Research and Creative

Celebrating 10 years of PPE

Philosophy, Politics, and Economics making great impact on students in first decade at Mount Allison
By: Melissa Lombard

Ten years ago, Mount Allison merged three of its academic programs to give students the opportunity to examine the world through three distinct lenses — Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE). This program model, well-known in the UK, is the only one of its kind east of Ontario and one of only five in Canada.

Dr. Dave Thomas, Convenor of the PPE program

“PPE does a good job of building a broad range of knowledge and a wide range of paths for students moving forward,” says Dr. Dave Thomas, Convenor of the PPE program. “Its strength is its multidisciplinary nature and it exposes students to three very different and important disciplines for understanding how the world works.”

In 2020, the program received a substantial boost from one of New Brunswick's most accomplished political and business leaders, Frank McKenna (LLD '91), who made a generous $1-million leadership gift. This inspired a total of $8.4 million from donors across the country to support the newly-established Frank McKenna School of Philosophy, Politics, and Economics.

These gifts significantly influenced the program’s growth, expanding opportunities for students through scholarships, research assistantships, local and international internships and travel opportunities, guest speakers, and support for related student clubs and societies.

“The establishment of the Frank McKenna School of PPE has made a richer experience for students and allowed them to do things they wouldn’t be able to otherwise,” says Thomas. “The injection of funding really strengthened all three programs individually, as well as together.”

PPE student Sadie Shelly

Second-year PPE student Sadie Shelly chose Mount Allison because of the PPE program, as it combined many of her interests and was modelled after the prestigious PPE program at the University of Oxford. In her first year, she was awarded a McKenna Scholarship, valued at $25,000 over four years.

“To be a recipient of the McKenna Scholarship solidified my choice of attending Mount Allison,” says Shelly. “I can better focus on my education without having to worry as much about financial constraints associated with my degree. The scholarship has provided me with a little more freedom in the work that I choose to pursue. I have gotten to explore parts of Canada and complete relevant and meaningful work.”

To date, the program has graduated approximately 60 students who have embarked on diverse career paths, spanning fields such as law, non-profit organizations, government policy work, marketing and communications, as well as the healthcare sector, among others.

PPE graduate Michael Nolan (‘22)

PPE graduate Michael Nolan (‘22) recently completed his MA in Political Science at McMaster University and has started working at Parliament Hill as part of the prestigious Parliamentary Internship Program (PIP) with an eye on either law school or a PhD in the future.

“The interdisciplinary nature of the PPE program teaches students to think about issues in a variety of ways. This is particularly important for my work, which involves contemplating policy issues that frequently have competing economic, political, and philosophical dimensions. Without the PPE program, I truly believe I would not be where I am today,” says Nolan.

Learn more about the PPE program at Mount Allison.