The Master’s Programme ‘Politics. Economics. Philosophy’ offers training that cuts across three core disciplines in the social sciences and the humanities. Our program combines attention to modern problems and an emphasis on rigorous methods of research and evidence-based policy advice and expertise in Political Science and Economics, with sensitivity to normative and ethical issues required to implement policy in the real world that derives from Philosophy. In this respect, the Master’s Programme ‘Politics. Economics. Philosophy’ follows in the traditions of the great thinkers of the past (‘standing on the shoulders of giants) and the spirit and purpose of the Oxford-style Politics, Philosophy, and Economics programs to address the pressing issues of today.
The mission of our PEP program is to provide an opportunity for a cohort of bright, ambitious, and motivated students to master two basic areas – economics and political science – as well as to broaden their philosophical outlook, develop critical thinking and social communication skills, and enhance their social and academic capital.
The PEP program is designed for those graduates of undergraduate programs of participating faculties at HSE and other leading universities who aspire to strengthen their intellectual capacity and acquire additional skills, or to master new professional and career tracks. It is intended to provide new opportunities for the most talented young people motivated to absorb new ideas, tools, and techniques developed in the social sciences. It is open either to the graduates with a solid background in quantitative methods (mathematics, econometrics, computer modeling, etc.) striving to apply them to the most pressing social and economic problems, as well as to young philosophers and social theorists concerned with gaps and controversies in contemporary social sciences.
The program offers two professional career tracks for its students:
Experts and consultants in the field of strategic decision-making in either public bodies or non-governmental organizations (government, ministries, political parties, PR agencies, business analytical centers, NGOs, etc.)
Analysts, researchers, and teachers in academia who are motivated to continue their studies in Ph.D. programs at leading universities in Russia and abroad.
What is the target group of the program?
The PEP program is designed for people who are not satisfied with too narrow specialization in their undergraduate training and who are ambitious enough to expect more from their future. We are looking for bright graduates from leading Russian and foreign universities with wide interests who are ready to be at the forefront of events, either in politics or social sciences. We welcome – among others – graduates from undergraduate programs of participating faculties at the Higher School of Economics aspiring to strengthen their intellectual outlook and capacity, acquire additional skills, or master new professional and career tracks. The program is also open to those with a solid background in quantitative methods (mathematics, econometrics, computer modeling, etc) who wish to apply them to the most pressing social and economic problems, and to young philosophers and social theorists concerned with the gaps and controversies in contemporary social science.
Uniqueness and the advantages of the program
The PEP program is designed to master tools that address not only standard tasks characteristic of most social science programs, but also the approaches applied in the goal-setting activities, implying analyses of values and harmonizing interests in social and economic classes or groups.
Graduates of the PEP Master’s program acquire knowledge and skills to govern social processes, i.e., to design and implement strategic political projects beyond or ‘above’ routine management. Their potential can be applied in strategic planning, political forecasting and programming, and modeling political and social processes. Their professional capacity is based not only upon specific analytical methods (which is an essential prerequisite) but also on their broad intellectual outlook and comprehensive understanding of social processes. This is achieved through philosophical courses, training in critical thinking and social communication, and interdisciplinary cooperation. Due to these qualities they can count on professional and career advancement that allows them to achieve leading positions in political structures and business corporations.
When choosing an academic career, PEP graduates will have a comparative advantage in the research fields at the intersection of scientific disciplines where deep knowledge of philosophy and methodology of science is a crucial prerequisite. It is these very fields from which new scientific ideas usually originate and where the most pressing problems of contemporary societies can be reasonably tackled and resolved.
About the PPE/PEP Programmes
The first ‘Philosophy, Politics, Economics (PPE) program at the undergraduate level was introduced at Oxford in the 1920s as an update of classical educational programs called ‘the Classics’ or ‘the Greats’, which were well known for their emphasis on ancient history, classical philosophy, and languages. The PPE program was presented as ‘Modern Classics’, or ‘the Modern Greats’, and was initially intended for young people seeking to enter the public service. For them, ‘the Classics’ were considered obsolete and unable to deliver the knowledge and skills necessary for public service in a modern state.
Oxford PPEs became an important source for replenishing British and international political elites. Among their notable graduates is the current UK prime minister David Cameron; the current leader of the opposition Ed Miliband; former UK premiers Harold Wilson and Edward Heath; the current Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott; outstanding political and military leaders from other countries, such as Zulfikar and Benazir Bhutto, Solomon Bandaranaike, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, and Wesley Clark; as well as famous social thinkers, such as Isaiah Berlin, Roy Bhaskar, Guido Calabresi, and many influential journalists and business leaders.
Following the Oxford model, many universities in the UK have launched their own PPE programs (York, Warwick, Manchester, Lancaster, Durham, etc.). Likewise, some prestigious U.S. universities, such as Yale (‘Ethics, Politics, and Economics), Carnegie Mellon, and others have done the same. In recent years, this trend has spread to continental Europe, especially Germany (Hamburg, Witten, Konstanz, etc.), Italy (LUISS, Rome), and elsewhere: China, Japan, Australia, South Africa, Israel, Turkey, etc.
In the UK, Master’s programs of the PPE/PEP (“Politics-Economics-Philosophy”) type are currently offered at the London School of Economics and University College London, as well as the Universities of York, Essex, Edinburgh another other; in Germany at Witten/Herdecke and Bayreuth Universities in Hamburg; in the Netherlands at Erasmus (Rotterdam) and Leiden Universities; and in Switzerland at Bern and Basel Universities. In the U.S., a similar program has opened at Duke University. Holding the seventh (1st in the UK) position in The Times Higher Education 100 Under 50 world ranking, i.e. among “younger” universities under 50, York University plays a leading role among PPE Master’s programs.
PPE/PEP programs provide advanced training in the core disciplines of political science, economics, and philosophy, enriching opportunities for its graduates to choose educational and professional tracks in the future and preparing them for jobs requiring a broad outlook and the ability to work in an interdisciplinary environment. The qualities and skills of PPE graduates are needed in such fields as political and socio-economic forecasting, analytical support for policy decision-making, institutional design, assessment of new social phenomena in emerging knowledge-based societies, and new trends in the social sciences.