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EducationMaster's and PhD degree programmesPhilosophy, Politics and Economics
Header image Philosophy, Politics and Economics

Philosophy, Politics and Economics

Does globalisation undermine social solidarity? Does populism threaten our democracies? How do we encourage corporate social responsibility? And how can we rise to the challenge of climate change?

Our world today faces complex challenges that cannot be tackled by one discipline alone. We need an approach that cuts across boundaries. Our selective one-year Master’s programme in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) offers this interdisciplinary approach. The programme aims at ambitious students with a wide range of interests – students who want to explore the philosophical dimensions of political and economic issues and develop and apply their critical thinking tools. If you are interested to work at the interface between politics, economics and philosophy, this is your master's programme.

What will you learn? The programme will equip you with the central theoretical and methodological tools from PPE that allow you to understand and critically examine complex problems ranging from global poverty to the financial crisis. You will learn to analyse the political and economic complexities of organizational structures. You will see what is at stake in theories of democracy, collective decision‐making, rational choice, social inequality and economic growth. And you will learn how to apply theoretical insights to concrete policy problems both locally and globally.

Facts & Figures
Degree
MSc in Philosophy, Politics and Economics
Course type
Master
Duration
12 months (60 ECTS)
Croho code
69321
Language of instruction
English
Start
September
Faculty
Philosophy

Attractions of PPE in Groningen

Talent grants and tuition waivers

  • We offer two grants of €5000 to the most talented non-EU/EEA applicants.
  • Non-EU/EEA students will receive a tuition waiver of 50%.

Find all information about our PPE talent grants and tuition waivers

Scholarship

Admitted prospective students from outside the EU/EEA can apply for the Holland Scholarship.

Read more
Why study this programme in Groningen?

In 2018, our programme received the highest overall rating out of all Master programmes in the Netherlands in the national student satisfaction survey. The average over-all score came to 4.9 out of 5!

PPE should be more than the addition of P, P and E. Rather than studying the three disciplines separately, the PPE master's programme in Groningen is unique in teaching PPE as a genuinely integrative discipline. Moreover, our programme offers a distinctive combination of theory and practice: you will learn to apply theories and methods to policy issues.

We combine a thorough interdisciplinary PPE foundation with ample opportunities for specialization. Our core courses and policy seminars provide the foundation, and our wide range of electives allow you to delve deeper into one or more of the disciplinary fields.

Our instructors are of top international quality. The Faculty of Philosophy, for example, is ranked as the best place to study philosophy in the Netherlands. Our small class sizes allow us to provide a close personalised approach, and a personal mentor will guide you through your studies.

Programme

The one‐year (60 ECTS) programme consists of nine modules of 5 ECTS each and a 15 ECTS Master thesis. Three of these nine modules constitute the academic core of the programme: Methods of PPE, Theories of PPE, and History of PPE. In two PPE seminars, knowledge from Methods and Theories is applied to policy issues. Four PPE electives and a Master thesis complete the programme.

Periods
CoursesCourse Catalog >1234
Elective 1
Methods of PPE
Theories of PPE
Elective 2
History of PPE
PPE Seminar 1
Elective 3
Elective 4
PPE Seminar 2
Master Thesis

Curriculum

In the Methods of PPE module you learn the analytical and formal methods that make up PPE research: decision theory, statistics, policy impact assessment, game theory, and social and public choice theory. You learn the strengths and limitations of these methods, and discover how to frame problems and select the appropriate method for them.

In the Theories of PPE module, we focus on key concepts and theories, including rationality, utility, efficiency, equality and fairness. You will learn how to apply these concepts and theories to issues such as productivity, property rights, social security, markets, intergenerational justice, environmental policy, collective action, and voting.

In the History of PPE module, we critically reflect on the main historical traditions relevant to PPE, focusing on Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Smith, Rousseau and modern developments such as the rise of capitalism, Marxism, and utopian socialism.

In the PPE Seminars you will apply the methods and theories of PPE to concrete policy issues.

