Undergraduate prospectus 2021


Philosophy, Politics and Economics BSc

The BSc aims to provide breadth and depth in understanding social and political phenomena and the principles informing, and consequences following, policy choices. Teaching across UCL's highly regarded Departments of Philosophy, Political Science, and Economics combines an education in social sciences and philosophy with a comprehensive grounding in research methods.

Covid-19 programme updates

Due to COVID-19, there may have been updates to this programme for the 2020 academic year. Where there has been an update, these are indicated with a red alert and a link which will provide further information.

Key Information

Programme starts

September 2020
UCAS code
Full-time: 3 years
Application deadline
15 January 2020
London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

A Levels

A* in Mathematics
English Language and Mathematics at grade C or 5. For UK-based students, a grade C or 5 or equivalent in a foreign language (other than Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew or Latin) is required. UCL provides opportunities to meet the foreign language requirement following enrolment, further details at: www.ucl.ac.uk/ug-reqs

Contextual offer

A*BB (more about contextual offers)
A* in Mathematics
English Language and Mathematics at grade C or 5. For UK-based students, a grade C or 5 or equivalent in a foreign language (other than Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew or Latin) is required. UCL provides opportunities to meet the foreign language requirement following enrolment, further details at: www.ucl.ac.uk/ug-reqs

IB Diploma

A score of 19 points in three higher level subjects including 7 in Mathematics, with no score lower than 5.

Contextual offer

36 (more about contextual offers)
A score of 17 points in three higher level subjects including grade 7 in Mathematics, with no score lower than 5.

UK applicants qualifications

For entry requirements with other UK qualifications accepted by UCL, choose your qualification from the list below:

Equivalent qualification

Not acceptable for entrance to this programme.

Not acceptable for entrance to this programme.

D2,D3,D3 in three Cambridge Pre-U Prinicipal Subjects, with D2 in Mathematics.

A1,A,A-A,A,A at Advanced Highers (or A1,A at Advanced Higher and A,A,A at Higher - A,A at Advanced Higher and A,A,A at Higher), with A1 in Mathematics.

Successful completion of the WBQ Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate plus 2 GCE A-Levels at grades A*AA. A* in Mathematics required.

International applications

In addition to A level and International Baccalaureate, UCL considers a wide range of international qualifications for entry to its undergraduate degree programmes.

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency. Information about the evidence required, acceptable qualifications and test providers can be found on our English language requirements page.

The English language level for this programme is: Advanced

A variety of English language programmes are offered at the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education.

Degree benefits

  • Enjoy a learning environment created by UCL's internationally recognised Research Departments of Philosophy, Political Science, and Economics.

  • Acquire applied and policy knowledge with UCL's PPE programme, housed in UCL Political Science - home of our Policy and Practice Seminar series with its eminent list of speakers.

  • Gain the skills needed to provide evidence for policy problems and prepare for research and work inside and outside academia. Study a breadth of methods or choose the Quantitative Methods stream.

  • Take a degree inspired by UCL's founding tradition in political economy and its historic Bloomsbury location.

Degree structure

In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual modules, normally valued at 15 or 30 credits, adding up to a total of 120 credits for the year. Modules are assessed in the academic year in which they are taken. The balance of compulsory and optional modules varies from programme to programme and year to year. A 30-credit module is considered equivalent to 15 credits in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

In year one students take modules introducing the three disciplines and the principles of social and political analysis.

In years two and three students choose modules in two disciplines (politics and philosophy or politics and economics) and in research methods. A limited number of study abroad placements may be available (subject to first-year grades) for students who wish to undertake a year abroad, in year three of a four-year programme.

The final year includes a dissertation or independent research and brings the three disciplines back together in a multidisciplinary capstone course on policy problems.

A sustained policy and methods focus distinguishes the UCL PPE and for students wishing to specialise there is a separate Quantitative Methods (QM) stream, provided by the UCL Q-Step Centre.


