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Making a difference through the Bachelor of Policy, Philosophy and Economics

When you’re exploring degrees and contemplating which program to pursue at university, it can be helpful to consider your goals and ambitions: what do you want your career to look like, and what type of work would you like to do?

For some people, that goal is to make the world a better place.

Bond’s Bachelor of Policy, Philosophy and Economics is a program designed for those who want to make a meaningful contribution to society. It could be by working in international organisations to create a more just, peaceful and prosperous world, or working in the not-for-profit sector to address social problems, in government or for a political party.  

The Bachelor of Policy, Philosophy and Economics, also known as the PPE, prepares students for careers in public influence.

As Associate Dean (Research) and Policy, Philosophy and Economic Program Director, Professor Damian Cox explains, the program is for students with a passion for making a difference.

“The PPE is for people with ambitions to make the world a better place,” says Professor Cox.

“The purpose of policy is to improve lives; the value of a not-for-profit is to value-add.

“A student in the PPE program will be working across multiple areas. Flexibility and agility are important qualities, but the most important feature of the PPE student is their drive to make a real difference.”

As Professor Cox explains, Bond's PPE program is unique in two ways. 

"First, it includes the study of Law as a component," he says.

"The degree has Law as an equal partner with Economics, Philosophy, and International Relations. Other PPE degrees miss this element. In our judgement it is crucial to properly equip graduates with the skills for public service, either in the government or not-for-profit sector.

"The second way it differs from other PPE degrees is our focus on international contexts. We don’t just study Australian politics in the degree, we study international politics, diplomacy, international governance, and bodies like the United Nations." 

The degree is also highly flexible, with five electives built into the degree, allowing students to personalise their studies to their individual interests and specialisations.

The degree is a multi-disciplinary program, combining subjects from the Faculty of Law, Bond Business School and the Faculty of Society & Design to give graduates a broad perspective on policy, philosophy and economic issues.

It is intentionally broad, says Professor Cox, ensuring students have a qualification that will allow them to adapt with a changing world and bring great value to a workplace.

“The PPE degree was created to offer students an opportunity for a general and flexible qualification of real-world value,” he says.

“Specialist study in philosophy, economics, law or politics is highly valuable, but study that brings together all these areas in the one degree adds something special; it develops a set of skills that can work together.  

“Working to develop policies for governments or starting up a new non-for-profit enterprise is something that requires broad knowledge rather than specialist technical knowledge.”

Beyond the classroom, students can pursue industry placements with support from Bond's Career Development Centre (CDC). The CDC's Employment Service Specialists and Business Development Specialists are, essentially, placement brokers. Their goals is to help students secure internships and placements.

"Through the CDC, students have personalised support to help them to gain practical experiences where they can apply their studies in a professional context," says Professor Cox. 

What can I do after graduation?

With a multi-disciplinary view, the degree has been designed to prepare students to stand out in a career in the public sector. This can include careers in public service, politics, public policy institute, advocacy groups and in the not-for-profit sector.

"Multi-disciplinary knowledge is the key to many successful careers in the public sector, both working for Government and in the not-for-profit sector," says Professor Cox.

"The task of problem solving in the real world – difficult or wicked problems – often require multiple approaches. There is not one specialisation that covers the problem of social justice, for example. The public sector needs people who can see the big picture, and that only really comes with a multi-disciplinary education.

"Studying in multiple disciplines builds resilience and flexibility and introduces students to many people from right across the campus." 

In a rapidly changing career landscape, graduates will find exciting opportunities in a range of roles, including some that may not exist yet.

"Graduates can work in international governmental or non-governmental organisations," says Professor Cox. 

"They can work for political parties - one’s they believe in! - they can work for not-for-profits from Oxfam to The Australian Red Cross. They can start their own not-for profit enterprise. They will have the cultural, legal, practical knowledge to make a difference. 

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