MSc in Philosophy, Politics & Economics (PPE)


Program Description

Does globalization undermine social solidarity? Does populism threaten our democracies? How do we encourage corporate social responsibility? And how can we rise to the challenge of climate change?

Our world today faces complex challenges that cannot be tackled by one discipline alone. We need an approach that cuts across boundaries. Our selective one-year Master’s program in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) offers this interdisciplinary approach. The program aims at ambitious students with a wide range of interests – students who want to explore the philosophical dimensions of political and economic issues and develop and apply their critical thinking tools. If you are interested to work at the interface between politics, economics, and philosophy, this is your master's program.

What will you learn? The program will equip you with the central theoretical and methodological tools from PPE that allow you to understand and critically examine complex problems ranging from global poverty to the financial crisis. You will learn to analyze the political and economic complexities of organizational structures. You will see what is at stake in theories of democracy, collective decision‐making, rational choice, social inequality, and economic growth. And you will learn how to apply theoretical insights to concrete policy problems both locally and globally.

Talent grants

We offer two grants of €5000 to the most talented non-EU/EEA applicants.

Tuition waiver

Non-EU/EEA students will receive a tuition waiver of 50%.


Admitted prospective students from outside the EU/EEA can apply for the Holland Scholarship.

Why study this program in Groningen?

In 2018, our program received the highest overall rating out of all Master programs in the Netherlands in the national student satisfaction survey. The average over-all score came to 4.9 out of 5!

PPE should be more than the addition of P, P and E. Rather than studying the three disciplines separately, the PPE master's program in Groningen is unique in teaching PPE as a genuinely integrative discipline. Moreover, our program offers a distinctive combination of theory and practice: you will learn to apply theories and methods to policy issues.

We combine a thorough interdisciplinary PPE foundation with ample opportunities for specialization. Our core courses and policy seminars provide the foundation, and our wide range of electives allows you to delve deeper into one or more of the disciplinary fields. Our instructors are of top international quality. The Faculty of Philosophy, for example, is ranked as the best place to study philosophy in the Netherlands. Our small class sizes allow us to provide a close personalized approach, and a personal mentor will guide you through your studies.


Year 1

The one‐year (60 ECTS) program consists of nine modules of 5 ECTS each and a 15 ECTS Master thesis. Three of these nine modules constitute the academic core of the program: Methods of PPE, Theories of PPE, and History of PPE. In two PPE seminars, knowledge from Methods and Theories is applied to policy issues. Four PPE electives and a Master thesis complete the program.


  • Elective 1
  • Methods of PPE
  • Theories of PPE
  • Elective 2
  • History of PPE
  • PPE Seminar 1
  • Elective 3
  • Elective 4
  • PPE Seminar 2
  • Master Thesis


In the Methods of PPE module, you learn the analytical and formal methods that makeup PPE research: decision theory, statistics, policy impact assessment, game theory, and social and public choice theory. You learn the strengths and limitations of these methods and discover how to frame problems and select the appropriate method for them.

In the Theories of the PPE module, we focus on key concepts and theories, including rationality, utility, efficiency, equality, and fairness. You will learn how to apply these concepts and theories to issues such as productivity, property rights, social security, markets, intergenerational justice, environmental policy, collective action, and voting.

In the History of PPE module, we critically reflect on the main historical traditions relevant to PPE, focusing on Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Smith, Rousseau and modern developments such as the rise of capitalism, Marxism, and utopian socialism.

In the PPE Seminars, you will apply the methods and theories of PPE to concrete policy issues.

For the electives, you can choose courses from a list of electives especially designed for the PPE program and from electives in other programs offered by the participating faculties. Moreover, it is possible to substitute some coursework with an internship.

To conclude your degree, you will write a Master's thesis on a topic of your own choice.

