The work below was created and submitted by
current and former PPE students
How do you apply to PPE?
In the fall of your sophomore year the PPE Program Administrator will send out an email to the entire sophomore class directing applicants to send in a transcript, PPE-relevant resume, and short essay about their fit and interest in the PPE program. Students receive their acceptances that same semester and start their PPE classes in the spring.
Any tips on the application?
The application is not meant to be a scary process, enrollment limits are simply a necessity given the commitment to tutorial instruction. In approaching it, make sure to address not only why the program would be a good fit for you but also why you would be a good fit for the program.
Also, if possible, talk to PPE students or professors! We are usually happy to chat and to help you get a better understanding of the program.
How many students get accepted to PPE every year?
Upon acceptance, the PPE professors sort students into two tracks: Sexton and Murty. Each track has approximately 12 students, so 24 students on average are accepted each year.
What are tracks and how are people placed in them?
PPE students take all of their class over three years with the members of their track or cohort. Each of the tracks has a different set of professors who cover similar, but not identical, material. In deciding track placement, professors focus mostly on creating equally strong and equally diverse groups that will work well together over time.
What is the structure of PPE?
PPE is a three year program, meaning that it is a three year commitment. You go through six classes with your cohort as a group. After applying in the fall of sophomore year, accepted students start taking classes in the spring. Each of your three years in the program is dedicated to a different subject, philosophy in the spring of your sophomore year you take philosophy, politics in the spring of your junior year, and economics in either the fall or spring of your senior year (depending on the schedule of your professor). In each semester you take two classes– seminar and tutorial.
What exactly are seminar and tutorial?
Seminar, much like in any other major, is a weekly three hour discussion.
Tutorial, on the other hand, is distinctive to PPE. It involves a one hour discussion each week with just you, your professor, and one other student. Students take turns writing a paper on the readings one week and responding to another student’s paper the following week. This means that every two weeks, students get a new partner. As such, every week you will either write a five page paper or a two page comment. Your five page paper analyzes the reading and either critiques it or tries to put it in a new context. Comments do the same thing but instead of responding to the reading, they respond to the other student’s paper. You send your five page paper to your professor and your partner before tutorial; your partner will write their response and either bring copies to tutorial or turn it in a little in advance.
Are the classes multidisciplinary?
A big bonus of the structure of PPE is that the cohort has a shared background of readings and conversations.This allows you to have extended conversations across the disciplines that last longer than a single semester and that span and draw from all of the PPE subjects.
What is the difference between PPE and just dual majoring in any two of the subjects?
Many of the differences have already been catalogued above: the cohort system which allows for close community and shared long-term learning, the tutorial system which improves your communication skills, and the multidisciplinary nature of your conversations are just some of the differences between PPE and dual majors.
Should I be intimidated by the amount of reading and writing?
PPE is certainly a lot of work and that work can be more or less challenging for different individuals. However, the program really is built to ease you in and to give you time to learn and get used to the workload.
Can I study abroad with PPE?
Absolutely! Just be mindful of when your PPE classes are because you cannot reschedule them. Most PPE students study abroad in the fall of their junior year.
Can I be on a sports team with PPE?
Absolutely! There are many athletes in PPE, it simply requires planning to balance the two commitments.
Can I dual or double major with PPE?
Absolutely! Many PPEers dual or double major. PPE actually has relatively few requirements and provides a lot of flexibility to take on another major or a sequence. Again, it simply requires planning.