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Philosophy, political science, economics and sociology

B.A.; 34 places

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What is Philosophy, Political Science, Economics and Sociology (P.P.E.S.)?

Philosophy, Political Science, Economics and Sociology, (P.P.E.S.) offers a coherent and integrated introduction to the study of social sciences and philosophy. It brings together some of the most important approaches to understanding society and, in doing so, develops skills for a whole range of future careers and activities. Central to the programme is the analysis of social and human phenomena through the lens of several complementary disciplines and analytical frameworks. By allowing a gradual specialisation over the course of the four-year degree programme, students ultimately obtain an excellent grounding in one, or at most two, of the disciplines which comprise the course.

P.P.E.S.: The course for you?

Drawing on the methods and insights from philosophy and the social sciences, the course examines the way societies are organised, governed and create wealth. If you are curious about the way our world is structured and how it has evolved over time, this may well be the course for you.

P.P.E.S. @ Trinity

Trinity College is the only university in the Republic of Ireland that offers this broad combination of subjects in a single programme. Other institutions, including Trinity, offer two subject combinations such as Economics and Political Science or Economics and Philosophy, but PPES offers the opportunity to study these four fascinating subjects together. Following the first two years, the programme facilitates two years of greater specialisation in either one or two of the subjects.

At Trinity, we have world-class teachers and researchers who are committed to providing rigorous, interesting and challenging courses.

Graduate skills and career opportunities

Having studied a number of disciplines and developed numerous analytical skills, this degree confers the insights and skills to pursue careers in a variety of areas including public administration, teaching, journalism, media, law and management. The link below gives information on the career paths taken by our graduates.

Your degree and what you’ll study


In the Junior Freshman (first) year you will take all four subjects: economics, philosophy, political science and sociology.



In the Senior Freshman (second) year you will choose to continue three of the subjects and could, for example, take modules ranging from Intermediate Economics, to the History of Philosophy to International Politics, to Social Theory.


In the Junior Sophister (third) year you take two of the four subjects, and in the Senior Sophister (fourth) year you may take either two subjects or choose to specialise in only one. Students pursuing the equivalent of single honour programmes in their final year will be able to pursue an undergraduate dissertation, and all fourth year modules have elements of project work intended to develop research skills and the skills of independent enquiry.

Study abroad

In the Junior Sophister (third) year, students have the opportunity to apply to study abroad in a prestigious European university with the EU-funded Erasmus programme. In addition to Erasmus programmes in Europe, the Departments also have bilateral links with leading universities across the world. Our exchange programmes are highly successful, and are an extremely popular option for P.P.E.S. students each year. Participating students find that they are hugely enjoyable, academically and culturally rewarding, and appeal to prospective employers.

Further information on the year abroad programme, and a list of partner universities, can be found at:

P.P.E.S. at a glance

Year 2 (6 modules)


  • Logic, Language and Science
  • History of Philosophy

Political science

  • History of Political Thought
  • International Relations
  • Comparative Politics


  • Intermediate Economics
  • Mathematics and Statistical Methods
  • Economy of Ireland


  • Gender, Work and Family
  • Introduction to Social Research
  • Power, State and Social Movements
  • Social Theory

Year 3 (6 modules)


  • Political Philosophy
  • Topics in Ancient Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Mind
  • Moral Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Topics in Continental Philosophy
  • Metaphysics

Political science

  • Research Methods for Political Scientists
  • Government and Politics of the USA
  • Irish Politics
  • Democracy and Development
  • European Union Politics
  • Political Violence


  • Economic Analysis
  • Money and Banking
  • The European Economy
  • Economics of Less Developed Countries
  • Investment Analysis
  • Economics of Policy Issues
  • Industrial Economics
  • Mathematical Economics
  • Econometrics


  • Social Stratification and Inequalities
  • Globalisation and Development
  • Researching Society
  • Race, Ethnicity and Identity
  • Comparative Sociology of Europe

