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Degree type


Course length

3 years full-time


Durham City

UCAS code


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Typical offers

Typical offers
A Level A*AA
International Baccalaureate 38

Course details

Do you question what drives human actions and decisions? Are you curious about the ways in which government policies impact society? Or the ethics of global production and consumption?  Philosophy is the study of the important questions that arise in all areas of human life. By combining the study of philosophy, politics and economics you’ll gain insight into the thinking behind some of the big ideas that shape contemporary society.

This prestigious degree offers you the opportunity to explore these three important disciplines – their connections, influences and impact. You’ll gain an understanding of how and why they’ve been so inextricably linked historically, and the ways in which they’ve developed and diverged over the course of the last two centuries, both in content and in method.

Using a combination of academic theory and real-world practice, you’ll examine issues such as global politics, ethics and economic growth, gaining the knowledge and skills to pursue different lines of inquiry and the confidence to question your own thinking. 

While the first year provides a foundation in all three areas, the choice broadens substantially in subsequent years. Across Years 2 and 3, you’ll study a minimum of two modules for each discipline, and you can tailor the remainder of your choices from a wide selection of option modules. 

The course offers the opportunity to add a placement year or spend a year abroad, increasing the degree from three years to four. This extra dimension, coupled with the variety of option modules gives the degree the flexibility and eclecticism that are its defining characteristics.

The rigorous academic framework opens the door to a wide range of career options including policy making, journalism, the financial sector, the legal profession, consultancy, education and the civil service.

Course Structure

Year 1 

Core modules:

Principles of Economics provides a sound foundation for modules in micro- and macroeconomics. You will cover areas including methodology of economics, supply and demand, consumer spending choices, competition and growth theories.

Economic Methods familiarises you with the use of mathematical and statistical tools in solving economic problems. You will look at equations, matrix algebra, calculus, statistics, distribution, confidence intervals and hypothesis testing.

Ethics and Values provides a structured introduction to moral philosophy, including applied ethics, by exploring key moral concepts and showing how they influence moral practices and theories.

Knowledge and Reality introduces philosophical problems in epistemology (the study of knowledge), and metaphysics (the study of reality and ourselves).

In recent years, optional modules have included:

  • Researching Politics and International Relations
  • Introduction to Political Theory
  • Introduction to Comparative Politics
  • Introduction to International Relations
  • Perspectives of Political Economy.

Year 2

Year 2 offers a greater degree of flexibility in your choice of philosophy, politics and economics modules.

In economics, you will study one or two core modules through either:

Macroeconomics, which uses real-world examples to analyse the general equilibrium of an economy both in the short term, with a static model, and in the medium to long term, with a dynamic model.


Microeconomics, which aims to develop understanding of the essential components of microeconomics with a particular focus on the analytical skills relevant to consumer and production theories, general equilibrium and welfare.


Economic Theory, which develops understanding and applications of microeconomic and macroeconomic theory at an intermediate level. You will cover areas such as consumer theory, money and inflation, economic growth and fiscal policy.

In philosophy, you will study one core modules in either:

Political Philosophy, which introduces, assesses and discusses major philosophical questions concerning politics and political life, its structures and organisations.


The Philosophy of Economics & Politics, which introduces assesses and discusses both contemporary and historical philosophical issues at the intersection between economics and political theory.

The remaining modules are chosen from a wide selection of optional modules in politics, philosophy and economics, including modules in econometrics, political theory, international relations, historical philosophy and logical analysis.

Year 3 (Year 4 if undertaking a placement or year abroad)

The Dissertation is a detailed and critical examination of a relevant area of either philosophy, politics or economics. It develops your ability to plan and manage your own learning and provides you with an opportunity to research a specific topic and present your findings and conclusions.

Plus four additional options from an extensive selection of modules across the three subject areas. 

Additional pathways

Students on BA Philosophy, Politics and Economics can apply to be transferred onto either the ‘with Year Abroad’ or ‘with Placement’ pathway during the second year.  Places on these pathways are in high demand and if you are chosen your studies will extend from three years to four.


You may be able to take a work placement. Find out more.


Most learning takes the form of lectures and small-group seminars, complemented by subject-specific tutorials and dedicated economics workshops. You’ll also benefit from one-to-one support and self-directed learning to develop your critical thinking skills. 

We place great importance on research-led teaching. This approach integrates new and cutting-edge developments into the curriculum and introduces you to a variety of research-oriented skills and research-based projects.

We prioritise small-group teaching, with tutorials often including between eight and 20 students. The small-group teaching format and one-on-one attention from your personal academic advisor are embedded into the learning experience to enhance the quality of learning and encourage you to become an independent thinker.

As you progress to the final year there's an increased focus on self-directed learning and independent research as you begin to prepare for professional or postgraduate life.


Modules are assessed via a combination of examinations and unseen essay questions, essays and group projects.

The range of assessment methods is designed to assess your knowledge and understanding of the material, test your critical thinking skills, enhance your written and oral communication skills, and assess your ability to relate your learning to real-world issues.

The Year 3 dissertation, which should be based around a relevant philosophy, politics or economics topic of your choice, makes up one-third of your final-year marks.

Entry requirements

A level offer – A*AA including an arts/humanities or social sciences subject and Mathematics.

Contextual offer – AAB including an arts/humanities or social sciences subject and Mathematics.

BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma/OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma – D*DD and A level requirements as above.

IB Diploma score – 38 with 666 in higher level subjects, including an arts/humanities subject and Mathematics.

In addition to satisfying the University’s general entry requirements, please note:

  • We also consider other level 3 qualifications, including T-levels.
  • We welcome applications from those with other qualifications equivalent to our standard entry requirements and from mature students with non-standard qualifications or who may have had a break in their study. Please contact our Admissions Selectors.
  • We do not accept Advanced Higher Statistics as a substitute for AH Mathematics. If you are taking both of these subjects at this level then a further two Advanced Highers are necessary.
  • For students taking the IB we are happy to accept either Higher Level grade 6 or Standard Level grade 7 in Mathematics. Mathematical Studies is not acceptable.
  • One Arts/Humanities subject at A level or equivalent is required. In the past successful applicants have commonly satisfied this condition, by studying one or more of the following subjects: History, Philosophy, Government and Politics, English Literature; any ancient or modern language; Geography, Religious Studies. Such a list cannot be comprehensive, so if you are unsure over whether the subjects that you are currently following or are planning to take, meet our standard requirements please contact our Admissions Selector for further details.
  • If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to this degree, you may be eligible to take an International Foundation Year pathway programme at the Durham University International Study Centre.

Alternative qualifications

International students who do not meet direct entry requirements for this degree might have the option to complete an International Foundation Year.

English language requirements

Country specific information

Fees and funding

The tuition fees for 2025/26 academic year have not yet been finalised, they will be displayed here once approved.

The tuition fees shown for home students are for one complete academic year of full time study and are set according to the academic year of entry. Fees for subsequent years of your course may rise in line with an inflationary uplift as determined by the government.

The tuition fees shown for overseas and EU students are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and Bursaries

We are committed to supporting the best students irrespective of financial circumstances and are delighted to offer a range of funding opportunities. 

Find out more about Scholarships and Bursaries

Career opportunities

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Department information

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