Students sitting on couches discussing book

One of the hallmarks of a global education is the ability to expand the minds and enlarge the sensibilities of students through distinctive study abroad experiences. At the same time, many of most pressing issues facing the world today, such as environmental degradation or the recent crises in the financial markets lie at the intersection of politics, economics and ethics (PPE).


Villanova's PPE Program

In the Politics, Philosophy and Economics program, incoming Villanova students are admitted to the University Honors Program bearing the special designation “Honors PPE Global Scholar.” While at Villanova, they enroll in a distinctive series of classes built around the special character of this program.

In sophomore year, they will study abroad for one semester, taking a course of studies appropriate for their area of focus. Typically, students in the PPE program study in Cambridge, England, with Cambridge University faculty, or in London, England, with faculty from the London School of Economics. Other destinations and opportunities are available.

This learning community is best for students in the Humanities, Social Sciences or Business.

Please note: This program is offered in partnership with outside institutions, and thus is subject to changes that we cannot foresee and that may be beyond our control.


Required Course Sequence

This course is an interdisciplinary investigation of the transcendental “good.” From the perspective of the students, the question of the good originates in the question of “How should I live?” and “How should my society be ordered?” Thus “The Good” course is a course in Political Philosophy and Ethics. “The Good” course is first in the learning cohort sequence, since it addresses foundational questions. Readings include selections from Plato’s Republic, Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, Shakespeare, Scripture, Machiavelli, Tocqueville, etc. Co-curricular activities such as trips and combined learning cohort lectures are also a part of this course.

This course is part of the Politics, Philosophy and Economics track. In it, we will focus on the conceptual underpinnings of modern day capitalism. Where do property rights come from? Is virtue compatible with profit-seeking? Is homo economicus an adequate description of human nature? What is the nature of work? Among the authors we will be considering are Machiavelli, Adam Smith, John Locke, Malthus and Marx.

Justice—the question of what people owe each other—is the most basic social question because it investigates what might be an adequate basis for a common life. In this course we will inquire into the meaning of justice by interrogating several rival accounts. Specifically, we will investigate different accounts of justice arising in modern and ancient democracy. The class will conclude by thinking about the meaning of justice as it arose in the great crisis of American democracy—the Civil War—through a consideration of the Lincoln-Douglas debates.

This course fulfills a Social Science requirement in the Core.


Courses for Study Abroad

*These classes below are intended as suggestions and do not fully represent courses students must complete at Villanova or options available for study abroad.

Courses to take at Villanova in the first and second years

  • Ethics 2050
  • Natural Sciences courses
  • Philosophy 1000
  • Theology 1000
  • Theology upper level
  • Core History
  • Sophomore Literature and Writing Seminar
  • Ethics 2050
  • Natural Science Core requirement
  • Philosophy 1000
  • Theology 1000
  • Theology upper level
  • VSB 2010, 2020 (as appropriate)
  • VSB 2006, 2008

Course to keep available for study abroad

  • Social Science Core course
  • Electives in major
  • Fine Arts Core requirement
  • Humanities Core course
  • Social Science Core course
  • Electives in major
  • Economics 3108
  • History course
  • Theology course


PPE Study Abroad

If studying in Cambridge, students should plan to arrive in Cambridge by January 12 for a January 13 semester start date. The program in Cambridge ends on April 4, and students must vacate housing by April 5. Because of the truncated nature of the semester, there will be no mid-term break.

Cambridge is indeed on a trimester system, but the Cambridge-based organization with whom we are partnering is on a semester system, so students will take a block of five classes, similar to Villanova's schedule.

We have arranged for apartments in Cambridge to be reserved for our students. The apartments are located across the campus green from the main campus. These apartments are self-catered flats, a common arrangement for students in the UK.

Students will pay their regular Villanova tuition costs, but and will pay a separate housing cost of approximately $3,500. Students will also be responsible for airfare and food costs. Students will not be billed for Villanova room and board; nor will they be billed for the on-campus medical center.

As with most other Villanova study abroad experiences, students are responsible for their own travel to and from the study abroad site. Villanova has a number of travel agents who are happy to assist you in booking flights. Students will have the opportunity to attend a travel advice meeting on campus in the fall semester. Those studying in London should fly to London Heathrow Airport. Those studying in Cambridge will also fly to London Heathrow and then travel to Cambridge via train.

A representative from Villanova will be visiting the students over Villanova's spring break, but, as with most other study abroad experiences, students will have to communicate with Villanova staff and faculty electronically.

All students studying in Cambridge will select from a variety of Honors course options. Prior coursework offered has included such topics as: Money and Banking, The Theory of Finance, Political Economy of the EU, Modern British Fiction, and A Comparative Political Economy of the BRICS. Students work with the Honors Program, Office of Education Abroad and their primary academic advisor regarding coursework selection.

These classes are conducted in what is called the "Oxbridge" model; a small number of students and one tutor meet on a regular basis for a more intimate, individualized learning experience.

Classes will appear on a student's transcript as a transfer (T) credit and will not affect the student's GPA. Students must earn at least a C for the credit to be transferred. Students work with their advisers and a staff member from the Office of International Study to determine if study abroad courses will count for required courses at Villanova.

Students should also meet with Dr. Moreland to discuss which courses will count for Honors credit.

Yes, as with all other students studying abroad, they will need to move all of their belongings out of their Villanova dorm room at Villanova's semester break.

Villanova will not be coordinating any official travel or excursions for students, but students studying abroad routinely do further travel through their own arrangements. Both Cambridge and the London School of Economics have clubs and organizations that organize excursions.

Budget airlines, buses and trains are all very accessible to students for weekend travel, as well as travel at the end of the semester. Students may want to consider booking their return flight for a later date in order to allow for a period of travel.

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