What does it mean to study Politics, Law, & Economics at IE University?

@IE University

This program seeks to empower students to become agents of change and to make a meaningful impact on our globalized world.

The complexity of the globalized world we live in requires a generation of professionals ready to take on the challenges of tomorrow. At IE University, we have identified this need, and responded by launching a Bachelor’s Degree in Politics, Law, and Economics. This program seeks to empower students to become agents of change and to make a meaningful impact on our globalized world.

We sat down with Javier de Cendra, Dean of the IE Law School, to learn more about the benefits of this innovative IE University’s degree.

What is the Politics, Law, and Economics undergraduate program about?

Oxford University was the first institution of higher education to launch an undergraduate degree in politics, philosophy, and economics (PPE) in the 1920s. The underlying motivation was to create a new version of the classic degree, focused on training future civil servants for the British Empire. The combination of the three disciplines was designed to give students the ability to analyze complex challenges in comprehensive and rigorous ways to come up with sound solutions.

Over the years, this program at Oxford became highly prestigious and trained a number of highly influential political and business leaders, including Bill Clinton, David Cameron, and Isaiah Berlin. Many universities followed on the heels of Oxford’s success, to the point that nowadays there are over a hundred academic institutions offering similar programs. Having such a program is a hallmark of excellence because it points to the comprehensive nature of a university in the social and human sciences. Of course, not all those programs are identical, but they share a common denominator consisting in the inclusion of at least two out of the three disciplines offered at Oxford, to which sometimes one or two are added.

IE University is proud to use this robust academic tradition as a starting point to develop a truly innovative program. We have chosen to combine politics and economics with law. Legal study helps students develop a rigorous and analytical thought process. Politics and economics, on the other hand, give shape to complex modern societies. Indeed, politics, law, and economics are the languages with which the architecture of modern societies is written, and thus understanding them in depth is key for those wishing to become future leaders.

We approach these disciplines from a global perspective in recognition of the highly globalized nature of our world and complement it with an understanding of technology and behavioral sciences. In a nutshell, IEU is offering a program that, while fully falling within the category of PPE’s, is truly innovative.

How do these disciplines interact and help shape the local and global contexts in which we live?

As mentioned before, law, economics, and politics are used to write the underlying ‘code’ of contemporary social institutions. Any related challenge has legal, political, and economic dimensions. To carry out accurate analyses and develop adequate solutions, it is necessary to fully incorporate those three dimensions in a coherent fashion.

Furthermore, within a highly globalized and technologized world, problems often have a global and technological dimension that must also be taken into account. Usually, complex problems are broken down into smaller units, each to be handled by different teams of experts in one discipline, in order to allow a comprehensive understanding and to generate actionable insights. While this approach is useful for the purpose of facilitating analysis, it is important that those called to propose and implement solutions do not to lose sight of the big picture. For this to be possible, experts need to master a complex set of skills. This is a tremendous challenge in itself, but one that must be met if we want to truly understand the world we live in.

What are the advantages of combining these three social science disciplines into a single degree?

By mastering these three disciplines, PLE graduates will develop both the capacity to deconstruct complex problems to perform deep analysis and devise workable solutions. They will be able to understand human behavior in context, decode sophisticated social and institutional structures, and design processes and procedures to effectively tackle challenges.

IEU’s PLE adopts a very entrepreneurial approach, through which students are encouraged to be creative by combining all the above mentioned disciplines in seeking solutions. This does not mean that students need necessarily develop new ventures to tackle the problems, but rather that they will have the confidence and skills necessary to address them, and the courage to propose unexplored solutions if required.

What are the key features of PLE at IE University?

The key features of the degree are closely correlated with the ethos of IEU. It does not just bring together three academic disciplines, but does so within a global orientation, an entrepreneurial approach, a practical mindset, and with the aid of powerful modern technologies. In particular, I would highlight the case method employed at IEU and also at this program. Indeed, a lot of effort has gone into the design of practical cases that will help students confront real scenarios, in all their complexity. Students work to solve those cases alongside their classmates from different personal and educational backgrounds. The diversity present challenges students to work with many opinions and perspectives.

In sum, it is the particular blend of theory and practice, of the national and global levels, and of traditional disciplines interspersed with modern technologies that makes IEU’s PLE unique.

Who should pursue this degree?

The Bachelor in PLE is for bright students with an analytically oriented mind, a rich set of interests, and globally conscious perspective. Individuals fascinated by complex social processes, and interested in understanding challenges and driving change, are well suited to this program. If these students lack a natural inclination to entrepreneurship, they will discover their entrepreneurial potential studying PLE at IEU.  

People who share many or all of the above mentioned characteristics should consider pursuing this degree regardless of the specific professional career they want to pursue. Thanks to the broad set of skills and interests that they will develop while studying this program, they will graduate with the potential to find employment anywhere in the world in the public or private sector.

What are the potential careers for people with this degree?

In general, programs within the PPE family are not specific a single professional career. Rather, they focus on providing a top-notch, comprehensive education across a number of crucial disciplines within the social sciences. Indeed, one reason PPEs are so prestigious all over the world is precisely due to this holistic approach to social sciences education.

IEU’s PLE shares those goals with other programs of the PPE family. At the same time, we have a strong commitment to preparing leading professionals with an entrepreneurial perspective. While embracing the spirit of PPEs, our PLE is more aligned with specific professional paths and in instilling in students the right set of skills to succeed in whatever professional path they choose to follow.

Just to give a few examples, our graduates could find a job in multinational corporations, the financial sector, civil service, consultancy firms, intergovernmental organizations, or NGOs. Students that want to practice law will be able to do so provided they spend an additional year at IEU to complete the law curriculum.