Core Courses

Developing a common set of knowledge and skills that serve as the core of PPE's coherent interdisciplinary lens, these courses are mandatory for all PPE majors. In concert with the required courses in the common foundations, these courses ensure all PPE majors can analyze issues at both an individual and systems level. Beginning Fall 2018, PPE 314 - Philosophy of Social Science - will no longer be a required core course to be replaced with a 5th theme course. Students have the option of taking PPE 314 as that 5th theme. 

 

PPE 311/ECON 013: Strategic Reasoning

Prerequisite: ECON 001; This course may NOT be taken concurrently with or after Econ 212.

This course is about strategically interdependent decisions.  In such situations, the outcome of your actions depends also on the actions of others. When making your choice, you have to think what the others will choose, who in turn are thinking what you will be choosing, and so on. Game Theory offers several concepts and insights for understanding such situations, and for making better strategic choices.  This course will introduce and develop some basic ideas from game theory, using illustrations, applications, and cases drawn from business, economics, politics, sports, and even fiction and movies. Some interactive games will be played in class.  There will be little formal theory, and the only prerequisites are some high-school algebra and having taken Econ 1.  However, general numeracy (facility interpreting and doing numerical graphs, tables, and arithmetic calculations) is very important. This course will also be accepted by the Economics department as an Econ course, to be counted toward the minor in Economics (or as an Econ elective).

 

PPE 312/PSCI 236: Public Policy Process

This course introduces students to the theories and practice of the policy-making process. There are four primary learning objectives. First, understanding how the structure of political institutions matter for the policies that they produce. Second, recognizing the constraints that policy makers face when making decisions on behalf of the public. Third, identifying the strategies that can be used to overcome these constraints. Fourth, knowing the toolbox that available to participants in the policy-making process to help get their preferred strategies implemented. While our focus will primarily be on American political institutions, many of the ideas and topics discussed in the class apply broadly to other democratic systems of government.

 

PPE 313/PSYC 265: Behavioral Economics and Psychology

Prerequisite: ECON 001 

Our understanding of markets, governments, and societies rests on our understanding of choice behavior, and the psychological forces that govern it. This course will introduce you to the study of choice, and will examine in detail what we know about how people make choices, and how we can influence these choices.  It will utilize insights from psychology and economics, and will apply these insights to domains including risky decision making, intertemporal decision making, and social decision making.

 

PPE 314/PHIL 228: Philosophy of Social Science ** Beginning Fall 2018, the fourth core course, PPE 314, is being replaced with a 5th theme course. Any PPE student is welcome to take PPE 314 as that 5th theme course.

Prerequisites: Econ 001, ECON 002, PHIL 008

This course is about the foundations of contemporary social science. It focuses on the nature of social systems, the similarities and differences between social and natural sciences, the construction, analysis, and confirmation of social theories, and the nature of social explanations. Specific topics may include: What are social norms and conventions? What does it mean to have one gender rather than another, or one sexual orientation rather than another? Should social systems be studied quantitatively or qualitatively?

 

SPRING 2018 CORE COURSES OFFERED


PPE 312 (PSCI 236) Public Policy Process (Levendusky)

LEC: MW 10-11 AM
REC: W 2-3 PM, 3-4 PM, or 4-5 PM,
R 9-10 AM, 3-4 PM, or 4:30-5:30,
F 9-10 AM, 10-11 AM, or 11-12 NOON

This course introduces students to the theories and practice of the policy-making process. There are four primary learning objectives. First, understanding how the structure of political institutions matter for the policies that they produce. Second, recognizing the constraints that policy makers face when making decisions on behalf of the public. Third, identifying the strategies that can be used to overcome these constraints. Fourth, knowing the toolbox that available to participants in the policy-making process to help get their preferred strategies implemented. While our focus will primarily be on American political institutions, many of the ideas and topics discussed in the class apply broadly to other democratic systems of government.

 

PPE 314 (PHIL 228) Philosophy of Social Science (Parker)

LEC: MW 12-1 PM

REC: F 10-11 AM, 11-12 NOON, 12-1 PM, or 1-2 PM

This course is about the foundations of contemporary social science. It focuses on the nature of social systems, the similarities and differences between social and natural sciences, the construction, analysis, and confirmation of social theories, and the nature of social explanations. Specific topics may include: What are social norms and conventions? What does it mean to have one gender rather than another, or one sexual orientation rather than another? Should social systems be studied quantitatively or qualitatively?