Politics, philosophy and economics

Most of the big challenges and opportunities that face the contemporary world are strongly political, philosophical and economic in nature. Become a leader, adviser or analyst who can offer a well-founded perspective on how best to understand and respond to the big issues of our age.

Politics, philosophy and economics at La Trobe

You'll develop a broad and sophisticated knowledge base that will allow you to analyse policy debates and societal challenges and opportunities. You will develop particular strengths in being able to understand debates in, and interrelationships across, politics, philosophy and economics (PPE).

First established at Oxford University in the 1920s, PPE degrees have an impressive record in producing some of the world's leading decision makers and opinion shapers. La Trobe’s PPE degree is Australia's most established PPE degree. We have developed a flexible degree that develops your knowledge of each PPE discipline and also equips you with the skills to apply this knowledge to analyse real-world problems.

We've designed the curriculum in collaboration with industry leaders and professional bodies so as to maximise the level of social relevance and innovation. You'll learn from a team of experienced and passionate academics.

Explore the big ideas from the humanities and social sciences. You'll enhance your capacity to understand and evaluate competing claims about the world and to formulate effective and innovative responses to social and economic challenges.

The PPE degree is designed to develop your cognitive flexibility, social intelligence, resilience, curiosity and empathy – key attributes needed for effective leadership, decision making and analysis. You'll have the opportunity to join the student-led PPE Society and attend their regular social meetings and high-profile public events.

Career opportunities

A degree in PPE prepares you for a career in the public, private or non-profit sectors. Such careers include:

  • politician
  • public servant
  • political advisor
  • policy analyst
  • journalist
  • project manager
  • economist.


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Student and graduate profiles

Find out about the experiences of one of our Politics, philosophy and economics students.

La Trobe graduates

Where have graduates found work opportunities?

PPE graduates have established careers the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. For example, La Trobe PPE graduates are employed at:

  • Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • Federal Department of Education and Training
  • City of Melbourne
  • Department of Arts and Culture
  • Victoria Police
  • Office of Better Regulation.

How much can I earn?

The wage of an PPE graduate can vary greatly based on your specialisation, position and organisation you find work in. Below is an estimation of the salary and career path of a entry-level public servant.

  • graduate public servant $50,000 - $60,000 per year*
  • experienced public servant $60,000 - $80,000 per year
  • management position or higher $100,000 + per year.

*Average salary range for roles located in Melbourne and Sydney, as advertised on Seek, 2017

Industry links

What are industry links?

Industry links are organisations that work with us to shape our curriculum and provide partnership and placement opportunities. We look for strong links with industry, schools, community groups and other stakeholders to ensure you develop the best theoretical and practical skills required in your chosen career.

How do industry links affect me?

Our business industry links consider La Trobe graduates for internships, placements and employment opportunities, as they know our teaching and content standards. Our business industry links include:

  • 3M
  • CPA Australia
  • Drake
  • Oxford University Press
  • RACV
  • Rio Tinto
  • Westpac Banking Corporation.

Alternative pathways

Are there alternative pathways into a PPE courses?

Going straight from school to university isn't an option for everyone. If you have not completed year 12, didn't get the score you needed or are working on ways to transition into tertiary education, we have options for you.

  • Aspire Program - Be recognised for the difference you make. Refer to dates to see if your eligible for an early offer.
  • Course transfer - Start your studies in one business course and apply for transfers into another. *
  • Tertiary Enabling Program - Successfully complete our 17-week program and improve your academic results to be eligible for a range of courses.
  • Work Recognition Program - If you are over 21 years of age, you may be eligible to gain entry into a Bachelor of Business based on your work experience.
  • TAFE diplomas - Do a relevant course and get Advance Standing for your prior learning.**

** Minimum Weighted Average Mark (WAM) required for entry into some courses. You may also be eligible for Advanced Standing

If you'd like some more information, contact our future students team on:

Or see alternative course pathways.

Structure of PPE

To major in PPE, you must complete the following:

  • five subjects in politics
  • five subjects in philosophy
  • five subjects in economics
  • five elective subjects in any discipline, study abroad program or language.

Our PPE staff

You’ll learn from academics and Professors of Practice who have expertise across a range of industries and sectors. Our staff work with industry to:

  • link our courses with industry
  • design industry-relevant curriculum
  • reflect best practice nationally and globally through lectures, workshops and executive programs.

Want to find out more about PPE? Contact Dr Tim Thornton in the Department of Politics and Philosophy and Associate Professor Suzanne O’Keefe in the Department of Economics and Finance.

Professional Competence

Be career ready. You'll have the opportunity to put your learning into practice and broaden your industry network through undertaking the subject Professional Competence in the Workplace. While undertaking this subject, you'll work within organisations that have a strong interest in political and economic arenas. Your coordinator will oversee the selection of your workplace and the projects you'll be working on. The placement experience is highly tailored, so you'll gain real world skills in a supportive environment.

International opportunities

Give your qualification a global edge with international study. As a PPE student, you may be eligible for a number of opportunities, including study tours, international exchange and spending a semester studying at an overseas university. Previous International Study Programs have visited:

  • China
  • Indonesia
  • Vietnam
  • Europe.

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