An indicative guide to the structure of this programme, year by year.

Core or compulsory module(s)

You are required to take the following three compulsory modules (all students)

  • Introduction to Politics (30 credits)
  • Economics (30 credits)
  • Introduction to Political Philosophy (15 credits)

Students entering the Economics and Politics concentration will take Introduction to Mathematics for Economics (15 credits) 

Students entering the Philosophy and Politics concentration will take Principles of Social Science Research (15 credits)

Students entering the QM stream will take Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods (15 credits).

Students entering the Mixed Method stream will take Modern Classics in Political Analysis (15 credits)

Optional modules

15 credits from the option modules offered by Philosophy

  • Early Modern Philosophy (15 credits) OR
  • Introduction to Moral Philosophy (15 credits)

Core or compulsory module(s)

In the second year students follow their chosen concentration and streams and select modules in line with these and the programme structure. 

Economics and Politics concentration:

  • Public Policy (15 credits)
  • Microeconomics (30 credits)
  • Macroeconomics (30 credits)

Philosophy and Politics concentration:

  • Public Policy (15 credits)

Additionally it is compulsory for students in the Quantitative Methods stream to take Data Analysis (30 credits) and students on the Philosophy and Politics concentation mixed methods stream to take Introduction to Quantitative Methods (15 Credits).

Optional modules

Students will select one or two politics modules (depending on their chosen concentration) from British Politics, International Conflict and Cooperation, Democracy and Authoritarianism, Authority, Democracy and Resistance and The Ethics of Crime and Punishment

Students from the Philosophy and Politics concentration (mixed methods stream) will take 30 credits from research methods modules (which must include Introduction to Quantitative Methods) and 45 credits from modules offered from the Department of Philosophy 

Students from the Economics and Politics concentration (mixed methods stream) will only take 15 credits of research methods modules. 

Students on the quantitative methods (Q-step stream) do not take any research methods modules

For more information on modules, please visit UCL Module Catalogue

Core or compulsory module(s)

In the third year all students attend:

  • Multidisciplinary Capstone Policy (15 credits)
  • Dissertation/Independent Research Module (15 credits)

Additionally it is compulsory for students in the Quantitative Methods stream to take Measurement in Data Science (15 credits) and Causal Analysis (15 credits).

Optional modules

All students must take 30 credits from modules offered by Political Science.

All students must take 30 credits in their chosen concentration, from Philosophy or Economics.

Mixed methods stream students must take a 15 credit methods module.

Mixed methods stream students must also take an additional 15 credits from Political Science or an additional 15 credits from either discipline in their chosen concentration (Philosophy or Economics).

Covid-19 module updates
Due to COVID-19, there may be updates to the modules for your chosen programme of study this year. Some modules may not be available or may need to be moved to a later term or year of study. These updates are relevant for 2020-21 academic year only.  The full list of modules will be available in the module catalogue from late August.  From the first week of September, you will be invited to complete module selection from Portico, our student record system. There may need to be additional updates or changes to modules during the academic year to allow for new guidance from the UK Government and Public Health England. Your department shall keep you updated of these changes as they become available

Your learning

Teaching is based on lectures and seminars across the three participating departments. Normally lectures are accompanied by small-group seminars or tutorials that allow for an in-depth and participatory approach to the topic.

