-level employment
- Median salary £28,300

(Source: Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey of 2015/16 graduates. The DLHE survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing six months after graduation. Full definitions for the DLHE Record can be found here:

Recent PPE graduates have found success in a range of careers, including: law, banking and finance; and government, in companies such as:

  • BT
  • Department of Works and Pensions
  • Deutsche Bank
  • EDF Energy
  • Fallon UK Ltd
  • Goldman Sachs International
  • Government Olympic Committee
  • HSBC
  • IP Recruitment
  • KPMG
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers  
  • Royal Navy
  • The Roundhouse


Open days and visits

Pre-application open day

Pre-application open days are the best way to discover all you need to know about Durham University. With representatives from all relevant academic and support service departments, and opportunities to explore college options, the open days provide our prospective undergraduates with the full experience of Durham University.

Please see the following page for further details and information on how to book a place:

Discover Durham Tours

Discover Durham tours offer a brief introduction to the University. The tour begins at one of our undergraduate colleges, where you will receive an introductory talk from a member of college staff, followed by a tour of the college by current students.

Overseas Visit Schedule

Department Information

Philosophy, Politics and Economics


Explore philosophy, politics and economics in all their connections and depth.

PPE is a flexible joint honours degree, offering you the opportunity to explore philosophy, politics and economics – their connections, influences and impact. You will gain an understanding of how and why they have been so inextricably linked historically, and the ways in which they have developed and diverged over the course of the last two centuries, both in content and in method.


  • World Top 100 for Politics and Philosophy in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2019.
  • 7th for Economics in The Complete University Guide 2019.


For a current list of staff, please see the relevant web pages for Philosophy, Politics and Economics.


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