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PPE Dissertation Overview

PPE Dissertation (PO 386-30)


Final year PPE students may elect to take a PPE dissertation.

The PPE dissertation offers a structured opportunity for independent learning on a topic of interdisciplinary relevance. Like the Principles of Political Economy core module (PH331), it aims to encourage students to bridge the PPE disciplines. It is a particularly useful choice for students thinking of going on to graduate work, but it is also relevant for career destinations requiring skills in gathering and synthesising material.


The overall aim is to write a 10,000 dissertation on an interdisciplinary topic agreed between students and supervisors. The dissertation topic has to span at least two PPE disciplines.

The dissertation gives students the opportunity to

- design and carry out a project involving research or a critical review in a chosen field at the interfaces of philosophy, politics, and economics

- develop a deep knowledge of the chosen research topic

- develop written communication skills

- develop time-management skills in the establishment of a research and writing plan

- develop research skills

- develop IT skills in presenting the dissertation and using on-line resources while researching the topic.


- Students are required to apply for a place on this module by submitting a proposal of 200 words by Friday of week 9 in term 3 (23rd June 2017) of their second year to the PPE office. Places are limited and will be allocated competitively.

- The dissertation route is not an easy one. We reserve the right to redirect students who fail to achieve an average of at least 60 in their second year.

- Although the dissertation has a PO-code, it can count towards satisfying your option requirements in the disciplines it covers. For example, if your dissertation is on a topic at the intersection of Economics and Philosophy, it can count towards your options in either Economics or Philosophy.

- Students will attend the four research design and skills sessions already provided within PO366 Undergraduate Dissertation.

- Tutorial meetings (to be scheduled by PPE conveners):

Term 1, by week 3: consider the overall research topic; set a broad area for consideration;Term 1, by week 5: discuss and agree a final title for the dissertation and point towards a possible structure;Term 1 week, by week 10: consider an outline plan of the dissertation prepared by the student;Term 2, by week 5: consider written work up to a maximum of 2,500 words that has been submitted in advance to the supervisor;Term 2, by week 10: consider a revised outline plan of the dissertation to ensure that it is all coming together as a whole and to finalise plans for completion.

- The dissertation is due in week 1 of term 3.


- Students writing a PPE dissertation cannot elect to write a dissertation in Philosophy or PAIS or to do a research project in applied economics (EC331).

- Students who wish to carry out research involving the gathering and use of quantitative data and econometric methods should choose EC331 Research in Applied Economics, regardless of the specific focus of their project.