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To be admitted to the Honors PPE program, students must have at least a 3.5 cumulative GPA and a 3.5 in courses used to satisfy PPE requirements, or permission of the director of PPE. Prospective PPE Honors students should begin planning their Honors program with their advisor as soon as possible.


In addition to fulfilling the prerequisites, PPE core, and distribution requirements, Honors students will take two courses in their theme and dedicate their thesis to a research project in that theme. One of the two courses must be in a discipline other than that of the thesis. Honors students will submit a thesis proposal for approval by the director of PPE. Honors students will fulfill their thesis requirement using the vehicles offered for that purpose by one of PPE’s 3 sponsoring departments (Philosophy, Political Science, or Economics). Students should choose the appropriate thesis track depending on their primary disciplinary orientation and the content of their theme.


  • For a thesis oriented toward Philosophy: Seniors will first enroll in PHIL 401, the thesis-preparation seminar in Philosophy. The following term, they will enroll in PPE 402, in which they will work with an individual advisor who has agreed to supervise their research.
  • For a thesis oriented toward Political Science: Seniors will enroll in POLSCI 493 and POLSCI 494, a two-semester thesis-writing seminar that runs in conjunction with supervision under an individual thesis advisor. POLSCI 381: Political Science Research Design is a prerequisite for POLSCI 493-4 and must be taken any term before the senior year. POLSCI 381 satisfies the Formal Reasoning Core Distribution requirement for PPE and hence does not add to the total number of courses required for a PPE degree.
  • For a thesis oriented toward Economics: Seniors will enroll in ECON 495: Seminar in Economics or ECON 498: Honors Independent Research. Most economics-oriented PPE theses would be expected to enroll in ECON 495, which is the primary Honors thesis vehicle for economics concentrators.

Honors in PPE will be recommended by a two-person committee consisting of the student’s advisor plus a second reader in one of the other units, on the basis of the written thesis and an oral defense. The final award of Honors is conditional on achieving a 3.5 GPA overall and in PPE, and on approval by the Director of PPE.