The certificate in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) reflects a course of study designed to produce students who are aware of how the social world works, can work, and ought to work, as well as how they might play a meaningful role in it. The three fields of study complement each other in important ways. While practical Philosophy focuses on what makes individual behavior moral and regulations legitimate, it is practical only insofar as it is grounded in a sound understand of how human social life actually works. While Political Science studies public regulation of individuals and groups, the legitimacy of these regulations turns on both moral questions and the economic ability of institutions to provide for the common welfare. And while Economics has its grounding in the study of market interactions, it is also deeply concerned with the boundary between private market forces and their just and efficient public regulation.

A student who completes the PPE certificate will have a solid grounding in all three fields. This would be a useful background for a wide range of graduate degrees, including graduate work in any of the PPE fields, public policy, law or business. It would be a good springboard for careers in, but not limited to, politics, law, public policy, international affairs, or business.

The certificate requires students to take 6 courses (18 credits) in each field of study—something that can most easily be done by majoring in one field and doing structured minors in the other two, though it is possible to major in a distinct field and minor all three. The PPE minors are structured to give a student a solid grounding in each field, as well as a range of electives that are tailored to reinforce the empirical and normative inquiries that draw these fields together. A student must complete these requirements, no matter what his or her major, to earn the PPE certificate.

Students are permitted to bring in up to six credits for each field from outside of Rutgers, New Brunswick. In other words, at least four of the six classes for each field must be taken at Rutgers, New Brunswick. Cross listed courses and courses that satisfy more than one requirement within a field may be used to satisfy only one requirement. 

Each department will be responsible for the scheduling of its own courses and for approving substitutions for the courses listed below.  Student progress will be recorded in a central database to which all three departments will have access.

To stay in the program students must maintain a G.P.A. of 3.2 in the courses chosen for the certificate and an overall G.P.A. of 3.0. All courses must be completed with a grade of C or better.

This certificate program shall be jointly owned by the Departments of Philosophy, Political Science, and Economics. Primary contacts shall be Alec Walen (Philosophy ) and Doug Blair (Economics and Political Science), who will handle admission applications. William Field (Political Science), Barry Sopher (Economics) and Justin Kalef (Philosophy) will serve as additional contacts. Each department shall be responsible for advising undergraduates as they move through the program.




One of these Logic courses:

  • 01:730:101 Logic, Reasoning and Persuasion
  • 01:730:109 Introduction to Formal Reasoning and Decision Making
  • 01:730:201 Introduction to Logic
  • 01:730:315 Applied Symbolic Logic
  • 01:730:407 Intermediate Logic I
  • 01:730:408 Intermediate Logic II

One of these Metaphysics/Epistemology, Mind or Language courses:

  • 01:730:103/01:730:104 Introduction to Philosophy (w/ or w/o writing)
  • 01:730:210 Philosophy of Language
  • 01:730:215 Introduction to Metaphysics
  • 01:730:218 Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind
  • 01:730:220 Theory of Knowledge 
  • 01:730:320 Knowledge and Assertion
  • 01:730:412 Epistemology
  • 01:730:413 Social Epistemology
  • 01:730:415 Metaphysics 
  • 01:730:418 Philosophy of Mind
  • 01:730:419 Philosophy of Perception
  • 01:730:420 Philosophy of Language or 421 Semantics of Language

One of these History courses:

  • 01:730:205 Introduction to Modern Philosophy
  • 01:730:208 Philosophy of the Greeks
  • 01:730:301 Socrates and Plato
  • 01:730:302 Plato and Aristotle
  • 01:730:307 Descartes, Locke and the 17th Century
  • 01:730:308 Hume, Kant and the 18th Century
  • 01:730:341 Ethics through History
  • 01:730:342 Social and Political Philosophy through History
  • 01:730:352 Plato
  • 01:730:353 Aristotle
  • 01:730:401 Plato
  • 01:730:402 Aristotle 
  • 01:730:404 Spinoza
  • 01:730:405 Kant
  • 01:730:406 19th Century Philosophy
  • 01:730:416 Leibniz

Three of these Normative courses (at least two of which must be 300 or 400 level):

  • 01:730:107 Introduction Ethics
  • 01:730:255 Introduction to Social and Political Philosophy
  • 01:730:330 Ethics of War and Conflict 
  • 01:730:341 Ethics through History
  • 01:730:342 Social and Political Philosophy through History
  • 01:730:343 Marx and Marxism
  • 01:730:345 Philosophy and the Law
  • 01:730:347 Philosophical Issues in Feminism
  • 01:730:358 Philosophy of Law 
  • 01:730:441 Ethical Theory
  • 01:730:442 Moral Responsibility
  • 01:730:445 Topics in Social and Political Philosophy
  • 01:730:450 Topics in Moral Philosophy
  • 01:730:459 Advanced Seminar in Ethics
  • 01:730:470 Ethics and Practical Reason

Three of the six philosophy courses must be taken at the 300- or 400-level.


