Why I Majored in PPE

Sridha Chadalavada ’24

I began my freshman year at Pomona with an interest in politics and economics, planning to major in both disciplines. My sophomore year, I decided to take an introductory philosophy class on a whim. I knew very little about the logical rigor and diversity of study within the field of philosophy until I was introduced to the PPE major at Pomona. Within the first few weeks, I fell in love with how the course allowed me to critically consider fundamental aspects of life, including value systems. I was consistently challenged to question my beliefs and quickly found that I was most passionate about ethical theory. That was it! I had the epiphany that all three disciplines piqued my curiosity and studying them has been incredibly intellectually rewarding.

The PPE major at Pomona has provided me with the necessary tools to critically engage with theoretical questions like what entails a morally just society, while examining real-world political institutions and their treatment of citizens. Finally, I have developed relevant quantitative skills to hypothesize how policymakers ought to analyze market structures and appropriately allocate resources to implement philosophical and political frameworks rooted in morality. Through studying empirical economic research, I have often discovered the quantitative evidence to answer the theoretical questions I began with.

Upon graduating from Pomona, I am interested in working in the public policy and legal sectors. Regardless of what profession I pursue, I feel confident that the PPE major has provided me with the relevant coursework to both understand and challenge social structures, a skill that is transferable to any professional career that I choose to pursue.

Cindy Zhang ’24

I initially chose PPE because I happened to enjoy all three disciplines on their own. Over time, however, I have come to realize how much they add to one another.

Philosophy by itself explores the rights and duties, goods and vices of human beings. Political philosophy takes the question one step further in exploring what governments ought to do to manage the cooperation of human beings with such traits and qualities. If we then add the element of economics, there are now trade-offs between efficiency and equity in public policy, depending on what people are deemed to owe to each other as fellow members of society.

In addition to the pluralistic discourse, the three disciplines build skills that make PPE more than the mere sum of their separate effects. For instance, the philosophy training in logic and argumentation lends itself to political debates, and the economic indifference curves help us understand Rawlsian philosophy. Economic data and trends inform policymaking, and political ideologies in turn shift how people view economics.

As an academic major, PPE is a well-balanced synthesis of practicality and abstract theory, and as a college degree it satisfies both my curiosity and the need for future career opportunities. Most importantly, discussions on topics of PPE never fail to stimulate my thoughts on how to become a freer individual, or what it means to strive for a just society where all lives freely.

Dylan Bousquette ’24

When I entered college, I had very little clue what I wanted to major in. I had a vague idea that I wanted to explore politics and philosophy, as well as take some economics courses, but I didn’t have direction. It took me a while to realize, but I came to see serious connections between the courses I was in. It quickly became apparent that I should major in PPE.

The PPE program emphasizes the interconnectedness of its disciplines. Students are encouraged to borrow ideas from other subjects and classes to give better context and insight to their studies. Philosophical discussions of ‘the good’ can lead to political arguments about the goals of government. Economic analyses of a market can show where political intervention is merited. Each subject is interesting in its own right, but all are enriched by the presence of each other.

I was a sophomore when I declared myself a PPE major. I had ample time to fulfill the program's requirements. Students need to explore each field to a strong degree of proficiency before concentrating in one of the three subjects. As a senior, students are expected to partake in a seminar and write their thesis, which must include at least two PPE subjects.

PPE has expanded my horizons and introduced me to new ways of thinking. The way PPE students are encouraged to think, question, and discuss means that you develop not just new understandings, but new ways of thinking.