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What is PPE?

“Duke students who want to go beyond just getting a major can choose from dozens of minors or second majors, or even create their own courses of study. But there’s one opportunity that can go overlooked among all the options: the University’s certificate programs. In supplementing their majors with certificates, students gain interdisciplinary exposure and marketable skills for the workforce, while also reaping the benefits of a traditional dive into an academic field.”
Read more about the PPE Certificate Program on The Duke Chronicle 


Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) were integrated until the late 19th century, when they became distinct academic disciplines. This separation advanced the goals of specialized academic research, but students are often better served by examining the connections and tensions among the three disciplines.  The revival of PPE began at Oxford University in 1924, and has now spread to over 100 institutions worldwide.


PPE is an interdisciplinary Certificate Program at Duke and a minor at UNC that emerged to fill in some crucial gaps between the three disciplines, and to bring students a breadth of perspective they cannot get from a single discipline. Important issues ranging from health care allocation and global pandemics to nuclear weapons proliferation and climate change have moral, political, and economic dimensions.  Economics and Political Science can help us understand these issues; Philosophy can help us evaluate different proposed solutions to them.  PPE students learn to look at the world through different windows, and to think about the relative role of markets and political institutions in promoting human welfare.