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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

New major sees major growth

Janice+Biancavilla%2F+Arizona+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0AHeadshot+for+Eliza+on+9.20.11
Janice Biancavilla
Janice Biancavilla/ Arizona Daily Wildcat Headshot for Eliza on 9.20.11

The Philosophy, Politics, Economics and Law, or PPEL, major grew by 78 students over three semesters, which some PPEL students say is due to the variety of courses offered and the distinguished instructors.

The UA began offering the major in fall 2010 after faculty in the philosophy, economics and government and public policy departments wanted to start a PPEL program, according to Laura Howard, the PPEL academic adviser and a philosophy instructor. Howard said the inspiration behind starting the major was the number of students who were interested in all of these subject areas, and that students had a hard time finding a major where all of these subjects overlapped.

A student can declare the PPEL major at any time, but declared PPEL majors must complete four “foundation” or prerequisite courses in economics, philosophy and political science before moving up to to “core” courses, which are for PPEL majors only.

Brenna Keene, a PPEL junior, said she first heard about the major after seeing a poster about it in Slonaker House and thought it sounded “really interesting” and could be something she would “love to study.”

“Every day I feel like I’m learning something that applies to life,” she said. “I love it. The professors are fantastic and really down to earth.”

As a freshman, Keene came into the UA as a biology major, then switched to public administration before declaring PPEL. Although she said being unsure about what she wants to do with a PPEL degree gave her reservations about switching, she is interested in what she’s studying.

“Something good will definitely come from this,” Keene said. “A lot of it has to do with the work and effort I’m willing to put in.”
The major also allows students to pick different “tracks” in pre-law, international and global perspectives, environmental issues, moral, economic, and political values as well as policy studies. Within the tracks are different classes for students to choose from.

Beth Krumbein, a PPEL junior, said she has been a business and political science major and then wanted to become a philosophy major. The PPEL major “tied it all together,” she said. “It encompasses everything I was interested in,” she said. “You know a lot of people in your classes, we have study groups all the time. It’s great.”

Krumbein said she was attracted to the major for a variety of reasons: an eclectic group of students, talented professors and that in her 12-unit track, her honors thesis counts as six of those credits. Once graduated, she said she plans to go to law school.

The major can prepare students for law school because of the analytical work it offers and the education in politics and government, according to Howard. She said PPEL graduates can work in government relations, corporate relations, government fundraising, international affairs, political campaigns and non-profit organizations.

“A lot of students are interested in working in these fields,” Howard said. “It’s just a very diverse major in that way.”

In addition, Howard said the major has distinguished faculty in philosophy, economics and government and public policy departments who are considered to be experts in their fields.

“The fact that you have all of them together in one major is really remarkable,” she added.

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