BA (Hons) Politics, Philosophy & Economics

This challenging and ground-breaking degree introduces you to core ideas and issues in politics, philosophy and economics. It will equip you to understand how the economy is governed, how public policy gets made and the ideas which shape the world around us.

UCAS
LLV1
Course length
3 years full-time.
Entry requirements
A-level: AAB/ABB
BTEC: D*DM/DDM
IB: 34 points
Access: Pass with 45 Level 3 credits including a number of distinctions/merits in subject specific modules
or equivalent; see find out more about our general entrance requirements.
Fees and funding
Please see undergraduate tuition fees.
Contact the departments
Contact the Programme Convenor, Admissions Tutor.
Visit us
Find out about how you can visit Goldsmiths at one of our open days or come on a campus tour.

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Why study Politics, Philosophy & Economics at Goldsmiths?

  • The combination of Politics Philosophy and Economics (PPE) is well established, thanks largely to the degree offered at Oxford University. Goldsmiths now offers a distinctive, fresh and critical take on these areas of study, which draws on its well-established strengths in social science and theory.
  • The course has been carefully designed to introduce you to the ideas that have shaped the world today, but also to new and critical ideas, with which we can challenge established political and economic policies, institutions and methods.
  • You will be taught by highly engaged lecturers, working across politics, philosophy and economics, all of whom are active researchers and writers in their own field.
  • The course includes a basic introduction to economics. No prior experience of economics is required; nor is an A-level in Mathematics.
  • Over the three years, you will also be introduced to alternative approaches to the economy, drawn from anthropology and sociology, so as to think more broadly and imaginatively about the way in which markets, states and public policies operate in the 21st century.
  • The course is engaged in contemporary, real-world problems, such as financial and environmental regulation. This will give you insights that will equip you for a career in public policy, NGOs, media, consulting and social innovation.
  • In addition to the taught curriculum, you will have the opportunity to attend talks by leading scholars and public intellectuals, concerned with the questions of politics, philosophy and economics. You will have the chance to hear from practitioners, experts and policy-makers, who will give special guest lectures which are available to our PPE students.
  • Goldsmiths offers a uniquely dynamic undergraduate culture, with active student media and politics groups, through which you can gain practical experience and discover what excites you for your career ahead.

What you study

In the first year, you will take four modules: an introduction to economics, an introduction to philosophy, a module on contemporary issues in political economy (such as the financial crisis) and one of the existing politics first year modules.

The second year becomes more interdisciplinary and critical. It includes a module in political and economic anthropology, exploring the nature of money, property and markets. The philosophy module brings in elements of continental philosophy and critical theory.

In the third year, you will have the chance to choose from a large variety of modules, from across different departments, and also have the option to do a dissertation. This will allow you to draw on the skills you have acquired over the first two years, to take your own approach to the questions of politics, philosophy and economics. By the third year, we expect you to see various connections between the separate fields of politics philosophy and economics, and be able to combine them in critical and imaginative ways.

Find out more by looking at the Modules and Structure tab.

 


Equivalent qualifications

Scottish qualifications: ABBBB/ABBBC (Higher), AAC/ABC (Advanced Higher)
European Baccalaureate: 80%
Irish Leaving Certificate: A1 A1 A1 B2

Modules & structure

Each year consists of 120 credits, made up of core modules and optional modules.

Year 1

You are required to take the following core modules:

  • Issues in Political and Cultural Economy (30 credits)
  • Introduction to Economics (30 credits)
  • Philosophy: split into The Problem of Ethics (15 credits) and Introduction to Political Philosophy (15 credits)

You may choose one of the following 30-credit modules in Politics:

  • Politics of Other Cultures 
  • World Politics
  • UK and European Comparative Politics

Year 2

You are required to take the following core modules:

  • Economic and Political Anthropology (30 credits)
  • Economics (30 credits)
  • Critique and Reason (30 credits)

You may choose from a range of existing 15- and 30-credit modules that are available to second year students in the Department of Politics.

Year 3

In the third year you may choose from a list of interdisciplinary modules, including modules in Politics, Sociology, Anthropology and Cultural Studies. You will have the option to do a Dissertation, worth 30 Credits, on a topic of your choice, to be supervised by a member of staff suitable for the topic.

Read full module descriptions for Politics options. Additional modules will be introduced, geared towards the PPE degree.

Learning and teaching

On this degree you'll attend lectures and seminars where you'll hear about ideas and concepts related to specific topics, and where you'll be encouraged to discuss and debate the issues raised. This will enhance your academic knowledge of the subject, and will improve your communication skills.

The teachers are imaginative and innovative in their methods, to bring together theories and concrete examples. We use various assessment methods, such as asking you to write blog posts and contribute to Twitter discussions. Class presentations, writing various types of documents (such as a policy report) and collaborative work with other students are all important parts of our teaching process, which aims to give you confidence and practical experience in the skills that you will need later in your career.

