BlogUniversityWhat It’s Like Studying a Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics at ANU

What It’s Like Studying a Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics at ANU

PPE ANU - Fact Sheet

Do you have a knack for critical thinking? Or perhaps, you’d like to get into public policy in the future? Then, studying a Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) at ANU could be the perfect choice for you! 

This article will go over all the essentials about the program from the core units, teaching format, the faculty itself and the culture at ANU.

Want to know more? Just keep reading on! 

What is a Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics at ANU?
Core Units for this Degree
How to Get into a Bachelor of PPE at ANU
What’s the Teaching Format?
What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?

What is a Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) at ANU?

A Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics at ANU is an interdisciplinary program that combines theories from various disciplines of the Social Sciences. It is not only a highly reputable degree, but one that is popular amongst ANU students as part of their double degree programs! 

In this three-year program, you’ll learn key approaches in evaluating social, economic and political institutions, and be challenged to examine difficult problems in today’s world.

Can this degree be studied in conjunction with another or completed as Honours?

While this program does not need to be studied as a double degree, the ANU flexible-double degree program allows ANU students to study a Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics with almost all other undergraduate programs to help optimise their learning experience. Some of these options include adding on a (find the compatibility here):

There is also an option to pursue an additional one-year Honours program and complete a research thesis. This is eligible for students who have with a WAM equivalent to an ANU 70% (excluding their introductory undergraduate courses). 

Career Paths

Politics, Philosophy and Economics graduates can transfer their critical knowledge on the structure of society into public, private and non-profit sectors, wherein notable career options include: 

    • Economics, policy and social analyst
    • Foreign affairs officer
    • Public policy analyst
    • Political adviser
    • Economic policy adviser
    • Financial adviser
    • Public policy adviser

Core Units for this Degree

There are nine core units in a Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics at ANU. These are:

Introductory Units

In units Logic and Critical Thinking, Fundamental Ideas in Philosophy: An Introduction and Research and Writing in Political Science, students learn to logically structure their arguments, adopt philosophical reasoning as well as critically analyse and resolve political concepts.

While these units teach quite broad skills, they lay the foundation of being able to communicate at a critical level. 

There are also introductory units to each of the disciplines in Introduction to Politics, Microeconomics 1 and Microeconomics 2.

PPE Integration Units

PPE Integration 1, PPE Integration 2 and PPE Integration 3: Classic Literature in Politics, Philosophy and Economics are core units respectively taught in first, second and third year.

Here, students mainly explore and discuss problems relating to public policy, social sciences and economics in class and through assignments. 

Other Units

The rest of the units are split between Politics, Philosophy and Economics disciplines, wherein students essentially “minor” and study 12 units from all three areas. Some of these units (full list found here) include: 

Because of the three “minors” studied, it is difficult, but not impossible, to use your remaining electives to study an additional major. The list of majors can be found here


While there are no mandatory work placements in this program, there are two optional units which offer work opportunities for PPE students.

In Australian National Internships Program A, students undertake a research project at a national institution, public-policy focussed NGOs, large industry organisations or international organisations such as an embassy or government department. The Washington DC Internship is a research project and 6-week internship in the United States Congress! 


How to Get into a Bachelor of PPE at ANU

The ATAR cut off for guaranteed entry into this program is 91.00. The ANU National Access Scheme offers up to 10 adjustment factors for applicants who have the following achievements (the number of adjustment points can be found here): 

    • Band 5 in Chemistry
    • Band 5 in English (except ESL) or Languages (other than English) or Indigenous Studies 
    • E3 in Specialist Mathematics (major/minor or double major)
    • Band 5 in Physics 
    • Successful Completion in Music AMEB Grade 8

An alternative pathway includes transferring from another degree such as a Bachelor of Arts. 

Assumed Knowledge

While there are no prerequisite subjects for this program, there is assumed knowledge in Mathematics Advanced. 


To help with tuition and study costs, ANU provides a various range of scholarships for its students. For example, the Australian Excellence Scholarship offers a stipend of $12,500 per annum for up to 5 years for the top three applicants in their state or territory (based on their ANU selection rank/ATAR).

What’s the Teaching Format?

A Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics at ANU is delivered across semesters. The main classes for this program are lectures and tutorials, with occasional seminars.

It is worth noting that how a course is run is based on the course convenor, and this will often vary from year to year meaning the lecture/tutorial structure will also vary.

Class Structure

PPE ANU - Class Structure


In lectures, students watch the lecturer cover lecture material, where there is less interaction between the students.

Since most first year units are compulsory for a wide range of arts/economics degrees, there are several hundred students taking the course. For later year courses, the class size is around 60 to 150 students. Lectures are mainly 2 hours long.  


With regards to the kind of work that is done during these classes, it varies between the disciplines. Philosophy and politics tutorials are normally held as a discussion of the weekly readings assigned to the topic.

In economics, weekly tutorial questions are assigned and required to be completed prior to the tutorial. Tutorials are typically one hour long and, in terms of the number of students in a tutorial, this varies from 15 to 25 students.

How much time do you spend in class?

Contact hours for politics and philosophy courses are between 3-4 hours a week, while economics courses are 4-6 hours long.

Altogether, the contact hours for a Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics at ANU are 7-10 hours per week. 

What are the assessments like?

Politics and philosophy courses often have two major assessments and a tutorial participation component that is typically 10%. These major assessments can include an essay and then an exam, or two essays; both of these are 30-60% in weighting. 

In economics courses, there are generally fortnightly quizzes and then an exam or two exams; this encompasses a mid-semester exam and then a final exam. Participation is normally 10% and essays/exams vary from between 30%-60%.

In economics, if there is a mid-semester exam, it is often redeemable, which means if you perform better in the final exam your mid-semester result will not count!

Skills You Refine and Learn

PPE ANU - Skills

The three main skills refined and learned in a Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics at ANU are critical thinking, economic and communication skills. 

Through the rigorous problem solving assessed in the units, students develop keen critical thinking skills in evaluating socio-political issues and institutions. These are highly transferable to their career, should they go onto working with or alongside the public sector.

Students also use their economic skills to evaluate these sociopolitical issues and institutions. 

Lastly, the focus on written problem solving and philosophical reasoning allows students to sharpen their communication skills, especially in structuring arguments.  

What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?


The PPE cohort is quite large and it is even getting larger with each year! If you’re based in Sydney or Melbourne, you might think PPE is a unique and edgy degree however, almost every second person at ANU studies PPE.

ANU is one of the leading Australian universities in social sciences, so there is a wealth of knowledge that is shared between the tutors, course convenors and the library resources.


The ANU PPE Society is a must-join for PPE students, where you can find new friends and get access to fresh sources of knowledge through the hosted events. There are many study sessions, panel discussions and mixers held throughout the year. 

PPE ANU - Quote


If you live at a residential hall, there are residential learning advisors (RLAs) who provide academic advice and assistance to university students. You can also contact the College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS) for advice in relation to the structure of your degree and courses! 

Curious about the pros and cons of this degree? Check out our article here!

Lynn Chen is a Content Writer at Art of Smart Education and is a Communication student at UTS with a major in Creative Writing. Lynn’s articles have been published in Vertigo, The Comma, and Shut Up and Go. In her spare time, she also writes poetry.


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