Year 4 (4 modules if you select Political Science, Economics or Sociology. Please consult the Philosophy handbook for Philosophy requirements)


  • Ancient Philosophy
  • Epistemology
  • Perceptual Knowledge and Justification
  • Metaphysics
  • Philosophy of Language
  • Post-Kantian Philosophy
  • Idealism
  • Neurophilosophy
  • Philosophy Dissertation
  • General Paper

Political science

  • Research Seminar
  • Chinese Politics
  • Issues in Contemporary Politics
  • Contemporary International Relations
  • African Politics
  • Topics in Political Science


  • Economic Theory
  • Economics of Financial Markets
  • The World Economy
  • International Economics
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Development Economics
  • Economic and Legal Aspects of Competition
  • Applied Economics
  • Economics Dissertation


  • Conflict Studies
  • Labour Markets, Gender and Institutions
  • Digital Lives and Social Networks
  • Migration, Mobilities and Integration
  • Dissertation

The section 'PPES at a glance' (see above) gives you a sense of the richness and diversity of modules that are available within PPES in the second, third and fourth years.

If you would like to find out more detailed information on all the modules offered, please visit:


Tel: +353 1 896 1840 / +353 1 896 1298


Course Director
Professor Paul Scanlon


What our graduates say

Alan Walsh. P.P.E.S. Graduate 2012 - Single Honors Economics

“I was first attracted to the P.P.E.S. programme at TCD due to the large variety encompassed within one course. The common first year exposes students to philosophy, political science, economics and sociology. I found this initial broad subject range extremely useful as it meant I could gain an overview of the social sciences and obtain experience in various different fields before specialising in the later years. As is the case with many students, I was by no means certain which direction I wanted to take with my studies when I first enrolled at TCD. When I began the P.P.E.S. programme, I was undecided whether I wanted to pursue a joint honours degree in political science and philosophy or to specialise by taking a single honours degree in one of these two subjects. However, as I moved through my studies I was somewhat surprised to find that my most natural intellectual fit was actually with economics. With this in mind, I was very grateful for the flexibility the P.P.E.S. program afforded, and I opted to pursue a single honors degree in economics by the time I reached my final year.”

What our current students say

Hannah Treanor – Junior Sophister - P.P.E.S.

“When researching courses during my final year of secondary school, it was the P.P.E.S. degree which struck a chord with me. The small class size, range of subjects and the fact that it was the only course of its kind in the Republic of Ireland made P.P.E.S. stand out.

However, the high level of points needed to gain entry deterred me from informing friends and family members that I had found the course I wanted to study above all others. Luckily, I still had the confidence to keep it as my first CAO choice and when results day came, it turned out thatI had obtained more than enough points to enter P.P.E.S. the following year.

I can safely say that P.P.E.S. has far exceeded my most lofty expectations. The small class size provided a fantastic support system that helped make the transition to college as seamless, providing me with an extensive set of friends who help balance academic pressures with humour and encouragement.

Furthermore, the range of courses overlap much more than expected while still providing students with a good insight into what each field entails. Finally, the ‘Trinity College’ experience can’t be forgotten. My experience as secretary on the Politics Society, my journey leading a delegation to an MUN in Oxford University and my plans to study in McGill University in Canada next year are all indebted to the environment and resources of the university in which I study.”

Course Options



Number of Places


CAO code (Central Applications Office code) is


Admission Requirements

For general admission requirements please click here

Leaving Certificate O4/H6 Mathematics GCSE Grade B Mathematics Other EU examination systemsSee


To apply to this course, click on the relevant Apply Link below

EU Applicants

Read the information about how to apply, then apply directly to CAO.

Non-EU Applicants

  • Philosophy, Political Science, Economics and Sociology, 4 years full-time Closing Date: 30/JUN/2018
  • Advanced Entry Applications

    Read the information about how to apply for Advanced Entry, then select the link below to apply.