The work below was created and submitted by
current and former PPE students
The CMC PPE Program’s multidisciplinary approach equips students to grapple with its three core areas of study, teaching them how to think and articulate their thoughts across disciplines and spheres of action. Thus, when PPE graduates step into the boardroom, the public forum, the courtroom, or the halls of academia they can bring with them not only a broad range of knowledge but the ability to engage comprehensively with any new issue they encounter. Say you are considering virtually any issue of import in the public, private, or non-profit sphere — a new education policy, benefits profile for your company, approach to intellectual property, or partial solution to the plight of refugees. Three kinds of questions immediately arise. First, is such an innovation just and fair? Second, is it legally permissible and politically feasible? Third, is such a move economically efficient? If the initiative fails any of these three tests, it is likely one you should rethink.
It follows that if you lack the tools to engage with one of these three questions, you cannot be confident that such a move is a good one, and you cannot respond effectively to someone who dismisses or critiques the decision along any of the above dimensions. How then can you develop the basic tools to be able to frame each of these three vital questions and respond effectively to each of these dismissive moves – these conversational stops? The Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Program at CMC is structured to provide an answer to just this question; recognition of the need to provide such an answer accounts for the explosive development of such programs in the US and around the world.
CMC’s PPE Program is one of the oldest in the US, and the one most closely modelled on the original PPE Program at Oxford. Like Oxford’s Program, and unlike almost any other PPE Program in the United States, the tutorial method of instruction, with weekly 2 on 1 student faculty meetings and weekly writing assignments, is central to PPE at CMC. Again like Oxford’s, CMC’s Program is multidisciplinary, not interdisciplinary. The focus is upon equipping students to bring these distinct analytical lenses to bear, not upon somehow transcending their distinctiveness.
Unlike Oxford, we are also committed to a cohort model of education. Each PPE student participates in a 3 year long inquiry with 11 other students, building each year upon the knowledge and insights gained up to that point. Thus, students take a seminar and tutorial relating to a single topic in each of their final three years at CMC, with sophomore year focusing on philosophy, junior year on politics, and senior year on economics. To facilitate rich conversations, the PPE Program places particular emphasis upon bringing students with a wide diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives into each cohort, and upon facilitating a dynamic and respectful engagement across these differences. It maintains this commitment through ongoing relationships with the CARE center and other on-campus groups, and through the development of a diverse slate of readings and topics of discussion.
The Program is highly intensive in speaking, writing, and reading. These well-developed skills combined with the multiple PPE lenses equip our students to frame problems effectively and see the big picture, to present, advocate, and defend their commitments, and to demonstrate maximum flexibility in a world that demands nothing less.