FAQs: Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) Programme


Entering the Programme

How does one get into the PPE programme? Are there any additional criteria that PPE students have to fulfill in order to get into the major?
There are two ways to enter the programme. You can apply to enter directly at the point of admission into NUS, on the strength of your pre-university results and the application essay. Alternatively, you can enter the major after your first year of study in NUS FASS, on the strength of your results in NUS. All of the requirements are on the website.

How hard is it to get into the programme? What’s the cutoff grade profile?
The programme is looking for students with the interest and a strong aptitude to investigate social and political phenomena from multiple perspectives using the intellectual tools provided by the disciplines of philosophy, political science, and economics. You can see the indicative grade profile of the 2019 direct entry cohort here. For students applying to enter the programme as a current FASS student, we will only look at your performance within NUS; the requirements are here.

Is the additional 1.25 rank points that NUS gives applicable when selecting PPE as my first choice?
No. The bonus points scheme does not apply to courses whose admission depends on the outcome of interviews and/or aptitude tests. For more information see here.

Should I still put “FACULTY OF ARTS AND SOCIAL SCIENCES” as one of my choices in the Admissions Portal if I select PPE?
As mentioned on the website, applicants to the PPE programme who did not also select “FACULTY OF ARTS AND SOCIAL SCIENCES” on the Admissions Portal will not have applied for entry to FASS, if the application to PPE was unsuccessful. So if you still want to enter FASS even if you don’t get selected for PPE, make sure to put down that choice.

Is there an avenue for discretionary admissions into PPE if I do not meet the cutoff point but still want to apply through my A-level results?
No. However, if you (for instance) believed that you weren’t admitted because the Office of Admissions didn’t get the correct information (perhaps a document wasn’t sent correctly), let them know so they can help.

Is it possible for me to appeal to get into the programme if I didn’t meet the entry requirements after the first year in NUS FASS?
Yes, you may appeal. Do note that the programme committee will consider appeals only if you just missed the requirements (you can do this using the PPE Major Enrolment Portal). Note that the current policy of considering appeals will also be subjected to review on a year to year basis.

What's the estimated Year 1 intake?
For 2019, we admitted around 25 students, though less than half matriculated (the rest are male students on National Service who will enter NUS from 2020). Note, however, that we made offers to--and were ready to admit--many more students than that.


PPE as a Major 

Are there specific modules that only PPE majors have access to?
There are some modules specifically created for the PPE programme (PE2101P Introduction to Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, PE3101P Decision Theory and Social Choice, and the upcoming 4000 level PE coded modules). But like modules from other majors, non-major students aren’t barred from enrolling in them as long as they meet any listed pre-requisites, even though PPE majors will have priority.

Is the workload of a PPE major equivalent to that of taking three majors concurrently? Will there still be space for a second major (including a cross faculty one), or a minor?
The PPE major is designed to be around the same size (in terms of number of modules) as a regular single subject major in FASS, so the workload should not be significantly different. The overall graduation requirements for PPE students (in terms of number of modules) is the same as any single-subject major in FASS. PPE students will also have roughly the same “unrestricted elective space” as other FASS majors. And like them, they can use this space for a second major (including a cross faculty one), minors, and other pursuits. The only restriction is that they can’t have the PPE specialization discipline as their second major.

Does PPE provide students with sufficient depth across the various disciplines given its emphasis on breadth? Does the PPE Programme sacrifice depth for breadth?
As explained on the “About” page, the programme does not primarily aim at “breadth” (exposure to a variety of things). Rather, it aims to achieve a targeted depth in a curated common core that combines elements from the three disciplines of Philosophy, Political Science and Economics. This common core can be understood as a form of social scientifically informed political philosophy. You will thus be gaining as much “depth” as any other single subject major (for instance, there will be as many high level courses). It’s just that this isn’t (and isn’t meant to be) depth in philosophy, or political science, or economics, but in that specially curated overlap between the three disciplines.

What avenues do I have in further studies if I decide to pursue studies in, for instance, Politics? Is it possible to do so with a PPE degree? 
In general, yes. In addition, PPE graduates will also fit in with Public Policy as a choice for further studies. However, a much longer advisory is needed to talk about the preparations and requirements for getting into a good graduate programme. Students who are interested are advised to talk to faculty members from the respective disciplines (e.g., talk to someone from Philosophy to find out more about what it takes to apply to graduate school in Philosophy, and so on).

Will PPE students be able to go on student exchange?
PPE students have access to the university and faculty’s exchange programmes. For mapping of modules, you should approach the owning department of the module in question (e.g., Philosophy, Political Science, or Economics). For exchange partners that require that students be from specific majors, PPE students can be counted as if majors in their specialization.

What are the employment prospects for PPE graduates? Will a degree in PPE be recognised by employers in Singapore, given that it is new and not as established as, e.g., a pure Economics degree?
Given that this is a new programme, we won’t have any historical data to present. That said, the programme prepares graduates for positions in public institutions and private corporations relating to policy and strategy. PPE students also have access to the career preparation opportunities available to all FASS students, including the Faculty’s internship and mentorship programmes, and the new FASS 2.0 Industry Tracks. In addition, when designing the programme, the input of a number of senior human resource directors in public and private institutions was sought. We are thus confident that our graduates will be competitive for employment. 


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