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Politics, Philosophy and Economics BA

Sheffield Methods Institute

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You are viewing this course for 2021-22 entry. 2022-23 entry is also available.

Key details

Course description

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Studying politics, philosophy and economics will help you understand the ideas and theories which shape our world. You'll learn how and why these subjects are intrinsically linked, and how they've developed alongside each other.

You'll also develop analytical skills to help you evaluate the impact of government policies of programmes.

You'll learn how to understand things from multiple perspectives and think creatively about problem solving. Our teaching is informed by real-world events that are happening now, so you'll be using the knowledge and techniques you've learned to tackle current issues.

For example, you could examine the impact of government policies aimed at addressing climate change, healthcare, education, and financial crisis. Our strong links with employers mean you'll be equipped with the analytical skills that they look for when you graduate.

You'll have the flexibility to specialise in your area of interest. For instance, you could choose to explore modules in international relations, economic history, the philosophy of religion, or macroeconomics.

We have a partnership with the Civil Service and we support students in gaining employment experience during their degree. We encourage you to spend a year working for governments, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other third sector employers focused on public policy.

You'll also have the option to spend a year studying abroad in order to develop your skills and understanding of Politics, Philosophy and Economics in a global setting.

You can specialise in quantitative economics and convert to a BSc Politics, Philosophy and Economics.

In the final year, you'll complete a PPE dissertation supported by a dissertation tutor.

Modules

The modules listed below are examples from the last academic year. There may be some changes before you start your course. For the very latest module information, check with the department directly.

If you want to specialise in economics then you can choose the BSc exit route. For this you'd need to take an extra economics module in your first year and then take more core economics modules in your second and third years compared to the BA route. 

Title: Politics, Philosophy and Economics BA L200 2021
UCAS code: L200
Years: 2021

Core modules:

Principles in Politics, Philosophy & Economics (PPE)

This module is designed to provide students on the PPE course with an understanding of how politics, philosophy, and economics are interrelated, as well as articulate the reasons why PPE is such an exciting interdisciplinary field of study. It will cover key theories and approaches in politics, philosophy, and economics that provide the foundation for the study of PPE as an interdisciplinary degree.

20 credits
Economy, Society and Public Policy (ESPP)

ESPP is for students who are interested in the big policy problems facing societies today ¿ inequality within and between countries, environmental sustainability, the future of work, health and wellbeing, wealth creation and financial instability and so on.
This module has been created specifically for social science students who are NOT economists, but who want to understand how the economy works, and how it can be made to work better.
The module will give you an understanding of the ways in which we can interpret the evidence on the social and economic issues of today, and formulate appropriate public policy interventions. We emphasise issues of power, social norms, fairness, institutions, etc, and illustrate throughout with real-world data.

20 credits

Optional politics modules - one from:

Introduction to Comparative Politics

This module examines the utility of the comparative approach to politics with a particular focus on democracies, dictatorships, and semi-democratic regimes. The key features of each regime type are considered and these are used to explain the nature of the comparative method, its strengths and weaknesses. This course also applies a comparative lens to processes such as democratisation, modernisation, and mobilisation. This course will draw on a wide range of examples from democratic, authoritarian, and semi-democratic countries.

20 credits
Introduction to International Relations

This module will introduce students to the discipline of International Relations (IR) and therefore the study of global politics. IR is a complex, multi-level and multi-actor field whose terrain spans global to individual issues. To provide a comprehensive introduction to IR, the module will focus on two questions: 1) What is the subject matter of IR? And 2) What is the unit of analysis? Structuring the module as such will introduce students to key debates in IR and provide a broad overview of the subject matter (from global governance to individual activism) and different actors (from the UN to terrorists).

20 credits
British Politics

This module will introduce students to key concepts and debates in British politics through an examination of post-1976 British political history. Each lecture will take as its starting-point one day in recent British history and will describe what happened on that day and what happened as a result of that day. Each of the seminars will then follow that discussion: paying particular attention to concepts and ideas within the study of politics which can help us make sense of those events.

