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Philosophy, political science, economics and sociology

B.A.; 4 years full-time; 34 places; 540

What is Philosophy, Political Science, Economics and Sociology?

Philosophy, Political Science, Economics and Sociology (P.P.E.S.) enables students to study four subjects that are central to understanding any society. It brings together some of the most important approaches to understanding the social and human world, developing skills for a whole range of future careers and activities. The idea behind the programme is that social and human issues need to be approached from different but interrelated viewpoints. For example, political decisions often concern economic matters, and government decisions are often influenced by economic events.

Is it the right course for you?

This course will appeal to students who are excited about the challenges of understanding the way societies are organised, governed and create wealth drawing on the methods and insights of philosophical inquiry. If you are puzzled about the ways our world is structured and have a desire to change it, then this may well be the course for you.

Why study P.P.E.S. at Trinity?

The P.P.E.S. programme is the only university degree in Ireland where students can combine the study of Philosophy, Political Science, Economics and Sociology. Trinity’s School of Social Sciences and Philosophy – where the P.P.E.S. degree finds its home – is at the forefront of research and teaching across the disciplines of Philosophy, Political Science, Economics and Sociology and is Ireland’s top ranked university in all four subjects (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2015).

Trinity has an international reputation for its research on issues of global societal and economic importance such as migration, development, international macroeconomics and political and economic integration in Europe. Our students benefit from a research-led education which exposes them to world-class academics who are committed to providing rigorous, interesting and challenging courses.

What will you study?


In first year you will take all four subjects: Economics (Introduction to Economics, Mathematics and Statistics), Philosophy (Central Problems in Philosophy, History of Philosophy), Political Science (Introduction to Political Science) and Sociology (Introduction to Sociology).


In second year you choose to continue three of the subjects and could, for example, take modules ranging from Economic Principles, to the History of Philosophy to International Politics, to an Introduction to Social Research.


In third year you take two of the four subjects and in 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 help develop research skills and the skills of independent enquiry.

P.P.E.S. Degree Structure

First Year

  • Philosophy
  • Political Science
  • Economics
  • Sociology

Second Year

Choose 3 disciplines

Third Year

Choose 2 disciplines

Fourth Year

Choose either 1 discipline or continue with both

PPES 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


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

Year 3 (6 modules)


  • Political Philosophy
  • Topics in Ancient Philosophy
  • Topics in Analytic Philosophy
  • Moral Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Logic and Philosophy
  • Topics in Continental Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Fiction

Political science

  • Research Methods for Political Scientists
  • Irish Politics
  • Democracy and Development
  • European Union Politics
  • Representation and Public Opinion


  • 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 Theory
  • Globalisation and Development
  • Researching Society
  • Social Inequality
  • Race, Ethnicity and Identity

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


  • Ancient Philosophy
  • Ethics
  • Refutations of Idealism
  • Metaphysics
  • Philosophy of Language
  • Epistemology
  • Post-Kantian Philosophy
  • Meaning of Life
  • Philosophy Dissertation
  • General Paper

Political science

  • Research Seminar
  • Contemporary Political Theories
  • 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 Economy
  • Economic and Legal Aspects of Competition
  • Econometrics
  • Applied Economics
  • Economics Dissertation


  • Economic Sociology of Europe
  • Conflict Studies
  • Digital Lives and Social Networks
  • Migration
  • 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.

P.P.E.S. is an extremely flexible degree which allows gradual specialisation over the course of the four-year programme. Students have a great deal of choice and flexibility in shaping their degree pathway. Ten different degree options are available. For example, in third year you could opt to take both Economics and Philosophy or both Political Science and Sociology or any combination of these four disciplines.

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

Study abroad

In 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 four P.P.E.S. departments also have bilateral links with leading universities across the world. Our exchange programmes are an extremely popular option for students each year. Participating students find that they are hugely enjoyable, academically and culturally rewarding, and that it is a valuable experience in terms of prospective employment.

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


From a career perspective, Trinity graduates are extremely well regarded worldwide. P.P.E.S. students develop exceptional problem solving and critical thinking skills which are highly sought after by employers. P.P.E.S. students also develop insights and expertise, across a range of disciplines, which enable them to pursue careers in fields as varied as management, research, teaching, journalism, international affairs, public policy and public service. The link below gives information on the career paths taken by our graduates.

Many P.P.E.S. graduates have gone on to postgraduate study both at Trinity and at other leading universities around the world such as University College London, the University of Edinburgh and the College of Europe.

Further information


Tel: +353 1 896 1840

Student Profile

Alan Walsh

I found the 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.

Course Options




4 years full-time

Points Required


Number of Places


CAO code (Central Applications Office code) is


Minimum entry points required are 540
More information on minimum entry points

Admission Requirements

For general admission requirements please click here

Leaving CertificateOC3/HD3 Mathematics
GCSEGrade 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.

Mature Student – Supplementary Application Form

Read the information about how to apply as a mature student then select the link below to complete the TCD Supplementary Application Form for mature students.

Philosophy| Political Science| Economics and Sociology, 4 years full-time Closing Date: 01/FEB/2016

Non-EU Applicants

  • Philosophy, Political Science, Economics and Sociology, 4 years full-time Closing Date: 30/JUN/2016