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BA (Honours) Politics, Philosophy and Economics

Where do social order (and disorder) come from? How can we make ourselves richer, and does society always gain? What does justice mean, how do we define our rights? Politics, philosophy and economics (PPE) – and the ideas and values that inform them – are central to how modern societies are organised and governed. This degree explores fundamental questions of power and ideology, beliefs and values, and how income and wealth are produced and distributed.

Key features of the course

  • Gain insight into debates that dominate the daily news
  • Learn skills and techniques to help you analyse and contribute to the discussion
  • Explore how arguments (and public policies) are constructed in theory and tested in practice
  • Increase your employability across the private and public sectors
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Degree

Course code
Q45
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
360
How long it takes
Part time – 6 years
Full time – 4 years
Time limit – 16 years
Study method
Distance learning
Course cost
See Fees & funding
Entry requirements
None

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Course details

This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits (equivalent to one year's full-time university study). Stage 1 provides the underpinning knowledge and skills needed for more advanced study at Stages 2 and 3.

If you have little or no knowledge or experience of studying, you may prefer to start your studies with an Access module as an additional preparatory stage.

Stage 1 (120 credits)

You’ll start with a wide-ranging and topical introduction to the social sciences, before exploring UK and international politics through questions of rights, legitimacy, national identity, conflict and protest. You’ll also consider the ideas, values and institutions through which societies are ordered and people are governed; and how political ideas inform and influence everyday life.


Compulsory modules (120 credits)

  • Investigating the social world (DD103)

    Explore the social world through the lens of the social sciences, and learn methods, perspectives and tools to further develop your evaluative and analytical skills.

  • Understanding politics: ideas and institutions in the modern world (DD211) available from October 2015

Stages 2 and 3 (240 credits)

You’ll build on the solid foundation gained at Stage 1 to apply economic ideas and modelling techniques to a range of contemporary issues. You’ll also be introduced to the study of philosophy, including the nature of the self, the philosophy of religion, ethics, the study of mind and political philosophy. As you progress, you’ll be able to focus on any two of the three PPE subjects, depending on your interests and aspirations.



The modules quoted in this description are currently available for study. However, as we review the curriculum on a regular basis, the exact selection may change over time.


Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills

The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; e-learning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.

Read the detailed learning outcomes here

Credit transfer

If you have already studied at university level, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – reducing the number of modules you need to study. It’s not just study completed at a university that can be considered, you can transfer study from a wide range of professional qualifications as well. A full list of the qualifications and institutions we can consider for credit transfer can be found on our credit transfer website.

You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. We will need to know what you studied, where and when and you will need to provide original evidence of your previous study. We will compare this against the learning outcomes for your chosen qualification and inform you of any award.

For more details of when you will need to apply by and to download an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.


Classification of your degree

On successfully completing this undergraduate course, you'll be awarded the BA (Honours) Politics, Philosophy and Economics degree. You'll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.

The class of degree (first, second or third class honours) depends on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the following regulations:

These regulations are also available on our Essential Documents website.


Compare this course

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements to study this qualification.

Study skills for this qualification

You will need some basic study skills at Higher Education level to begin your studies with Investigating the social sciences (DD103).

General study skills

Anyone can study with The Open University, but if it's a while since you did any academic work it's worth checking that your time management, computing and English skills are up to speed. Visit Can I do it? to find out more.

Help! I'm not sure I'm ready!

Study for free

If your study skills are a bit rusty or you want to try out Open University study before committing yourself, don't worry! You can get started with an Access module – fascinating courses designed to introduce subject areas, build your confidence and prepare you for further study.

For this qualification, we recommend:

People, work and society Access module

What you will study

This is a multidisciplinary module that allows you to develop your subject knowledge and your general study skills. It provides an excellent introduction to a wide range of subject areas, including children and young people, health, law, management, psychology and social sciences.

View full details of People, work and society Access module

Science, technology and maths Access module

What you will study

This fascinating, multidisciplinary module is an ideal starting point if you have little or no previous knowledge of the sciences, technology and mathematics, and would like to develop both your subject knowledge and your study skills. The subjects included are science, engineering and design, environment, mathematics, and computing and IT.