01:790:101 Nature of Politics

One of these Gender or Race courses:

  • 01:790:333 Race, Ethnicity and Politics
  • 01:790:334 Politics of Black America
  • 01:790:335 Women and American Politics
  • 01:790:360 Gender and Politics and Global Perspective
  • 01:790:365 Gender and Political Theory

One of these Political Theory courses:

  • 01:790:371 Western Tradition: Plato to Machiavelli
  • 01:790:372 Western Tradition: Hobbes to Mill
  • 01:790:373 Legal Philosophy Rights and Justice
  • 01:790:374 Democratic Political Philosophy
  • 01:790:375 American Political Thought to 1865
  • 01:790:376 American Political Thought since 1865
  • 01:790:390 Choice and Strategy in Politics
  • 01:790:472 Religion and Politics
  • 01:790:473 Critics of Modernity
  • 01:790:477 Critical Theory

Because of the wide range of institutional structures that political science covers, students in the PPE program must concentrate their studies on either the United States or the international arena. Students may focus on either American politics or comparative politics.  The track chosen influences the courses that students must take to complete the minor.  The introductory course in each track is required.  Students must choose two courses from the electives within the chosen track.

Option 1: American politics track


 01:790:104 American Government

Choose two of the following:

  • 01:790:302 American Party Politics
  • 01:790:304 Congressional Politics
  • 01:790:305 Public Policy Formation
  • 01:790:306 American Presidency
  • 01:790:323 Defense Policy
  • 01:790:330 Interest Groups
  • 01:790:338 Government and Business
  • 01:790:341 Public Administration and American Bureaucracy
  • 01:790:350 Environmental Policy: US and International
  • 01:790:401 Constitutional Law
  • 01:790:404 Politics of Criminal Justice

Option 1: Comparative/International track


01:790:103 Comparative Politics OR 01:790:102 Introduction to International Relations

Choose two of the following:

  • 01:790:318 Comparative Public Policy
  • 01:790:319 American Foreign Policy
  • 01:790:320 Social Policy: Lessons from Europe
  • 01:790:322 Strategy in International Relations
  • 01:790:327 International Political Economy
  • 01:790:338 Government and Business
  • 01:790:350 Environmental Policy: US and International
  • 01:790:357 Comparative Political Economy
  • 01:790:355 Women and Public Policy
  • 01:790:358 Globalization, Democracy and Contemporary Capitalism
  • 01:790:363 Conflict Resolution and World Politics
  • 01:790:386 Political Change in China


Both of these Introductory courses:

  • 01:220:102 Introduction to Microeconomics
  • 01:220:103 Introduction to Macroeconomics

Both of these Intermediate courses:

  • 01:220:320 Intermediate Microeconomics (requires as prerequisite Calculus I, 640:135 or 640:151)
  • 01:220:322 Econometrics (requires as prerequisite Calculus I, 640:135 or 640:151)

Two of these Special Topics courses (note that all 400 level courses below require 320 and 322 as prerequisites):

  • 01:220:321 Intermediate Macroeconomics (requires as prerequisite Calculus I, 640:135 or 640:151)
  • 01:220:331 Economics of Crime
  • 01:220:390 Choice and Strategy in Politics
  • 01:220:402 Labor Economics
  • 01:220:417 Health Economics
  • 01:220:432 Environmental Economics
  • 01:220:440 Economics and Income Inequality and Discrimination
  • 01:220:460 Public Economics 
  • 01:220:463 Economics of Taxation
  • 01:220:482 Game Theory and Economics 

The Certificate in Quantitative Political Science Methods is a program designed to lead to an understanding
of how social scientists pose research questions, design tests of hypotheses, and analyze quantifiable
information. These are valuable skills for the workforce and graduate school, as well as for all informed
citizens. A basic understanding of how social science research is conducted can help citizens evaluate the
information they read about in the newspaper or hear about on television. Students completing the program
will have put their methodological skills to use in their own in-class research projects, as part of their
required Political Science Seminar 790:395.

