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Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, Master of Arts

The Master of Arts (M.A.) in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (P.P.E.) at St. John’s University is a thoroughly interdisciplinary graduate program that incorporates courses from all three fields of inquiry.

Earn a master's degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from St. John's University in New York City! 

The Master of Arts (M.A.) in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (P.P.E.) at St. John’s University is a thoroughly interdisciplinary graduate program that incorporates courses from all three fields of inquiry, offering a plan of integrated study that enhances your understanding of each discipline in relationship to the others. The program will prepare you as a leader of tomorrow, grounded in the University’s Mission of social justice. 

The only stand-alone P.P.E. graduate program outside of Europe, the master’s program at St. John’s incorporates disciplinary approaches from across the liberal arts and sciences. Courses in Philosophy emphasize individual rights and dignity while also cultivating a personal sense of responsibility not only to other individuals but to society as a whole. Government and Politics and Economics and Finance courses highlight issues of social justice and foster a commitment to finding ways, through public policy, of helping those that are least fortunate.

Degree Type
Area of Interest
Associated Colleges or Schools
Program Location
  • Queens Campus
Required Credit Hours


Paul Gaffney, Ph.D.
Program Director, M.A. Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
Associate Professor, Philosophy
[email protected]


The M.A. in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics welcomes applicants with undergraduate preparation in the philosophy, politics, and economics. 

Applicants must present a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0, two letters of recommendation, and a personal statement indicating why Philosophy, Politics, and Economics is their program of choice.

Graduate Admission Information
Office of Graduate Admission
[email protected]


As a student in the M.A. in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, you select two graduate-level courses from each of the three constitutive disciplines, as well as one program elective, in consultation with a faculty advisor. You also undergo a two-semester interdisciplinary seminar in your final year. To culminate your degree, you have the option to complete either a thesis project or practicum to enhance your research skills and professional development. 

Program Requirements 
Economics and Finance6 credits
Government and Politics6 credits
Philosophy6 credits
Elective3 credits
Seminar6 credits
Practicum or Thesis6 credits
Total33 credits

ECO 605 International Trade and Investment

This course focuses on the international economic and monetary systems. It examines the different international monetary arrangements, analyzes the balance of payments accounts, provides theoretical bases for trade among countries, and addresses current problems and issues in commercial policy and foreign business investment to and from the United States, the European Union, and other economic blocks.

ECO 606 Industrial Economics

This course will teach you to apply empirical economic analysis to real world market competition. Centered on the Structure/Conduct/Performance approach of Industrial Organization, this class allows you to learn economics by doing economics. The course is built around the Industry Study Project, which allows you to select the industry that you currently work in (or hope to work in). You will do a Structure/Conduct/ Performance style analysis of the industry you choose, generating a professional level industry report (in style and substance). Numerous case studies will be used throughout the class to illustrate the major concepts in Industrial Economics, and to demonstrate how economics can be applied to understanding industries (that is the context in which firms compete). Emphasis is placed on developing analytical abilities, information gathering, analysis and presentation skills, as well as developing an advanced understanding of economic theory and the economy.

ECO 631 Monetary and Fiscal Policies

This course looks at how the government and the central bank use macroeconomic policies to achieve macroeconomic stability. Topics include the structure and operation of the banking system, money supply and demand, and the tools of monetary, fiscal, and debt management policies and their application over a typical business cycle.

Advanced Issues in Political Philosophy

This course is concerned with addressing these two basic questions: 1. What is the basis, if any, for the distinguishing between legitimate and de facto political/legal power?   This is the question of institutional justification or political legitimation. 2. If there is a basis for legitimating a political/legal order, what is the nature or character of the connection between ethical or moral obligations and political/legal ones?  This question is the datum explanandum of political philosophy.  Addressing these questions will involve a consideration of such basic ethical theories as perfectionism, contractarianism, consequentialism, deontologism, and discourse ethics. The concepts of “the polis,” “the common good of the political community,” “the greatest good for the greatest number,” “justice-as-fairness,” “autonomy,” “equality,” “public reason,” and “individual rights” will be examined. 

The Ontology of Money

This course will explore questions of social philosophy pertaining to money. Central questions include: What is money? Where does it come from? What is its function? How should we understand its value in relation to other values? How are money, wealth, and value related? Does money have to be based on metal (at least, something tangible)? Does money stifle individuality and promote alienation, or does it foster individuality and promote equality? What is capitalism, and how does its conception of money differ from that of, say, socialism? There will be readings from Leonidas Zelmanovitz’s book, The Ontology and Function of Money, and readings from Carl Menger, Georg Knapp, Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, John Maynard Keynes, Ayn Rand, Karl Marx, Adam Smith, James Buchanan, and others.

Advanced Issues in Social Justice

This course will explore questions pertaining to the nature of social justice.  What is social justice?  How is it, if at all, different from justice?  What is its relationship to the moral virtues and practical wisdom? What is it to have a concept of justice (or social justice) and what is it to have a conception? How does social justice relate to Aquinas’s distinction between demands of justice that are morally binding and demands of justice that are morally and legally binding?  What is it for social, political, and economic institutions to be just (or socially just)? Though readings from classical and mediaeval thinkers such as Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, and Aquinas as well as readings from such Moderns as Hobbes, Rousseau, Locke, Kant, and Marx will be considered, special attention will be given to such contemporary thinkers as John Rawls, Robert Nozick, Alasdair MacIntyre, Amartya Sen, F. A. Hayek, James Buchanan, and Charles Taylor.

Graduate Seminar

This interdisciplinary course will be team-taught over two-semesters by instructors representing the core disciplines of Philosophy, Government, and Economics. The specific topic of the course will change depending on the instructors but will aim to systematically integrate students’ understanding of the three disciplines at the graduate level. As a capstone experience, the course will hone students’ interdisciplinary research skills in the creation of a signature work. 

Program Faculty

The following full-time faculty members are committed to teaching and mentoring graduate students in the M.A. program. Program faculty represent various disciplines and bring their considerable expertise to the M.A. curriculum. 

Young Back Choi, Ph.D.Economics and Finance
Charles M. Clark, Ph.DEconomics and Finance
John J. Neumann, D.B.A..Economics and Finance
Fred P. Cocozzelli, Ph.D.Government and Politics
Uma Balakrishnan, Ph.D.Government and Politics
Paul Gaffney, Ph.D.Philosophy
Michael Henry, Ph.D.Philosophy

Tuition and Financial Aid

Graduate Assistantships

St. John’s University offers competitive graduate assistantships to qualified full-time applicants. These positions typically include tuition remission and a stipend. Read more about Graduate Assistantships

Graduate Financial Aid

Learn more about additional forms of financial aid available to St. John’s graduate students

Career Outcomes

 With an interdisciplinary degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, you may pursue careers in law, business or public policy in the public and private sectors.  You may also continue your studies at the doctoral level and enroll in Ph.D. or J.D. degree programs.

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