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Philosophy Politics and Economics

PPE is the most popular Social Sciences course at Oxford.  A degree in PPE can lead to a large variety of careers, or post-graduate courses.  Recent Keble PPE students have gained posts in journalism, the Civil Service, in the World Bank, the Government Economics Service, the European Union, in investment banking, strategic consultancies, industrial corporations and leading national newspapers.

Advantages of Keble

PPE at Keble has a sizeable and diverse group of students. We have a large number of fellows, with one or two in each of the three subjects, meaning that a wide range of teaching specialisms is available. Keble is conveniently located minutes away from the Social Science Library and the Departments of Economics and Politics. We aspire to high standards of academic achievement and offer the Talyarkhan Prize each year for the best performing student in PPE.  PPE at Keble runs an exchange program with Dartmouth College (in New Hampshire, USA), which allows students to experience life at a leading Ivy League university.

Course structure

Up-to-date details on the course structure and how to apply can be found on the PPE page of the University's Undergraduate Prospectus.

You study all three subjects for Prelims, which take place at the end of the first year.  For Finals you may either continue with all three or concentrate on two subjects, choosing eight papers from among a core together with the many options on offer.

First-year Philosophy consists of General Philosophy, Moral Philosophy and Logic. Though you will study all three, you may if you wish offer only two out of the three for Prelims.  Politics is studied from both interpretative and theoretical perspectives and includes the 20th-century history of the UK, France and the United States and writers such as Thomas Hobbes and Karl Marx.  In Economics you study micro- and macro-economics through the use of mathematical problems.

For Finals work, the very wide range of possibilities is detailed in the University Prospectus.  The Politics teaching at Keble seeks to emphasize the relationship between political institutions on the one hand, and social and intellectual change on the other.  Neither ideas nor institutions are studied in a vacuum, but rather issues are explored against the background of economic and social development.  Again, Philosophy is a subject in its own right but also one at the heart of economic and political theory.  In Economics the core training is in microeconomics, macroeconomics, and quantitative techniques (including econometrics), with further that focus on important changes in the world economy, for example the transition of former communist countries to market economies or the problems faced by developing countries.

Typical pattern of teaching

Teaching is done in small groups that link to University lecture courses.

Qualities sought for entry

Keble is committed to academic excellence and is looking for academically strong, self-starting students.  It is not necessary to have studied Philosophy or Politics or Economics at school.  History and Mathematics* are useful background for certain options, but they are not required for admission.

What we look for in applicants includes an active interest in how society works, both from a factual and an evaluative point of view; the ability to think critically; and a capacity for independent study.  AAA is the condition for those taking GCE A-level (or the equivalent for non-A-level qualifications such as the IB). See entrance requirements.

*From the PPE website:  “Although a background in Mathematics is not formally required for admission, PPE applicants should have sufficient interest in, and aptitude for, mathematics to cope with the mathematical elements of the course. Mathematics is a particular advantage for the Economics component of the course, as well as for the first year logic course in philosophy, and for understanding theories and data in politics. Last year around 90% of the applicants who were offered places for PPE had studied Maths to at least AS-Level, or equivalent. You may like to consider taking Maths to AS-level, or an equivalent qualification such as IB Standard Level, even if you do not pursue it further. It is useful to have learnt the basics of differentiation before starting your university course in PPE.”

Aptitude Test: All candidates will take the Thinking Skills Assessment, normally at their own schools/colleges in November. Separate registration for this test is required and prospective applicants should refer to the test website.

Interview: If summoned for interview, candidates will normally receive two interviews at Keble, one in Philosophy and Politics, and one in Economics. Questions posed at interview are intended neither to require nor to reward specific school teaching.

For further information, see the PPE website Q&A and the PPE page of the Oxford Undergraduate Prospectus.

Approximate yearly intake Keble: 8
Department Websites Faculty of Philosophy
Department of Politics
Department of Economics


Via the College Office.



Dr Edward Harcourt Tutorial Fellow

Dr Jeremy Fix Fixed-term Fellow in Philosophy


Dr Daniel McDermott Tutorial Fellow

Sabrina Martin Stipendiary Lecturer in Politics


Professor Tim Jenkinson Professorial Fellow

Dr Howard Smith Tutorial Fellow

Dr Kevin Sheppard Tutorial Fellow