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MA Politics, Philosophy and Economics

UCAS code: L251

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Social and Political Science

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA Politics, Philosophy and Economics

Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) examines different interdisciplinary perspectives on many of the pressing issues of the modern world.

This programme will equip you with the key skills to engage with the political, philosophical and economic debates of the day. You will be able to pursue a variety of career paths after graduation.

You will gain the necessary frameworks for thinking about political and philosophical issues, combined with the quantitative skills for answering political and economic questions.


Politics is concerned with:

  • the choices that political systems must regularly make
  • explaining the processes that maintain or change those systems
  • examining the concepts and values used in political analysis


Philosophy helps you develop analytical rigour and logical reasoning, and addresses questions regarding how we acquire knowledge and make ethical judgements.


Economics studies the allocation of resources and decision-making by consumers, firms and governments. It is increasingly central to:

  • governmental policy-making
  • the conduct of businesses
  • the enormous economic transformations throughout the world

Year 1

In Year 1, you will take these introductory courses, which cover all three subjects:

  • Politics and International Relations 1A: Concepts and Debates
  • Political Thinkers (an introduction to political theory)
  • Morality and Value
  • Economics 1 (a full year introduction to core economic models and analysis)

You will also choose one of the following courses:

  • Introduction to the History of Philosophy
  • Logic 1

Year 2

In Year 2, you will study these courses, which cover all three subjects:

  • International Political Economy
  • Economics 2 (a full year, intermediate-level course on micro-and macroeconomic analysis)
  • Mind, Matter, and Language
  • Knowledge and Reality
  • Statistical Methods for Economics


In order to progress to honours level, you will be required to:

  • achieve a mark of 50% or more in all your Year 2 required courses in politics and philosophy
  • pass Economics 2 and Statistical Methods for Economics

Year 3

Year 3 is the first year of honours, where you'll be able to specialise further in your studies.

You can choose two single-semester courses from a range of honours options offered in both politics and philosophy.

You will also choose from four pairings of courses in economics.

Year 4

You will choose to complete a dissertation in politics, philosophy or economics. You will also choose to specialise in two of the three subjects.

Specialisation involves taking courses worth 80 credits in those two subjects, with a maximum of 60 credits from each subject.

Programme structure

Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.

To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.

Programme structure (2023/24)

Our facilities

The majority of teaching on this programme takes place at facilities within the University's Central Area. You will have access to the University's library and computer facilities.

Home to the Scottish Parliament, the city of Edinburgh offers the perfect location for studying politics. We offer you a dynamic environment regularly hosting leading international academics, politicians and diplomats.

Take a virtual tour

You can take a closer look at the School of Social and Political Science and the School of Economics. Explore our facilities and campus on the University's Virtual Visit site.

Take a virtual tour of the School of Social and Political Science

Take a virtual tour of the School of Economics

Study abroad

You will have the opportunity to study abroad in Year 3 through an international exchange programme.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

You will be taught mainly through a combination of:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • tutorials
  • skills hours

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through a diverse set of components, such as:

  • essays
  • exams
  • policy briefs
  • group presentations
  • tutorial participation exercises

This programme equips you with the skills that attract employers. It will open doors to a wide range of exciting and well-paid careers across a range of sectors, including:

  • government
  • public policy
  • banking and finance
  • the third sector

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: AAAAA (achievement by end of S5 preferred). BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S5.
  • A Levels: A*AA.
  • IB: 39 points with 666 at HL.

Minimum entry requirement

The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S5.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:

  • SQA: Highers: Mathematics at B. Higher Applications of Mathematics is not accepted in place of Higher Mathematics. National 5s: English at C.
  • A Levels: Mathematics at B, or AS Mathematics at A. GCSEs: English at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: Mathematics at 5. SL: English at 5 and Mathematics at 6 (if not at HL).

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

International Foundation Programme

If you are an international student and your school qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to the University you may be eligible for admission to this degree programme through our International Foundation Programme.

International Foundation Programme

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant qualifications

Regardless of your nationality or country of residence, you must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.


For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:

  • SQA National 5 at C
  • GCSE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate at C
  • IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 5.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 162 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 54 in each component.

(Revised 29 August 2023 to remove PTE Academic Online)

We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.

Unless you are a national of a majority English speaking country, your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start of the month in which the degree you are applying to study begins. If you are using an IELTS, PTE Academic, TOEFL or Trinity ISE test, it must be no more than two years old on the first of the month in which the degree begins, regardless of your nationality.

English language requirements

This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.

It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.

Please note that some programmes do not have Discover Uni data available.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for MA Politics, Philosophy and Economics

Additional costs

Economics textbooks are required, which cost about £100.


For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding