Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE)

Become an all-round leader in the 21st century

Shaping the world's future

This unique 3-year Philosophy, Politics and Economics Bachelor’s degree programme will prepare you for future leadership positions in business, politics, academia, and beyond. Complex social problems require generalists, that is, researchers, policy makers and professionals who are able to examine an issue from several angles, who can combine different perspectives in a constructive way, and who are aware of the broader social and historical context of problems. PPE provides you with the necessary tools and knowledge to be a leader in the 21st century.

PPE at VU Amsterdam is the first program of its kind in continental Europe, combining a focused curriculum with exchange opportunities with international partner institutions and exciting and unique extracurricular initiatives involving representatives from the world of business, policy or politics. It is a multidisciplinary study program that combines the strengths of its three fields and places a special emphasis on incorporating the different perspectives of its constituent disciplines. The program provides rigorous theoretical training and broad, hands-on experience that will enable you to take an active role in shaping the world’s future.

Future leaders looking further

The PPE program originated at Oxford University in the 1900s. Since then, many PPE programs have been developed at leading universities in the US, the UK and beyond. VU Amsterdam is the first university in mainland Europe to offer a comprehensive PPE program of this size at Bachelor’s level. You will benefit from our personal atmosphere and interaction with our dedicated and innovative teachers, many of whom have previous experience lecturing in multidisciplinary PPE programs throughout the world. We offer a challenging program with easy access to university facilities, while remaining close to the vibrant heart of Amsterdam.

John Stuart Mill College

PPE is the programme we offer, the John Stuart Mill College provides the intellectual and social community of which you will become part while you study PPE. This community consists of students, junior and senior lecturers/researchers, guest lecturers (visiting professors from abroad and people from practice) and people participating in or contributing to extracurricular activities. In order to facilitate community life, the John Stuart Mill College has its own housing on the VU campus. For more information see http://vu-ppe.nl

Contact our students

If you want to speak to one of our students who is currently studying PPE at VU Amsterdam, please find the contact details of our student ambassadors on this page under ‘contact our student ambassadors’

PPE goes India!

Twenty of our PPE students will be going this June to Mumbai to participate in the PPE Spring School, an event jointly organized by John Stuart Mill College and the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research (IGIDR) in Mumbai. The Spring School is organized for the third time and this year’s topic is ‘Rationality and Choice’. The programme consists of three courses:

‘The Economics of Human Flourishing: Utility, Happiness, and Capabilities’ by Paul Anand (The Open University; University of Oxford),

‘Experiments in Economics and Philosophy: Surprises, Lessons, Implications’ by Kai Spiekermann (London School of Economics),

‘Social Choice Theory: Economics, Ethics and Politics’ by Martin van Hees (John Stuart Mill College; VU Amsterdam).
 
During the week our students will have the opportunity to attend these lectures and live and work together with the Indian students on the IGIDR campus. The IGIDR is one the partner institutes of the John Stuart Mill College.

PPE_goes_india

A degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics can open many doors for you. Whether you choose to continue your studies or move directly into a career in the world of business or politics, or do something entirely different, PPE will equip you as a leader with the interdisciplinary knowledge and skills needed to address the emerging issues of the 21st century.

Many students begin their careers in administration or politics, and PPE will equip you for a career as a lobbyist, politician, or consultant. It also prepares students for exciting positions in ‘third sector’ organisations such as NGOs, national charities, and think tanks.

Likewise, if you are interested in a career in business, a Philosophy, Politics and Economics degree will give you an educational background that will make you attractive to employers in management consulting, banking and other financial institutions, as well as management positions in a range of commercial enterprises.

If you are considering further education, a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics will qualify you to enroll in a number of Master’s programs. If you choose the Philosophy or Political Science tracks, you will be eligible for all specializations in the (English language) MA program in Philosophy and the MSc program in Political Science, respectively. If you choose the Economics track, you will be qualified for the MSc in Economics (although this depends partly on the electives that you choose during your Bachelor’s degree).
The PPE scholarships offer talented, prospective international students the unique opportunity to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. PPE offers several scholarships for international students for 2017/2018.
All PPE scholarship applications received by 1 March 2017 will be reviewed by the PPE committee.  Awarding of the scholarships will be based on your contribution to diversity in the classroom, motivation, financial need, and merit as evidenced by your CV and transcripts. A scholarship offer will be made to successful candidates.
The PPE scholarships are for strongly motivated students with excellent study results. Eligible candidates must be able to prove their excellence, and they must be admitted to the PPE programme at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Students with the Dutch nationality and/or Dutch educational background are not eligible for admission. Students already enrolled in the PPE programme in 2016/2017 are not eligible to apply for the PPE scholarship for 2017/2018.
The PPE scholarship is a tuition fee waiver for one year. The PPE scholarship does not provide any additional allowance towards study or living costs. The scholarship will be extended  to the second and third year of the programme, but only if the full 60 ects are obtained before the start of the new academic year.
1. Register for the PPE programme    
Students should register for PPE in Studielink and after that in the VUnet portal. Please note that you must have applied for the PPE programme before you can apply for the PPE scholarship.

2. Submit scholarship application
Submit your PPE application by sending it to ppe@vu.nl , subject application PPE Scholarship Programme
Deadline: 1 March 2017

For PPE scholarship applications 3 documents are required:

A. Proof of excellence/ GPA
  Students who apply for a PPE scholarship need to have a GPA of at least 80% of the highest possible mark  (calculated over full previous degree). For example, if the highest possible mark is a 10, you need to have an average of at least an 8.
  Excellence in previous education is proven if the grade point average achieved is at least the equivalent of the Dutch grade of an 8.0  on the Dutch grading scale 1 – 10.

B. Motivation Letter
We would like to know your motivation for the PPE scholarship. Why do you think you deserve and need to receive a PPE scholarship?

C. Financial plan
Provide us with a budget forecast for the full PPE programme, covering 3 years of study. Show that your sources of income are not sufficient to cover your costs, and that being awarded a PPE scholarship will allow you to cover all costs involved.

3. Decision
The PPE Committee decides which students will be offered a PPE scholarship. The Committee makes a selection based on the criteria mentioned above.

4. Results
All students will receive an e-mail/ notification informing them of the PPE scholarship Committee's decision concerning their application.
Expected date:  1 April 2017 (4 weeks after deadline).

5. Acceptance of offer
Selected candidates  accept/ decline the PPE offer by email. Deadline: 15 April 2017 (2 weeks after the results are published).
Current students
PPE scholars enrolled in the second year do not need to re-apply for the PPE scholarship for the second or third year. The PPE  scholarship will be automatically extended for a second or third year provided that the awardee has obtained 100% of all ECTS in the programme. 

Complaints procedure
Candidates who do not agree with the decision of the scholarship committee, may file a written complaint to ppe@vu.nl, subject PPE Scholarship programme. Complaints regarding the application procedure (not the results!) should be addressed to the student ombudsman Mrs. drs. L. Poesiat,  W&N building,  De Boelelaan 1081, Room S 246  and must include:
• Your name and full address.
• Details of the selection procedure that you do not agree with.
• The grounds for your complaint: why are you unable to accept the application procedure?
• Date and signature.

Candidates with a foreign diploma can contact the admission support team of the VU Amsterdam International Office.

E: admissionsppe@vu.nl (Eva Meijerink)

T: (020) 5986331

Candidates with a Dutch diploma can contact info.ppe@vu.nl (Jacqueline Braak) if experiencing any difficulties.

Bachelor day
The Bachelor day is an information day for highschoolers and their parents. On this day you get to know the VU and its various programmes at information stands and presentations. There are two Bachelor days a year.

vu-ppe.nl 



Admission and application


Whether or not you will actually be offered a place in our programme will depend on your:

  • grade point average (GPA)
  • motivation and suitability to study an intensive programme like our PPE programme;
  • commitment to contribute to the College’s international student and campus life

The latter two will be determined based on your CV and your answer to our assessment questions, and possibly an additional interview (over Skype in case of international applicants). For more info on the GPA that we seek, see below.

The selection committee evaluates your application file as a whole, considering all these factors. If in doubt whether you meet the admission requirements, you can always contact our Dutch or international student advisor (see our contact page).

The PPE programme falls within VU Amsterdam’s excellence programmes and has been awarded the “Distinctive feature of small-scale and intensive education” by the Dutch-Flemish Accreditation Council (NVAO).  Consequently, admission to our PPE programme will be selective. We are looking for students with a grade point average of at least:

  • Dutch VWO: ≥ 7.0
  • German Abitur: ≥10 or  at least 2,0
  • France: Diplôme du Baccalauréat Général ≥12
  • USA: ≥B+ incl. 4 AP certificates with grade 3 in Calculus and Statistics grade 3 or one to two years of College
  • IB: average of ≥5, or ≥ 31 points (including math SL or HL)*
  • UK: GPA B (or B, B, C), incl. math A-level with a minimum grade D

We take into account your GPA over the two final years of your secondary education. To IB applicants: when you apply, please include official Predicted Grades from your school and ensure that the levels of all subjects, including language subjects, are clearly stated (HL, SL, A or B).

Examples of diplomas that demonstrate sufficient proficiency in Mathematics are: 

  • International Baccalaureate, Mathematics Standard or Higher Level 
  • UK: Mathematics A levels. The Cambridge Pre-University Diploma is also sufficient for general admission. 
  • Germany: Zeugnis der Allgemeinen Hochschulreife, including Mathematics (Abitur fach
  • Romania: Diploma de Baccalaureate, including a Mathematics Profile, Computer Science Profile, or Natural Sciences profile. 
After we have received your application and you uploaded the required documents in our student portal, the admission officer will have a look at your transcripts to determine whether your mathematics level is sufficient. If your proficiency in mathematics is considered to be insufficient, an additional mathematics entry exam  will be required for admission.

PPE applicants are required to take a proficiency test of the English language and submit their scores before the 1 June 2016. Applicants who have completed their education in Canada, the USA, the UK, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia are exempted from this requirement, as are those who have obtained an International Baccalaureate or European Baccalaureate diploma (English-taught programmes only). If you cannot provide us with a positive score yet, please register for a recognized English language test. We will accept IELTS tests, Cambridge tests and TOEFL tests.

The minimum English language proficiency requirements for admission to our PPE programme is:

  • IELTS 7.0 (with at least 6.5 for each of the four components)
  • TOEFL iBT 100 (min. 22 for each component)
  • TOEFL paper-based test: 600
  • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE): grade A or B
  • Cambridge Certificate for Proficiency in English (CPE) Grade C or higher

These language tests loose validity after two years. The TOEFL and IELTS tests must have been completed not later than two years before 1 September of the year in which you start the PPE programme. For TOEFL and IELTS, the Test Institute of the TOEFL and IELTS tests can forward the results directly to our office. The institutional TOEFL code of VU is 7947.

Students living in the Netherlands can also register for a TOEFL-ITP exam offered by the VU Taalloket. The test costs €80 and is only valid for admission to VU Amsterdam.

Please note that students who need a visa to enter the Netherlands must submit their English test results before June 1. Students who do not need a visa must submit their test results before August 30 but preferably sooner. Your acceptance to the PPE programme will remain conditional until we have received your test results.

Be aware of the fact that it can take a long time before you receive the results of the English tests, so plan your test in time! It is not uncommon for people to fail the test, but you would like to have the possibility to re-take it at a later moment.

VU Amsterdam reserves the right to request an original copy of the test result.For online verification of your Cambridge test result please send us a copy of your result, your ID-number and your ‘secret number’ (check the Candidate Results Online Service).

Useful links

www.ielts.org
www.toefl.org
www.cambridgeenglish.org

Chinese students who wish to enroll in an English-taught programme at a Dutch institute of higher education are required to apply for a Nuffic Certificate. Nuffic will send this certificate directly to the relevant Dutch institute of higher education once it has been issued. More information about the Nuffic Certificate for Chinese students.

Applications to Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam are done completely online. You start the application procedure through the Studielink.nl national application system. You will then receive an e-mail inviting you to complete your application in the VU student portal, where you will also be asked to submit all documentation needed for the admission procedure. You do not have to complete your application in one session; you can save it and come back to it as often as you want before completing and submitting it.

Required application documents:

  • Certified copy of your diploma (can also be provided after conditional admission)
  • Transcript of grades over the final two years of your final education up to the moment of application. For A-level and IB applicants: include predicted Grade transcript if available.
  • Proof of English proficiency (can also be provided after conditional admission)
  • Your CV (max. 1 page)
  • The  PPE assessment form 2016 (max. 1500 words) – you canupload this format the place where you can add a motivation letter to your application
  • Copy of valid passport or ID (ID for EEA students only)

Ready to apply?

Great! Click here to start your application.

VU Entrance examination Mathematics

For students living in the Netherlands who are evaluated as deficient in mathematics, it is also possible to take an entrance examination at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. This test will be offered onTuesday 12 April.

