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Curriculum overview



The nation-wide and international measures taken to limit the further spreading of the coronavirus have had an impact on students and staff at universities throughout the Netherlands and beyond. We understand that as a (prospective) student this may leave you with concerns and questions about starting or continuing your studies at university next year. Below, you can find more information, how you can get to know PPLE and what we're doing to ensure a smooth start for all students from 31 August 2020.

Education next year: on location, online or both?

At PPLE, we've been able to provide current students with the best possible online learning environment in order to ensure that they can continue their education without delay and without sacrificing the quality of the academic programme. However, a major question that remains in the minds of both current and prospective students is what will education and our on-campus community be like in Autumn 2020?

Education in the 2020-2021 academic year is scheduled to start on the 31 August. The Dutch government recently announced new relaxation of the corona measures, which gives us the opportunity to organise some activities on campus again. The capacity of the buildings is however limited to less than 20 percent, due to the need to keep a distance of 1.5 meters between people. Besides that, the traffic through doors and in hallways needs to be limited. By the end of September we may hear about new possibilities, but we realise that you need information and certainty now.

Over the coming months, we will use a step-by-step approach to decide which components we will be able to offer physically on campus while still complying with government regulations. At first, these will mainly be small-scale activities organised to promote community building: contact between students, and between teaching staff and students where possible. Besides that, some exams may be organised on campus; you will be notified in time. In that case, we will offer online participation with some sort of proctoring for those students that are not able to come to Amsterdam. We also aim to organise some teaching activities on location. Finally, we will again offer space for our students to study in the PPLE building.

These choices are also based on the possibility that we may face more restrictions because of a second Covid-19 wave later this year and the fact that some of our students may not be able to come to the Amsterdam in September. Therefore, we guarantee that you will be able to follow all regular PPLE courses online at least until 1 January 2021. However, because the learning community is such an important aspect of studying at PPLE, we encourage everyone to come to Amsterdam and participate in our on campus activities if travelling is possible and safe.

We want to assure all our students - wherever you may reside - that from 31 August you will be able to commence or continue with your studies digitally and we will endeavour to provide teaching on campus as soon as is practicable. At this stage, however, we cannot provide dates when substantial on campus teaching will commence.

Although the upcoming semester certainly presents some challenges, rest assured that we are prioritising the health and safety of our students and staff above everything else. This means that we'll be working closely with the Faculty of Law and the University of Amsterdam on developing creative solutions that will allow us to continue offering high-quality, personalised education to all of our students. 

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.