Turn on thread page Beta
Am I suitable candidate to study PPE at Oxford? watch
- Thread Starter
Last edited by econot; 06-04-2018 at 22:04.
- 20-02-2018 23:50
- 23-02-2018 11:52
In the nicest way possible, I would say that Oxford PPE is probably not for you. Oxford reccomend that all applicants to PPE should study maths to at least AS level or equivalent- this is because the economics component of the degree involves differentiation. If you don't have maths to AS, you could feasibly still apply but you would practically need A* (9) at GCSE Mathematics.
Furthermore, Oxford also recommend a traditional essay subject such as History or English Literature. Your choice of A-levels might put your potential application at a disadvantage.
You could still apply, but definitely do look at other courses!
For some context, I have an offer to read PPE at Oxford next year. I got 13A*s and 2As in my GCSEs and I did FSMQ Additional Mathematics alongside them. I am currently predicted A*A*A* in Maths, Economics and History A-Levels.
- Thread Starter
- 23-02-2018 21:09
Thank for your reply, and congratulations for your offer.
I understand my GCSE’s aren’t the best (especially maths) and even I did get accepted for PPE, I would probably struggle with the maths content of economics.
On the issue of my subject choices, I was going to study English Literature or History in addition with my subjects or even do both along with Economics and Politics, but I was particularly interested in philosophy, and the history spec followed at my college didn't appeal to me and I thought it best to focus on three a levels instead of four.
I understand my subject choices may be an issue with Oxford as they do mention that Maths and History are useful backgrounds, but some similar courses at other unis don’t have any specific subject requirements.
I plan on applying for PPE, even though it is unlikely I will be accepted but hey what’s to lose? I’m also looking at courses such as History, Politics and Economics at UCL (which doesn't have a A Level Maths requirement, only GCSE Maths), Economic History at LSE (again no A Level Maths), and Philosophy, Politics and Law at King's College (no maths requirements). I think the problem for me comes with economics because most universities want A Level Maths, I'm really enjoying studying economics right now, but maybe it may not be best suited for me at university level.
Again congratulations on your offer.
To help others like me, I would really appreciate if you mention the content of your personal statement, and things you have done outside of your A Levels, because you clearly got it right!
Also, what other uni's did you apply to and did you get offers from there too?
- Community Assistant
- 23-02-2018 21:23
As above, the major issue is the lack of Maths - 95% of successful applicants to Oxford PPE last year (or I think actually the year before but anyway) had AS or A-level Maths based on their published statistics. Combined with less than an A* at GCSE Maths I can't see them realistically considering it. You may want to consider HSPS at Cambridge instead? They do explore economic approaches through different, less quantitative lenses (such as anthropological and political).
In general, economics at university tends to be considerably more quantitative than at A-level - calculus is used pretty fluently to express economic relations more or less anywhere, and at the "top" courses (LSE, Oxbridge, Warwick) they will very happily bring in linear algebra and even some elementary real analysis. If you struggle with Maths, it's probably not such a great idea as a result. That said, just because you didn't excel in GCSE Maths doesn't mean you can't cope with or even do well in A-level Maths and similar. I found the A-level standard material considerably more engaging than GCSE as it's easier to appreciate the potential use in many applications (and even try it yourself to explore some of these).
The HPE course at UCL may suit you more though - I believe the economics teaching is organised by SEEAS with the rest of the course, so they will probably account for a more varied mathematical background. Economic History is a reasonable consideration, although you do take the same first year Economics course as a "straight" Economics student at LSE. You might want to consider KCLs Political Economy course, which seems related to your interests and again, appears less quantitative at a glance overall and more focusing on the conceptual aspects.
- 24-02-2018 15:38
So for me, my personal statement was very academically based- so I talked about democracy, Plato's 'Philosopher King's' and my own experiences of democracy, I then talked about 'compatibilism' and determinism and finally my interest in behavioural economics.
I mainly did super-curricular stuff because I found it interesting, Oxford are much more concerned about academics than anything else, but I did work experience with my local council before becoming a Young Mayor. I then joined the UK Youth Parliament and I also did competitive debating for some time, MUN's, BP. I also hosted a local question time, had breakfast with a cabinet member and ran in a few elections to committee's etc.