The combination of Philosophy, Politics and Economics was devised over 90 years ago, allowing students to study a broad and deep curriculum which engages with all aspects of society. The diverse PPE syllabus combines specialist technical training with cutting-edge social and political ideas, equipping you with transferable skills which can be applied to a huge range of careers.
At Hertford, we’ll help you to develop rigorous critical and analytical thought, logical reasoning and the ability to make complex ethical judgements. Our expert tutors are supported by over 200 subject specialists in the University. You’ll be able to work with these experts to hone your skills and inspire your intellectual development.
Teaching and learning
You’ll be challenged by new ideas in lectures, classes and tutorials. We believe in discussion, and our small-group teaching pushes this to the fore. In college tutorials, you’ll have the chance to discuss your work and develop your arguments with our dedicated tutors in all three disciplines. There are no right answers in tutorials – we want to hear what you think and will help you to develop an independent voice and mind.
All students attend the same lectures, regardless of college. PPE is very flexible, meaning that you can tailor your own path through the degree. You can specialise in everything from Sociology to International Relations, and many students choose to continue with just two branches at the end of their first year. You can also continue all three branches for your whole degree – the choice is yours.
We expect you to work hard and study independently too. Oxford has world-class resources which are easily accessible – the Bodleian Library is just across the road from Hertford, while the dedicated Social Science Library and Philosophy Library are a short distance away. At Hertford we have a 24-hour college library, giving you round-the-clock access to our learning resources and study spaces.
You can also make use of the University’s Language Centre if you wish to start or continue learning a foreign language. At Hertford, we’ll support you to do this and will cover half your course fees on successful completion of certain courses.
Studying PPE can equip you with skills of analysis and critical thinking useful in many careers. Many of our graduates pursue careers in finance, politics, journalism, broadcasting, law, teaching, consultancy and the Civil Service.
PPE also provides you with a good base for further study. There are many possibilities for Master’s or doctoral degrees in Philosophy, Politics, International Relations, Economics and Sociology, to name a few.
Making an application
We don’t have any subject requirements for PPE and don’t expect you to have extensive prior knowledge. Politics, Philosophy, Economics, History and Mathematics are all useful A Level subjects (or equivalent). We do expect you to have a solid understanding of mathematical principles for the Economics aspects of the degree.
We take your UCAS application and the results of your Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA) into account when making admissions decisions. The TSA is a critical thinking test and doesn’t require any specific knowledge – you can find more information and practice past papers online.
If you’re invited for interview, you’ll have at least one interview at Hertford and perhaps one at a second college. We won’t be testing your knowledge, rather we want to see evidence of your motivation and academic potential. Thinking on your feet and working with unfamiliar situations are two things that will be particularly useful to practise if you’re invited for interview.