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Politics, Law, and Economics (PLE) Major

The first of its kind in Singapore, the new Politics, Law and Economics major will be offered by the SMU School of Social Sciences starting from 2016. This innovative major aims to prepare future leaders and thinkers with a deep understanding of global political and economic transformations and the legal frameworks and contexts within which such changes take place. Students will hone strategic and analytical thinking skills and seek innovative solutions to real world problems.

Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the major, graduates would be well-equipped with the knowledge and skills to handle multifaceted jobs in their chosen fields of public service, non-government organisations or industry. Possible jobs include careers in journalism, diplomatic service, foreign affairs, public service, consulting and research, amongst others.

A new curriculum has been implemented for new incoming students with effect from Academic Year 2019/20. Students are expected to complete a total of 36 course units.

Last updated on 31 Jan 2019 .

UNIVERSITY CORE - CAPABILITIES

Choose two from:

  1. Business, Government and Society
  2. Spreadsheet Modelling and Analytics
  3. Design Thinking
  4. Entrepreneurship and Value Creation
  5. Leadership and Team Building
  6. Management Communication

Choose one from:

  1. Critical Thinking
  2. Computational Thinking
  3. Innovation and Creative Thinking
  4. Decision Making
  5. Managing in a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous Context

Students taking the Politics, Law and Economics major are required to complete Introductory Statistics to fulfil the Numeracy basket. In addition, students on the Politics, Law and Economics major who have not met the criteria for exemption in Calculus based on their pre-university grades will also be required to complete Calculus, i.e. complete both Introductory Statistics and Calculus. Students who are required to complete both Introductory Statistics and Calculus will have one fewer Free Elective, i.e. 6 instead of 7.

  1. Calculus
  2. Introductory Statistics

Exemptions may be given for the courses on the basis of good pre-university grades for GCE A-level, Polytechnic Diploma, or other recognised qualifications.

Exemptions may be given for the courses on the basis of good pre-university grades for GCE A-level, Polytechnic Diploma, or other recognised qualifications.

  1. Programme in Writing and Reasoning

To be awarded 1 CU for their internship programme, students would need to complete the following requirements:

  1. Pre-internship e-learning workshops
  2. Reflective Practice Unit and reflection journals
  3. Minimum 10-week internship
  4. Tri-partite Learning Agreement
  5. Performance report, in consultation with internship supervisor
  6. Internship report

UNIVERSITY CORE - COMMUNITIES

This course introduces students to the study of economic relations as social relations. While market behaviour is often governed by rationality and predictable models, economic life is also profoundly social, and is intertwined with all forms of social relations and embedded in the power dynamics of any given society.

Choose one from:

  1. Artificial Intelligence and Society
  2. Digital Media in Society
  3. Science, Environment and Empire
  4. Technology and World Change

Choose one from:

  1. Arts and Humanities, such as:
    • Asian Histories
    • Film in Southeast Asia
    • Singapore Literature
  2. Societal and Civilisational Cultures, such as:
    • Cultures of Innovation
    • Family Business Cultures
    • Urban Cultures
  3. Foreign Languages

To be awarded 1 CU for their Community Service programme, students would need to complete the following requirements:

  1. Pre-internship e-learning workshops
  2. Reflective Practice Unit and reflection journals
  3. 80 hours of Community Service
  4. Post-service report

UNIVERSITY CORE - CIVILISATIONS

Ethical and socially responsible conduct is treated with increasing importance and prominence by the corporate world, governments, the public, and other stakeholders globally.

Big Questions will introduce students to the challenging ethical, theoretical, and operational debates that attend to these themes. Students in any given year will be able to choose from a menu of four sub-themes, each using a different disciplinary lens and focusing on different aspects of the theme, while also sharing a canon of readings and attending public lectures dedicated to the year's theme for a shared intellectual experience.

Global traction and understanding underpins success in careers in today's globally connected environment. To have global exposure from the vantage of a university education is invaluable for international networking and global vision; it also open doors to bigger opportunities. Therefore, SMU has made it mandatory for all students to complete a Global Exposure experience prior to their graduation. Students may fulfil the Global Exposure requirement by participating in any of the following SMU-organised overseas activities:

  1. International Exchange Programme
  2. Summer Exchange Programme
  3. Short-Term Study Programme
  4. Community Service
  5. Study Mission
  1. Co-Curricular Activities
  2. Internship
  3. Global Innovation Immersion Programme
  4. SMU-X Overseas
  5. Cultural or Technological Immersion Programme

MAJOR REQUIREMENTS

Students are required to complete the following courses:

  1. Business Law
  2. Constitutional Law*
  3. Intermediate Mathematics for Economics
  4. Introduction to Political and Policy Studies
  5. Legal Theory and Philosophy
  6. Macroeconomics I
  1. Microeconomics I
  2. Political Theory
  3. Politics of South East Asia
  4. Research Methods in Sociology and Political Science
  5. Strategic Thinking
  6. Social Science Practicum

The Social Science Practicum (SSP) is a compulsory module for all BSocSc students. The purpose of the SSP is to get final-year students to apply the theories and research methods they have learned to real world problems and to seek solutions that are informed by a multidisciplinary social science perspective. Every SSP module will deal with some specific real world problem(s), such as those created by an aging population or by rising inequality. There will be a substantial project component where students from different social science disciplines will work together to find practical solutions to these problems. Working in small groups to find solutions to real world problems will create opportunities for students to apply the theories and research tools that they have learned and to develop an integrative understanding of the social sciences.

