Undergraduate Studies

Undergraduate studies in Political Economy focus on the relationship between the economy, society and political interests. Our teaching program centres on the proposition that the study of economics must reach beyond technical debates to include an understanding of the economy in its historical, institutional, social and cultural context.

Understanding the modern economy requires study of the broad questions that deal with the dynamics of globalisation and the implications for national economic policy settings; economic instability, uneven development and inequality; trade-offs between free markets and universal health, education and social services; the financialisation of everyday life and insecurity, economic growth and ecological sustainability.

Studies in Political Economy will equip you with an understanding of the most pressing social and economic issues of our time including:

  • What are the sources of inequality between individuals and nations and how can inequality be reduced?
  • Is there an inherent conflict between economic growth and environmental sustainability?
  • How and why do economies descend into crisis, and can economic crisis be prevented?
  • Who are the winners and losers in processes of economic restructuring?

The classroom

Our teaching program combines lectures, tutorials, seminars, practical assignments and field school opportunities that will engage you in some of the most important contemporary debates in political economy. The Bachelor of Advanced Studies provides high achieving students the opportunity to deepen and extend your expertise in political economy. Within the Advanced Studies program you can choose between the honours and advanced coursework options. In the honours stream you will develop the high level research and writing skills in political economy essential for employment in policy and research. In the advanced coursework stream your learning is centred on the project unit. This gives you an opportunity to engage with policy-relevant and industry specific issues as they occur in real world environments.

Career opportunities

Our graduates can be found in the policy and research units of leading think tanks, private sector business, unions and other non-government organisations. They work in government Departments such as the Australian Treasury, regulatory institutions including the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority, the Fair Work Ombudsman and the Workplace Gender Equality Agency. They work in nongovernment organisations such as the Australian Council for Social Services, Choice, and a variety of international and domestic welfare agencies including Oaktree and the Salvation Army. Others have gone on to become journalists working in both the print and electronic media, providing commentary on the state of the economy. A number of graduates work as Ministerial advisors, where they contribute to the design and management of economic and other public policies.

Credit for previous study

Related study can be credited to your degree as a form of recognition of prior learning (RPL). This means you won’t have to repeat similar units and could graduate sooner. Find out here about types of credit and how to apply.


Further information on studying towards a major in Political Economy, as well as subjects offered, is available in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Handbook.