Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE)
PPE is one of Oxford’s most famous degree courses. It also has a long tradition in St Hugh’s and we admit around six undergraduates to read this course each year. The typical group consists of exceptional students from a variety of educational and national backgrounds. Qualities we look for in applicants are an ability to think logically and analytically, and a serious interest in understanding society. Students on this course are required to study all three subjects in the first year; beyond that, they may continue with all three subjects or specialise in two.
We welcome candidates studying any combination of A and AS-levels in the arts or sciences. We also welcome candidates preparing for the IB, Scottish Highers, or other foreign qualifications. Although a background in Mathematics is not formally required for admission, PPE applicants should have sufficient interest in, and aptitude for, mathematics to cope with the mathematical elements of the course. Mathematics is a particular advantage for the Economics component of the course, as well as for the first year logic course in Philosophy, and for understanding theories and data in politics.
Last year around 90% of the applicants who were offered places for PPE at Oxford had studied Maths to at least AS-level, or equivalent. You may like to consider taking Maths to AS-level, or an equivalent qualification such as IB Standard Level, even if you do not pursue it further. It is useful to have learnt the basics of differentiation before starting your university course in PPE.
The Joseph and Nancy Burton Prize, which is worth £250, is awarded on the basis of an essay submitted by any undergraduate in a topic in Philosophy, Politics, or Economics. Essays submitted for the Prize should be no longer than 10,000 words and should be submitted by Friday of 2nd Week of Trinity Term.
The St Hugh’s PPE Society automatically includes all PPE, and Maths and Philosophy undergraduates as members while opening all speaker events to the entire student body. The society functions in helping students link with one another during life at St Hugh’s, by running frequent social events both inside and outside College. On a broader scale, the society regularly invites and hosts guest speakers to deliver a range of talks, with past guests including tutors at the university, notable journalists and politicians.