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PPE Minor Curriculum

Degree Requirements

The PPE Minor requires 18 credits hours to be obtained from two required courses, namely, the PPE Gateway Course and the PPE Capstone Course, and four elective courses. Here is the official Checksheet from the Registrar’s Office and a more detailed description of the degree requirements.

I. Core Areas Elective Courses
Before taking the PPE Gateway Course, students take one elective course in each of the three core areas of the PPE Minor: one course in Philosophy (3 credit hours), one course in Political Science (3 credit hours), and one course in Economics (3 credit hours). Taking these electives allows students to gain some basic familiarity with the three core disciplines of the PPE Minor before experiencing their integrated study.

II. PPE Gateway Course
The PPE Gateway Course (PHIL/PSCI/ECON 2894, 3 credit hours) integrates the quantitative techniques, conceptual tools, and core principles of philosophy, political science, and economics. The course clarifies the similarities and differences between the philosophical, political, and economic approaches, and the limitations of each if considered individually. This enhances the understanding of each discipline, its conclusions, and the ways the disciplines can enrich and complement each other.

III. Applied Areas Elective Course
After successfully completing the PPE Gateway Course, students take one additional elective course (3 credit hours) in an applied area that requires transfer of their acquired knowledge to a domain of social, ethical, political, and economic relevance. Students are able to choose from a list of approved courses in business, engineering, urban affairs and planning, geography, agricultural and applied economics, fish and wildlife conservation, and forest resources and environmental conservation.

IV. PPE Capstone Course
The PPE Capstone Course (PHIL/PSCI/ECON 4884, 3 credit hours) provides the final step of the students’ learning experience in the PPE Minor curriculum. This course allows students to work on an advanced project of their choice that lies at the intersection of philosophy, politics, and economics and its application to a concrete problem. Students will be asked to investigate their topic from multiple perspectives and to develop a conceptual framework that leads to a comprehensive solution to their problem of study. Students will write a major research paper and present its conclusions.


PPE Speaker Series

The PPE Program at Virginia Tech organizes a public speaker series that forms an integral part of the curricula of the PPE Gateway Course and the PPE Capstone Course. Per academic year, up to six guest speakers will be invited. The guest speakers will present their most recent work to the PPE students and faculty at Virginia Tech. PPE students will have the opportunity to go for lunch or dinner with the guest speakers and thereby develop their academic and professional skills as well as network.


PPE Student Ambassadorship

Each academic year, one PPE student will be selected to serve as Ambassador for the PPE Program at Virginia Tech. The primary task of the PPE Student Ambassador is to promote the PPE Program at Virginia Tech and work closely with the PPE Program Director as well as faculty and staff of the program. The PPE Student Ambassadorship allows the student to develop leadership and professional skills, as well as to gain a unique networking experience at Virginia Tech.