But this is just a small proportion of what we expect you to do on the degree. For each hour of taught learning in lectures and seminars, we expect you to complete another 5-6 hours of independent study. This typically involves carrying out required and additional reading, preparing topics for discussion, or producing essays or project work.

This emphasis on independent learning is very important at Goldsmiths. We don't just want you to accept what we tell you without question. We want you to be inspired to read more, to develop your own ideas, and to find the evidence that will back them up. Independent study requires excellent motivation and time management skills. These skills will stay with you for life, and are the kind of transferable skills that are highly sought after by employers.

Learning and teaching on this degree will take place through:

- Lectures
- Seminars
- Independent learning
- Presentations
- Assessments
- The Goldsmiths Virtual Learning Environment

Skills and careers

Skills

This programme will develop you intellectually, and will enhance your transferable and communication skills – learning to plan your workload, to research solutions, and to express your ideas coherently.

Careers

Our graduates go on to a wide variety of careers. Some go on to postgraduate study or further training in law, accountancy, social work, business administration, or to specialise in one area of their academic studies, whilst others go directly into employment.

Recent graduates have found employment in administration and management; in various departments of central and local government; in finance, in the media; in research and computing; in voluntary agencies; in health, education and housing management; the probation service; in company management, and as lecturers and teachers.


About the departments

PPE at Goldsmiths is currently taught by staff from the Departments of Politics, Sociology and Anthropology. Economics staff are distributed across all of these Departments.

About the Department of Politics

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About Politics
At Goldsmiths politics goes beyond voting systems, parliaments and the conventional arenas of power.

And it looks beyond the West. We focus on conflict, cultures and crossing boundaries so we’re exploring clashes of ideas in the world that’s emerging, drawing on a range of disciplines and examining everything from anarchism to anime. We study a politics for the 21st Century, in which anarchism may be as important as liberalism and in which Asia and Africa will be as economically and geopolitically important as Europe and North America.

As a department we’re interested in what happens at the edges of cultures, societies or systems – but we’re also covering the core ground. So as a student here you’ll graduate with an excellent all-round Politics degree but you’ll also be able to take advantage of our specialist strengths in international relations, political theory, and art and politics.

Whether you want to study the gravitas of graffiti, the politics inside your own family, or social media and the Arab Spring, you’ll be able to debate your ideas within an award-winning department – scoring 22 out of 24 in the latest UK government teaching quality assessment – with the freedom to pursue the areas that interest you most.

Why choose Politics at Goldsmiths?

We’re unconventional. We see politics as an expansive discipline and use it as a lens to view the world. So you may be working on group projects, writing a blog, or submitting a Manga comic instead of an essay, but you’ll be at the sharp edge of the subject – our students’ coursework was described as ‘absolutely excellent’ in the 2010–11 external examiner assessment.

We’re challenging. Because we work beyond the boundaries of conventional politics, you graduate with a University of London degree that’s as rigorous as it is broad. And, we have a whole range of options to support and inspire you while you’re here, from personal tutor sessions and embedded work placements to Goldsmiths seminars and guest lectures.

We’re curious. It’s why we have specialists teaching the politics of China, India, Japan, and Africa. But it’s also why we want to know what you think. Come with an agenda of your own and test out your debating skills within small, diverse teaching groups led by an expert team of ‘passionate and enthusiastic’ staff (National Student Survey 2011).

At Goldsmiths you can:

• Choose from seven undergraduate degrees described as ‘theoretically rich and methodologically rigorous’ (2010–11 external assessment)

• Explore the character of the world, cross subject boundaries and develop the kind of critical thinking you can take into any career

• Learn Mandarin and study in China as part of our recently launched BA International Studies & Chinese

• Be part of a small friendly department where 92% of students say “the staff are good at explaining things” (National Student Survey 2011)

• Take advantage of an optional work placement in your third year [if you are enrolled in the BA IS degree]to apply your learning in a professional setting

• Study courses you can’t elsewhere from Anarchism to the Politics of Rhetoric

• Talk to your own personal tutor throughout your degree giving you guidance and feedback on your work

• Learn from academics who are experts in their field and published authors in their own right

• Go on to work within a range of areas – many of our graduates now work within NGOs and central government or use their skills within journalism and the media

Staff

Find out more about the specialisms of staff in the Department of Politics.

About the Department of Sociology

Sociology

 
 
 
 
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Discover different sides of life

Sociology studies the relationship between social structures and social actions. We study how people make their own histories but never under circumstances of their own choosing. Sociology at Goldsmiths is active, contemporary and inventive. We are as interested in the ‘global’ issues of poverty and injustice as we are in the ‘micro’ issues of identity and presentation of self. Sociology is a craft, a vocation and to study and engage with the subject can be transformative; once you have acquired a sociological imagination the world will never be the same for you again.

