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Philosophy, Politics & Economics (PPE) Programme
(B.Com. or B. Soc. Sci.)

Welcome to this Program offered by the Department of Economics.

The PPE, available both as a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Social Science degree, is the School's 'mainstream' undergraduate Economics programme, offering students the full range of the discipline's areas and approaches, with a range of carefully chosen related subjects.

'PPE' is an internationally recognized `brand'. Possession of a degree with this name tells a prospective employer or further educational institution that the student has a broad grasp of internationally applicable economic science and of the political and moral contexts in which it is applied.

The UCT PPE degree places a unique focus on the special economic, political and ethical aspects of private sector and public sector policy formation in the age of accelerating commercial and informational globalisation. This is a degree which seeks to prepare 'citizens of the world', with skills applicable to a broad range of challenging careers.

Who would be interested in this Programme?

This programme is designed to open a variety of career opportunities. Students who are interested in formulating economic policy, taking account of the implications of such policies for the political and ethical governance of the world, will find this the ideal degree programme in South Africa. A person interested in a career as an international trade diplomat, or as an international trade expert in the private sector, should consider studying PPE through the Faculty of Commerce degree programme. All PPE graduates who obtain good grades, regardless of Faculty, will have the basic qualification for further study in Economics or Political Economy at UCT, elsewhere in South Africa, and throughout the world.

What are the career opportunities?

Graduates will obtain an excellent first degree which, especially if capped with an Honours and/or Masters degree in PPE, Economics, or another related discipline, will be a sound basis from which to seek a career in senior policy making in either the private or public sectors, particularly with respect to policy challenges raised by globalisation. It is also an ideal beginning for a student who aspires to a career as an international trade diplomat or private/public sector trade policy analyst. Graduates intending to go on to further formal studies will also be qualified to train as professional economists.

What are the possibilities for further study at postgraduate level?

Graduates will be eligible to apply for UCT's M.Phil. programme in PPE, or for postgraduate PPE programmes abroad. Depending on a student's choice of subjects, he or she may also be eligible for postgraduate study in Economics, Political Science or Philosophy. UCT's PPE degree carries full international recognition because of its carefully designed content, which makes it complementary with similar programmes abroad. For students who wish to formulate policy, rather than merely carry out policies made by others, no programme currently available in South Africa competes with UCT's PPE degree.

Three-year course lists:

B.Com. PPE

First Year

ACC1006F Financial Accounting
ACC1011S Financial Reporting 1 OR ACC1012S Business Accounting
BUS1036F Thinking About Business 1
ECO1010F/S Microeconomics
ECO1011S Macroeconomics
INF1011Z Computer Literacy
POL1004F Introduction to Politics
STA1001F Statistics 1001 OR MAM1002W Mathematics

Second Year

ECO2003F Microeconomics II
ECO2004S Macroeconomics II
ECO2007S Cooperation and Competition
INF1002F/S Information Systems I
STA1000F/S Statistics 1000
PHI1010S Ethics
POL2034S Political Economy of International Relations

Plus two from:

PHI2017F Logic and Epistemology
PHI2012S Philosophy of Psychology and Mind


POL2038F Comparative Politics (was POL230F)
POL2002S Political Theory / Philosophy

Third year

ECO3020F Advanced Macro and Microeconomics
ECO3025S Applied International Trade Bargaining
One other ECO-3000-Level Course

Plus two from:

PHI3009F Contemporary Political Philosophy
PHI3010S Language, Thought and Reality


POL3030S Conflict in World Politics
and one of:
POL3032F Political Analysis
POL3013S South African Political Thought and Tradition
POL3029S Third World Politics

Plus three from:

ECO2008 Development Economics
HST2028F 20th Century Industrialisation
HST2031S Southern Africa in the 20th Century
PHI2037F Applied Ethics
PHI2017F Logic and Epistemology
PHI2012S Philosophy of Psychology and Mind
POL2039S Classical Political Philosophy
PHI2016S Philosophy of Art and Literature
POL2002S Political Theory / Philosophy
POL2018F South African Politics
POL2022F State Management and Administration
POL2038F Comparative Politics
Any ECO3000-level courses
Any PHI3000-level courses
Any POL3000-level courses

Note: courses will not be double counted and pre-requisites must be met.

Note: Students who wish to study towards an honours degree in economics must complete ECO3021S.

B.Soc.Sci. PPE

B.Soc.Sci. PPE curriculum information - click here


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