Covid-19 contact hours on campus
In Term One, while campus will be open, all the learning activity for the core content of your modules will take place online – including lectures, tutorials, seminars and assessments. By “core content” we mean everything you need to learn to complete the module successfully. In addition to these online contact hours, we will be offering some face-to-face educational activities for students on campus, and we will provide alternative online activities for those students unable to join us on campus. These activities, which will include contact with academic staff, will be relevant to your programme of study may include seminars, academic and employability skills workshops, small-group or individual tutorials, lab and practice-based teaching. UK Government safety guidelines will limit the amount of ‘in person’ activity we can offer and while it will vary from programme to programme, is likely to be no more than 1-2 hours per week. This will vary across departments, particularly if your programme includes laboratory/practical/studio/workshop sessions. You will be updated with more specific details as they are available and your timetable will indicate which sessions will be on campus and which will be available online.
Communicating further Covid-19 mitigation plans
We are continuing to follow UK Government guidance, as well as the expertise of our researchers, including specialists in health, education, human behaviour and infection prevention, to make sure UCL is as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. If it becomes necessary to make further changes to your programme as a result of new guidance/regulations, UCL and your department will communicate these as soon as this becomes clear. We will keep you up-to-date with our plans throughout term one, so you have the information you need to be able to take decisions that are right for your circumstances. Please ensure that you keep in touch with your department by regularly checking your UCL emails, Moodle courses, the Coronavirus FAQs for Students page and any UCL online groups or social media you follow.


Assessment includes essays, examinations and an independent research project or dissertation. Graded coursework and comments prepare the students for the dissertation and independent research projects.

Covid-19 assessment updates
There may be changes to the format of assessments for modules in this programme due to COVID-19. These will be summarised for each module on the module catalogue from 17 August 2020.   If any changes to assessments need to be made during the academic year due to updates in government guidance, these will be communicated to you as soon as possible from your department.    

Detailed course descriptions are available on the department website: Philosophy, Politics and Economics BSc.


The Philosophy, Politics and Economics degree exposes students to the modes of reasoning, types of evidence, and methods used by the three disciplines, a concentration in two disciplines, and case examples of the contributions of a multidisciplinary approach to complex problems.

The degree combines an education in social sciences and philosophy with a sustained treatment of the methods of social and normative inquiry. Drawing on multiple lines of inquiry, the degree prepares students for the contemporary and increasing likelihood of a multi-career working life.

Philosophy, Politics and Economics BSc is the gold standard of multidisciplinary degrees for those seeking careers in the public sector, the media and the policy community.

UCL is commited to helping you get the best start after graduation. Read more about how UCL Careers and UCL Innovation and Enterprise can help you find employment or learn about entrepreneurship.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

The fees indicated are for undergraduate entry in the 2020/21 academic year. The UK/EU fees shown are for the first year of the programme at UCL only. Fees for future years may be subject to an inflationary increase. The Overseas fees shown are the fees that will be charged to 2020/21 entrants for each year of study on the programme, unless otherwise indicated below.

UK/EU students
£9,250 (2020/21)
Overseas students
£21,260 (2020/21)

Full details of UCL's tuition fees, tuition fee policy and potential increases to fees can be found on the UCL Students website.

Additional costs

If you are concerned by potential additional costs for books, equipment, etc. on this programme, please get in touch with the relevant departmental contact (details given on this page).


Various funding options are available, including student loans, scholarships and bursaries. UK students whose household income falls below a certain level may also be eligible for a non-repayable bursary or for certain scholarships. Please see the Fees and funding pages for more details.

Departmental scholarships

Funding opportunities relevant to the department may appear in this section when they are available. Please check carefully or confirm with the programme contact to ensure they apply to this degree programme.

The Scholarships and Funding website lists scholarships and funding schemes available to UCL students. These may be open to all students, or restricted to specific nationalities, regions or academic department.

Application and next steps

Your application

Entry to this programme is highly competitive. Typically, people who have received an offer to study PPE at UCL have been predicted an A* in Mathematics. Your academic qualifications, as well as other evidence of a serious commitment to the study of social and political phenomena and an interest in public policy will be assessed.

How to apply

Application for admission should be made through UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). Applicants currently at school or college will be provided with advice on the process; however, applicants who have left school or who are based outside the United Kingdom may obtain information directly from UCAS.

Application deadline: 15 January 2020


Selection is made on the basis of information contained in the UCAS application and the reference supplied.

For further information on UCL's selection process see: Selection of students.

Page last modified on 8 October 2020