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The first year
The first year consists of academic core courses. Interdisciplinary courses such as ‘Law, justice and morality', 'Politics, power and governance’ and ‘Decision making’ help students foster a broad mindset and provide a good foundation in the disciplines. This in turn gives them the required knowledge for the courses in the second and third year.
In the methodological courses (‘Doing research’), students will learn about the main qualitative and quantitative research methods and techniques. At the end of each semester, in the integrated seminars, students conduct a project based on social challenges and themes, such as security, solidarity and global justice.
By the end of the first year, students must choose one major.
The second and third year: majors
In the second year, students start on their specialisation (major) in either politics, psychology, law, or economics. The majors have been specially and carefully designed by teams of leading scholars from all across the University of Amsterdam. During the first semester of their third year, PPLE students can study abroad for one semester. Before receiving their Bachelor’s of Science degree, they will write an extensive Bachelor’s thesis.
The world of politics has been transforming dramatically over the past 50 years or so. The focus of political science is no longer only the state. Non-state actors (such as NGOs and social movements) have come to play a larger role, new axes of economic and military power have emerged, and the dynamics of inter- and intra-state conflicts have changed. The global order increasingly has to deal with challenges of a truly global nature. Increasingly also political scientists study the linkages between politics on different scales, from the local to the global.
The human factor is a critical variable in almost all the complex problems we face today. Psychology, as the study of human behaviour, will help to understand (and change) the role we as humans play in topics such as social inequality, climate change and consumer behaviour.
As a guiding framework for modern societies, law affects people in all domains of life. Interdisciplinary courses in law will help you interpret complex social issues, such as international relations, immigration and European integration, through the lens of the legal system and principles of justice.
Economic reasoning is crucial to the analysis of the major challenges that the world faces. Policies on, for instance, international trade, economic and social development as well as management of the environment all benefit from a thorough understanding of economic behaviour and the relations between the major stakeholders.
Students who want to major in economics need to successfully pass the economics major entrance test in the spring semester of their first year.