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BA (Honours) Politics, Philosophy and Economics

How do we give order to society? How can material demands be satisfied? What does justice mean, and on what basis do we define our rights? Politics, philosophy and economics - and the ideas and values that inform them - are central to how modern societies are organised and governed. This degree in politics, philosophy and economics explores fundamental questions of power and ideology, beliefs and values, and how income and wealth are produced and distributed. As well as gaining insight and knowledge of the debates that dominate the daily news, you'll learn a range of skills and techniques to help you analyse and contribute to the discussion. These analytical and critical skills are highly valued by employers in a broad range of occupations, in both the private and public sectors. You'll have your own specialist, subject-based support in each subject as well as opportunities to join in online communities of other students on this degree course for teaching, learning and peer support.

Study Mode

Online Education, Distance Learning & External study modes available

Key facts

Code: Q45 Made up of: 360 credits

There are no formal entry requirements to study this degree.

Fees: Our fees depend on where you are ordinarily resident. We have a range of funding options to help you with payment. When you apply to study we will tell you the fee and funding options that are available to you. Before you apply you can read What you can expect to pay.

Career relevance and employability

A degree in politics philosophy and economics is internationally recognised as providing a set of quantitative and conceptual skills particularly relevant for many areas of public service, including civil and diplomatic services and local government. You'll develop skills enabling you to express your ideas clearly and logically; understand and analyse complex information; and study independently. This degree course is also good preparation for a wide variety of other careers, including banking and finance, politics, journalism and broadcasting, law, industry, teaching, social work, accountancy, business management, management consultancy and advertising.

As well as knowledge of politics, philosophy and economics, you'll develop valuable skills for employment which include:

  • using a range of communication technologies to independently research, select and present information
  • analysing and critically evaluating information and data
  • writing and communicating concisely and clearly
  • assembling reasoned arguments for particular audiences
  • using a range of formats: essays, presentations, reports, collaborative working, online forums
  • reflecting on your own learning and developing strategies to update your knowledge
  • valuing critical feedback to reflect on progress and improve your work
  • working under your own steam and without constant direction.

There's more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU's Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.

Educational aims

This degree aims to:

  • provide you with a good understanding of economics, politics and philosophy at post-introductory level
  • introduce you to a range of concepts, theories, debates and methods from social science and philosophy
  • provide you with skills in qualitative and quantitative analysis and communication
  • enhance employability by providing recognised training in a range of background skills and issues useful in policy making.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding


  • micro and macro economic theory
  • a range of theories and themes relevant to economics and/or politics
  • application of different economic theories to current issues
  • understanding of what it means to approach an issue philosophically
  • knowledge of views of selected philosophers
  • knowledge of political themes and selected political topics.

Cognitive skills

You will be able to:

  • carry out analysis using diagrams and/or verbal argument
  • apply theories to events and issues
  • make evaluations of different theories
  • pursue questions by means of data analysis and interpret basic regression results by fieldwork research or through literature searches
  • think logically, understand and construct philosophical arguments
  • understand and evaluate secondary and primary sources
  • conceptualise and write an essay or project involving an element of independent research or study.

Practical and/or professional skills

The award is oriented towards the development of quantitative and qualitative skills deemed relevant to public service in a number of areas.

Key skills

You will be able to:


  • select and read text and information from different sources, identify what is relevant
  • read and interpret different forms of visual material including economics diagrams and presentation of data
  • select, summarise and synthesise information
  • present written material in a coherently organised form with arguments and information in a logical sequence
  • argue logically
  • use diagrammatic forms of analysis to make economic arguments
  • integrate verbal, diagrammatic and quantitative analysis.

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