The combined program in Philosophy, Economics and Political Science is founded on the recognition that the social reality being examined is multidimensional, which requires an examination from different disciplinary perspectives. Politics and economics are interrelated, while philosophy observes both the structure of state and economy and the analysis tools, with which they are examined, from a critical and moral point of view. The program is intended to combine the best of these worlds: practical though intellectual, developing the competence for rational problem solving along with humanistic sensitivity, encouraging the ability to take a critical stand and at the same time recognize the restrictions of reality. The program students are to become philosophers, who feel comfortable with analyzing empirical data, economists, who are aware of the political context of their analyses, policy makers and researchers, who understand the economic implications of their recommendations – all of them aware of the moral issues involved in the structure and behavior of the regime and economy.

The high demand for the program naturally raises the admission criteria. However, the program has never been defined as an excellence program. High grades or prestige are not guaranteed to those who enter the program. These are better achieved in other settings. However, excellence in its essential meaning is deeply embedded in the program’s ethos. Those who choose to study in this program do not opt for the easy way. They know that they would have to learn three different “languages” and assimilate three ways of thinking. PPE students are expected to be perseverant and attend all lectures, arrive to class prepared, having read the material, and demonstrate extensive knowledgeability, precise argumentation and independent thinking in their papers.

All of this is complemented by the passion for world order reform and the socio-political commitment that characterize PPE students and graduates. This expresses itself in the fields of study and research, the graduate programs that they choose to join, their volunteering and social entrepreneurship, and where they choose to work both as students and after graduation.


The PPE Program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem opened in the 1999/2000 academic year. At the time, except for the long-standing, prestigious program in Oxford, only a handful of similar programs existed around the world. Although the Oxford PPE was an inspiration, here, at the Hebrew University, we tried, as in the more recent programs, to offer an integrative program that is more than just the joining of three fields.

The program was established on the initiative and with the backing of Menahem Ben Sasson, the University Rector at the time, and Jacob Metzer, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences. It was consolidated by a team, the members of which included Avner de Shalit, Nathan Zussman and Danny Attas, who was appointed as head of the program upon its establishment.

The first classes consisted of 30 students each. Since that time, the demand has increased, the classes have grown, and the admission requirements have soared. However, the sense of group belonging, team spirit and intellectually inspiring setting have not been lost – without the sense of being swallowed in an anonymous crowd, which may be one of the characteristics of larger programs of study. Today, 80-90 students are admitted each year and the admission requirements are some of the highest in the University. The program consists of six permanent academic staff members and teaching assistants.