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Political Economy (Faculty of Arts) (Undergraduate)


This subject area if offered by the Department of Political Economy in the School of Social and Political Sciences (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences)

Studies in Political Economy are a focal point for critical inquiry into contemporary national and international economic issues, taking account of their connections with social, political and environmental concerns. Political Economy is an excellent background for a wide range of careers such as journalism and the media, economic research, teaching, public service, non-government organisations and management.

Political economists study the relationship between the main players in the economy, such as transnational corporations, small businesses, households, national governments, consumers and trade unions. To get a good understanding of how the economy works, they draw on different currents of economic thought from the birth of capitalism to the modern globalisation era. They study the sources of economic power and how the exercise of that power impacts on the lives of millions of people.

Students seeking some general knowledge of economic issues to accompany their studies in other subjects in the humanities or social sciences can take introductory units in their first year. Others who want to go on to more thorough study of the subject may consider taking a major in Political Economy.

This is an optional secondary major for the Bachelor of Commerce and a Major II option for the Bachelor of Commerce (Liberal Studies). Students in other degrees (including combined) should refer to the their particular degree's resolutions and requirements for the ability to complete this major in their degree.

Requirements for the major

Note. The following information is for students who commenced study in their degree after 2008. Students who commenced study in their degree prior to 2009 should refer to the information below listed under "Pre-2009 continuing students".

For the award of a major in Political Economy, students complete:

(i) two prerequisite junior units of study (12 credit points), as follows:

  • ECOP1001 Economics as a Social Science; and
  • one of ECOP1003 International Political Economy or ECOP1004 Economy and Society

(ii) two compulsory senior units of study (12 credit points), selected from the following:

  • ECOP2011 Economics of Modern Capitalism
  • ECOP2012 Social Foundations of Modern Capitalism
  • ECOP2612 Economic Policy in Global Context

(iii) a minimum of 24 credit points in senior elective units of study selected options specified for the Political Economy major in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Handbook. Students commencing from 2014 must include at least one 3000-level elective in their major.

Note: Senior units of study can only be used to count towards the requirements for one major. Senior units cannot be "double counted" towards two majors. For example, ECOP3012 cannot count towards both a major in Political Economy and a major in International Business.

Pre-2009 continuing students

Requirements for the Political Economy major for students who commenced study in their degree prior to 2009.

Pre-2009 continuing students should follow the requirements for their major as set out in the following downloadable PDFs. Students should also refer to the handbook of the year they commenced study for exact details of their degree and major requirements.

Availability of this major in Business School degrees

Students may also be able to complete this major under the following degrees. (Restrictions on the availability of this major apply. Its availability is subject to the credit point restrictions on units from other faculties in course rules of these degrees and restrictions based on other compulsory requirements of these degrees).

  • Bachelor of Commerce
  • Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Arts
  • Bachelor of Commerce (Liberal Studies)

Pre-2011 continuing students enrolled in these Business School degrees can also complete a major or electives in Government and International Relations: Bachelor of Economics, Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (electives only); and Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Laws (students who commenced study prior to 2008 only).