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BA Policy, Politics and Economics

with Year Abroad

Start date
4 years
UCAS code
Course Type
Undergraduate, Study abroad year

For 2020/21:
£9,250 (Home/EU students) 
£18,420 (International Students) 
More fees and funding details.

The Policy, Politics and Economics (PPE) degree offers you the opportunity to critically engage with and consider a range of contemporary real-world issues.

At the broadest, these issues might include considering the role of financial markets and the distribution of wealth; investigating the different forms and function of government, or questioning what such concepts as society and citizen might mean in the 21st century.

Unlike traditional single honours degrees, the  Policy, Politics and Economics programme will enable you to encounter a variety of concepts, approaches and methods from the three disciplines of social policy, politics and economics. This offers you the opportunity to build a bespoke degree, drawing on the excellent research and teaching skills of three Schools within the College of Social Sciences.

In Year 1, you will undertake introductory modules in all three of the social science disciplines: social policy, politics and economics to establish a good social sciences foundation. A compulsory module, 'Global Issues, Global Responses' is at the core of the second year of studies. This interdisciplinary module will enable you to consider a range of important global issues and the responses to them at the international, regional and local levels. You can also begin to tailor your learning to your developing interests. Your third year will be spent abroad at a university in the EU or elsewhere in the world. There are a wide range of countries and universities from which you can choose. As well as a range of European universities, you may also choose from a range of current partners worldwide. These include countries in which a variety of different languages are spoken, including universities at which courses are taught in English. After completing your year abroad, you will return to Birmingham to complete the final year of their studies when you will complete a dissertation.

As part of your final year, this course includes the opportunity to undertake a 'Professional Development' module as part of your optional module choices. 

The courses are interesting, challenging and taught by academics leading in their fields, and it gave me the opportunity to study abroad for a whole year which was something I really wanted from my university experience.

Toby, Graduate 2019

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Modules in the first year

The compulsory modules in the first year are designed to provide students with a grounding in all three disciplines of Social Policy, Politics and Economics.

  • Introduction to Social Policy
  • Understanding Politics
  • Principles of Economics
  • Social Research I Part I (PPE)
  • Social Research I Part 2 (PPE)

Choose one of the following

  • Introduction to Mathematics for Economics
  • Advanced Mathematics for Economics (for students with A-Level Maths at A/A*)

Optional modules:

  • Introduction to International Relations
  • Introduction to Political Economy

Modules in second year

Core modules

  • Global Issues: Perspectives from Policy, Politics and Economics
  • Social Research II
  • Analysing Political Worlds

Students must then choose one of the following modules:

  • Analysing Political Worlds
  • Britain in Europe and the World
  • Race, Empire and Modern Political Theory
  • Feminist Political Ideas

You must also choose one these modules:

  • Microeconomics
  • Macroeconomics

Optional modules

You must choose a further 40 credits from any of the three disciplines:

  • Policy Analysis
  • Managing Health and Social Care
  • Housing and Communities
  • Comparative Social Policy
  • Comparative European Politics
  • Poverty, Class and Inequality
  • Terror, Threat and Security 
  • Macroeconomics A (if not already taken as compulsory subject)
  • Microeconomics A (if not already taken as compulsory subject)
  • Development Economics
  • Environmental Economics
  • Soviet Politics: Rise and Fall of a Superpower
  • British Politics
  • Contemporary Issues in the UK Economy
  • International Political Economy
  • War and Peace in Theory and Practice
  • Behavioural and Experimental Economics
  • International Security
  • Financial Markets and Institutions

Year 3 - Year Abroad

Your third year will be spent abroad at a university in the EU or elsewhere in the world. After completing your year abroad, you will return for your fourth and final year to the same BA degree programme. There are a wide range of countries and universities from which you can choose. As well as a range of European universities, you may also choose from a range of current institutional partners worldwide. These include countries in which a variety of languages are spoken, including universities at which courses are taught in English.

The following 120 credit module must be taken

  • Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology Year Abroad

Modules in final year

  • Dissertation 

Optional modules

Select 20 credits from each discipline and a further 20 credits from across the range of modules:

Social Policy

  • Drugs: Society, Politics and Policy
  • Professional Development Module
  • New Migration and Super-Diversity
  • Harmful Societies: Crime, Social Harm and Social Justice 
  • Prospects for Social Policy
  • From Beveridge to May:  The Political History of the Welfare State From the Second World War to the Present Day
  • Political Sociology
  • Quantitative Data Analysis I
  • Quantitative Data Analysis II
  • Technology and Society


  • International and European Monetary Issues
  • Economic Policy and Political Economy
  • History of Economic Thought
  • Economics of Financial Markets
  • Health Economics
  • Monetary Policy
  • Open Economy Macroeconomics
  • Behavioural and Experimental Economics
  • International Trade Theory
  • International Trade Policy
  • Economics of the European Union 


  • Gender in World Politics
  • Varieties of Capitalism and Welfare State Models
  • Parliamentary Studies
  • Law, Politics and the International System: Mediating Power beyond the State
  • New Media, Social Media, and International Politics
  • Contemporary International Political Economy
  • Contemporary Political Theory
  • The Diplomacy of the Arab-Israeli Conflict
  • Professional Development
  • Power in Britain
  • Contemporary US Foreign and Security Policy
  • Topics in British Politics

Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2020. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.


