The Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) program at George Mason University allows students to pursue topics in the intersection of philosophy, political science, and economics. The PPE model originated at Oxford almost a century ago. In the US there are still fewer than a dozen such programs, although interest is rising. Mason’s program – which is offered jointly by the Department of Philosophy, the Department of Economics, and the Schar School of Policy and Government, and – is the first in the metro DC area.
The three PPE disciplines complement each other nicely. Philosophy brings to the program specific analytic and argumentative practices as well a 2,500-year history of discussion about the nature of rationality, well-being, and justice; political science investigates political ideas, processes, institutions, and actions in national and international settings; and economics brings an understanding of the dynamics of competition and cooperation as well as the advantages and disadvantages of alternative economic systems.
Students in Mason’s PPE program embark on an ambitious course of study. After allowing students to familiarize themselves with each of the three disciplines, the program is centered around a series of courses that were designed or repurposed to cover topics in the intersection of philosophy, political science, and economics, and which adopt a robustly interdisciplinary approach. The program culminates in a capstone course that integrates insights from the entire program.