20 credits
Introduction to Global Political Economy

This module provides an introduction to global political economy (GPE). It covers key mainstream and critical theories and considers critically what GPE is. Following this, the main focus will be on sketching the outlines of the global economy (past and present) by considering particular commodities. This provides a novel way to introduce the student to the major processes of global trade, finance and production. It also considers the political economy of race, class and gender as core theoretical themes that interweave the empirical examination of the global political economy, from roughly 1500 through to the 21st century.

20 credits
Introduction to Western Political Thought

This module provides an introduction to key themes and thinkers in Western political thought. It explores the different meanings of the nature of politics and the political in this tradition. One key theme will be the relation between human nature and politics. This will be explored through a series of deep conflicts between reason and desire, the state and individual, and the public and private. These conflicts are examined through the different visions of politics of a selection of ancient and early modern thinkers. The module will also engage with critiques of the canon of Western political thought itself, in particular from a postcolonial perspective.

20 credits

Optional philosophy modules - one from:

Self and Society

This course introduces students to central questions in political philosophy: Do we need a state, and if so, must we obey its laws? When, why and how may states punish citizen for failing to obey the law? What is freedom, and when are we free? Is equality a moral value, and if so, what are its implications for how governments ought to act? What is justice, and how does it relate to freedom, equality, and punishment? Should states be organised democratically, and what does it mean to live in a democracy? The course encourages students to think carefully and clearly about the relationship they have, as citizens, to each other and the state, and to develop their analytical and critical skills in the process. Readings will include influential, historical and contemporary discussions of the state, equality, freedom, justice, and democracy.

20 credits
Philosophy of Religion

This course will pose and try to answer philosophical questions about religion. These include questions about the nature of religion. For instance does being religious necessarily involve believing in the existence of a God or Gods? And is religious faith compatible with adherence to the scientific method? Other questions that the course will cover include questions about the theistic notion of God. Does the idea of an all-powerful being make sense? Is an all-knowing God compatible with human freedom? And is an all-powerful, all-knowing and perfectly good creator of the universe compatible with the existence of evil? Further questions concern God and morality. Is it true that if there is no God, then there is no right and wrong? The course will examine philosophical arguments for the existence of God, and question whether these arguments are sound.

10 credits
Reason and Argument

Arguments are everywhere - in our newspapers, on our television screens and radios, in books and academic papers, on blogs and other websites. We argue with our friends, families, teachers and taxi drivers. These arguments are often important; they help us to decide what to do, what to believe, whom to vote for, what car to buy, what career path to follow, or where we should attend university (and what we should study). The ability to recognise, evaluate and produce arguments is therefore immeasurably valuable in every aspect of life.

This course will teach you how to recognise an argument, how to understand it, how to evaluate and criticise it, and how to produce your own. Students in this module will learn how to extract an argument from a complex text, how to uncover hidden assumptions, and how to recognise and critique bad reasoning

10 credits
History of Ethics

How should we live? What is the right thing to do? This module offers a critical introduction to the history of western ethical thought, examining some of the key ideas of Plato, Aristotle, Hume, Kant, Wollstonecraft, Douglass, Bentham, Mill, Taylor Mill, Nietzsche, Rawls and Gilligan. It provides a textual introduction to some of the main types of ethical theory: the ethics of flourishing and virtue; rights-based approaches; utilitarianism; contractualism. We explore the close interconnections between ethics and other branches of philosophy (e.g. metaphysics, epistemology, aesthetics), as well as the connections between ethics and other disciplines (e.g. psychology; anthropology).

10 credits
Knowledge, Justification and Doubt

In our age of post-truth politics and fake news, this course aims to introduce students to philosophy by investigating some basic problems in epistemology (i.e. the philosophical study of knowledge). We will address questions such as: what knowledge is and why it is important; what truth is; what kinds of things can be known and how; if and how perceptual experience gives us knowledge of an external world; whether all knowledge has to be grounded in experience; whether knowledge is socially constructed (and if so whether that is necessarily problematic); what role justice plays in our epistemic practices.

