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Political Economy

About the major

Political Economy focuses on the relationships between the economy, society, and political interests. It deals with important global and social challenges and asks what role can economic and social policies play in ensuring prosperity, equality and sustainability.
The teaching of Political Economy centres on the proposition that study of the modern economy requires an understanding of its historical, institutional, political, social, geographical, and cultural contexts. This requires the analysis of complex issues such as: the dynamics of globalisation and the implications for national economic policies; economic instability, uneven development and inequality; and, the trade-offs between market and universal provision of health, education and social services, the financialisation of everyday life and insecurity, and, economic growth and environmental sustainability.
Key research and teaching areas include:

  • The global economy
  • International finance and trade
  • Economic development and well-being
  • The distribution of income and wealth
  • Economic, business cycles, growth and crisis
  • Energy and the environment
  • Race, gender and labour

Studying political economy will develop the skills you require to analyse a range of economic issues of contemporary concern, including their social and political aspects.

Requirements for completion

The Political Economy major and minor requirements are listed in the Political Economy unit of study table.


The honours degree in Political Economy is the premier undergraduate degree offered by the Discipline. This degree offers high performing students with a major in Political Economy the opportunity to develop superior research, analytical, writing and communication skills. This one year program is made up of two advanced level seminar courses and the preparation of a 20,000 word honours thesis on a topic of the student’s choice. The honours thesis is a self-directed research project that is completed under the supervision of a member of the Discipline. Students are welcome to pursue honours theses that focus on questions of economic theory, policy or method.
The honours program is challenging and will suit high performing students with a strong interest in research. The program provides a straightforward pathway into postgraduate study. Honours graduates in political economy are sought out by employers who value the superior research, critical analytical and writing skills they develop in the preparation of their honours thesis.

Honours admission requirements

Admission to honours is via the Bachelor of Advanced Studies or the Bachelor of Arts (Honours), and requires the completion of a major in Political Economy with an average of 70 percent or above.
Prior to commencing honours, you will need to ensure you have completed all other requirements of the Bachelor of Arts or other bachelor degree, including Open Learning Environment (OLE) units and a second major.
Requirements and units of study for honours can be found on the Political Economy honours units of study page.

Contacts and further information