PPE Programme Specification 2013-14 Final

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Course programme and assessment methods


<ul><li><p>PROGRAMME SPECIFICATION FOR </p><p>BA IN PHILOSOPHY, POLITICS AND ECONOMICS </p><p>2013-14</p></li><li><p>PPE Programme Specification 2013-14 </p><p> 2 </p><p>1 AWARDING INSTITUTION/BODY University of Oxford </p><p>2 TEACHING INSTITUTION University of Oxford </p><p>3 PROGRAMME ACCREDITED BY n/a </p><p>4 FINAL AWARD BA (Hons) </p><p>5 PROGRAMME Philosophy, Politics and Economics </p><p>6 UCAS CODE L0V0 BA/PPE </p><p>7 RELEVANT SUBJECT BENCHMARK </p><p>STATEMENT </p><p>Philosophy, Politics and Economics </p><p>8 DATE OF PROGRAMME </p><p>SPECIFICATION PREPARATION </p><p>October 2013 </p><p>9 EDUCATIONAL AIMS OF THE </p><p>PROGRAMME </p><p> The programme aims to enable its students to: </p><p> acquire a good knowledge and understanding of the academic disciplines of Philosophy, Politics and Economics; </p><p> engage and enhance their critical and analytical skills, to look for underlying principles, and to identify and analyse key concepts; </p><p> develop the skill of independent thinking, good writing skills, a facility for independent learning and investigation and effective organisational skills; </p><p> develop their ability to present their own critical understanding of the issues studied to tutors and peers, and to engage in dialogue with them; </p><p> develop the ability to analyse topics in Philosophy, Politics and Economics on the basis of directed and independent reading, and to produce good quality essays and class </p><p>assignments to deadline; </p><p> promote skills of relevance to the continued professional development of philosophical understanding, and political and economic analysis, and which are transferable to a wide </p><p>range of employment contexts and life experiences. </p></li><li><p>PPE Programme Specification 2013-14 </p><p> 3 </p><p>10 PROGRAMME OUTCOMES </p><p> A Knowledge and understanding of: Related teaching/learning methods and strategies </p><p> 1 PHILOSOPHY: Selected philosophical texts and basic philosophical issues, concepts, </p><p>theories and arguments, and the elementary </p><p>techniques of formal logic. </p><p>POLITICS: Key areas of the discipline, </p><p>including empirical politics and political </p><p>theory, as well as sociology and international </p><p>relations. </p><p>ECONOMICS: the basic principles of modern </p><p>Economics, including appropriate mathematical </p><p>techniques. </p><p>Knowledge and understanding in the three </p><p>branches of PPE is achieved by means of three </p><p>compulsory first year courses which provide a </p><p>broad and basic introduction to the main </p><p>concepts and theories of each discipline, </p><p>combined with the close study of a small number </p><p>of philosophical and political texts, a small </p><p>number of political systems, of introductory </p><p>maths for Economics and of Logic. </p><p> 2 At least two of the following subjects </p><p>at a higher level </p><p>PHILOSOPHY: a higher-level knowledge </p><p>and understanding of central philosophical </p><p>texts of different ages and/or traditions, and of </p><p>the interpretative controversies that surround </p><p>them, and a deeper knowledge and </p><p>understanding of philosophical issues, </p><p>concepts, theories and arguments, and their </p><p>application to a wide variety of different </p><p>problems. </p><p>POLITICS: a higher-level knowledge and </p><p>understanding of the philosophical, theoretical, </p><p>institutional and issue-based approaches to </p><p>Politics and International Relations based on </p><p>comparative study of several societies, and </p><p>higher level knowledge of some of the </p><p>principal sub-areas of the discipline, and the </p><p>issues currently at the frontiers of debate and </p><p>research. </p><p>ECONOMICS: a higher-level knowledge and </p><p>understanding of the principles of modern </p><p>Economics, including appropriate mathematical </p><p>and statistical techniques, a knowledge and </p><p>appreciation of economic data and of the </p><p>applications of economic principles and </p><p>reasoning to a variety of applied topics. </p><p>Higher-level knowledge and understanding in </p><p>PPE is ensured by the provision of a prescribed </p><p>range of core subjects in each of the three </p><p>branches, in each of which students are </p><p>encouraged to employ and further develop the </p><p>concepts and skills acquired in the first year </p><p>course, and which in turn form a solid basis for </p><p>more specialised study of further subjects </p><p>covering all aspects of the three disciplines, </p><p>enabling students to reach an advanced </p><p>understanding of content and methodology in at </p><p>least two of the branches of the course. </p></li><li><p>PPE Programme Specification 2013-14 </p><p> 4 </p><p>Assessment: </p><p>Most aspects of the required knowledge and understanding are tested through written examinations, </p><p>held during the course of the third and the ninth terms of the programme. Extensive preparation for the </p><p>organisation and communication of such knowledge and understanding is provided in both weekly </p><p>tutorials and practice examinations. Understanding is particularly assessed on a continuous formative </p><p>basis through the weekly tutorial. </p><p> B Intellectual skills: the ability to Teaching/learning methods and strategies </p><p> 1 gather, organise and deploy evidence, data and information from a wide variety of </p><p>secondary and some primary