What is PPES?
Philosophy, Political Science, Economics and Sociology (PPES), 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 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.
Particularly appealing is the complementarity across the PPES disciplines. For example, while the well-publicised rise in inequality has economic origins, it has political and sociological ramifications. Moreover, the question of whether to address it is ultimately a philosophical one. A training in PPES enables students to analyse such issues rigorously and comprehensively. As such, it provides an excellent training in analytical thinking, a skill highly prized by employers.
Do you enjoy...
- Analysing social, economic, and political issues?
- Developing your own arguments and theories?
- Formulating your own policy proposals?
PPES: 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.
A great strength of PPES is its flexibility and the way it facilitates a range of possible subject concentrations and career trajectories. Even within disciplines there is a range of subject offerings. Within economics, for instance, students could study the workings of financial markets or, taking a more long-run perspective, study why some countries have become richer than others over time. While all students attain a broad training in their first two years, the final two years allow students to cater the programme to their own strengths and interests. Depending on your interests, by your third year you could be either analysing exchange rate movements or Plato’s Republic – or indeed doing both! Few courses anywhere offer such scope and diversity.
PPES at 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
With technology increasingly replacing routine tasks, employers today value the ability to think creatively and to develop innovative solutions to complex problems. A key strength of PPES is it provides students with such a training. 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. Moreover, Philosophy, Political Science, Economics and Sociology also offers the opportunity to specialise and target certain career paths. Students specialising in economics, for instance, can pursue careers in finance, consulting, and public policy. Testifying to its breadth, graduates have pursued a variety of career paths after graduation. Recent graduates have found careers in such varied workplaces as Accenture, Augustus Cullen Law, Channel 4, Bank of Ireland, Deloitte, the Irish Central Bank, Greenpeace, and RTE.
Your degree and what you’ll study
First and second years
In first year you will take all four subjects, Economics, Philosophy, Political Science and Sociology.
In second year you can choose to continue with one, two or three of the subjects and could, for example, take modules ranging from Intermediate Economics, to the History of Philosophy to International Politics, to an Introduction to Social Theory. Additionally, depending on the pathway that you decide upon, you can choose from a wide range of Designated Open Modules and Trinity Electives.
Third and fourth years
In third year you concentrate on one or two of the four subjects and, in addition, can take modules from a range of designated open modules and Trinity Electives
In the fourth year you may choose to take one or two subjects and can exit with a Single Honours, Major with Minor or Joint Honours award. All Students will complete a Capstone project in their final year.
There are QQI/FET routes available for this course. Please see www.cao.ie for details.
Click here for further information on modules/subject.
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, 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 PPES 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: www.tcd.ie/ssp/undergraduate/ppes/current/study-abroad
Study Philosophy, Political Science, Economics and Sociology (PPES) at Trinity
This is a presentation by Dr Emanuel Coman giving an outline of the Philosophy, Political Science, Economics and Sociology (P.P.E.S) course in Trinity College Dublin.
AwardsB.A. Honours Bachelor Degree (NFQ Level 8)
CAO InformationCAO Points 593 (2023) CAO Code TR015
Number of Places34 Places
O4/H6 in Mathematics
Grade B/6 in Mathematics
SL Grade 5 in Mathematics
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Advanced Entry Applications
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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. Within the first few weeks, I knew I had made the right decision, having found a set of like-minded individuals who consistently helped balance academic pressures with humour and encouragement. The range of courses offered on the course overlapped much more than expected while still providing a good insight into what each field entailed. This, coupled with the opportunities afforded to me by Trinity (including spending a year studying at McGill University in Canada, along with college society involvement), has meant that my experience studying P.P.E.S. has been an absolute joy. The course has equipped me with the desired broad skillset essential in the pursuit of both career aspirations and further study.