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Politics, Psychology, Law and Economics (PPLE)

Curriculum overview

The first year

The first year consists of academic core courses. Interdisciplinary courses such as ‘Law, justice and morality', 'Politics, power and governance’ and ‘Decision making’ help students foster a broad mindset and provide a good foundation in the disciplines. This in turn gives them the required knowledge for the courses in the second and third year.

In the methodological courses (‘Doing research’), students will learn about the main qualitative and quantitative research methods and techniques. At the end of each semester, in the integrated seminars, students conduct a project based on social challenges and themes, such as security, solidarity and global justice.

By the end of the first year, students must choose one major.

The second and third year: majors

In the second year, students start on their specialisation (major) in either politics, psychology, law, or economics and business. The majors have been specially and carefully designed by teams of leading scholars from all across the University of Amsterdam. During the first semester of their third year, PPLE students can study abroad for one semester. Before receiving their Bachelor’s of Science degree, they will write an extensive Bachelor’s thesis.

Photo: Triggerhippie4, Flickr


The world of politics has been transforming dramatically over the past 50 years or so. The focus of political science is no longer only the state. Non-state actors (such as NGOs and social movements) have come to play a larger role, new axes of economic and military power have emerged, and the dynamics of inter- and intra-state conflicts have changed. The global order increasingly has to deal with challenges of a truly global nature. Increasingly also political scientists study the linkages between politics on different scales, from the local to the global.

Picture: Gerd Altmann, Pixabay


The human factor is a critical variable in almost all the complex problems we face today. Psychology, as the study of human behaviour, will help to understand (and change) the role we as humans play in topics such as social inequality, climate change and consumer behaviour.

Photo: Gerard van Roon


As a guiding framework for modern societies, law affects people in all domains of life. Interdisciplinary courses in law will help you interpret complex social issues, such as international relations, immigration and European integration, through the lens of the legal system and principles of justice.

Photo: Rafael Matsunaga - Flickr

Economics and Business

Economic reasoning is crucial to the analysis of the major challenges that the world faces. Policies on, for instance, international trade, economic and social development as well as management of the environment all benefit from a thorough understanding of economic behaviour and the relations between the major stakeholders.

Entrance test

Students who want to major in economics need to successfully pass the economics major entrance test in the spring semester of their first year. 


As announced in the press conference of the Dutch government on Tuesday, 14 September 2021, the last Corona measures will be withdrawn from higher education as of Saturday, 25 September. This will make a return to the 'old normal' at PPLE and UvA for the most part possible. We are pleased about this news, but we also understand that it can be a source of concern for some of our students and staff.

The following is a detailed account of what the new relaxations of the measures mean and how we can collectively ensure that everyone can feel safe while studying or teaching at PPLE.

What measures will change from 25 September in higher education?

  • The maximum group size of 75 people per classroom will end.
  • The obligation to wear a face mask will no longer apply. This means you don't have to wear a face mask on campus anymore while moving around. If you feel uncomfortable without a face mask, however, it goes without saying that you can still wear one whenever you want. If someone, student or teacher, asks you if you are willing to wear a face mask because it would make them more comfortable, we hope you show leniency towards their request.
  • Please note that teaching staff have the prerogative to set additional norms in their classes, such as e.g., the wearing of a face mask.

Examinations and the maximum group size

For examinations, the maximum group size will already cease to apply from 20 September. As it will be difficult to arrange rooms for exams of large courses at this point, these exams will nevertheless be held online, as previously scheduled.

What measures will change from 25 September outside of higher education?

  • The 1.5 metre distancing rule will no longer apply. This means that from 25 September, you no longer have to keep your distance outside the campus, as is already the case on campus. As with the use of face masks, we would like to point out that you can keep your distance and ask others to keep their distance if you feel safer this way. We also hope that you will comply with this request if someone asks you to do so.
  • Wearing a face mask remains mandatory on public transport. However, from 25 September, you can remove your mask in stations and platforms.
  • From 25 September, a Corona Pass will be required for access to restaurants, sporting events and cultural events and venues. This pass can be presented with the CoronaCheck app of the Dutch government or an equivalent app from another country. People who have recently recovered from Corona or have been fully vaccinated or have recently been tested negative receive proof for access via these apps.
  • Be aware: You do not need a Corona pass to access the campus or the PPLE building. However, we urge everyone who can get vaccinated, to do so. By getting vaccinated, you can contribute to a safer campus and also participate more easily in public life. We also expect everyone to self-test regularly, at least twice a week. More information on vaccination and self-testing can be found below.
  • See an outline of the current Corona regulations in the Netherlands published by the government here.

Other measures to enable safe studying and teaching at PPLE

Code of Conduct

As a community, we all have a part to play in keeping each other safe. What we do and how we behave will affect our friends, our fellow students, and university staff members. Therefore, we would like to bring to your attention the PPLE College community norms summarised in our Code of Conduct.

The most important takeaway up front: Stay at home and get tested at the Municipal Health Service (GGD) if you have symptoms! You can read who to contact in this case and how to behave in general in the Code of Conduct.


In line with the UvA’s policy, we recommend that everyone gets vaccinated. Dutch students and staff can make an appointment with the GGD. Until 19 September all students can still visit the vaccination unit on the Roeterseiland campus without making an advance appointment. You will not be required to prove that you have been staying in the Netherlands for at least one month or to have a BSN number. The Amsterdam Municipal Health Service (GGD) has set up a special appointment hotline for international students: (+31) 020 5555 202. View all vaccination locations in Amsterdam here.


Just like vaccinations, self-testing remains an important measure to safely perform educational activities on campus. The guideline we encourage students and staff to comply with is to self-test at least twice a week. Starting 16 September, self-tests will be available at building entrances at the campus. Moreover, you can order tests free of charge at zelftestonderwijs.nl.


All buildings have natural or mechanical ventilation that meets the requirements set out by the RIVM guidelines. The UvA has concluded a maintenance contract for all the ventilation systems to ensure that they can be used safely and reliably. The ventilation is checked regularly and adjusted where necessary. 

Additional Hygiene Measures

Lastly, we will continue to take other additional hygiene measures, such as extra cleaning and disinfection.