sources. </p><p>There is emphasis throughout the programme on </p><p>the skills relevant to the gathering, sifting, </p><p>synthesis and interpretation of data. </p><p> 2 interpret such material with sensitivity to context. </p><p>Developing the skills needed to interpret </p><p>material produced across very long historical </p><p>periods and in a wide variety of intellectual </p><p>settings is integral to the programme. </p><p> 3 identify precisely the underlying issues in a wide variety of academic debates, and to </p><p>distinguish relevant and irrelevant </p><p>considerations. </p><p>These skills are honed within the weekly tutorial </p><p>context, and in the classes associated with </p><p>several elements of the course. </p><p> 4 recognise the logical structure of an argument, and assess its validity, to assess </p><p>critically the arguments presented by others, </p><p>and by oneself, and to identify </p><p>methodological errors, rhetorical devices, </p><p>unexamined conventional wisdom, unnoticed </p><p>assumptions, vagueness and superficiality. </p><p>The tutorial system encourages students to </p><p>develop the exercise of independence of mind, </p><p>and a readiness to challenge and criticise </p><p>accepted opinion. </p><p> 5 construct and articulate sound arguments with clarity and precision. </p><p>All our learning strategies are designed to </p><p>inculcate these skills, most particularly the </p><p>rigorous argument that we seek to encourage in </p><p>our frequent tutorials. </p><p> 6 engage in debate with others, to formulate and consider the best arguments for </p><p>different views and to identify the weakest </p><p>elements of the most persuasive views. </p><p>These skills are honed within the weekly tutorial </p><p>context, and in the classes associated with </p><p>several elements of the course. Presentations </p><p>from students must demonstrate the ability to </p><p>identify issues, to formulate questions that are </p><p>susceptible to demonstration, and to marshal </p><p>evidence and analysis in a logical and coherent </p><p>way. </p><p> Assessment: </p><p>The formative assessment provided by weekly tutorials is critical to the development and monitoring of </p><p>the intellectual skills set out here. Students are subjected to weekly scrutiny on these skills through </p><p>presentation and defence of written essay or other material in front of an academic specialist and </p><p>(usually) one or more of the students peer group. </p></li><li><p>PPE Programme Specification 2013-14 </p><p> 5 </p><p> C Practical skills: the ability to Teaching/learning methods and strategies </p><p> 1 listen attentively to complex presentations and identify the structure of the arguments </p><p>presented. </p><p>Lectures and other oral presentations form a </p><p>significant part of the teaching method for PPE </p><p>and encourage the development of these skills. </p><p> 2 read with care a wide variety of written academic literature, and reflect clearly and </p><p>critically on what is read. </p><p>The assignment of a structured programme of </p><p>reading for each topic, and the regular </p><p>requirement to report and assess the significance </p><p>of what has been read in tutorials and essays </p><p>encourages the development of these skills. </p><p> 3 marshal a complex body of information in the form of essays, and to write well for a </p><p>variety of audiences and in a variety of </p><p>contexts. </p><p>Continuous scrutiny of written work, whether </p><p>produced for weekly tutorial, class presentation </p><p>or for written examination, aims to promote </p><p>written work which is marked by well-structured </p><p>and coherent argument, in a prose that is clear, </p><p>fluent and elegant. </p><p> 4 engage in oral discussion and argument with others, in a way that advances </p><p>understanding of the problems at issue and </p><p>the appropriate approaches and solutions to </p><p>them. </p><p>The weekly tutorial and other classes or </p><p>seminars provide ample opportunity to develop </p><p>and refine high-level skills in oral discussion and </p><p>presentation. </p><p> Assessment: </p><p>Formative assessment through the weekly tutorial and other opportunities for class or seminar </p><p>presentation enables a continuous monitoring of the development of practical skills. Termly reports </p><p>identify both points of excellence and of concern, e.g. the ability to present and defend an argument or </p><p>thesis convincingly and cogently. College trial examinations (collections), present opportunities for more formal assessment and provide feedback on skills associated with timed written examinations. </p><p> D Transferable skills: the ability to Teaching/learning methods and strategies </p><p> 1 find information, organise and deploy it. Emphasis is placed on showing a familiarity with the variety of bibliographical resources library catalogues and electronic information </p><p>systems and on demonstrating an ability to identify and retrieve materials and commentary. </p><p>Students are also expected to consult a wide </p><p>variety of material, including monographs, </p><p>scholarly articles, statistical sources, </p><p>newspapers, and computer and internet sources. </p><p> 2 draw on such information, and thinking creatively, self-critically and independently, </p><p>to consider and solve complex problems. </p><p>These are the skills at the heart of our </p><p>programme. They are eminently transferable to </p><p>contexts beyond the university. </p><p> 3 apply the techniques and skills of philosophical