Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the PPE major?
The PPE major offers an integrated, cross-disciplinary perspective that combines broad and rigorous training in the foundations of three subjects (plus study opportunities in some areas of psychology related to PPE) with a specialization and research experience in a concentration of choice. The major is intended to prepare its graduates for careers in public policy and public service, consulting, journalism (reporting on political and economic issues), law and international affairs. It is an excellent pre-law major and it also offers suitable preparation for graduate study.
2. How is it different from a major in just philosophy, politics, or economics? Or majoring in one and minoring in the other two?
In PPE we teach not only the individual disciplines but also exert considerable effort in pointing out the commonalities and differences between the subjects. Many of our classes are interdisciplinary in and of themselves. In addition, we point out the increasingly important role that Psychology is playing in the social sciences –many of our classes are based on behavioral psychology.
Consider for example the problem of inequality – an issue increasingly in the news today. PPE students can study such a topic from the economic perspective (measurement), the politics approach (what laws perpetuate this problem?), the philosophical approach (is inequality inherently immoral or is it sometimes unavoidable?) and the psychological approach (what do we learn about people’s attitudes towards altruism and fairness from laboratory experiments?). All this within one major!
How do I declare a PPE major?
4. How many credits is this major?
A minimum of 36 credits for the College degree. 16 credits for the PPE major.
5. What classes do I need to take to declare a major?
6. Where can I find a list of major requirements?
7. Is there a minimum grade requirement in PPE for fulfilling a requirement?
Yes – the minimum grade is C-. If your grade is below that, please contact the PPE major by writing to ppemajor@sas
8. Can I declare a PPE minor?
No but you can minor in the individual disciplines
9. Can I double count courses required for a PPE major and my General Education requirements?
You are allowed to double count one class with the PPE major and the sector requirements. There are no restrictions in double counting classes between the PPE major and the Foundational Approaches part of the Gen Ed requirements.
10. What can I do with a PPE major?
Check this page:
11. Who can I talk to about potentially majoring in PPE
The primary resource is the advisor:
You can also talk with the Undergrad Board http://www.sas.upenn.edu/ppe/Students/board.html
Before talking, make sure to read all the information available here: http://www.sas.upenn.edu/ppe/Requirements/PPEmajor/general.html
Many of your questions can be answered just by reading the website carefully.
12. Can I use pre-college (AP/IB/A-level) or transfer credit to fulfill major requirements?
Transfer credit – refer to XCAT, AP/IB/A-level - http://www.admissions.upenn.edu/apply/freshman-admission/ap-ib-and-pre-college-credit
13. Is it feasible to study abroad as a PPE major?
Yes, there are also PPE study abroad programs. See this page: http://www.sas.upenn.edu/ppe/Courses/notatpenn.html
14. What is the role of research in PPE?
Please see this page: http://www.sas.upenn.edu/ppe/Requirements/PPEmajor/research.html
15. Do I have to do research to complete the major?
You don’t have to do independent research but it’s highly recommended and encouraged.See http://www.sas.upenn.edu/ppe/Requirements/PPEmajor/research.html for the reasons why engaging in reserach would be one of the best decisions you can make while in the major. Note that many courses, i.e. capstone seminars, are research based