Admission requirements

Dutch or international diploma

Specific requirements More information
Assessment interview

After reviewing all applications, the Board of Admissions will admit some students directly and reject some students directly. Other students will be invited for an interview. In an interview, the Board of Admissions will address issues such as motivation, ambition, skills and general fit with the PPE program. Once admitted, students will be given, where necessary, a reading list on issues they have not encountered in their Bachelor's. They will then follow up with their mentor on these issues once the program starts.

Grade average

Please submit an academic transcript. We generally expect applicants to have at least a mean grade of 7.5 out of 10 on the Dutch grading system, although exceptions are sometimes granted in special circumstances. If the undergraduate program involved a thesis, we also expect a 7.5 or higher. The admissions office will check how far international candidates' GPA corresponds to our requirement on the Dutch grading system.

Language test

To confirm sufficient language proficiency, please submit your results on one of the following language tests:

  • IELTS: at least 7.0 overall score with no band less than 6.5
  • TOEFL: at least 100 overall score, with section scores being at least 22 for Reading, 26 for Speaking, and 24 for Writing

This requirement does not apply if:

  • You are a native speaker and have completed your secondary education in any one of the following countries: Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia
  • You have completed your bachelor education in any one of the following countries: Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia
Previous education

The applicant has a Bachelor's degree in (1) PPE, or (2) Philosophy or Philosophy of a Specific Discipline, or (3) Economics, or (4) Political Science, or (5) another relevant field.

Reference letter

Please submit two reference letters. These should be from academic staff and signed by your referee. Please make sure they state your student number on these letters (you receive a student number once you have registered in Studielink).

Written request

Please include a CV, a letter of motivation (between one and three pages), and a writing sample (between 3000 and 10000 words) with your application.

Other admission requirements

International students: first register in Studielink, and then upload your application files to the Online Application System.

Application deadlines

Type of student Deadline Start course
Dutch students

01 May 2021

01 September 2021

EU/EEA students

01 May 2021

01 September 2021

non-EU/EEA students

01 April 2021

01 September 2021

Tuition fees

Nationality Year Fee Program form
EU/EEA 2020-2021 € 2143 full-time
non-EU/EEA 2020-2021 € 13500 full-time

Job prospects

With its combination of a generalist PPE foundation and its opportunities for specialization, our Master's prepares you for a broad range of careers. The program provides you with the knowledge, insight, and skills to work in organizations as diverse as national or international public administrations, governmental and non‐governmental organizations, private businesses and banks, journalism, think tanks and research institutions.

Our alumni find jobs in the following fields and for the following employers:


  • (Corporate Social Responsibility) consultancy; strategy consultancy, data science, funding, public affairs.


  • Government departments, NGOs, embassies, university networks, sustainable investment companies, intergovernmental organizations.

Job examples

  • Policy advisor
  • Strategy consultant
  • CSR consultant


Center for Philosophy, Politics, and Economics

Besides the PPE Master, Groningen has also made a firm commitment to become a hub for research at the interface of philosophy, politics, and economics.

The Centre for Philosophy, Politics, and Economics stimulates and facilitates such research by bringing together academics from the Faculty of Philosophy, the Faculty of Economics and Business, the Faculty of Arts, and the Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences. The Centre for PPE includes research areas such as moral philosophy, political theory, philosophy of economics, monetary and financial economics, decision theory, financial ethics, international relations, social epistemology, social ontology, moral psychology, organizational behavior, and social psychology.

In its mission, the Centre involves students, Ph.D. students, postdocs and senior researchers. It organizes seminars, workshops, a blog, a lecture series, and conferences. The Centre also deepens existing connections with international partners in Europe, the US and elsewhere.

Last updated Jul 2020

About the School

The University of Groningen has a rich academic tradition dating back to 1614. From this tradition arose the first female student and the first female lecturer in the Netherlands, the first Dutch astr ... Read More

The University of Groningen has a rich academic tradition dating back to 1614. From this tradition arose the first female student and the first female lecturer in the Netherlands, the first Dutch astronaut and the first president of the European Central Bank. Geographically, the University is rooted in the Northern part of the Netherlands, a region very close to its heart. Read less
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