This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits.
- At Stage 1 you’ll study two compulsory modules that will introduce you to the social sciences and politics.
- Next, in Stage 2, you’ll study two further compulsory modules, one in each of economics and philosophy.
- Finally, in Stage 3, you’ll focus on any two of the three PPE subjects.
Optional Access module – visit Am I ready? to find out about starting this course with a preparatory Access module.
You’ll start with a wide-ranging and topical introduction to the social sciences, before exploring UK and international politics through questions of rights, legitimacy, national identity, conflict and protest. You’ll also consider the ideas, values and institutions through which societies are ordered and people are governed; and how political ideas inform and influence everyday life.
You’ll build on the solid foundation gained at Stage 1 to apply economic ideas and modelling techniques to a range of contemporary issues. You’ll also be introduced to the study of philosophy, including the nature of the self, the philosophy of religion, ethics, the study of mind and political philosophy.
At Stage 3, you’ll focus on two of the three PPE subjects and investigate, selected by what you’ve found the most interesting or the most relevant to your choice of career path. Your choices at this stage can also form the basis for postgraduate study such as our MA in Philosophy.
We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 14 September 2018.
We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The BA (Hons) Politics Philosophy and Economics uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:
- studying a mixture of printed and online material – online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
- using and/or producing diagrams and/or screenshots
- working in a group with other students
- finding external/third party material online
- understanding mathematical and scientific expressions, notations and associated techniques
- using an online laboratory
- using specialist software provided with the module.
All qualifications require you to complete learning and assessment activities within a required timescale and according to pre-determined deadlines. You will therefore need to manage your time effectively during your studies and the University will help you to develop this skill throughout your degree. Information on assessment will be available to you at the start of each module.
For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support with any of the elements above, visit our Disability support website to find more about what we offer. Please contact us as soon as possible to discuss your individual requirements, so we can put arrangements in place before you start.
Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment
This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:
- Knowledge and understanding
- Cognitive skills
- Practical and professional skills
- Key skills
The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; e-learning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.
Read the detailed learning outcomes here
If you have already studied at university level, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – which could save you time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study. At the OU we call this credit transfer.
It’s not just university study that can be considered, you can also transfer study from a wide range of professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs.
You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. We will need to know what you studied, where and when and you will need to provide evidence of your previous study.
For more details of when you will need to apply by and to download an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.
Classification of your degree
On successfully completing this undergraduate course, you'll be awarded the BA (Honours) Politics, Philosophy and Economics degree. You'll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.
The class of degree (first, upper second, lower second or third class honours) depends on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.
Recognition in your country
If you intend to use your Open University qualifications to seek work or undertake further study outside the UK, we recommend checking whether your intended qualification will meet local requirements for your chosen career. Read recognition in my country.
As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.
Skills for career development
In addition to specialist knowledge of politics, philosophy and economics, this degree course will help you develop valuable transferable skills for employment, including:
- using a range of communication technologies to independently research, select and present information
- analysing and critically evaluating information and data
- writing and communicating concisely and clearly
- assembling reasoned arguments for particular audiences
- using a range of formats: essays, presentations, reports, collaborative working, online forums
- reflecting on your own learning and developing strategies to update your knowledge
- valuing critical feedback to reflect on progress and improve your work
- working on your own initiative and managing your time.
A degree in politics philosophy and economics is internationally recognised as providing a set of conceptual and quantitative skills particularly relevant for many areas of public service, such as the civil and diplomatic services and local government. In particular, you’ll develop skills enabling you to express your ideas clearly and logically; understand and analyse complex information; and study independently.
This degree course is also good preparation for a wide variety of other careers, including banking and finance, politics, journalism and broadcasting, law, industry, teaching, social work, accountancy, business management, consultancy, marketing and advertising – and many graduate-level jobs are open to graduates of any discipline. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.
In addition to improving your career prospects, studying with the OU is an enriching experience that broadens your horizons, develops your knowledge, builds your confidence and enhances your life skills.
Exploring your options
Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice – including online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.
In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point (note that most careers will require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree):
- economic analyst
- policy advisor
- civil servant
- chartered accountant
- risk analyst
- corporate investment banker
- charity worker
- business consultant.