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Economics VS PPE

Hi !
I am struggling to choose between PPE and economics.
- I like maths, I am going to do further maths A-level next year but I also don't see myself doing a very Mathematical degree, only one that has some maths.
-I want to make sure that the degree I choose has good job prospects and I have been told Economics opens more doors than PPE.

So I am struggling currently to choose between the two. I am also thinking of applying to Oxbridge so I need to start preparing for my entrance assessments but I wont be able to do that if I don't choose my degree. What would you advise I do? What has your experience been like if you have been in the same position?
PPE is a jack of all trades, master of none type degree, if you'll forgive the expression. It's very broad. Only the very good people will be able to successfully get a good job in any one of these three fields because you'll have covered so much less than just a single honours student.

For example, if you wanted to become an economist and so basically have to do a MSc, I'm sure you'll get in but it'll be tough catching up having covered 1/3 of what your peers will have. This is why only the good people who do it can do really well in a specialised field. These people certainly exist and I've met many of them in the economics industry for example but all did PPE at Oxford, think I've only met one non-oxford person who did PPE and was a professional economist (went to Warwick).

Bear in mind that this is just my experience so I doubt will be fully representative, it's not like I can know everyone haha. I'm sure there are lots of very successful PPE students, it's just in my experience over various economic and banking internships and a grad role, I've basically never met a non-oxford PPE economist at a top government department/bank/Financial institution/consultancy.
If you don't want to do a very mathematical degree then you shouldn't apply for economics at Cambridge. Economics (aside from econ research) doesn't open up more prospects than PPE (arguably opens up more like politics etc), especially if they're both from top tier universities as for high finance careers banks and funds couldn't care less what the actual degree is as long as its from a target school. Economics at UCL, Durham, LSE, Warwick is very mathematical too; practically an applied maths degree.
PPE it is by process of elimination since if you want good job prospects (in finance) its best to go to the aforementioned schools. Also, PPE at Oxford requires pretty high GCSE grades and if you don't like philosophy/logic (think game theory, blotto etc) then don't study it.
Original post by BenRyan99
PPE is a jack of all trades, master of none type degree, if you'll forgive the expression. It's very broad. Only the very good people will be able to successfully get a good job in any one of these three fields because you'll have covered so much less than just a single honours student.

For example, if you wanted to become an economist and so basically have to do a MSc, I'm sure you'll get in but it'll be tough catching up having covered 1/3 of what your peers will have. This is why only the good people who do it can do really well in a specialised field. These people certainly exist and I've met many of them in the economics industry for example but all did PPE at Oxford, think I've only met one non-oxford person who did PPE and was a professional economist (went to Warwick).

Bear in mind that this is just my experience so I doubt will be fully representative, it's not like I can know everyone haha. I'm sure there are lots of very successful PPE students, it's just in my experience over various economic and banking internships and a grad role, I've basically never met a non-oxford PPE economist at a top government department/bank/Financial institution/consultancy.

would be surprised if UCL/LSE PPE doesn't make it into summers at Investment banks since they're both targets (and place at top banks more than Oxford) and people that do PPE tend to want to do finance. Ik of atleast 12 people from non-oxbridge PPE who made into investment banking/asset management. Cannot speak for government/research stuff.
Original post by leviticus.
would be surprised if UCL/LSE PPE doesn't make it into summers at Investment banks since they're both targets (and place at top banks more than Oxford) and people that do PPE tend to want to do finance. Ik of atleast 12 people from non-oxbridge PPE who made into investment banking/asset management. Cannot speak for government/research stuff.

As I implied in my post, I'm more speaking from an economist/macro research perspective and this was my experience. I also said the struggle was more for PPE students who want to specialise in one of the subjects whereas your speaking about a very generalist path like IB.

OP, the previous poster is definitely right in terms of working for an IB, subject doesn't matter unless going for a very quantitative role and entry doesn't require too much specialist knowledge so you certainly won't be at a disadvantage as opposed to doing Econ. Only the uni you go to matters.
(edited 2 years ago)
Original post by BenRyan99
As I implied in my post, I'm more speaking from an economist/macro research perspective and this was my experience. I also said the struggle was more for PPE students who want to specialise in one of the subjects whereas your speaking about a very generalist path like IB.

OP, the previous poster is definitely right in terms of working for an IB, subject doesn't matter unless going for a very quantitative role and entry doesn't require too much specialist knowledge so you certainly won't be at a disadvantage as opposed to doing Econ. Only the uni you go to matters.