*Students intending to do a double degree in LLB or the SMU Juris Doctor (J.D.) programme should replace this course with LAW204 Constitutional & Administrative Law (1.5cu).

Students must choose one of the following themes and read 5 courses from the chosen theme. Not all courses will be offered every term. Enrolled students should refer to the course offering when planning their courses.

The following is a sample of courses that are offered in each theme:

Choice and Behaviour

  1. Advanced Microeconomics
  2. Economic Analysis of Law
  3. Elections and the Media
  4. Evolutionary Psychology
  5. Mass Media and Public Opinion Research
  6. Probability Theory and Applications
  7. Law and Psychology
  1. Psychology of Group Processes and Decision making
  2. Psychology of Reasoning and Thinking
  3. Senior Thesis in Politics, Law and Economics
  4. Sociology of Terrorism and Political Violence
  5. The Economics of Politics
  6. Game Theory

 

 

Global Studies

  1. Asia and the World in the Twentieth Century
  2. Comparing Political Systems
  3. Contemporary South Asian Societies
  4. Development Economics
  5. Public International Law
  6. WTO: Law and Policy
  7. Evolution of Public Institutions: An Economic and Historical Analysis
  1. Economic Development in Asia
  2. Education Policy – A Global Perspective
  3. Foundations of ASEAN Law and Policy
  4. International Economics B
  5. Understanding China's Economic Miracle
  6. World Politics
  7. Senior Thesis in Politics, Law and Economics

 

Public Policy and Governance

  1. Senior Thesis in Politics, Law and Economics
  2. Economics of Aging
  3. Sustainable Cities
  4. Environmental Economics
  5. Environmental Politics and Policy
  6. Law and Regulation
  7. Human Capital and Economics of Education
  1. Governance and Development in the Global South
  2. Law and Policy of Ethnic Relations in Singapore
  3. Medical Law and Health Policy
  4. Politics, Philosophy, and Economics
  5. The Singapore Legal System
  6. Monetary Economics
  7. Family and Society: Economic Theory with Practices

 

Distribution and Justice

  1. Comparing Political Systems
  2. Conflict and Justice in International Relations
  3. Development, Underdevelopment and Poverty
  4. Economic Development in Asia
  5. Economic Growth
  6. Environmental Politics and Policy
  7. Gender Politics: Exclusion and Empowerment
  1. Global Political Economy
  2. Jurisprudence: Modern and Critical Theories of Law
  3. Macroeconomics of Income Distribution
  4. Political Philosophy
  5. Politics of Food Security
  6. Senior Thesis in Politics, Law and Economics
  7. Stratification and Inequality

 

The senior thesis is an intensive course designed for BSocSc students who wish to conduct an original empirical research study under their declared major. Eligible students should first approach a relevant Social Science faculty and secure his or her agreement to supervise the thesis before applying for the course. The student will be actively involved in all stages of the entire empirical research process including formulation of research question, literature review, design of study, development of measurement and procedures, data collection, data analysis, and writing up of the final thesis report. Students will complete the thesis over two consecutive terms, typically in their senior year. Students will submit their final thesis report two weeks before the oral defence of the thesis to a thesis committee. The oral defence will typically be held on the week before the university’s final examination week. The final grade for the thesis is based on the thesis report and the oral defence. Students may also be required to present the findings of the thesis research to faculty members and other students in seminars held after the University’s final examinations.

FREE ELECTIVES

The Free Electives component in the curriculum allows students to choose courses from their major to deepen their disciplinary domain knowledge, or courses from other majors and schools to broaden their knowledge across disciplines. Students may take any SMU course to fulfil the Free Electives component.

Students may be given exemptions for up to 3 Free Electives CUs on the basis of good pre-university grades for GCE A-level, Polytechnic Diploma, or other recognised qualifications.

ADDITIONAL GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS

It is imperative that SMU students understands deeply the complexities and intricacies of living and working in Singapore, as well as considers how they may bring meaningful impact to the growth and development of Singapore. Students may fulfil the Singapore Studies graduation requirement by completing any of the following:

  1. Business, Government and Society
  2. Deconstructing Singapore's Society
  3. Rule of Law in Singapore
  4. Singapore History
  5. Singapore Literature

In addition to achieving a deeper comprehension of Singapore, SMU believes our students should acquire knowledge of Singapore's continental context, in particular the complex and dynamic societies in Southeast Asia, and nearby China and India. Students may fulfil the Asia Studies graduation requirement by completing any of the following:

  1. Asia Pacific Business
  2. Capital Markets in Asia
  3. Economic Development in Asia
  4. Film in Southeast Asia
  5. Southeast Asian Business Ecosystem
  6. Overseas study mission (Asia)
  7. SMU-X overseas (Asia)

 

The Foundation courses provide students with a basic background in mathematical thinking, economic reasoning, and writing skills. Students who have obtained good grades in equivalent subjects taken previously may be exempted from these courses.

