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In a world where people are increasingly asked to employ tools that cut across disciplines, the PPE major offers an integrated, cross-disciplinary educationthat combines broad and rigorous training in the foundations of our allied disciplines. Apart from taking some basic courses in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, each PPE major is required to specialize in a concentration of their choice. Each concentration tends to focus a bit more on one of the three constituent PPE disciplines: ethics, economics, or political science. For example, students choosing the Distributive Justice concentration will focus mostly on evaluative questions about how just institutions work, and what obligations individuals or groups have toward one another. Distributive Justice focuses more on Philosophy, though students often take courses in Legal Studies, Politicial Theory and Economics that bear on questions of distributive justice. Students choosing the Choice and Behavior concentration, by contrast, will tend to focus more on modeling, explaining, or predicting behavior, which is likely to include classes in Psychology and Economics.
For a broad overview of the history of PPE, and what PPE programs aim to accomplish, see this article.
Since inception at Penn, PPE has been popular and today it is one of the largest majors in the College of Arts and Sciences. The major is intended to prepare its graduates for careers as diverse as public policy, consulting, journalism, law, and international affairs, among others. It is an excellent pre-law major and it also offers suitable preparation for graduate study in any of the constituent disciplines. As you explore your major options, take the time to consider how you might be interested in focusing the major and the kinds of opportunities a PPE major affords.
Having a chat about PPE
Students interested in having a conversation about PPE are encouraged to make an appointment with PPE's Associate Director.
You can talk to current majors both through:
- the University's Major Advising Program or
- by reaching out to current members of PPE's Undergraduate Advisory Board.