Master in Politics. Economics. Philosophy.


Program Description

Programme Overview

The mission of our PEP programme 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 programme is designed for those graduates of undergraduate programmes 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 modelling, 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 programme 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 centres, NGOs, etc.)
  • Analysts, researchers and teachers in academia who are motivated to continue their studies in PhD programmes at leading universities in Russia and abroad.

What is the target group of the programme?

The PEP programme 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 programmes 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 programme is also open to those with a solid background in quantitative methods (mathematics, econometrics, computer modelling, 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 programme

The PEP programme is designed to master tools that address not only standard tasks characteristic of most social science programmes, 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 programme 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 modelling 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) programme at the undergraduate level was introduced at Oxford in the 1920s as an update of classical educational programmes called ‘the Classics’ or ‘the Greats’, which were well known for their emphasis on ancient history, classical philosophy and languages. The PPE programme 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 are 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 programmes (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 programmes 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 others; 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 programme 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 programmes.

PPE/PEP programmes 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.


The Master programme «Politics. Economics. Philosophy» consists of the following elements:

Interdisciplinary courses

  • Theory and Research Methodology in Political Science and Economics
  • Intellectual History (Economic, Social, and Political Thought)
  • Data Analysis in the Social Sciences
  • Comparative Political Economics
  • State and Economy
  • Strategies for Economic Development

Economic block

  • Contemporary Economics
  • Comparative Economic Systems
  • Economics of Transition and Emerging Markets

Political block

  • Modern Political Science
  • Issues of Contemporary Russian Politics
  • Global Governance

Philosophy block

  • Contemporary Philosophy and Political Ethics
  • Philosophy of New Social Movements and Social Changes
  • Critique of Political Violence

Adaptational courses (2 of them, depends on students' background)

  • Mathematics
  • Economics
  • Political Science

Research seminar (The course is intended to help a student to enter the universe of intellectual culture underlying contemporary social sciences, to perceive the origin and logic of basic ideas governing political movements and economic change)

Term paper (year 1)

Internship (2 times: 4 weeks in summer after year 1 and 4 weeks in winter on module 3, year 2)

Thesis (year 2)

Career Opportunities

What jobs are there for graduates? The most immediate field where graduates can apply their skills is that of political expertise and organization: analytical support for decision-making in governmental agencies, political parties, NGOs and businesses. Another option is think tanks and research centres, especially those that are focused on interdisciplinary problems of institutional reform and social policy. Extended training of graduates allows them to prepare and initiate strategic decisions and take a leading role in their implementation, thus making them competitive for key positions where joint competences from politics, economics and philosophy are most relevant.


Portfolio application includes:

  • Resume/CV
  • Letter of motivation (300-500 words)
  • Two letters of recommendation (at least one from someone familiar with your academic work)
  • Copies of published papers, if available (in academic journals, collective monographs and conference papers etc.)
  • Academic essay of 1500-3000 words on one of the suggested topics (See Supplement 1 below)
  • Scans of diplomas and academic transcripts
  • Awards and participation certificates from student’s conferences, contests etc.
  • Scan of English proficiency exam results (IELTS or TOEFL)

Native speakers of English and students who have completed an entire degree exclusively in English do not need to submit proof of their English ability. All other applicants should submit test results no more than two years old.

Last updated Feb 2020

About the School

Consistently ranked as one of Russia’s top three universities, the Higher School of Economics (HSE University) sets itself apart by its internationally-minded, research-driven approach to higher educa ... Read More

Consistently ranked as one of Russia’s top three universities, the Higher School of Economics (HSE University) sets itself apart by its internationally-minded, research-driven approach to higher education. Based in the vibrant center of Moscow, with campuses in St. Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod and Perm, HSE offers outstanding academics at all levels and includes more than 25 English-taught Master’s programmes and 8 English-taught Bachelor's degree programmes. Read less
Moscow , Nizhny Novgorod , Saint Petersburg + 2 More Less