As a department we are interested in pushing the discipline forward. We are proud to be the joint top university for sociology in the UK (Research Assessment Exercise 2008) and we are known for pioneering ‘Live Sociology’ - focusing on contemporary issues, using innovative methods and celebrating the sociological imagination. It is an approach driven by our international research and it means that as a student here, you can delve into a whole host of topics; many you will be familiar with from previous study – class and stratification, race, gender, power - but much of which will be new – the digital, the body, culture and cities.

We want you to graduate with a sociology degree that has weight in the real world so we make sure you learn how to apply sociology’s core methods to particular areas of life now. Our courses are hands-on – giving you the opportunity to research and record an environment, create and analyse your own data, and draw your own conclusions. And you can apply the skills of sociological study to many careers – our graduates go on to work in a whole range of settings from research institutes to major record labels. 

Why choose Sociology at Goldsmiths?

We’re welcoming. Come and let us know what you think and learn through a combination of lectures, small group seminars, practical workshops and field trips, and from an approachable team of expert staff, many of whom have won awards for their teaching.

We are experimental. As a student here you can test out your ideas and get involved in the latest developments within the field. Because all of our staff teach their own specialisms, you find out about the latest research first.

We are active. This means you won’t be synthesising existing information but you will be generating data of your own, conducting your own primary research, and experiencing what it means to be a sociologist now.

At Goldsmiths you can:

• Choose from five undergraduate degrees covering areas from media and sociology to the social and political sciences

• Be part of an internationally recognised department whose research was rated ‘world class’ in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise

• Access unrivalled University of London research libraries, and gain a reader’s ticket to The British Library

• Engage with a programme that draws on a range of interdisciplinary subjects and looks at a whole range of areas from the technologies of medicine, to media, advertising and branding, and bodies.

• Be part of an international learning environment where everyone offers their own unique point of view

• Debate with academics who are experts in their field, published authors and media commentators in their own right

• Set up your own work placement to apply your skills in practice

• Access a range of research partners from UNICEF to Amnesty International, and from Intel to the BBC

Staff

The Department has 28 full-time academic staff, including nine Professors and nine professional staff, as well as part-time and research staff. We also have a number of visiting tutors.

We publish widely in the form of books, contributions to journals, and press articles. This means that you'll be taught by staff who are actually shaping the discipline.

Find out more about staff in the Department of Sociology. 

Facilities

In addition to extensive computing facilities, the Department co-ordinates a programme of talks featuring visiting lecturers from other universities. These talks cover specific areas of interest, and supplement events held by academics within the Department.

About the Department of Anthropology

What is normal?

It’s what anthropology is all about.

 

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Anthropology is a critical science that studies what it means to be human in different parts of the world. And at Goldsmiths it’s fast and it’s contemporary. We focus on how anthropology can help us understand society and our place within it, by applying anthropology as a local and global lens to explore everything from myth and ritual to new technologies.

As a department we’re interested in pushing the discipline forward – we’re known for pioneering new fields including visual anthropology and the anthropology of modernity – so as a student here you’ll get the chance to specialise in unique areas and look at subjects you can’t study elsewhere.

We want you to graduate with an anthropology degree that has weight in the real world so we make sure you learn anthropology’s core methods and theories together with specialist subject areas relevant to contemporary public life. It’s why our research, cited as ‘internationally excellent’ in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, is policy-oriented and addresses everyday issues in areas as diverse as urban planning, development, emotions and aesthetics, and new social movements.

Why study Anthropology at Goldsmiths?

  • The Department of Anthropology is exciting and multi-disciplinary, with specialists in a huge variety of areas of research
  • We're one of the most consistently innovative departments in Britain, and have been at the forefront of new fields in the discipline, including visual anthropology, the anthropology of development and rights, and the anthropology of media
  • We look at the subject from a contemporary perspective, which means that what you learn in the classroom will be relevant in a variety of public domains, in Britain and elsewhere
  • We currently have 16 permanent members of teaching staff and three administrative staff, as well as a large group of visiting tutors, and research fellows working on a range of exciting projects
  • We have approximately 250 undergraduate students, plus 80 Masters and 40 research postgraduate students
  • We also have close links with other departments and research centres at Goldsmiths, including the Centre for Cultural Studies, the Centre for Urban and Community Research, the Centre for the Study of the Balkans, Sociology, Psychology, HistoryMedia and Communications, and Social, Therapeutic and Community Studies
  • As a University of London student, you'll have the opportunity to attend seminars and courses throughout the University’s colleges and institutions, and can make use of the excellent library facilities at Senate House and fellow colleges

We have wide-ranging research links with other institutions, and our areas of specialisation include:

  • the environment
  • peasantries
  • post-socialism
  • kinship
  • gender
  • animals
  • medicine health and the body
  • anthropology of science and biotechnology
  • visual anthropology
  • development and rights
  • representation
  • material and popular culture
  • cultural politics
  • neo-colonialisms
  • postcolonialisms
  • history

Staff research interests cover many geographical regions including Latin America, North America, Africa, the Pacific, Asia, and Europe, including Britain.

Find out more about Goldsmiths


Content last modified: 14 Aug 2014

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