I see, my bad, atleast the IB point is poignant enough for OP to see now anyway. Its shocking to see how many people blindly apply to econ thinking it'll land them Goldman, especially in today's world when there's so much info available.
Original post by Melissd678
Hi !
I am struggling to choose between PPE and economics.
- I like maths, I am going to do further maths A-level next year but I also don't see myself doing a very Mathematical degree, only one that has some maths.
-I want to make sure that the degree I choose has good job prospects and I have been told Economics opens more doors than PPE.

So I am struggling currently to choose between the two. I am also thinking of applying to Oxbridge so I need to start preparing for my entrance assessments but I wont be able to do that if I don't choose my degree. What would you advise I do? What has your experience been like if you have been in the same position?


Hi there,

I do E&M at Oxford, in first year the PPE-ists take the same Econ course as E&Mers, then from second year PPE-ists can drop Economics, whilst E&Mers can’t. At top Universities like Oxford, even for bipartite / tripartite courses, you’ll probably cover most/all the same content as straight Economists at other Universities (obviously depending on which modules you take in later years, too). PPE and E&M are both very employable, and depending on the modules you choose, you can definitely pursue a MSc/academia in economics.

Oxford’s economics courses are less mathematical than Cambridge’s; Cambridge Economics turns into something resembling an applied statistics degree in later years. E&M is pretty mathematical but fine, PPE is less mathematical. I love maths, took FM A level, and haven’t had too much difficulty with the maths in E&M in first year; second year and third year modules can get much more mathematical though, but you can choose to tailor the degree to your interests, if you’d rather not do too much maths. Both E&M and PPE have a balance of essays and maths - in first year PPE is a bit more essay based and E&M is a bit more maths based, but in later years you can tip the scales to suit your preferences in either course.

In general, I’d say look at courses beyond Oxbridge and think about which of those you’d prefer. Economics/E&M courses are likely to be a fair bit more mathematical than PPE. If you think the reading and essays will suit you, PPE might be a better fit. If you’re more mathematically inclined, Economics or a mostly Economics based course might suit you better. Try and do some reading around politics and philosophy to see if you like those, or would rather specialise more in economics.

Best of luck! :smile:
Reply 7
Original post by BenRyan99
PPE is a jack of all trades, master of none type degree, if you'll forgive the expression. It's very broad. Only the very good people will be able to successfully get a good job in any one of these three fields because you'll have covered so much less than just a single honours student.

For example, if you wanted to become an economist and so basically have to do a MSc, I'm sure you'll get in but it'll be tough catching up having covered 1/3 of what your peers will have. This is why only the good people who do it can do really well in a specialised field. These people certainly exist and I've met many of them in the economics industry for example but all did PPE at Oxford, think I've only met one non-oxford person who did PPE and was a professional economist (went to Warwick).

Bear in mind that this is just my experience so I doubt will be fully representative, it's not like I can know everyone haha. I'm sure there are lots of very successful PPE students, it's just in my experience over various economic and banking internships and a grad role, I've basically never met a non-oxford PPE economist at a top government department/bank/Financial institution/consultancy.


Are you are still a student doing an economics course as per your status data? Trust your view is based on internship & assumptions while working as a student ?
(edited 2 years ago)
Reply 8
Original post by BenRyan99
I've finished my undergrad and master's, worked for a bit and am now starting my MRes Economics course. In terms of whether my view was whilst I was a student, some were, some were after finishing my undergrad.

Like don't get me wrong, if you do PPE at top10 type uni and you do decently well in it, I'm sure you'll be very successful, maybe even the better students from lesser programs too. It's just there aren't many graduate economist roles so if you want to go down this path it's a bit of a disadvantage.

Government economist roles (GES, BoE, etc) require just an undergrad where at least 50% of modules have to be Econ focused so this can be possible on a PPE degree if you select your modules accordingly. Some government jobs and a lot of private sector economist graduate schemes require a economics based master's so this is where the catch up can be a little difficult for students from the not quite so good unis, it's definitely possible tho.

If you happen to want to go into banking/finance/corp law, then degree subject isn't so important, the university you go to matters a lot more. So it's definitely possible with a PPE degree, but will be hard from a lesser know institution.