For UK students beginning their studies in September 2020, the University of Birmingham will charge the maximum approved tuition fee per year. The fees for your first year of study will therefore be £9,250. Visit our tuition fees page for more information.

Learn more about fees and funding.

Home/EU students

Full-time: £9,250

Overseas students

Full-time Band 1 (Classroom): £18,420


At Birmingham we ensure that fears about finance do not constrain prospective students from considering university and that excellence is rewarded.

The University offers a range of additional financial support for students studying at Birmingham in the form of bursaries, grants and scholarships.

Learn more about our scholarships and awards .

We encourage applications through the University’s Access to Birmingham (A2B) Scheme

For EU students applying for the 2020/21 academic year

The UK Government has confirmed that EU students will continue to be eligible for 'home fee status' for entry in September 2020, and will continue to have access to financial support available via student loans for the duration of their course. For more information take a look at the website.

How To Apply

Apply through UCAS at Learn more about applying


The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

UK, EU and international students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

You submit an application via the UCAS website with a list of up to five courses. All choices are confidential during the application process so universities and colleges considering an application cannot see your other choices. Applications must be completed by mid-January of the year that you wish to start university.

You can monitor the progress of your application using the UCAS Apply system

Standard offer

International Requirements

Typical offer:
Required subjects and grades:
GCSE Maths Grade B
General Studies:

BTEC Extended Diploma, Diploma and Subsidiary Diploma are all considered.

Learn more about entry requirements

International Students

International Baccalaureate Diploma: 6,6,5 at Higher Level to include English with a minimum of 32 points overall. 

Standard English language requirements apply

Learn more about international entry requirements

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.

The research-led teaching on our flexible degree courses ensures an inspirational and enquiry-based learning environment in the lecture theatre, seminar room and on placement. You will graduate as a highly employable, independent global citizen with a broad range of transferable skills.

As a Birmingham student you are part of an academic elite and will learn from world-leading experts. From the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner. We want you to be challenged and will encourage you to think for yourself.

Learning settings

Your learning will take place in a range of different settings, from scheduled teaching in lectures and small group tutorials, to self-study and peer group learning (for example preparing and delivering presentations with your classmates).

Personal tutors

You will be assigned your own personal tutor who will get to know you as you progress through your studies. They will provide academic support and advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham.

Welfare tutors

We have dedicated welfare tutors who provide professional support, advice and guidance to students across a range of issues. They can meet with you to discuss extensions, disabilities, reasonable adjustments, extenuating circumstances, or talk through any problems you might be experiencing, and help you access wider support on campus and beyond.

During your first year, it is important that you have a smooth transition into University. You will be able to talk to your tutors about this and discuss if there are particular areas where you need support.

Our Academic Skills Centre also offers you support with your learning. The centre is a place where you can develop your mathematical, academic writing and general academic skills. It is the centre's aim to help you to become a more effective and independent learner through the use of a range of high-quality and appropriate learning support services. These range from drop-in sessions to workshops on a range of topics including note taking, reading, writing and presentation skills.

Contact hours

Depending on the modules you select, each week you will have between 12 and 15 hours of lectures and classes, with lecturers on hand to answer additional questions outside of this timeframe.

Assessment Methods

Studying at a degree-level is likely to be very different from your previous experience of learning and teaching. You will be expected to think, discuss and engage critically with the subject and find things out for yourself. We will enable you to make this transition to a new style of learning, and the way that you are assessed during your studies will help you develop the new essential skills you need to make a success of your time at Birmingham.

You'll be assessed in a variety of ways, and these may be different with each module that you take. You will be assessed through coursework which may take the form of essays, group and individual presentations, laboratory-based work (depending on your chosen degree) and formal exams.

During your first year you will undergo a formal 'transition' review to see how you are getting on and if there are particular areas where you need support. This is in addition to the personal tutor who is based in your school or department and can help with any academic issues you encounter.

At the beginning of each module, you'll be given information on how and when you'll be assessed for that particular programme of study. You'll receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so that you can learn from and build on what you have done. You'll be given feedback on any exams that you take; if you should fail an exam we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is made available to enable you to learn for the future.

Careers Network

Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university.Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.

If you want to take advantage of a unique opportunity to be supported with a work placement opportunity as part of your final year, this course includes the opportunity to undertake a 'Professional Development' module as part of your optional module choices.

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CV's and job applications will help give you the edge. In addition, our employer-endorsed, award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.

Your Birmingham degree

Your Birmingham degree is evidence of your ability to succeed in a demanding academic environment. Employers target Birmingham students for their drive, diversity, communication and problem-solving skills, their team-working abilities and cultural awareness, and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends.If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

The Policy, Politics and Economics BA will enhance your employability through the development of critical and analytical thinking, enquiry-based blended learning, oral and written presentation skills, as well as time management and group/team working skills.

For more information visit our Careers section 

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