For the electives you can choose courses from a list of electives especially designed for the PPE programme and from electives in other programmes offered by the participating faculties. Moreover, it is possible to substitute some coursework with an internship.

To conclude your degree, you will write a Master's thesis on a topic of your own choice.

Study abroad

  • Study abroad is unaccommodated
Entry requirements

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
assessment interview

After reviewing all applications, the Board of Admissions will admit some students directly and reject some students directly. Other students will be invited for an interview. In an interview, the Board of Admissions will address issues such as motivation, ambition, skills and general fit with the PPE programme. Once admitted, students will be given, where necessary, a reading list on issues they have not encountered in their Bachelor's. They will then follow up with their mentor on these issues once the programme starts.

grade average

Please submit an academic transcript. We generally expect applicants to have at least a mean grade of 7.5 out of 10 on the Dutch grading system, although exceptions are sometimes granted in special circumstances. If the undergraduate programme involved a thesis, we also expect a 7.5 or higher. The admissions office will check how far international candidates' GPA corresponds to our requirement on the Dutch grading system.

language test

To confirm sufficient language proficiency, please submit your results on one of the following language tests:

  • IELTS: at least 7.0 overall score with no band less than 6.5
  • TOEFL: at least 100 overall score, with section scores being at least 22 for Reading, 26 for Speaking, and 24 for Writing

This requirement does not apply if:

  • you are a native speaker and have completed your secondary education in any one of the following countries: Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia
  • you have completed your bachelor education in any one of the following countries: Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia
previous education

The applicant has a Bachelor's degree in (1) PPE, or (2) Philosophy or Philosophy of a Specific Discipline, or (3) Economics, or (4) Political Science, or (5) another relevant field.

reference letter

Please submit two reference letters. These should be from academic staff and signed by your referee. Please make sure they state your student number on these letters (you receive a student number once you have registered in Studielink). Applicants with a non-Dutch Bachelor diploma: Your referees should send their letters directly to phil.ma.admission rug.nl Applicants with a Dutch Bachelor diploma: Your referees should send their letters directly to ppe rug.nl

written request

Please include a CV, a letter of motivation (between one and three pages), and a writing sample (between 3000 and 10000 words) with your application.

other admission requirements

International students: first register in Studielink, and then upload your application files to the Online Application System. In order to do this, visit http://www.rug.nl/howtoapply and follow the steps. Full application procedure: please DOWNLOAD PDF (updated July 2018): https://www.rug.nl/filosofie/ppe/admissions-procedure-PPE-MSc-Groningen.pdf

Registration procedure

Students with a non-Dutch diploma, please click on 'Apply for this programme' below to see the full application procedure for this programme.

Students applying on the basis of a Dutch bachelor diploma, please submit your application (including all required documents) to: ppe@rug.nl, visit Aanmelding en inschrijving voor Nederlandse studenten and follow the application instructions.

Transfer options

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
Philosophy, Politics and EconomicsAll Research universities

Additional requirements

More information:

Selection procedure

Political ScienceAll Research universities

Additional requirements

More information:

Selection procedure

EconomicsAll Research universities

Additional requirements

More information:

Selection procedure

PhilosophyAll Research universities

Additional requirements

More information:

Selection procedure

Philosophy of a specific disciplineAll Research universities

Additional requirements

More information:

Selection procedure

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
International Relations and International OrganizationUniversity of Groningen

Additional requirements

More information:

Selection procedure

PhilosophyUniversity of Groningen

Additional requirements

More information:

Selection procedure

Philosophy of a specific disciplineUniversity of Groningen

Additional requirements

More information:

Selection procedure

Economics and Business EconomicsUniversity of Groningen

Additional requirements

More information:

Selection procedure

Liberal Arts and SciencesUniversity of Groningen

Additional requirements

More information:

Selection procedure

SociologyUniversity of Groningen

Additional requirements

More information:

Selection procedure

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
assessment interview

After reviewing all applications, the Board of Admissions will admit some students directly and reject some students directly. Other students will be invited for an interview. In an interview, the Board of Admissions will address issues such as motivation, ambition, skills and general fit with the PPE programme. Once admitted, students will be given, where necessary, a reading list on issues they have not encountered in their Bachelor's. They will then follow up with their mentor on these issues once the programme starts.

grade average

Please submit an academic transcript. We generally expect applicants to have at least a mean grade of 7.5 out of 10 on the Dutch grading system, although exceptions are sometimes granted in special circumstances. If the undergraduate programme involved a thesis, we also expect a 7.5 or higher. The admissions office will check how far international candidates' GPA corresponds to our requirement on the Dutch grading system.

language test

To confirm sufficient language proficiency, please submit your results on one of the following language tests:

  • IELTS: at least 7.0 overall score with no band less than 6.5
  • TOEFL: at least 100 overall score, with section scores being at least 22 for Reading, 26 for Speaking, and 24 for Writing

This requirement does not apply if:

  • you are a native speaker and have completed your secondary education in any one of the following countries: Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia
  • you have completed your bachelor education in any one of the following countries: Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia
previous education

The applicant has a Bachelor's degree in (1) PPE, or (2) Philosophy or Philosophy of a Specific Discipline, or (3) Economics, or (4) Political Science, or (5) another relevant field.

reference letter

Please submit two reference letters. These should be from academic staff and signed by your referee. Please make sure they state your student number on these letters (you receive a student number once you have registered in Studielink). Applicants with a non-Dutch Bachelor diploma: Your referees should send their letters directly to phil.ma.admission rug.nl Applicants with a Dutch Bachelor diploma: Your referees should send their letters directly to ppe rug.nl

written request

Please include a CV, a letter of motivation (between one and three pages), and a writing sample (between 3000 and 10000 words) with your application.

other admission requirements

International students: first register in Studielink and then upload your application files to the Online Application System. In order to do this, visit http://www.rug.nl/howtoapply and follow the steps. Full application procedure: please DOWNLOAD PDF (updated July 2018): https://www.rug.nl/filosofie/ppe/admissions-procedure-PPE-MSc-Groningen.pdf

Registration procedure

Students with a non-Dutch diploma, please click on 'Apply for this programme' below to see the full application procedure for this programme. Students applying on the basis of a Dutch bachelor diploma, please submit your application (including all required documents) to: ppe rug.nl, visit https://www.rug.nl/education/master/international-students/admission-and-application/ and follow the application instructions.

Students applying on the basis of a Dutch bachelor diploma, please submit your application (including all required documents) to: ppe@rug.nl, visit Admission and application for international-students and follow the application instructions.

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students01 May 202001 September 2020
EU/EEA students01 May 202001 September 2020
non-EU/EEA students01 April 202001 September 2020
Tuition fees
NationalityYearFeeProgramme form
EU/EEA2019-2020€ 2083full-time
non-EU/EEA2019-2020€ 12500full-time
EU/EEA2020-2021€ 2143full-time

Practical information for:

After your studies

Job prospects

With its combination of a generalist PPE foundation and its opportunities for specialisation, our Master's prepares you for a broad range of careers. The programme provides you with the knowledge, insight, and skills to work in organizations as diverse as national or international public administrations, governmental and non‐governmental organizations, private businesses and banks, journalism, think tanks and research institutions.

Our alumni find jobs in the following fields and for the following employers:

Fields:

(Corporate Social Responsibility) consultancy; strategy consultancy, data science, funding, public affairs.

Employers:

Government departments, NGOs, embassies, university networks, sustainable investment companies, intergovernmental organizations.

Job examples

  • policy advisor
  • strategy consultant
  • CSR consultant
Research

Centre for Philosophy, Politics and Economics

Besides the PPE Master, Groningen has also made a firm commitment to become a hub for research at the interface of philosophy, politics and economics.

