This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits.
- At Stage 1 you’ll choose among three optional modules before completing the stage with a compulsory module that will introduce you to studying politics.
- Next, in Stage 2, you’ll study two further compulsory modules, one in each of economics and philosophy.
- Finally, in Stage 3, you’ll focus on any two of the three PPE subjects.
You can start with either a wide-ranging and topical introduction to the social sciences, or take a combination of modules that focus on economics and personal finance. You’ll complete the stage by exploring UK and international politics through questions of rights, legitimacy, national identity, conflict and protest..
You’ll build on the foundations gained at Stage 1 to apply economic ideas, models and techniques to a range of contemporary issues. You’ll also begin a detailed exploration of philosophy, including the nature of the self, religion, ethics, the study of mind and political philosophy.
At Stage 3, you’ll focus on two of the three PPE subjects, selected by what you’ve found most interesting or most relevant to your career path. Your choices at this stage can also form the basis for postgraduate study options, including our MA in Philosophy.
We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 17 March 2021.
We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The BA (Honours) Politics, Philosophy and Economics uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:
- studying a mixture of printed and online material – online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
- using and/or producing diagrams and/or screenshots
- working in a group with other students
- finding external/third party material online
- understanding mathematical and scientific expressions, notations and associated techniques
- continuous and end-of-module assessment in the form of essays, short answer questions, and in some cases an examination or project
- using feedback: continuous assessment involves receiving detailed feedback on your work from your tutor and using this feedback to improve your performance
- engagement with learning and assessment within a pre-determined schedule or timetable – time management will be needed during your studies and the University will help you to develop these skills throughout your degree
- using specialist software provided with the module.
For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support, visit Disability support to find more about what we offer.
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; elearning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.
Read the detailed learning outcomes here
If you have already studied at university level, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – which could save you time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study. At the OU we call this credit transfer.
It’s not just university study that can be considered, you can also transfer study from a wide range of professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs.
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 evidence of your previous study.
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. The class of degree (first, upper second, lower second or third-class honours) depends on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.
You'll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.
As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.
There are no formal entry requirements to study this qualification.
This qualification begins with the introductory module Investigating the social world (DD103) which builds a solid foundation for further study. To get the best from it you’ll need some basic study skills at higher education level. You can use our online diagnostic quiz Are you ready for DD103? to help you decide if you’re ready, or if you need some extra preparation.
How much time do I need?
Find out if you have enough time to study with our time planner
- Most of our students study part time, completing 60 credits a year.
- This will usually mean studying for 16–18 hours a week.
Preparing for study with an Access module
Students who start their study with an Access module are more likely to be successful when they advance to an OU level 1 module. They’re specially designed to give you a gentle introduction to OU study, boost confidence in your study skills, and help you gain a broad overview of your chosen subject area.
You'll also benefit from:
- feedback from your tutor through regular one-to-one phone tutorials
- support from a dedicated team throughout your study
- detailed written feedback on your work.
The Access modules we’d recommend studying in preparation for this qualification are:
People, work and society Access module
What you will study
This multidisciplinary module provides an excellent introduction to studying with The Open University; you'll get to cover a wide range of subject areas, including childhood and youth studies, social science, psychology, health, business and law.
View full details of People, work and society Access module
Science, technology and maths Access module
What you will study
This multidisciplinary module is an ideal starting point if you have little or no previous knowledge of the sciences, technology and mathematics. It'll help develop your study skills in advance of your OU qualification, and you get to explore a number of STEM subjects including science, engineering and design, environment, mathematics, and computing and IT.
View full details of Science, technology and maths Access module
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.
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.
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.
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. This includes 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. Some careers will require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree:
- economic analyst
- policy advisor
- civil servant
- chartered accountant
- risk analyst
- investment banker
- charity worker
- business consultant.