  • This program is open only to declared Political Science majors, and will be awarded only in conjunction with or subsequent to the awarding of a BA in Political Science.
  • To participate in the program, students should contact Prof. Roy Licklider, the Political Science facultyadvisor, at licklider@polisci.rutgers.edu.
  • Students must satisfactorily complete 790:300, Introduction to Political Science Methods.
  • Students must satisfactorily complete a 790:395 seminar that is quantitatively oriented.
  • Students must satisfactorily complete any three of the following courses (Political Science may be applied to Political Science degree requirements, Economics, Psychology and Sociology courses maybe applied to cognate discipline requirements):
    Political Science
 790:349  Rational Choice Models and Politics
 790:307  Survey Research
 790:392  Applied Research Methods
 790:481,482  Internship (with approved statistical or
 quantitative focus)
 220:322  Econometrics
 220:401  Advanced Econometrics
 220:405  Economics of Uncertainty
 220:406  Game Theory and Economics
 640:104  Elementary Combinatorics and Probability
 640:339  Mathematical Models in the Social and
 Biological Sciences

 830:200  Quantitative Methods in Psychology
 830:300  Research Methods in Psychology
 830:23  Research Methods in Social Psychology
 920:311  Introduction to Social Research
 920:312  Computer Analysis of Social Science Data

Any course in the Statistics Department


Departmental Honors - Paul Robeson Scholars

Political Science departmental honors and the designation of Paul Robeson Scholar are awarded to senior Political Science (790) majors who enroll in the Political Science courses, Honors Thesis 790:495/496, and successfully complete a Political Science honors thesis. In order to be eligible for departmental honors, a Political Science (790) major will have successfully completed at least 15 credits in Political Science courses with a grade point average 3.4 or better in these courses and have an overall grade point average of 3.0 or better at the beginning of the Fall semester of senior year. Information about the Paul Robeson Scholars program is available on the SAS Senior Honors Thesis website.

Students enrolled in Honors Thesis 790:495/496 are expected to conduct research and prepare an original piece of scholarship as their honors thesis. Individual students are responsible for recruiting an appropriate Political Science faculty member to supervise their research and read their thesis. The faculty thesis advisor will indicate specific requirements for the completion of the thesis. Also, the thesis advisor and one other member of the Political Science Department's faculty will conduct an oral examination at which the honors candidate will defend his or her findings. Both the faculty thesis advisor and the second faculty member must be from the faculty of the Rutgers-New Brunswick Political Science Department.

Upon completion of the thesis and oral examination, a letter grade and a level of honors will be awarded by the thesis advisor. All students receiving departmental honors are designated as Paul Robeson Scholars by the university.

Finally, Political Science (790) majors who are interested in doing an honors thesis that spans Political Science and another discipline or is entirely in another discipline can do so through the SAS Interdisciplinary Honors Thesis program. For more information regarding this program, go to the the SAS Senior Honors Thesis website.

NOTE: No more than six credits of independent study, internship or thesis work or any combination of these can be counted toward the eleven 3-credit Political Science courses required for the Political Science (790) major. Also, 790:495/496 cannot be substituted for the Political Science Seminar 790:395.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Is there a required length for the thesis? Is there a primary research requirement? Are there any other requirements?
    The length requirement is generally up to the individual faculty supervisor though the six-credit department honors theses usually run 50 to 70 pages. The department does not require primary research since such a requirement would not be appropriate in all subfields or for all topics. Your faculty supervisor will determine if your research interests are best served by primary research. You are also required to do an oral defense of your thesis in front of your faculty supervisor and a second faculty reader.
  • What is the norm in terms of number of times I meet with faculty supervisor throughout the semester?
    Once every two or three weeks, and/or as your research demands, would be satisfactory.
  • What is the basis for grading for the fall semester and what are grading standards in general?
    No substantive grade is given for the Fall semester. A "TH" grade is submitted. This is not factored into your GPA. When the final paper is completed and a grade submitted in the Spring semester, your faculty advisor should indicate whether to assign the same grade for the Fall semester as well or submit a different grade. At the same time, your faculty supervisor and your second faculty reader will decide on the level of honors to be awarded. The levels are "NO HONORS", "HONORS", "HIGH HONORS", AND "HIGHEST HONORS".
  • Is there any standard timeline or deadline for completion?
    You should plan to have a final oral defense no later than the first week of April. The School of Arts & Sciences requires notification by mid-April in order for your name and honors designation to appear in the graduation program. Therefore, you would need to be finished with your written thesis a couple of weeks before that so that the committee (your faculty supervisor and your second faculty reader) would have a chance to read it before your oral defense. This would probably mean that you need to have a close to a completed draft for your faculty supervisor to review even earlier - roughly mid-February or early March.