The Centre for Philosophy, Politics and Economics stimulates and facilitates such research by bringing together academics from the Faculty of Philosophy, the Faculty of Economics and Business, the Faculty of Arts, and the Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences. The Centre for PPE includes research areas such as moral philosophy, political theory, philosophy of economics, monetary and financial economics, decision theory, financial ethics, international relations, social epistemology, social ontology, moral psychology, organizational behaviour, and social psychology.

In its mission, the Centre involves students, PhD students, postdocs and senior researchers. It organizes seminars, workshops, a blog, a lectures series and conferences. The Centre also deepens existing connections with international partners in Europe, the US and elsewhere.

Apply nowBrochureEventsContact

Contact

If you want to know more about the programme Philosophy, Politics and Economics, please contact:

  • 
						Testimonial of Michael Jacobs

    A framework for thinking both about the philosophical justifications for and the economic feasibility of, varying policy measures

    – Michael Jacobs
    Read more

    Hi, I'm Michael! I chose the PPE Masters in Groningen as it was the only course I could find that both neatly combined the three disciplines whilst also giving students a lot of room to study these disciplines separately through the wide range of electives.

    The course has a clear and motivating vocational focus that ties the three subjects together: equitable and efficient policy. In other words, the obligatory modules provide a framework for thinking both about the philosophical justifications for and the economic feasibility of, varying policy measures. This keeps the course coherent and empirically-grounded.

    At the same time the electives give great scope for choosing the kind of perspectives from which to approach policy. You can style yourself as a more financially-informed or practically-oriented policy-maker through modules such as those on monetary policy or urban planning. Or alternatively, you can begin in more esoteric realms by looking at say the political philosophy of Foucault and Adorno. But lots of students also try a combination of all of these, the result being that many take modules from faculties spanning those of Arts, Economics and Sociology as well as Philosophy. This can make for a varied workload. One week you could be trying to assess whether Plato proves that justice and self-interest always coincide, the next you might be trying to solve the problem of unaffordable housing in a specific place.

    Wide pool of expertise

    Having previously studied history at bachelor’s level, I graduated with that assumption humanities students sometimes fall prey to: that courses which make you more employable cannot be intellectually stimulating. History graduate friends smiled nervously at me when I told them I was off to study something with Economics in the title. But this attitude has proven unfounded. The parts of the course I thought I’d struggle with – mainly the quantitative aspects – were overcome partly through my motivation as someone interested in giving my political views academic grounding, but crucially thanks to the small class sizes and the mixture of academic backgrounds of those on the course which usually ensures there is someone at hand who understands whatever you’re having trouble with. This wide pool of expertise is also an advantage in class discussions and group work.

    Groningen

    The course aside, Groningen itself is – at least in terms of societies, clubs, cafés, and music venues – really well tailored to students. Being small, its easy to get to know, with an almost entirely pedestrianised city centre with a cheerful and trusting vibe that makes it homely. The same goes for the Philosophy faculty, whose small size and informal atmosphere gives it a community feel.

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  • 
						Testimonial of Michiel Timmermans

    PPE gives you the opportunity to define your own blueprint in policy-making more than any other programme

    – Michiel Timmermans
    Read more

    Hi there, I'm Michiel. Currently I follow the Master's Philosophy, Politics & Economics in Groningen and I'd like to introduce you to the programme. I obtained a BA in Philosophy with a minor in Political Sciences, and I chose PPE because I didn't want to choose between either an empirical political science master or a philosophical/theoretical master's in philosophy or political theory.

    Fake news

    PPE is designed with the aim of integrating the three disciplines. During the programme you work with policy related issues in which the three disciplines intersect. ‘Fake news,’ for example, is familiar as a political problem. You will learn that tackling ‘fake news’ also considers how it is ‘sold’: how do marketeers create more demand for sloppy or intentionally false facts? Thereby, what normative implications are involved when categorizing ‘true’ versus ‘false’ information in political campaigning?
    What makes studying PPE unique is that its application is broad, while its approach is narrow. The course catalogue has a broad selection of courses, but it is compiled so that you can navigate through PPE related fields that might fit with your desired direction.