I guess it's a good degree if you're not sure what you're interested in. If you know you want to work in economics then I wouldn't recommend it. People's view of PPE is somewhat skewed by the great returns for PPE degrees from the top few institutions imo.

Perspective of an American student perhaps?
Reply 9
Original post by BenRyan99
PPE is a jack of all trades, master of none type degree, if you'll forgive the expression. It's very broad. Only the very good people will be able to successfully get a good job in any one of these three fields because you'll have covered so much less than just a single honours student.

For example, if you wanted to become an economist and so basically have to do a MSc, I'm sure you'll get in but it'll be tough catching up having covered 1/3 of what your peers will have. This is why only the good people who do it can do really well in a specialised field. These people certainly exist and I've met many of them in the economics industry for example but all did PPE at Oxford, think I've only met one non-oxford person who did PPE and was a professional economist (went to Warwick).

Bear in mind that this is just my experience so I doubt will be fully representative, it's not like I can know everyone haha. I'm sure there are lots of very successful PPE students, it's just in my experience over various economic and banking internships and a grad role, I've basically never met a non-oxford PPE economist at a top government department/bank/Financia


Original post by BenRyan99
As I implied in my post, I'm more speaking from an economist/macro research perspective and this was my experience. I also said the struggle was more for PPE students who want to specialise in one of the subjects whereas your speaking about a very generalist path like IB.

OP, the previous poster is definitely right in terms of working for an IB, subject doesn't matter unless going for a very quantitative role and entry doesn't require too much specialist knowledge so you certainly won't be at a disadvantage as opposed to doing Econ. Only the uni you go to matters.

From Second year on of a PPE undergraduate course at Oxford, PPE students can choose to drop one of the subjects & majority specialise in 2 subjects with a very high percentage choosing Economics & Politics or Economics & Philosophy to take forward. The Economics classes & curriculum PPE students follow is the same as that an Economics undergraduate takes, infact often tutorials are mixed at least as far as I can see.
I can only assume you are coming from a point of misinformation when you compare PPE to IB. And with regards to jobs, my older brother a PPE graduate 4 years back had a job offer from Goldman Sachs & Bank of England within 3 months of graduating. One of the other candidates he met during his interview was Economics graduate from LSE but he was unfortunately not successful. It goes to show how preconceived notions of what degrees offer better job opportunities & in what field is largely just misconceptions.
Unlike in the past a large majority of PPEist today do not necessarily go into politics, some chair charity organisations but many go into financial sector and are highly sought after.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by Henrcb
From Second year on of a PPE undergraduate course at Oxford, PPE students can choose to drop one of the subjects & majority specialise in 2 subjects with a very high percentage choosing Economics & Politics or Economics & Philosophy to take forward. The Economics classes & curriculum PPE students follow is the same as that an Economics undergraduate takes, infact often tutorials are mixed at least as far as I can see.
I can only assume you are coming from a point of misinformation when you compare PPE to IB. And with regards to jobs, my older brother a PPE graduate 4 years back had a job offer from Goldman Sachs & Bank of England within 3 months of graduating. One of the other candidates he met during his interview was Economics graduate from LSE but he was unfortunately not successful. It goes to show how preconceived notions of what degrees offer better job opportunities & in what field is largely just misconceptions.
Unlike in the past a large majority of PPEist today do not necessarily go into politics, some chair charity organisations but many go into financial sector and are highly sought after.


Don’t really think an n=1 event means much. PPE is god yes but for IBD it’s literally just another degree…
Original post by Henrcb
From Second year on of a PPE undergraduate course at Oxford, PPE students can choose to drop one of the subjects & majority specialise in 2 subjects with a very high percentage choosing Economics & Politics or Economics & Philosophy to take forward. The Economics classes & curriculum PPE students follow is the same as that an Economics undergraduate takes, infact often tutorials are mixed at least as far as I can see.
I can only assume you are coming from a point of misinformation when you compare PPE to IB. And with regards to jobs, my older brother a PPE graduate 4 years back had a job offer from Goldman Sachs & Bank of England within 3 months of graduating. One of the other candidates he met during his interview was Economics graduate from LSE but he was unfortunately not successful. It goes to show how preconceived notions of what degrees offer better job opportunities & in what field is largely just misconceptions.
Unlike in the past a large majority of PPEist today do not necessarily go into politics, some chair charity organisations but many go into financial sector and are highly sought after.


What would you consider as good PPE universities with clear prospects after graduation?

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