The rigor and flexibility in curriculum is designed to foster the interdisciplinary perspective and lateral thinking characteristic of PPE. The rigor ensures students can analyze problems from an individual perspective - developed in microeconomics, social psychology, game theory and behavioral economics - and understand political and economic systems - with courses in social contract, public policy and macroeconomics. Supplementing this rigor, students have wide latitude in the other courses completing the common foundations and in fashioning an individualized focus in the theme.
Arc of the major
The progression of courses generally maps onto how students integrate the major over their time at Penn.
Stage 1: What disciplines are we connecting?
At the first stage in the major, students take a variety of courses in the allied disciplines to develop a foundational understanding of each. These courses constitute the major's Common Foundation courses (7 credits). In addition, students are asked to be mindful as they complete either the formal reasoning or quantitative data analysis Foundational Approaches in the college, to take something useful for the major fulfilling the Rigorous Reasoning Pre-requirement.
Stage 2: How are we connecting them?
The PPE Core courses (3 credits) serve an integrative role after the breadth in the common foundations emphasizing PPE's coherent interdisciplinary perspective. These PPE-specific interdisciplinary courses enhance a student's ability to look at a problem from several possible analytic lenses.
Stage 3: Developing a focus
Building on the Foundations and Core, students develop a coherent Thematic Concentration (5 credits). Here students fashion a course of study, choosing five interdisciplinary, complimentary courses developing a concentration within a theme to study. Students are encouraged to do research or take additional advanced interdisciplinary courses as appropriate when developing the theme.
Capstone, Advanced Interdisciplinary Course: PPE 470-490 (1 credit) Students may take more than one Advanced Interdisciplinary Course and count the additional courses as electives in their thematic concentration.