Moral and Political Economy Major Requirements

(Also see Requirements for a Bachelor's Degree)

The B.A. program in Moral and Political Economy (MPE) is an interdisciplinary major that inspires students to think about economic problems in their social, cultural, moral, and political contexts. Students who join the MPE major will be encouraged to think flexibly across social-scientific and humanistic disciplines in conceiving novel and integrated approaches to problems of ongoing social concern. 

The MPE curriculum includes an intensive two-semester introductory course, “Social Theories of the Economy," which introduces students to writings that situate economic life in its historical, political, ethical, and philosophical contexts. Students are also required to take a reading seminar and a research lab. MPE reading seminars offer focused readings in a small tutorial environment on cross-disciplinary approaches to a defined problem in moral and political economy, while the MPE research labs provide a venue for students to pursue research projects of their own design. The MPE senior thesis seminar provides a communal environment and structured guidance for the completion of its senior thesis requirement.

All courses must be taken for a letter grade and be completed with a grade of C- or better. 

Writing and Communication in the Major

Students must complete at least 6 credits of Writing and Communication foundational ability coursework in one major. For this major, students would be able to fulfill this requirement by selecting 6 credits of elective courses in the major that are designated as Writing and Communications courses.

The MPE major is by application only. Students accepted into the major in Moral and Political Economy will be expected to fulfill the following requirements prior to graduation:

Required Courses18
AS.197.101Social Theories of the Economy I3
AS.197.102Social Theories of the Economy II3
Reading Seminar (1 semester) 13
Research Lab (1 semester) 23
AS.180.101Elements of Macroeconomics3
AS.180.102Elements of Microeconomics3
Five Elective Courses 315
Students will select five courses taught in other departments (for example, Anthropology, Economics, History, Philosophy, Political Science, and Sociology) that have been approved to count toward the major. The five courses must adhere to the following requirements:
At least two of the five electives must be at the 300 level or above
No more than three of the five electives can be listed within the same discipline (as defined by department number), with the exception of economics
No more than two of the five electives can be listed within the Economics Department (
Focus Area (4 Courses overlapping with other requirements of the major)
Senior Thesis Seminar (2 courses)6
Total Credits57

 Any course designated as AS.197.2xx fulfills this requirement. 


Any course designated as AS.197.3xx fulfills this requirement.


Electives can be identified as classes carrying one of the Focus Area POS-Tags (see Focus Area section below) or having the POS-Tag CES-ELECT.

Focus Areas:

Prior to the spring semester of the sophomore year, each student will propose a Focus Area that identifies a crucial problem in Moral and Political Economy that will help to orient their coursework. At least four of each student’s courses (among the reading seminar, the research lab, and/or the electives) must address the issues identified in their Focus Area. Students can pursue any of the following pre-established focus tracks (courses identified by the POS-Tag assigned) or propose an original focus track of their own design:

  • Borders and Migration (CES-BM)
  • Cities and Communities (CES-CC)
  • Finance and Trade (CES-FT)
  • Gender and Identity (CES-GI)
  • Labor and Class (CES-LC)
  • Land and Environment (CES-LE)
  • Law and Social Order (CES-LSO)
  • Progress and Development (CES-PD)
  • Race and Inequality (CES-RI)
  • Technology and Innovation (CES-TI)


All students are expected to complete the senior thesis. They will graduate with honors if they maintain coursework in the major with a GPA of 3.5 or above.

For more information, contact:

Simon Halliday, Associate Research Professor and DUS for MPE, at
Glory Liu, Assistant Research Professor and CES Assistant Director, at
Angus Burgin, Associate Professor of History and Director of MPE, at 

(Also see Requirements for a Bachelor's Degree.)