View full details of Science, technology and maths Access module

Your next step

Call us on +44 (0)1908 659253 or request a call back. Our friendly team of advisers will discuss your study options with you, and help you decide on the best starting point for you. Or come and meet us at an event near you.

How much will it cost?

We believe cost shouldn’t be a barrier to achieving your potential. That’s why we work hard to keep the cost of study as low as possible and have a wide range of flexible ways to pay to help spread, or even reduce, the cost.

*The fee information provided here is valid for courses starting before 31 July 2015. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation. Fees information for courses starting between 1 August 2015 – 31 July 2016 will be available in March 2015.

  • Fees are paid on a module-by-module basis – you won't have to pay for the whole of your qualification upfront.
  • If like most OU students studying part time, you study an average of 60 credits a year – you’ll study for six years to complete a degree. Our typical fee for 60 credits is £2,632*.
  • Our current fee is £5,264* – based on 120 credits of study – which is equivalent to a year's full-time study.
  • The total cost of your chosen qualification starts from £15,792* based on our current fees.

Additional costs

Additional costs

Study costs

There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a laptop, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

Ways to pay for your qualification and other support

We know there’s a lot to think about when choosing to study, not least how you can pay. That’s why we offer a wide range of flexible payment and funding options to help make study more affordable than you might think. Options include Tuition Fee Loans (also known as student loans), monthly payment plans and employer sponsorship. 

We’re confident we can help you find an option that’s right for you.

Just answer these simple questions to find out more about the options available to you for courses starting before 1 August 2015. Updated information for courses starting after this will be available in March 2015.




How many credits are you planning to study per year? You will need [xxx] credits to complete this qualification

Part time study

Full time study


Do you already hold a degree?

Are you employed?

British Forces

  • Only currently serving members of the British armed forces, who are temporarily and unavoidably working abroad and using BFPO addresses, are eligible to pay UK course fees for the total time spent outside the UK. Other students who are able to use BFPO addresses need to contact us on +44 (0)300 303 5303 for UK fee eligibility to be assessed.
* The fee and funding information provided here is valid for courses starting before 31 July 2015. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation. Fees for courses starting from 1 August 2015 will be available in March 2015.

An OU qualification will always help you stand out from the crowd, now and in the future – whether you’re just starting out, developing your career, or changing direction entirely.

Skills for career development

In addition to specialist knowledge of politics, philosophy and economics, this degree course will help you develop valuable transferable skills for employment, including:

  • using a range of communication technologies to independently research, select and present information
  • analysing and critically evaluating information and data
  • writing and communicating concisely and clearly
  • assembling reasoned arguments for particular audiences
  • using a range of formats: essays, presentations, reports, collaborative working, online forums
  • reflecting on your own learning and developing strategies to update your knowledge
  • valuing critical feedback to reflect on progress and improve your work
  • working on your own initiative and managing your time.

Career relevance

A degree in politics philosophy and economics is internationally recognised as providing a set of conceptual and quantitative skills particularly relevant for many areas of public service, such as the civil and diplomatic services and local government. In particular, you’ll develop skills enabling you to express your ideas clearly and logically; understand and analyse complex information; and study independently.

Other careers

This degree course is also good preparation for a wide variety of other careers, including banking and finance, politics, journalism and broadcasting, law, industry, teaching, social work, accountancy, business management, consultancy, marketing and advertising – and many graduate-level jobs are open to graduates of any discipline. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.

In addition to improving your career prospects, studying with the OU is an enriching experience that broadens your horizons, develops your knowledge, builds your confidence and enhances your life skills. 

Exploring your options

Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice – including online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.

In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point (note that most careers will require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree):

  • politician
  • economic analyst
  • policy advisor
  • civil servant
  • diplomat
  • journalist
  • chartered accountant
  • economist
  • lawyer
  • statistician
  • risk analyst
  • lecturer
  • corporate investment banker
  • senior banking executive
  • tax accountant.

Want to see more jobs? Use the career explorer for job ideas from the National Careers Service, PlanIT Plus in Scotland and Prospects across all nations. You can also visit GradIreland for the Republic of Ireland.

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