10 credits
History of Philosophical Ideas

The history of philosophy is made up of a series of debates between competing philosophical traditions and schools: for example, idealists argue with realists, rationalists with empiricists. And at different times, distinctive philosophical movements have dominated the discussion, such as pragmatism, existentialism, phenomenology, analytic philosophy, and critical theory. This module will introduce you to some of these central movements and traditions in the history of philosophy from Plato onwards, and the key philosophical concepts and issues that they have brought in to western thought.

10 credits

Optional economics modules - one from:

Classical and Contemporary Thinkers in Economics

This module introduces students to a range of classical and contemporary economists, including the founders of the discipline and some Nobel Prize winners, past and present. For each economist, a senior member of the department will give a short biography, outline their contributions to the discipline of economics and the development of the subject, and explain how they have influenced their own thinking and research that is undertaken in economics today. Examples of the contribution of these economists to a range of economic issues will be used to illustrate the continuing relevance and application of their ideas.

20 credits
Mathematical Methods for Economics 1

The aims of this module are: 1. To give an insight into the importance of mathematical methods in economic analysis. 2. To introduce a range of mathematical techniques. 3. To give an understanding of how and when to apply the techniques. The module will include revision of basic concepts, algebra, equations, exponential and logarithmic functions, differential calculus, optimisation, geometry

20 credits
Mathematical Methods for Economics 2

The aims of this module are: 1. To give an insight into the importance of mathematical methods in economic analysis. 2. To introduce a range of mathematical techniques. 3. To give an understanding of how and when to apply the techniques. The module will include revision of basic concepts, algebra, equations, exponential and logarithmic functions, differential calculus, optimisation, geometry

20 credits

Plus one other first year module on this page.

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.

Learning and assessment

Learning

As a student on the Politics, Philosophy and Economics degree programme at the Sheffield Methods Institute you will be taught through a variety of methods including lectures, seminars to help you learn how to understand things from multiple perspectives and think creatively about problem-solving.

Our teaching is informed by real-world events that are happening now, you'll have the option to choose optional modules throughout your degree to enable you to use the knowledge and techniques you’ve learned to tackle current issues.

We invest to create the right environment for you. That means outstanding facilities, study spaces and support, including 24/7 online access to our online library service.

Study spaces and computers are available to offer you choice and flexibility for your study. Our five library sites give you access to over 1.3 million books and periodicals. You can access your library account and our rich digital collections from anywhere on or off campus. Other library services include study skills training to improve your grades, and tailored advice from experts in your subject.

Learning support facilities and library opening hours

You will benefit from the expertise and experience of our academics in the departments of Politics, Philosophy and Economics.

You’ll also study specialist PPE modules with our expert academics in the Sheffield Methods Institute who will teach you the methods and techniques to analyse and interrogate policy, skills that will set you apart from other graduates.

Assessment

You'll be assessed through a number of methods including essays, exams, group presentations and a final year dissertation.

Every student is assigned a personal tutor within the SMI who is there to support you throughout your studies.

Programme specification

This tells you the aims and learning outcomes of this course and how these will be achieved and assessed.

Find programme specification for this course

Entry requirements

With Access Sheffield, you could qualify for additional consideration or an alternative offer - find out if you're eligible

Standard offer
Access Sheffield offer

The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
AAA

The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
AAB

International Baccalaureate | 36 34

BTEC | D*DD in a relevant subject D*DD in a relevant subject

Scottish Highers | AAAAA AAAAB

Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels | A + AA B + AA

Access to HE Diploma | 60 credits overall in a social sciences subject with Distinctions in 39 Level 3 credits and Merits in 6 Level 3 credits 60 credits overall in a social sciences subject with Distinctions in 36 Level 3 credits and Merits in 9 Level 3 credits

Mature students - explore other routes for mature students

English language requirements

You must demonstrate that your English is good enough for you to successfully complete your course. For this course we require: GCSE English Language at grade 4/C; IELTS grade of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component; or an alternative acceptable English language qualification

Equivalent English language qualifications

Visa and immigration requirements

Other requirements
  • GCSE Maths grade 6 or B

We also accept a range of other UK qualifications and other EU/international qualifications.

