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    Hi everyone,

    This might sound like a stupid question, but I was wondering just how much economics is involved in the PPE course at Oxford.

    I've got a real passion for current affairs and the social sciences, and the 'P and P' elements of the course really appeal to me. However...

    I 'only' got an A for GCSE Maths and didn't exactly like the subject, and didn't take Economics A Level (it wasn't offered at my school anyway). For these reasons, I've always thought of applying for SPS at Cambridge due to the notable absence of economics, but have heard that PPE is more respected than SPS and thought it best to consider all the options before I finalise what I want to apply for.

    So basically;

    - Would I be disadvantaged without Maths/Economics A-Levels?

    - Is the maths element of the course really demanding, and how far past GCSE level does it go?

    - And is PPE 'better' than SPS?
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    Hi! I have not got into Oxford for PPE, before you take what i say too seriously...

    (Original post by Marcus-B)
    - Would I be disadvantaged without Maths/Economics A-Levels?
    - Is the maths element of the course really demanding, and how far past GCSE level does it go?
    Plenty of people have got in with neither. Lack of A Level Economics certainly shouldn't be much of a hindrence, from what I was told! Maths is 'helpful' certainly, but Oxford I believe run maths classes for PPEists to make sure the skills needed are available to all regardless of what A Levels you did, so once you get there, it shouldn't really be a problem. Additionally, it may be difficult to investigate but I have a feeling different colleges rate the 'importance' of maths differently.

    (Original post by Marcus-B)
    - And is PPE 'better' than SPS?
    If you prefer philosophy and economics to sociology/social anthropology/psychology! :p:

    From what I have gathered, PPE is more respected than SPS - but whether or not that makes it 'better' or not is a different kettle of fish. You could explain this by SPS simply being a younger course - just not as familiar to employers, other academics etc as PPE is.

    I recommed you read some books like 'The Armchair Economist' or 'Freankonomics' - if you enjoy them, you may feel much more enthusiastic about economics!!! Likewise books for aspects of the SPS course. See which you enjoy most, that's how you should choose your course!

    Good luck
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    disadvantaged without economics/maths? - probably not at the interview stage, but certainly in first year (esp. maths) since a lot is presupposed. people who haven't done a-level maths often find it hard - it goes beyond a-level in various places.
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    You get maths classes and if you really don't like economics, you don't have to carry on with it after the first year.
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    (Original post by Marcus-B)
    Hi everyone,

    This might sound like a stupid question, but I was wondering just how much economics is involved in the PPE course at Oxford.

    I've got a real passion for current affairs and the social sciences, and the 'P and P' elements of the course really appeal to me. However...

    I 'only' got an A for GCSE Maths and didn't exactly like the subject, and didn't take Economics A Level (it wasn't offered at my school anyway). For these reasons, I've always thought of applying for SPS at Cambridge due to the notable absence of economics, but have heard that PPE is more respected than SPS and thought it best to consider all the options before I finalise what I want to apply for.

    So basically;

    - Would I be disadvantaged without Maths/Economics A-Levels?

    - Is the maths element of the course really demanding, and how far past GCSE level does it go?

    - And is PPE 'better' than SPS?
    Probably advantageous to have maths - take up the AS level before you apply?
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    (Original post by dancingqueen)
    You get maths classes and if you really don't like economics, you don't have to carry on with it after the first year.
    Such is the beauty of the PPE course.
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    (Original post by Marcus-B)
    - Would I be disadvantaged without Maths/Economics A-Levels?
    Yes without maths, but people do still get in without it. They're starting to more and more ask for it, however with the second year being possible purely as politics and economics, it's not the be all and end all.

    In fact, my tutor's trying to get them to allow people to apply for a Phil and Pol degree, as PPE doesn't suit a lot of very talented Phil and Pol students.

