PPE at Mason

PPE at George Mason prepares students to engage with today's most complex and multifaceted social problems -- climate change, global justice, economic development, institutional racism, globalization -- spanning the traditional concerns of Philosophy, Political Science, and Economics. Mason's PPE program is the first in the Washington DC Area and it fuses our faculty strengths with the uniqued opportunities afforded by the Capital area and our international partnerships.

PPE students at Mason follow a sequence of courses that moves from foundational courses, to advanced, specialized seminars, and culminate in a capstone seminar. In addition to completing a major in a traditional field, PPE students develop advanced interdisciplinary skills. We strongly encourage PPE students to study abroad (JS Mill Scholars Program) and provide a robust array of extra-curricular events to engage students with faculty (the southside group) and distinguished guest lecturers (the Roger Wilkins Lectures).

Why Study PPE?

PPE offers motivated students courses and extra-curricular opportunities that prepare them to effectively analyze, engage, and develop solutions for today's complex social problems:

  • PPE gives students the wide range of skills and perspectives needed to solve complex social problems that have ethical, political, and economic dimensions.
  • PPE's interdisciplianry approach corrects the problem of academic research specialization. While PPE dive deeply into specialized topics (and complete a traditional major), they also learn to present this specialized knowledge to a general audience. Economists speak to Philosophers who speak to Political Scientists.
  • PPE combines many of the best parts of the university to create a rich and vibrant learning community.

What Can I Do with a PPE Concentration?

Because the PPE concentration trains students to attack a wide range of problems using rigorous analytical techniques, it is an excellent basis for those who want to pursue careers in industry, journalism, politics, management, intelligence, marketing, industrial organization, and elsewhere; for those who want to go to law school; and for those who are interested in going to graduate school, whether in philosophy, economics, or political science.

  • If you want a career in industry or public service. For better or worse, the business world moves so fast that much of what you learn today will be obsolete after 5–10 years. What will never become obsolete is the ability to process information, understand what motivates people, adapt to new situations, solve problems, think straight, and communicate effectively. These are all skills that you will hone in the PPE program. Take it from people like the C.E.O. of Delta. When Richard Anderson is hiring, he wants people who use complete sentences, read books, can think about values, communicate well, and are able to solve problems.
  • If you’re going to Law School. In law school and beyond, nothing is more important than being able to take in large amounts of information, assess what’s important, spell out and analyze arguments, and present your conclusions clearly and convincingly, whether orally or in writing. The PPE program will help you develop all these skills. The data back it up: among the twelve largest disciplines, economics majors and philosophy majors are tied for first place in terms of LSAT scores, which play a pivotal role for entrance into law schools.
  • If you’re going to Graduate School. In graduate school and beyond, you’ll be expected to read huge amounts of text, synthesize the important points, and develop and present your own original work. Unsurprisingly, PPE students do very well in graduate school and beyond, including in academic careers. Again, the data reveal that majors in the PPE disciplines consistently score at the top of the rankings on the GRE test, on which admission to graduate school is partly based. And if you’re wondering, the evidence shows that they do spectacularly well on the GMAT too.