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Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Minor

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Our increasingly interdependent, globalized world faces a myriad of individual and collective decision-making problems that often cut across the boundaries of academic disciplines. Questions concerning market regulations, taxation, responsibilities of for-profit and non-profit organizations, environmental sustainability, poverty, and global justice are all multidimensional and can be addressed adequately only through interdisciplinary analysis.

The minor in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics allows students to develop such analysis. It trains students to develop comprehensive solutions to complex interdisciplinary decision-making problems. These solutions are not only economically sound, but also socially, ethically, and politically informed. The PPE minor attracts students who value genuine interdisciplinary hands-on, minds-on learning and equips such students to become all-round leaders in the 21st century.

In one distinct form, this minor implements Virginia Tech’s vision to educate students who, informed by the latest research, have “…the capacity to solve complex problems of a regional, national, and global scale that have yet to be envisioned.” - Timothy D. Sands, A Letter from Virginia Tech’s President, Beyond Boundaries


The PPE minor requires 18 credits hours to be obtained from two required courses (the PPE Gateway Course and the PPE Capstone Course) and four elective courses (to be taken from core an applied areas). For more information, consult the Registrar checksheet (follow this link, click on 'checksheets', scroll down to Minors, and find the minor checksheet you're interested in).

Pathways diagram of minor

The PPE Pathways Minor is structured to support the following educational goals:

  • Provide students with a comprehensive analysis of some of the most important social, ethical, economic, and political problems that our contemporary societies face
  • Train students to become independent thinkers with the ability to make decisions that are not only economically sound but also socially, ethically, and politically informed
  • Provide students with a unique set of skills that arises from actively engaging in the social sciences and related fields combined with philosophical reflection
  • Offer a highly interdisciplinary learning experience that advances teamwork skills and combines classroom teaching with independent research
  • Offer a balance of foundational skills and applied knowledge that is essential to solve real-world problems comprehensively and sustainably (hands-on, minds-on)
  • Provide guidance and opportunities for students to prepare optimally for the job market, in particular through career advice, study abroad, internships, externships, networking, and other experiential learning opportunities
  • Offer students an innovative learning environment in which they can grow individually and collectively to become reflective, culturally informed, and engaged global citizens who take seriously their social responsibilities (Ut Prosim)

The PPE minor provides an excellent, and often essential, foundation and complement for many other degree offerings at Virginia Tech, in particular in the fields philosophy, political science, economics, public and international affairs (SPIA), business, engineering, geography, agricultural and applied economics, fish and wildlife conservation, and forest resources and environmental conservation.

Many courses that students are already taking to fulfill their major requirements also fulfill PPE requirements, particularly for engineering and geography majors, and majors within the College of Natural Resources and Environments.

The PPE minor allows students in such fields, and other fields that, in some form, engage with topics and/or analyses that entail social, ethical, political, and economic dimensions, to deepen, expand, and complement their knowledge and skills.

Past research paper topics of students include:

  • Economic Globalization and Multilateral Governance
  • Protecting the Sharing Economy and Its Intrinsic Social Benefits
  • Cash for Kindness: The True Costs of a Legal Kidney Market
  • Fossil Fuels and Their Effect on the Future of Our Environment
  • Analyzing Sustainable Development and Intergenerational Justice
  • What the Frack? A Case against Hydraulic Fracturing and Its Detrimental
  • Effects Economic Autonomy: Africa’s Key to Developmental Success

Public and Private Sectors
Due to its interdisciplinary, analytical rigor, combination of normative and empirical analyses, and emphasis on the development of transferable skills, the PPE minor prepares students well for a wide variety of careers in the private and public sectors, such as careers in management, marketing, consulting, industry, investment banking, finance, business administration, law, journalism, government, public administration, public policy, health care, international affairs, international development, and non-profit organizations.

“PPE helped me get my interview, and then my job.” Shane Joynes, now employed at Epic Systems Corporation, a top private healthcare software company

“PPE was instrumental in strengthening my ability to formulate and present strong arguments, which has served me well in my academic and professional pursuits.” Aaron Wilson, now employed at Capital One

“PPE allowed me to do in-depth research on topics of my own interest, which was extremely relevant for my career. PPE not only brought together skills and topics from multiple fields of study, but it also pushed me to think critically and from new perspectives. I found the work instrumental to growing the company I joined after graduation.” Paul Rice, owner of NFK Hopper and employed at Hatch, an entrepreneurship and economic development education company

Graduate School
In addition, the PPE minor prepares students well for academic programs, especially for law school, medical school, business school, and masters and doctoral programs in philosophy, political science, and economics, as well as related social sciences. It is also worth mentioning that the minor allows students to develop valuable transferable skills, such as verbal skills, quantitative skills, and writing skills, that prepare students exceptionally well for some of the most common standardized admission tests for graduate school, such as the GRE, LSAT, and GMAT.

“PPE assisted in securing a job and law school for me. Particularly for my job interview, the interviewer questioned me about PPE and I was able to describe how the interdisciplinary degree rounded out my critical thinking and writing skills.” Miles Franklin, admitted to the Washington College of Law at the American University

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Find out more about this minor on the Kellogg Center website. View the PPE Student Handbook.

This minor is hosted by the Kellogg Center for Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, in collaboration with numerous departments across Virginia Tech.

Pathways Concepts

Core Concepts*
1a - Advanced/Applied Discourse
2 - Critical Thinking in the Humanities
3 - Reasoning in the Social Sciences
4 - Reasoning in the Natural Sciences
6d - Critique and Practice in Design
7 - Critical Analysis of Identity and Equity in the United States
*Students are guaranteed to meet at least three of the core concepts listed

Integrative Concepts
Ethical Reasoning
Intercultural and Global Awareness


Heath Furrow

New Course Fall 2024