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BA (Honours) Politics, Philosophy and Economics

Politics, philosophy and economics (PPE) are central to understanding how modern societies are organised and governed, and studying them together gives you a combination of skills that’s in high demand across the private, public and non-profit sectors. While the original PPE has been described as ‘the degree that runs Britain’, this combination is better viewed as the study of how this and other countries are run, what motivates and constrains their rulers and residents, and how social order and prosperity are best understood and promoted. All three disciplines are presented in up-to-date form, covering alternative as well as ‘mainstream’ approaches and firmly rooted in the real world.

 

Key features of the course

  • Understand the debates that dominate the daily news and look beyond the headlines
  • Learn skills and techniques to help you analyse, present and contribute to discussion
  • Explore how arguments and public policies are constructed in theory and tested in practice
  • Increase your employability across the private and public sectors
  • Enjoy synergies among three complementary disciplines while studying a full curriculum in each

Course Summary

Degree

Degree

  • Also known as an undergraduate or bachelors degree.
  • Internationally respected, universally understood.
  • An essential requirement for many high-level jobs.
  • Gain a thorough understanding of your subject – and the tools to investigate, think critically, form reasoned arguments, solve problems and communicate effectively in new contexts.
  • Progress to higher level study, such as a postgraduate diploma or masters degree.
Course code
Q45
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
360
How long it takes
Part time – 6 years
Full time – 4 years
Time limit – 16 years
Study method
Distance learning

Course details

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.

Stage 1 (120 credits)

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.

Stage 2 (120 credits)

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.
ModulesCredits
You'll study both of the following:
Exploring philosophy (A222)60
Running the economy (DD209)60

Stage 3 (120 credits)

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.  
ModulesCredits
You’ll choose two from three PPE subjects:
Politics (choose one of these modules)
International relations: continuity and change in global politics (DD313)60
Living political ideas (DD306)60
Philosophy
Key questions in philosophy (A333)60
Economics
Doing economics: people, markets and policy (DD309)60

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 4 April 2018.


Accessibility

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 page 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

Credit transfer

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.

Regulations

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 Essential Documents website. 

Compare this course

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements to study this qualification.

This qualification begins with the introductory module Investigating the social world (DD103) which builds a solid foundation for further study. To get the best from it you’ll need some basic study skills at higher education level. You can use our online diagnostic quiz Are you ready for DD103? to help you decide if you’re ready, or if you need some extra preparation.

How much time do I need?

  • Most of our students study part time, completing 60 credits a year.
  • This will usually mean studying for 16–18 hours a week.

Counting previous study

You could save time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study towards this qualification, if you have:

  • already studied at university level (even if you didn't finish your studies)
  • other professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs

Find out more about credit transfer

Your next step

Call us on +44 300 303 0266 or book a call back. Our friendly team of advisers will discuss your study options with you, and help you decide on the best starting point for you.

In this section:
How much will it cost?
Ways to pay for your qualification and other support

How much will it cost in England?

We believe cost shouldn’t be a barrier to achieving your potential. That’s why we work hard to keep the cost of study as low as possible and have a wide range of flexible ways to pay to help spread, or even reduce, the cost.

  • Fees are paid on a module-by-module basis – you won't have to pay for the whole of your qualification up front.
  • A qualification comprises a series of modules, each with an individual fee. Added together, they give you the total cost.
  • If, like most OU students, you study part time at a rate of 60 credits a year, you'll take six years to complete an honours degree.
  • Our current fee for 60 credits is £2,928*.
  • Our current fee for 120 credits – which is equivalent to a year's full-time study – is £5,856*.
  • At current prices, the total cost of your qualification would be £17,568*.
  • .

*The fee information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2019. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees.


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.

Career relevance

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.

Other careers

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):

  • politician
  • economic analyst
  • policy advisor
  • civil servant
  • diplomat
  • journalist
  • chartered accountant
  • economist
  • lawyer
  • statistician
  • risk analyst
  • lecturer
  • corporate investment banker
  • charity worker
  • business consultant.

Register for this course

Start dates
Credit transfer: apply by 16/08/2018
Credit transfer: apply by 06/12/2018

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