Choice and Behavior

This theme is ideal for students interested in understanding and predicting how people make choices, in politics or in the market. Decision making may not be conscious. It may be a manifestation of evolutionary or social pressures, and it may depend on a mixture of heuristics and biases as well as conscious reasoning.

Choosing Courses

When choosing courses to develop your theme, please keep the following in mind:

  • The classes below are examples of classes that may be approved for use in this theme.
  • The five thematic courses you choose should coherently work together.
  • No more than two classes taken from outside the School of Arts and Sciences can count towards your PPE major.
  • You may take more than one Advanced Interdisciplinary Seminar counting the additional capstones towards your theme courses.
  • Theme courses are your advanced courses in the major. Consult with the PPE's Associate Director if you think a lower level course is appropriate for your major, though we recommend you take these courses to fulfill sector requirements.

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list; other courses offered by the University may be perfect for the development of your theme. Each semester you should look for relevant courses offered in the core disciplines, PhilosophyPolitical ScienceEconomics, and Psychology, as well as others that may develop your theme.


  • Wharton: Operations, Information, and Decisions (OIDD)

  • Wharton: Business Economics and Public Policy (BEPP)

  • Wharton: Legal Studies (LGST)
  • Penn Law

  • Penn Engineering: Computer Science (for example, Modeling or Networks)


Sample Choice and Behavior Thematic Concentrations 

The following clusters of courses are examples of how you can bring different courses together to develop a coherent theme.

Rationality and Behavior

PSCI 436: Political Psychology

PSYC 473: NeuroEconomics

CRIM 340: NeuroLaw

MKTG 211: Consumer Behavior

PPE 402: Social Norms

Predicting Behavior

ECON 036: Law and Economics

PSYC 470: Psychology and Law

FNCE 239: Behavioral Finance

PSCI 207: Applied Data Science

PSYC 275: Political Psychology/Forecasting

Human Nature and Human Action

PSYCH 231: Evolution of Behavior

CRIM 270: Biopsychosocial Criminology

LGST 212: Economic Analysis of Law

PHIL 472: Philosophy and Psychology

PPE 477: Obedience

Models of Behavior

PSCI 552: Game Theory in Political Science

PPE 472: Network Analysis

PPE 473: Modeling Social Phenomena

LING 495: Games and Signals

STAT 430: Probability

Social Evolution

PHIL 226: Philosophy of Biology

LING 498: Agents and Evolution

PSYC 472: Seminar in Evolutionary Psychology

NETS 312: Theory of Networks

BDS 502: Social Norms and Informal Institutions


Sample Classes

Sector & Foundational Approach Courses to consider in preparation for your theme:

Please confirm courses fulfilling college requirements with your college advisor. 

PHIL 025: Philosophy of Science

PHIL 032: Philosophy of Cognitive Science

PSYC 001: Intro to Psychology


Courses that DO NOT count for Choice and Behavior

PSYC 266: Positive Psychology

PSCI 320: Who Gets Elected and Why (counts for public policy and governance)

ANTH 386: Desire and Demand (counts for globalization)

Examples of the kinds of courses that may help to develop your theme (SAS courses):

COMM 275: Communication and Persuasion

COMM 321: Big Data and Social Research

COMM 402: Social Network

CRIM 270: Biopsychosocial Criminology

CRIM 340: Neuro-Law

CRIM 402: Criminal Justice Analytics

CRIM 410: Research Seminar in Experiments in Crime and Justice

ECON 030: Public Policy Analysis

ECON 032/232: Political Economy

ECON 036: Law and Economics

ECON 101: Intermediate Microeconomics

ECON 211: Social Choice

ECON 212: Game Theory

ECON 231: Public Finance

LING 354: Language and Game Theory

LING 495: Games and Signals

LING 496: Evolutionary Linguistics

MATH 432: Game Theory

PHIL 040: Machine Fairness

PHIL 225: Philosophy of Science

PHIL 231: Epistemology

PHIL 233: Philosophy of Economics

PHIL 244: Philosophy of Mind

PHIL 331: Formal Epistemology

PHIL 343: Philosophy of Mind

PHIL 426: Philosophy of Psychology

PHIL 430: Survey on Ethical Theory

PHIL 431: Experiments in Ethics

PHIL 460: Epistemics of Reality

PHIL 472: Philosophy of Psychology 

PHIL 525: Philosophy of Cognitive Science

PPE 298: PPE Study Abroad

PPE 401: Independent Study

PPE 472: Capstone: Networks

PPE 473: Modeling

PPE 474: Capstone: Judgments and Decision Making

PPE 477: Capstone: Social Psycholgy

PPE 482: Capstone: Psychology

PPE 498: Directed Honors Thesis

PSCI 338: Statistical Methods for Political Science

PSCI 436: Political Psychology

PSCI 552: Game Theory for Political Science

PSYC 121: Learning

PSYC 131: Animal Behavior 

PSYC 151: Language and Thought

PSYC 231: Evolution of Behavior

PSYC 253/PPE 153: Judgments and Decisions

PSYC 270: Obedience 

PSYC 272: Evolutionary Psychology

PSYC 273: Neuroeconomics

PSYC 275/PPE 275: Political Psychology

PSYC 331: Research Experiments in Animal Behavior

PSYC 351: Research Experiments in Cognitive Psychology

PSYC 353: Research Experiments in Decision Making

PSYC 370: Research Experiments in Social Psychology

PSYC 374: Research Experiments in Evolutionary Psychology

PSYC 453: Seminar Decision Making

PSYC 470: Seminar in Social Psychology

PSYC 472: Seminar in Evolutionary Psychology

PSYC 473: Neuroeconomics

PSYC 490: The Science of Behavior Change


Non-College Courses (Maximum of 2 may count towards your PPE major)

LGST 212: Economic Analysis of Law

BDS 512: Power, Persuasion and Influence

BEPP 305: Risk Management

BEPP 284: Game Theory for Business and Life

CPLN 506: Negotiation and Conflict Resolution

ESE 204: Decision Models

FNCE 239: Behavioral Finance

LGST 206/OIDD 291/MGMT 291: Negotiation and Conflict Resolution

LGST 212: Economic Analysis of Law

MGMT 276: Forecasting

MKTG 211: Analysis of Consumer Behavior

NETS 112: Networked Life

NETS 150: Markets and Social Systems on the Internet

NETS 312: Theory of Networks

OIDD 290: Decision Processes

OIDD 292: Advanced Negotiation

OIDD 319: Advanced Decision Systems

OIDD 325: Computer Simulation Models

STAT 430: Probability


For Penn Major catalog's entry on Choice and Behavior, click here.