Politics, Philosophy, and Economics coming to Western University

September 14, 2017

Politics, Philosophy and Economics

The Department of Economics is collaborating with Political Science and Philosophy to offer a new limited enrolment program, one with roots at Oxford University.

Politics, Philosophy, and Economics (PPE) brings together courses from three of Western’s top-rated departments to prepare students for leadership roles in Canadian and international politics, law, public policy, economics and business.

PPE students will gain an integrated understanding of the political, economic and moral dimensions of social welfare, the economy, institutions, and public policy.

The PPE program builds on the success of Honors Specialization in Economics, Politics & Philosophy, (EPP), previously offered by the Department of Economics.

Ryan Howson completed the EPP module in 2017. He said “it is a perfect module for students who want to apply analytical, economic thinking to the real world - policy, politics and current affairs. It's tough to find another degree that strikes such a good balance between developing quantitative skills and equipping students to use them to solve real problems.”

PPE is broader than the previous offering. Conceived as a fully interdisciplinary program it was developed jointly by the three departments. The program more fully blends courses from the three disciplines, and includes gateway and capstone PPE courses, taught jointly by faculty from the three departments, that integrate and contrast the three approaches.

“Economics, political science, and philosophy provide unique lenses for understanding today’s pressing issues, for example, the environment, unemployment, immigration, and homelessness,” said Terry Sicular, professor in the Department of Economics. “The PPE program provides an opportunity to delve deeply into such issues and to explore policy solutions.”

The PPE program at Western also has its roots in the 100-year old program at Oxford University that has created generations of leaders in business, government and the media.

The Oxford program has produced many politicians, including three British Prime Ministers, as well as Prime Ministers of Australia, Pakistan, Peru and Thailand.

“Today’s leaders face challenging problems that can only be solved with insights from different disciplines,” said Laura Stephenson, Professor of Political Science. “PPE prepares students, with knowledge from economics, philosophy and politics.”

Program enrolment will be limited, with a small program cohort encouraging the creation of a community of students and providing opportunities to integrate knowledge across the disciplines based on a common foundation.

“Good philosophers, like good economists and political scientists, relentlessly question the status quo,” said Andrew Botterell, Professor of Philosophy. “This is precisely what we want our PPE students to do.”

Students will have the opportunity to register during the March 2018 intent to register period, with the first PPE courses offered in fall 2018.