PPE and Global Affairs: Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Global Affairs (GA) and Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) at Yale-NUS College?

GA falls within the social sciences and focuses on global problems and solutions. (“Global” here refers to issues that are transboundary in their nature or are of relevance in many parts of the world.) It is, furthermore, multidisciplinary (which means involving more than one discipline, but not necessarily in an integrated or overlapping way). For their capstones, GA students are expected to demonstrate their mastery of the social science knowledge and research skills necessary to analyse a global issue of their choosing within a specific national, regional, or global context. Students are at liberty to choose from a range of social science methods — from ethnography to econometrics to archival research — for their capstone research. Drawing from past capstones, examples of topics squarely within the GA remit include:

  • Japan’s Post-Conflict Economic Diversion to the ASEAN Region
  • Nationalist Protests, Authoritarian Signaling, and Crisis Bargaining: Vietnamese Nationalism, China & the South China Sea Conflict
  • Migration Infrastructures behind New Migration Flows from the Philippines to Chile
  • Government and Corporate Gender Quotas: Comparing France, Italy and Spain
  • China’s Reactive Assertiveness to US Involvement in the South China Sea
  • Female Political Participation in Indonesia: Electoral Success and Incumbency
  • Measuring the Menstrual Stigma: The Correlation between Menstrual Hygiene Management and Secondary Education in Nepal

PPE, by contrast, falls within both the social sciences and the humanities and focuses on the intersections of philosophy, politics, or economics (not necessarily at the global level). At its best, PPE integrates these disciplines. Though many PPE modules will focus on just one area of study, PPE capstones (Class of 2021 and beyond) are expected to deploy methods, topics, or approaches from at least two of the major’s constituent disciplines. Drawing from past capstones, examples of topics squarely within the PPE remit include:

  • Whose ‘Shared Values’?
  • Rethinking Conscious Consumerism
  • Bringing Humanity Back to Human Rights
  • A Normative Case for Democracy in Singapore
  • Economic Crisis and the Radical Right
  • A Case for Weak Paternalism
  • Why it is Wrong to Hire Based on Physical Attractiveness
I’m torn between GA and PPE. Which should I major in?

Here are three factors to consider when making this decision:

What kinds of modules are you interested in taking? You can consult the GA and PPE websites for major requirements to get a feel for the kinds of modules you’d take within each major.

Which faculty would you like to work with? If you have a good working relationship with two or three faculty members within a given major (from, say, previous electives or CC modules), you may want to consider working more closely with those faculty members by majoring within their area of study. You can consult the GA and PPE websites to see which areas of study various faculty work within.

What capstone topics interest you? Here are some rules of thumb:

●   Political theory (political theory is the intersection of philosophy and politics)

●   Political topics integrating distinctively economic or philosophical tools

●   Philosophy of the social sciences (e.g., philosophy of economics, philosophy of education)

●   Purely normative questions about human rights

●   International relations (security, international political economy, international organizations)

●   International development (especially with an applied focus)

●   International migration

●   Domestic politics as a case study of global problems or solutions



I’m interested in majoring in PPE, but I’d like a GA faculty member to supervise my capstone research; is this possible?

For the class of 2021 and beyond, this will not generally be possible.