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Is PPE for me?



The popular PPE degree brings together three disciplines that address fundamental questions about the nature and organisation of human society, from ‘what is morality?’ to ‘why does free trade work better for some countries than others?’ The Debate Chamber Philosophy, Politics and Economics Masterclass is recommended for students in years 11-13 interested in studying PPE, or who want to get a taste of university-style teaching, improve their analytical skills and explore some exciting issues. This two-day course is challenging, fun and interactive, taught through a combination of class discussion, group activities and lectures. All classes are led by Oxford University postgraduates, tutors, or lecturers.

Masterclass Programme:

Philosophy: normative ethics

Is what benefits the greatest number always right? When it comes to morality, should numbers matter at all? In this seminar students will use a range of thought experiments to examine—and challenge—the arguments made by contemporary philosophers, and weigh up competing ethical theories.

Politics: constitution-building

Can you stitch a broken nation back together? How do you build stable political insitutions in a country divided by religious or ethnic civil war? This seminar will introduce the methods of modern political science. Students will evaluate different approaches to managing conflict in divided societies using examples from the USA and UK to Rwanda and South Africa, and then work together to decide the best constitutional arrangements for countries emerging from civil conflict or economic crisis.

Economics: international trade

Is globalisation a cover for exploitation? Is protectionism self-defeating? What do American car manufacturers and Japanese rice farmers have in common? In this seminar students will learn about economic theory, take part in trade simulation exercises and debate the social and moral implications of economic policy.

Political philosophy workshop: human rights

Do the lazy have a right to an income? Why should law-abiding citizens protect the rights of terrorists? What happened when John Stuart Mill met Tony Blair? In this final session, we draw together ideas all three disciplines to explore one of the most important issues in modern political philosophy.

What students have said:

“Very good! I learnt much more than I expected and I achieved more confidence. Amazing people.”

“Very intellectually stimulating and an eye-opening introduction to reading PPE.”

“I am now convinced that I want to do PPE at Oxford. The lecturers were excellent.”

“Interesting to debate issues above curriculum level that we would not otherwise be able to discuss. The lessons were conducted well in an atmosphere so as to encourage participation.”

“I thought it was brilliant. I was nervous before I came that everybody would be different to me but everyone was really friendly and the events were really fascinating.”

“Absolutely brilliant and very inspiring. I loved the fact that our personal opinions were taken into account, and that we were allowed to explore in whatever way we could.”

“It didn’t just teach me a lot about the course and its approach, but also about me and what I am interested in – philosophy all the way!”

“Extremely interesting – it opened my mind to lots of different ways of thinking.”

“I found it incredibly useful. Tutors were REALLY nice and made the courses interesting. Spoke about the course on a ‘real’ level rather than a practiced official one.”

“It was an extremely good opportunity to meet intellectual students who have inspired me.”


7th/8th November (London) • 14th/15th November (Oxford) • 21st/22nd November (London)

Teaching will run from 10.30 – 4.30 on each day.

Costs and Booking:

The fee for the PPE Masterclass is £135 per student and places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Please note that this is not a residential course, and accommodation much be arranged independently if required. Debate Chamber offers a limited number of full and partial fees bursaries for students who would otherwise have difficulty attending. To book a place please email, call 01865 515030 or book online at


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