Hey! I’m Matt, a second-year PPEist here at Corpus.
I chose PPE in spite of a consistent record, through my GCSEs and A-levels, of performing worst in essay subjects and humanities, at least on paper. What I did have, though, is a genuine interest in the subjects. That was enough to give me the drive I needed to get in and, no matter the workload, it’s enough to keep you going.
The course is designed to start with a holistic understanding of all three subjects, grounded in the first year. From there, you can specialise more in the second year with the option of doing just two or all three of the subjects, and choosing your own modules within them. Having covered such a broad spread in the first year, you are well placed to know what areas really interest you, and what you want to pursue further. No exams count towards your degree until your third year (the final year), so you have plenty of time to explore all these options and find where you belong within the course.
Corpus is the ‘small and friendly’ college, which makes for such a cosy and welcoming environment, where anyone can feel at home (especially because first-years usually all live in the same set of five buildings, next door to one another). For PPEists, the size also means there is only a very small cohort of us: six “corpuscles” are doing PPE in my year. Being such a small group gives us a real sense of camaraderie. We are never made to compete with, or are compared to, one another, so we all want to help each other and the college do as well as possible.
For those of you worried about the workload, I’ve usually had around nine lectures and two to three tutorials a week. Tutorials will each require some assignment such as an essay or a worksheet, which you’ll then discuss with your tutor in a session usually with one or two other PPEists. It may sound daunting at first, but as you get to know your tutors the tutorials are often genuinely enjoyable. See them as a conversation with people just as interested in the topics at hand as you, and a chance to get advice and questions answered from an expert who’s there to help you.
There is, of course, plenty of time for you to get involved in clubs and societies all over Oxford, and they’re a great way to meet people from other colleges and other courses. As well as plenty of sports, hobbies, LGBTQ+ and other societies as you'd expect, there is naturally an abundance of political societies across the political spectrum: from the Labour Club to the Conservative Association and from ‘Champagne and Socialism’ to the Oxford Union. There are also more academic societies, which hold talks from guest speakers and experts. These societies are highly accessible and you can just turn up to whichever talks interest you, my personal favourites being the China Centre and the International Relations Society.
Do email me if you have any questions or worries you might have, and I’ll, of course, also be around for open days and the interview period. I hope to see you soon!