The entrance level that will be tested corresponds with the Dutch VWO high school level Mathematics A. The descriptions of the covered topics are to be found at www.examenblad.nl. You can also find an archive with old exams at this website. This information is in Dutch because it is based on the official Dutch regulations. However, the meaning of most mathematical subjects will be apparent. Roughly speaking, the topics are:

  • functions (power, exponential, logarithmic, trigonometric): their properties, solutions, and graphs)
  • slopes and changes in graphs
  • differentiation (sum, product, and chain rule) and finding extreme values
  • series and recursive formulas
  • combinatorics and probability
  • descriptive statistics (population vs. sample, mean vs. median, standard deviation)
  • probability distributions (uniform, binomial, normal)
  • simple hypothesis tests

The examination for international students will be in English. Please bring your passport!

•         If Studielink tells you that: “The educational institution has yet to determine whether your previous education level is sufficient“, this will only be ticked after you accept your place and you send us a certified copy of your diploma.
•         If you received a notification that your personal details cannot be verified automatically, hand in an extract from the Municipal Administration (GBA) at the VU Amsterdam Central Student Desk. If you don’t live in The Netherlands (yet) you have to provide a copy of your passport. 




Candidates with a foreign diploma can contact the admission support team of the VU Amsterdam International Office.

E: admissionsppe@vu.nl (Eva Meijerink)

T: (020) 5986331

Candidates with a Dutch diploma can contact info.ppe@vu.nl  if experiencing any difficulties.

The Bachelor day is an information day for high school students l and their parents. On this day you will be introduced to the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and its various programmes through information stands and presentations. The Bachelors day takes place twice a year.

The early bird application deadline is 14 February 2017. In nearly all cases we are able to process your application within two weeks and inform you whether you have been accepted to the programme. The final application deadline for non-EU/EEA students is 1 April 2017, and for Dutch/EU students 1 May 2017.

Study programme


The Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) program is a three-year degree. The academic year at VU Amsterdam is divided into two semesters. The first year of the PPE program begins with an introduction to PPE, which covers the themes, methods, and primary theories. In the remaining two periods of the first semester, you will take introductory courses in each of the program’s foundation disciplines (philosophy, political science and economics), as well as a course on PPE methodology. The second semester includes additional foundation courses and a second methodological course in statistics. In the last part of the first year, will take your first interdisciplinary PPE in Practice course, which brings together the theory and methods you have acquired so far.

For more information see the study guide

At the beginning of the second year you will choose two of the three PPE disciplines to specialize in (if you wish to complete an additional 24 ECs, you can take all three tracks). You will take two courses in each of your chosen tracks, as well as four electives in those areas and two integrative PPE in Practice courses.

In the third year of the PPE program, the emphasis will shift to preparing you for your future academic studies and careers beyond academia. During the fifth semester of your studies, you may choose either to pursue your studies at one of our partner institutions, or to complete an internship. During the final semester you will complete two large-scale projects: the PPE thesis and the final PPE in Practice course. You will work in groups to produce professional quality policy briefs. These briefs will be honed using input from your peers in the program’s ‘Policy Lab’. Also during this semester, you will incorporate the experience that you have gained through your studies abroad and your internship with the skills acquired throughout the program in order to produce professional quality research and policy projects.

The Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) program is a three-year degree. The academic year at VU Amsterdam is divided into two semesters. The first year of the PPE program begins with an introduction to PPE, which covers the themes, methods, and primary theories. In the remaining two periods of the first semester, you will take introductory courses in each of the program’s foundation disciplines (philosophy, political science and economics), as well as a course on PPE methodology. The second semester includes additional foundation courses and a second methodological course in statistics. In the last part of the first year, will take your first interdisciplinary PPE in Practice course, which brings together the theory and methods you have acquired so far.

For more information see the study guide

At the beginning of the second year you will choose two of the three PPE disciplines to specialize in (if you wish to complete an additional 24 ECs, you can take all three tracks). You will take two courses in each of your chosen tracks, as well as four electives in those areas and two integrative PPE in Practice courses.

In the third year of the PPE program, the emphasis will shift to preparing you for your future academic studies and careers beyond academia. During the fifth semester of your studies, you may choose either to pursue your studies at one of our partner institutions, or to complete an internship. During the final semester you will complete two large-scale projects: the PPE thesis and the final PPE in Practice course. You will work in groups to produce professional quality policy briefs. These briefs will be honed using input from your peers in the program’s ‘Policy Lab’. Also during this semester, you will incorporate the experience that you have gained through your studies abroad and your internship with the skills acquired throughout the program in order to produce professional quality research and policy projects.

Overview Philosophy, Politics and Economics

Language of instruction

English

Duration

3 years (fulltime)

Application deadline

Non-EU/EEA students: 1 April, Dutch/EU students: 1 May

Start date

1 September 2017

Study type

Full-time

Field of Interest

Behavioural and Social Sciences