    Fitting courses into the PPE framework

    For laying out my path, I selected courses from Spatial Sciences and Sociology, with the idea of engaging into urban and social planning. An overview: Theories of Social Networks, Spatial Economics, Evolutionary Game Theory, City Matters, Modernity as Dominance. It might seem like I could’ve equally studied economic or urban geography, but fitting these courses into the PPE framework I distinguish myself in many ways. Instead of learning approaches to justice and autonomy by name I am trained in maneuvering through the current debates about these concepts within the theoretical literature.

    After the financial crisis

    Also, you learn to engage in policy-related issues through strict normative considerations. By this you can make the difference between designing a “preferable” policy and a policy that is necessarily required in society. Nowadays, this is especially relevant. Considering the finance branch, for example, people who can make this difference are especially demanded for. After the 2008 financial crisis bankers are namely more than ever facing the challenge of regaining people’s trust in the responsibility they have towards the health of society’s financial system.

    Good guidance

    So, studying PPE is challenging. The opportunities for orienting are wide, and sometimes this idea might appear stressful when you are about to be graduating. In exchange, however, the programme gives you the opportunity to define your own blueprint in policy-making more than any other programme. Thereby, the staff members are supportive and provide good guidance, and the faculty building feels like a second home (including kitchen and living-room!).

    Close
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Meet our alumni: Rosie Pearce

I'm now working as a Policy Officer at Universities UK based in London. I am part of a team supporting the respective associations of veterinary schools, dental schools, and dental hospitals. I organize meetings and conferences for the groups, work on projects and facilitate information sharing within their networks.

Day to day, this looks like analyzing a survey for recently graduated vets on how well their degree prepared them for practice, or managing a bank account to ensure subscription fees cover upcoming costs. My biggest thing at the moment is arranging agendas, chair's brief's and hospitality for a conference of the deans and senior management of the dental schools council, which is a residential meeting to be held in the West of England.

To get my job it was essential to prove I could critically analyse evidence and best practice for policy making – luckily we had courses for just that within the PPE MSc! Demonstrating professional skills were just as important, writing reports as part of the course was excellent practice for what I do now. I came to this job after a six-month internship in a university consortium in Brussels (The Guild) immediately after graduation. I was enabled to take this opportunity by an Erasmus+ mobility grant, kindly arranged for me by the Philosophy faculty.

I'd like to continue a career within the university policy sector. I find the scope, impact and direction of the work makes for a motivating and rewarding environment.

Read more

Meet our alumni: Tom Jongen

After my studies PPE in Groningen, I started as a Data Science Consultant at IG&H in Utrecht. Here, I help companies to solve problems by finding answers in data, mostly in the Healthcare and the Retail sector.

During my master's I've written some essays about privacy and GDPR, something that remains very relevant in my current position. It is great to put to practice the theoretical knowledge we gather in the PPE programme!

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Meet our alumni: Daan Juijn

Near the end of my Master´s degree in PPE, I successfully applied for a spot in the Government Trainee Programme (Rijkstraineeprogramma) at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy.

During my Master’s in PPE, I had become very interested in policy-making, and especially so in climate-related policy. The Dutch energy transition is a prime example of an interdisciplinary problem that requires insights from both Philosophy, Political Science and Economics. What constitutes intergenerational climate justice? To what extent should our government take seriously climate-sceptic voters? And how can we use economic tools to stimulate companies and citizens to embrace sustainable measures? The latter question is very relevant within the context of the project that I currently work on.

My team and I are preparing the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO.nl) for the new period of Europe’s Common Agricultural Policy (Gemeenschappelijk Landbouwbeleid). As the official paying agency, RVO.nl is partly responsible for making sure that the new Common Agricultural Policy contributes to Dutch and European climate goals, while providing financial support for farmers.

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