argument to practical </p><p>questions, including those arising in ethics </p><p>and political life. </p><p>The study of Philosophy in particular enhances </p><p>these skills. </p></li><li><p>PPE Programme Specification 2013-14 </p><p> 6 </p><p> 4 apply concepts, theories and methods used in the study of Politics to the analysis of </p><p>political ideas, institutions practices and </p><p>issues. </p><p>The study of Politics in particular enhances these </p><p>skills. </p><p> 5 make strategic decisions with a sophisticated appreciation of the importance of costs, </p><p>opportunities, expectations, outcomes, </p><p>information and motivation. </p><p>The study of Economics in particular enhances </p><p>these skills. </p><p> 6 motivate oneself, to work well independently, with a strong sense of </p><p>initiative and self-direction, and also with </p><p>the ability to work constructively in co-</p><p>operation with others. </p><p>Small-group teaching, and classes, organised by </p><p>the relevant Departments and within colleges, </p><p>encourage both independence and constructive </p><p>collaboration. </p><p> 7 communicate effectively and fluently in speech and writing. </p><p>The ability to present ideas effectively and to </p><p>respond to the ideas of others constructively is </p><p>integral to the nature and construction of the </p><p>programme. </p><p> 8 plan and organise the use of time effectively. The ability to produce material within time constraints and against tight deadlines, whether </p><p>within the framework of the written examination </p><p>or in the programme of weekly tutorials, is </p><p>essential. </p><p> 9 where relevant, make appropriate use of numerical, statistical and computing skills. </p><p>The ability to understand and manipulate data </p><p>presented in numerical form is provided for </p><p>especially in the Economics component of the </p><p>course. Computing skills are developed in the </p><p>Quantitative Economics Course and the use of </p><p>statistical techniques is examined in this course. </p><p> Assessment: </p><p>The transferable skills identified above are essential elements of the programme. Their presence or </p><p>absence is therefore the focus of much of the regular comment provided by tutors in their weekly </p><p>contacts with students; and in the varying modes of formal feed-back provided to students throughout </p><p>the course. </p><p> General teaching/learning methods and strategies </p><p>Note: The three PPE Departments are the Faculty of Philosophy (Division of Humanities), the Department of Politics and International Relations, and the Department of Economics (Division of </p><p>Social Sciences). For convenience, they are referred to below as the Departments. </p><p>Each of the students units of assessment (see below) has a different teaching strategy. This depends in part on the nature of the subject matter, in part on its place in the cumulative process of learning over the </p><p>three years. All involve the interweaving, in slightly different proportions, of three kinds of learning </p><p>experience: lectures, seminars and classes, and tutorials. There is also provision for a fourth kind of </p><p>learning experience: the writing of a substantial thesis or dissertation, under supervision. </p></li><li><p>PPE Programme Specification 2013-14 </p><p> 7 </p><p> 1 Lectures: these are associated with all first-year courses and with nearly all the courses taken in the second and third years of the programme. Besides providing a basic knowledge of the subject and </p><p>of the main approaches, lectures also encourage the skills of intelligent listening, note-taking, and </p><p>the sifting of information. They can also provide examples of how complex materials can be </p><p>organised into intellectually persuasive patterns, and so enhance the development of intellectual </p><p>and practical skills. </p><p> 2 Seminars and Classes: For all three branches of the subject, classes, organised either within individual colleges or by the Departments, are important elements. They may involve the tackling </p><p>of a series of graded exercises, as in the study of Formal Logic or of Microeconomic Theory, or the </p><p>focussed discussion of issues and debates, or the advanced discussion of texts and other material. </p><p>While all learning outcomes can be enhanced by classes, they have a particular purpose in the </p><p>programme, since it is in making presentations to such classes or seminars, and in engaging in the </p><p>discussion generated by them, that students gain their most sustained and formal experience of </p><p>working co-operatively in groups. </p><p> 3 Tutorials: The tutorial - usually a weekly meeting between one member of the academic staff, expert in the subject matter of the course, with two students each of whom prepares an essay on an </p><p>agreed topic from within the course syllabus is at the heart of the learning experience in this programme. Essays are written after the provision of a reading list, provided by the individual tutor </p><p>and/or drawn from the Departmental bibliographies that are produced for each course. The essays </p><p>are criticised rigorously and constructively in terms of substance and style; the themes that they </p><p>raise are explored in an open, in-depth discussion. The tutorial is the major means by which the </p><p>learning outcomes of this programme are secured, both the students acquisition of knowledge and the fostering of their intellectua...</p></li></ul>


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