If you aim at assuming responsibility in business, politics and society, the interdisciplinary Bachelor degree programme "Philosophy, Politics, and Economics" (PPE) is the ideal basis for starting off. If we want to comprehend and proactively shape the present and future social reality, we need to make sense of the games played in today’s philosophical, political and economic arena. In order to figure out these games, we must know the players and, even more importantly, the rules of the game in all their facets. Thus, the focus of the degree programme is on economic and political institutions (the rules) and organizations (the players).
If, for example, the member states of the UN Climate Change Conference (the players) decide on new rules for climate protection in 2015, we do not only need to know the effects on the environment but also the effects on the economy. Likewise, if the British (the players) vote for BREXIT because they do not want to follow the rules of the European Union (a further player) any longer, then we should be aware of these rules – and be able to estimate the effects.
Our approach of looking at things from various perspectives and applying a wide variety of methods will enable you to take a major step forward in scientific research and in your professional life, for you will have learned how to think in integrative and transdisciplinary contexts.
Major societal challenges – such as recurring financial and economic crises, mass migration or climate change – are complex phenomena requiring complex answers. Understanding solely the relevant economic or political correlations is therefore not enough to analyze these issues and find appropriate solutions. Economics and politics are two disciplines belonging together, thus requiring an integrative perspective which is ideally reflected and complemented by philosophy as the third discipline.
The interdisciplinary degree programme is co-designed with the Faculty of Humanities and Arts and combines the development of competences in philosophy, politics and economics with the conveyance of profound analytical and problem-solving skills.
Studying PPE (B.A.) at Witten/Herdecke University means learning that it is easier to analyze and solve real problems from different perspectives rather than looking at them from one angle only. The degree programme’s core course therefore combines the three disciplines philosophy, politics, and economics with varying foci, such as "Migration", "Terrorism" or the "Ukraine Conflict".
PPE students being particularly qualified have the opportunity to participate in a double degree programme in collaboration with the University of Victoria. After four semesters in Witten and four to five semesters in Canada you will be awarded a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce. For more information, see list of downloads.
PPE (B.A.) graduates usually assume managerial responsibilities in public administration, organizations, associations, foundations, NGOs or think tanks. Alternatively, you may pursue advanced Master degree programmes in politics, economics or philosophy: The PPE (B.A.) provides you with the necessary methodology and knowledge.
However, PPE offers more than just a first academic degree - it aims at providing you with the skill of translating your creative mind into solution-oriented, responsible action.
It is the common perspective that distinguishes the Witten PPE Bachelor programme from other degree programmes combining disciplines like politics, economics or philosophy.
While philosophy, ethics in particular, has paid attention to institutions for a long time, many social science theories have considered institutions as given 'environment variables', thus eliminating the effects of changing rules in politics and economics from their analyses. During the last three decades, however, a different perception has emerged. In order to comprehend climate protection agreements or European integration, we need to understand the coming about and effects of the relevant rules because: Institutions matter!
Meanwhile, various approaches in economics as well as in political science and sociology have explicitly considered the rules, i.e. the institutions, and their effect on the behavior of the actors, i.e. the players, in their analyses. This institution-oriented perspective of all three disciplines represents the core of the Witten Bachelor in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics.
When designing the curriculum and organizing the activities of the Witten Institute for Institutional Change (WIWA) we therefore focus on this institution-oriented perspective. The Institute’s researchers analyze the effects of different regulatory systems on human behaviour from multiple social science perspectives and work on proposals for solving social problems. Thus, the WIWA virtually conducts 'research for teaching' for our Bachelor and Master degree programmes.
After the completion of a wide range of compulsory courses, the degree programme offers various elective courses. You may either adhere to this variety of subjects or specialize in the fields of philosophy, politics, and economics. We encourage students to autonomously identify and explore research topics at an early time in their studies, for example, during their core course or within the context of Independent Studies and Independent Projects. Students have the option to include specific topics in the curriculum on a flexible basis which cannot be addressed in regular modules while being supervised by a lecturer. Please refer to the module manual for further details about these modules.
The compulsory module section comprises four basic module groups: methods as well as subject-specific fundamentals in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, being the theoretical basis for your further PPE studies.
The method modules consist of courses in Mathematics, Fundamentals of Scientific Work and Empirical Research, Statistics as well as Quantitative and Qualitative Methods.
The philosophy fundamentals comprise Practical Philosophy I, Theoretical Philosophy I as well as Cultural and Social Philosophy I.