If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

Sheffield Methods Institute

Undergraduate class at Sheffield Methods Institute

The international jobs market is going to need a different kind of social science graduate. We're leading the way with two innovative degrees.

Today, social science graduates are expected to have more than one area of expertise. Our degrees are taught by experts from across the social sciences faculty so you're not limited to just one subject. We also have a strong focus on research skills that will set you apart from other graduates.

We're committed to providing individual support to help you succeed - while you're a student with us and after you graduate. Work experience and practical skills are a big part of our degrees. They're built into our courses so you'll have opportunities to go on work placements, for short periods or for a whole year, and you'll learn methods used by the world's leading social sciences researchers.

Our courses draw on research and teaching expertise from across Sheffield's highly-rated Faculty of Social Sciences. Our academics are highly respected leaders within their fields and are working at the cutting edge of their disciplines. Their world-class research addresses the major challenges facing society and it drives and enhances our teaching.

As part of one of the most diverse social science centres in the country, the Sheffield Methods Institute sits within the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Sheffield situated in the ICOSS building, near the centre of our campus.

We timetable teaching across the whole of our campus, the details of which can be found on our campus map. Teaching may take place in ICOSS, but may also be timetabled to take place within other departments or central teaching space.

Facilities

At the SMI we bring together the brightest talents in the fields of quantitative and qualitative research methods. Our students have access to our specially-developed data laboratories and learn from our expert staff.

Sheffield Methods Institute

Why choose Sheffield?

The University of Sheffield

  A Top 100 university 2021
QS World University Rankings

  Top 10% of all UK universities
Research Excellence Framework 2014

  No 1 Students' Union in the UK
Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2019, 2018, 2017


Sheffield Methods Institute

World Top 100 for social sciences

Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020

UK top 10 for social sciences

Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020


Student profiles

Portrait photograph of student ambassador Narnie Furlong

I really enjoy the small size of the department because I’ve been able to form great friendships with my peers and good relationships with the lecturers, meaning that I don’t just feel like a number or a statistic.

Georgiana Furlong
Sheffield Methods Institute student

Graduate careers

This degree prepares you for work in government, NGOs and other third sector employers, and organisations focused on understanding, interpreting and advocating in the public policy arena. We'll teach you the principles and skills to start your career and make an impact in the workplace.

Sheffield Methods Institute

Our courses have been specifically designed to meet the growing demand for social science researchers with data analysis skills. You might choose to apply your skills in the public or private sector, for a charity or an NGO.

Previous students from the SMI have gone into analyst roles in local government and the private sector. Some have gone onto research positions and others have started their own business.

Fees and funding

Fees

Additional costs

The annual fee for your course includes a number of items in addition to your tuition. If an item or activity is classed as a compulsory element for your course, it will normally be included in your tuition fee. There are also other costs which you may need to consider.

Examples of what’s included and excluded

Funding your study

Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for a bursary, scholarship or loan to help fund your study and enhance your learning experience.

Use our Student Funding Calculator to work out what you’re eligible for.

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Open days: book your place

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At various times in the year we run online taster sessions to help Year 12 students experience what it is like to study at the University of Sheffield.

Upcoming taster sessions

Applicant days

If you've received an offer to study with us, we'll invite you to one of our applicant days, which take place between November and April. These applicant days have a strong department focus and give you the chance to really explore student life here, even if you've visited us before.

Campus tours

Campus tours run regularly throughout the year, at 1pm every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Book your place on a campus tour

Apply for this course

Make sure you've done everything you need to do before you apply.

How to apply When you're ready to apply, see the UCAS website:
www.ucas.com

The awarding body for this course is the University of Sheffield.

Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.

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Explore this course:

    2021-2022