Last time I was babbling on about how great the variety available in PEP degrees is. Although, it’s come to my attention that this flexibility can actually be a cause of concern for many uncertain and weary onlooking sixth formers.
Most of the time, at York, PEP students aren’t just in lectures and seminars with other PEP students – they mingle with single honours students from Philosophy, Politics or Economics (a good way of meeting new people though). Adding to this, we don’t have a rigidly-set programme (as I lauded in my last post). So, two PEP students can take very different modules in the latter stages of their degree.
This can culminate in the worry that you’ll sign up for a PEP degree and become lost amongst undergraduates who don’t appreciate your multifarious interests. That no department fully accepts you as “their own”. Essentially, the worry is you’ll have no PEP identity!!
But don’t worry!
The School of PEP has been established since 1986 and York was one of the first universities after Oxford to offer a PPE programme. Over that time, it’s learnt how to improve the experience for interdisciplinary students. I have to say that I think the School of PEP does more than enough to counteract any feeling of a lack of identity. Here are some of the things in place which I’ve found really help PEP students feel part of one unified interdisciplinary cohort! (Oh, and also a fair few pictures to boot!).
1. The Club of PEP
This is the department’s vibrant student society. It organises virtually everything beyond studying in the school and every undergraduate is automatically a member! Multiple socials are organised throughout the year, from nights out in York, to summer BBQs, to our infamous PEP ball which lasts all night for hardcore participants. The Club of PEP also runs an annual study trip – a great chance to explore cities and partake in foreign political culture too. This year, we went to Berlin. The two previous trips have been to Athens and Amsterdam. The Club of PEP also organises some great public lectures, last year boasting the likes of Amartya Sen, and even has its own merchandise for you to buy!
2. PEP parenting
On arriving in York, students automatically have a PEP family too! What do I mean by this? Well, each student will have two second or third year students who are your “PEP parents”. They’ll guide you through the first few weeks and take you along to all the events the Club of PEP plans. This normally includes a welcome dinner and socials. This year, for the first time ever, we even had our own PEP freshers week in week 2 of term.
3. VOX Journal
The School of PEP also has a student-run academic journal called VOX. Students from all the degrees we offer can help produce the issues. Most submissions are from academics, but exceptionally talented students can also offer their work and get published. VOX often puts on launch events for the editions (of which they publish three a year) and get academics to come to York to give talks. It’s a great chance to go deeper into highly topical issues covered by the scope of Philosophy, Politics and Economics.
All these things, and more, help students feel properly part of the School of PEP. There definitely is a strong PEP identity.