Philosophy, Politics and Economics

Develop a deep understanding of the political context and the human condition by thinking through the boundaries of Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from a rigorous interdisciplinary perspective.

About the Major

The Department of Philosophy offers a concentration in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) that is an interdisciplinary approach to the study of topics, texts and concerns that exist at the intersection of these three fields. Theories of justice, rights, freedoms, individual liberty and property are among the avenues explored. Coursework offers an understanding of the political context and the human condition and is designed to enrich the students' experience of each discipline while offering a breadth of study not available in any one disciplinary major. The program facilitates the development of a better perspective of the boundaries and scope of these disciplinary approaches. For example, in economics coursework a student will learn the principles of markets and how they display the effects of various incentive structures. The same student, in her political science coursework may begin to understand the political context in which such markets operate. And, from philosophy, the PPE student would learn some of the long, rich tradition of theories that ground both political and economic approaches to understanding the human condition, as well as explore the ethical implications of political and economic action.

The Concentration requires 39 credit hours with a nine-course PPE core and three electives taken in any one of the PPE disciplines. A Senior Thesis is also required.

About the Minor

Completion of the PPE concentration satisfies both the major and minor requirements for graduation in the College of Liberal Arts.

Departmental Honors

Students with a PPE major may earn departmental honors by maintaining a 3.5 gpa in their PPE courses and earning a distinguished pass on their Senior Thesis.

Outreach and Engaged Learning

The Center for the Teaching of America's Western Foundations regularly sponsors reading groups and events particularly relevant to PPE students and their interests.PPE students will be given opportunities to apply to participate in these reading groups and to have conversations with scholars from other institutions who come to Mercer to deliver lectures and participate in other Center activities.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Seniors are required to complete a thesis on a topic approved by a committee of three faculty members to coordinate the curriculum.

Students interested in pursuing PPE research before the Senior Thesis can work with PPE faculty in directed reading courses.

Faculty Interface and Class Size

PPE students work directly and personally with Mercer faculty. Upon declaration of the Concentration, students form a committee of three faculty members from each of the three disciplines to coordinate their curriculum. One of these faculty members will become the advisor to the student's senior thesis, and all three committee members will confer on all decisions relevant to that student's course of study (e.g. senior thesis topics, judgments regarding whether or not a particular course should be allowed to substitute for a PPE elective, etc.). These faculty committees offer students close guidance throughout the course of study, as well as beyond graduation.

Lower division PPE courses are taught in their disciplines and enroll anywhere from 15 to 35 students.Upper division courses are generally smaller seminar classes of 12-18 students.

Beyond Mercer

PPE is ideal training for law school, graduate school in any of the PPE disciplines.Because of its interdisciplinary nature, PPE also creates an apt foundation for jobs in public policy, management training programs, and post-graduate opportunities in service (such as Peace Corps and Teach for America).

Other opportunities include:

Need More Information?

Visit the department's Website.