In politics, the fundamentals cover the subjects International Politics I, Political and Sociological Theories I as well as Institutions and Organizations/Policy Analysis I.
The economics fundamentals consist of Microeconomics, Macroeconomics and Institutional Economics courses.
The compulsory modules also comprise the core course which combines the perspectives of all three disciplines to analyze a current problem area. The focus of the core course changes each semester. Examples of previous topics: "Growth Imperative", "Sustainability", "Migration", "Terrorism" and the "Ukraine Conflict".
The concluding Bachelor thesis is also a compulsory part of PPE (B.A.) degree programme.
Compulsory elective means that you have to register for courses from a certain area. However, it is up to you to choose the specific courses you would like to register for.
Compulsory elective modules comprise interdisciplinary courses at the interface between the three disciplines: Economic Philosophy, Political Philosophy and Political Economics. You have to register for two courses from these fields.
The compulsory elective module also comprises the 'Studium fundamentale' or fundamental studies. When studying PPE (B.A.) you have to register for courses conveying reflexive, artistic and communicative skills. Courses on artistic and communicative skills will be listed in your degree certificate without a grade.
The Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Bachelor degree programme comprises a wide range of elective courses, from which you can choose according to your interests.
You may specialize in one or two majors, which will be explicitly stated in your degree certificate and which you may choose from all three disciplines: politics, philosophy or economics. Furthermore, you have the opportunity to develop additional competence by registering for supplementary courses, for example, in the field of management.
Please refer to the module manual for detailed information on elective modules.
Studium fundamentale or fundamental studies is the interdisciplinary core curriculum of each degree programme at Witten/Herdecke University: Once per week students of all disciplines meet for seminars on a wide range of topics from arts and culture or engage in creative exercises. Fundamental studies promote new insights, a view beyond boundaries and critical scrutiny of apparently self-evident truths. The course selection is unrestricted.
(a) The field of reflexive competence serves to train systematic thought and discrimination by conveying basic theoretical and methodological knowledge beyond one’s own discipline. In addition, students discuss current national, European and international policy issues.
(b) The field of communicative competence helps practice communicative techniques and strategies being appropriate for specific subjects and speech situations. This training ranges from vocal training to group communication as well as from direct interaction to virtual communication.
(c) The field of artistic competence offers ample opportunity to test and expand artistic potential inherent in fine arts, music, dance and theatre. The arts invite students to explore their cognitive and physical potential in order to view the world from a perspective different from the scientific one.
Students at Witten/Herdecke University organize their financial contributions to the tuition fees by themselves. In 1995 students designed the Reverse Generational Contract in order to enable students to study regardless of their financial background. To date, they design the contract independently within the StudierendenGesellschaft (SG) which, together with UW/H, guarantees that personality and talent are the decisive factors for access to higher education – not the financial background.
As the amount of the financial contributions exclusively depends on the income of our graduates, they reflect the prospective income of students and create a high level of mutual responsibility.
|Deadline for applications|| |
|Duration and scope||180 credits within 6 semesters|
|Academic degree||Bachelor of Arts (B. A.) or double degree programme|
|Form of studies||First academic degree qualifying for a profession|
|Language||German and English|
|Size of courses||about 25 students|
|Application||Online application and personal selection procedure|
|Application fee||100 Euro|
You can apply for a place to study all year round. However, please pay attention to the application deadlines for the respective semesters:
Early selection seminars for early bird applications:
The following documents are required for an application at the Faculty of Management and Economics, to be uploaded in the electronic Campus management system UWE. If you have already submitted an application at UW/H before, please use this UWE link.
As the selection seminars are rather complex, each applicant has to pay application fees to cover the expenses. These application fees will not be refunded in case admission is not granted. Please do not post any cash or cheques.
The application fees amount to 100.00 euros and are to be transferred to:
Private Universität Witten/Herdecke gGmbH
IBAN: DE06 4525 0035 0000 4530 35
Bank: Sparkasse Witten
Alternatively, you can transfer the fees to our PayPal account: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reference: Application fees/Management and Economics + name of applicant
After a successful written application, we will invite you to a selection seminar at our university. We are looking for applicants with motivation, creativity, curiosity and dedication. In other words: It is your personality that counts, portrayed by previous commitment in entrepreneurial, social, practical, political or sports activities!
The selection seminar involves interviews with professors, research assistants and students. Further participants will be alumni and experts from business, culture and politics. We would like to get to know you better and to offer you the opportunity to get to know us as well.
Shortly after the selection date, we will inform you whether we can offer you a place to study.
Please accomplish the following task. For further information, please view the following document.