philosophy, politics and economics
Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban after campaigning for girls' education, stands next to British former prime minister Gordon Brown as she receives an honorary masters degree from the University of Edinburgh during the first Global Citizenship Commission meeting at the university in Scotland on October 19, 2013. Source: Andy Buchanan/AFP

Malala Yousafzai has just completed her philosophy, politics and economics undergraduate degree at Oxford University.

The young activist moved to the UK in 2012, where she attended school and continued to campaign for the right to education for girls. In 2014, Malala became the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Now that she has completed her degree in philosophy, politics and economics (also known as PPE), Malala can take her activism to the next step in global relations and policymaking.

Dubbed “the Oxford degree that runs Britain”, PPE is a three-year course with maths and history prerequisites. Here are five other things you should know about Malala’s degree.

Oxford University was the first to offer it

The PPE degree was introduced in the 1920s at Oxford. The course has since evolved with the tides of economic, social, political, and philosophical thought.

It is transformative yet versatile, challenging students intellectually to prepare them for a wide range of career pathways.

philosophy, politics and economics

Students rise books of Pakistani Nobel Peace Laureate Malala Yousafzai during a meeting with her at the Monterrey Institute of Technology in Mexico City on August 31, 2017. Source: Yuri Cortez/AFP

Many notable world leaders studied philosophy, politics and economics

Malala was accepted into the university’s Lady Margaret Hall. Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan’s first female prime minister, also studied here in the 1970s.

Current Prime Minister Imran Khan also did the same degree.

They are among a long list of notable world leaders who studied PPE. It includes State Counsellor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi, as well as former British prime ministers Harold Wilson, Edward Heath and David Cameron.

You’ll dive into an introduction of all three subjects

The first year consists of introductory courses to philosophy, politics, and economics. You will be able to cover all bases before specialising in the second year.

Through the study of philosophy, you will develop analytical rigour. At the same time, you will understand and evaluate political institutions. Then, you will dive into resource allocation and policymaking by studying economics.

philosophy, politics and economics

In this screengrab, Malala Yousafzai speaks during Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020 on May 16, 2020. Source: Getty Images/Getty Images for EIF & XQ/AFP

You can then specialise in two subjects

In the second and third years, you will focus on two of the three PPE subjects.

“At first, I loved the structured logic classes, which were something ‘solid’ to cling to whilst grappling with economics for the first time. Over the second and third years, I grew to love philosophy more and more, and so I’ve directed my degree more towards that,” said student Leonie.

You can choose from a wide range of courses within your specialisation. This makes your degree unique to your interests, capabilities, and career plans.

It is offered at several top UK universities

Since Oxford, many other universities have developed their own PPE modules.

The University of York did it first in the 1980s. Then, King’s College London, the University of Warwick, the University of Manchester, and other British universities have followed suit.

In the US, you can find the Ethics, Politics, and Economics course at two Ivy League universities: the University of Pennsylvania and Yale University.

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