    (Original post by Marcus-B)
    - Is the maths element of the course really demanding, and how far past GCSE level does it go?
    Not that far. There's only one question on the economics paper that you have to answer that requires maths, and that's A level standard at most. For years 2 and 3, you can skip it entirely. It

    (Original post by Marcus-B)
    - And is PPE 'better' than SPS?
    Yes. SPS is both very different - sociology as opposed to economics and philosophy, and with a much worse reputation. PPE is one of the degrees Oxford's most proud of, possibly even it's flagship course. It's Oxford strongpoint. SPS is something Cambridge seems slightly embarressed about, as it's just not up to the standard of the other Cambridge degrees (at least yet). Maybe I'm being a little unfair, but SPS doesn't have a good reputation, though it's still Cambridge.
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    (Original post by Drogue)
    In fact, my tutor's trying to get them to allow people to apply for a Phil and Pol degree, as PPE doesn't suit a lot of very talented Phil and Pol students.
    That would be perfect for me (i.e. PPE except the maths ) Any chance of it being on offer next year?! :rolleyes:
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    Just letting you know- there is a fair bit of maths in parts of Philsophy as well!
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    (Original post by Drogue)
    In fact, my tutor's trying to get them to allow people to apply for a Phil and Pol degree, as PPE doesn't suit a lot of very talented Phil and Pol students.
    Equally PPE doesn't suit a lot of very talented Economics and Politics students, but I guess its easier for these students to get through philosophy than it is for the PP specialists to get through first year Economics. If they're thinking of doing this then they may as well just dismantle PPE, very few people take the tripartite route after year 1 anyway.
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    NO! I *love* PPE! I couldn't imagine my degree without all 3 bits- that's why I've applied for that everywhere, and even if I don't get into Oxford, I'll do tha degree somewhere else.
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    (Original post by Marcus-B)
    That would be perfect for me (i.e. PPE except the maths ) Any chance of it being on offer next year?! :rolleyes:
    I'm not sure, he's managed to get finance (management course) offered to PPEists within a term, so it's a possibility. Though if it does it'll probably be a purely Univ thing at first, they do that with the dual application too (E&M and PPE).

    (Original post by sjuthani)
    Just letting you know- there is a fair bit of maths in parts of Philsophy as well!
    Only if you take logic. If you don't, there's pretty much none. Moral and general philosophy are firmly essay and discussion based.

    (Original post by goldstandard)
    Equally PPE doesn't suit a lot of very talented Economics and Politics students, but I guess its easier for these students to get through philosophy than it is for the PP specialists to get through first year Economics. If they're thinking of doing this then they may as well just dismantle PPE, very few people take the tripartite route after year 1 anyway.
    Really? The main issue with Phil and Pol is the maths - to some people it's not a strong point and it's not needed for those. Very few people who love pol and econ would baulk at doing one module of phil in their first year.

    And the beauty of the degree, to me, is that everyone has a core base in all three, and then specialises in two, so the fact few take the tripartite route doesn't make the first year studying all three worthless. I think PPE is a great degree - it's a degree designed to equip people to run a country, for which all three, to some degree, are necessary. I just think for many an exception needs to be made with economics, as a lot of people get high marks in the other two and very low passes/fails in econ, purely due to the maths side. They have two stream teaching for it now, one for those with A level maths and one for those without. Allowing some students, who are exceptional at PP, to skip first year econ and take all the phil and pol parts (most colleges choose two from Logic, Moral and General philosophy, as that's all that's needed for the exam).
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    woo, lots of things!

    I don't really agree that there's even that much maths in Logic unless you take it down the metamathematics route - sure, you have to think in a similar way, but it's not the same material, and definitely there's no maths presupposed. The Philosophy of Maths paper's an exception, obv, but usually one PPEist (out of c.275) will do that one each year.

    the other thing is that it might be better just to stop the maths Q being compulsory for first year Economics - it really does screw over a lot of people, and it doesn't seem to achieve a lot (esp. with separate maths classes). I did 2 maths Qs because I was good at it, but I don't see why people shouldn't be able to do 4 essays (and really, anyone who's going to pass first year Economics shouldn't have difficulty finding 4 things to write about)
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    Well there's no actual maths as such involved in Logic, but you need to be fairly mathematically inclined to master it.

    With regards to the Maths question in the Economics paper, the questions really are very easy and I'm surprised that it screws a lot of people over in terms of marks. The PP specialists that I've encountered seem to have little problem with the compulsory Maths question, more with the maths workbok and scores of equations in micro models. The compulsory maths question is a fairly new thing (iirc) and I'm not sure what the rationale for it is - either to make sure students have a solid enough grounding in maths to go onto harder econ, or because maths is such a significant part of the first year econ course and it doesn't really get tested in exam essays.
 
 
 
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