  1. Calculus
  2. Introductory Economics
  3. Programme in Writing and Reasoning

The University Core is the heart of all SMU undergraduate programmes. Students are expected to acquire an understanding of general business dynamics, gain sensitivity to ethical issues, develop effective leadership strategies, and attain proficiency in their communication skills.

  1. Business, Government and Society
  2. Ethics and Social Responsibility
  3. Leadership and Teambuilding
  4. Management Communication
  1. Intermediate Mathematics for Economics
  2. Intermediate Microeconomics
  3. Intermediate Macroeconomics
  4. Legal Theory and Philosophy
  5. Business Law
  1. Company Law
  2. Political Theory
  3. Introduction to Political and Policy Studies
  4. Research Methods in Sociology and Political Science
  5. Strategic Thinking

Politics, Law and Economics major is designed to prepare future leaders and thinkers with a deep understanding of global political and economic transformations and the legal frameworks and contexts within which such changes take place. Comprising courses in the fields of politics, law and economics that will hone strategic and analytical thinking skills, students will be empowered to seek innovative solutions to real world problems.

Students must choose one of the following themes and read four courses from the chosen theme. Not all courses will be offered every term. Enrolled students should refer to the course offering when planning their courses.

Choice and Behaviour

The following is a sample of courses that are offered in this theme:

  1. Advanced Microeconomics
  2. The Economics of Politics
  3. Psychology of Group Processes and Decision making
  4. Legal Theory and Philosophy
  5. Probability Theory and Applications
  1. Psychology of Reasoning and Thinking
  2. Economic Analysis of Law
  3. Policy Design and Analysis
  4. Law and Regulation

 

 

Global Studies

The following is a sample of courses that are offered in this theme:

  1. The Politics of Water in Asia
  2. Foundations of ASEAN Law and Policy
  3. International Economics B
  4. Developmental Economics
  1. WTO: Law and Policy
  2. Introduction to Chinese History, Culture, Economics, Politics and the Law
  3. World Politics

 

 

Public Policy and Governance

The following is a sample of courses that are offered in this theme:

  1. Law and Policy of Ethnic Relations in Singapore
  2. Health Economics
  3. Public International Law
  4. Constitutional & Administrative Law (1.5 course unit)
  5. Public Sector Economics
  6. Urban Economics and Policy
  7. Sustainable Cities
  1. Monetary Economics
  2. The Economics of Politics
  3. Introduction to Public Policy
  4. Public Policy Taskforce
  5. Public Sector Management
  6. Policy Design and Analysis

 

 

Distribution and Justice

The following is a sample of courses that are offered in this theme:

  1. Stratification and Inequality
  2. Gender Politics: Exclusion and Empowerment
  3. Politics of Food Security
  4. Development, Underdevelopment and Poverty
  1. Economic Growth
  2. Macroeconomics of Income Distribution
  3. International and Comparative Criminal Justice
  4. Jurisprudence: Modern and Critical Theories of Law

 

 

Senior Thesis (2 course units)

Eligible students may choose to do a senior thesis in place of two major elective courses.

Study Mission

Students may choose to do either a Law Study Mission or a Political Science Study Mission in place of one major elective course.

The Politics, Law and Economics Major-Related Options provide students with the flexibility to freely choose five elective courses from the course offerings in the majors in Social Sciences, Accounting, Business, Economics, Information Systems and Law.

This is an integrative seminar that the BSocSc student is required to take before graduating. This seminar provides an opportunity for the student to integrate the knowledge, skills and learning experiences acquired in the social science programme through relating academic knowledge to important practical applications.

To broaden their intellectual perspectives beyond the social sciences, students are required to take a total of four General Education courses. The following is a sample of courses that can be taken to fulfil this requirement.

  1. Computer as an Analysis Tool (Compulsory Course under either General Education or Technology Studies)
  2. Biotechnology and Bioentrepreneurship
  3. Creative Writing
  4. Current Issues in Business, Culture and Society
  5. Dance: East and West
  6. Drama and Scriptwriting
  1. Environmental Science
  2. Intercultural Communication
  3. Introduction to Physical Science
  4. Language (e.g. French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Thai)
  5. Music: East and West/li>
  6. Principles of Coaching in Sports

The Technology Studies courses enable students to be perceptive to technological trends and to be cognizant of how technology affects business and society. The following is a sample of courses that can be taken to fulfil this requirement.

  1. Computing Technology for Finance
  2. Governing, Managing and Protecting Knowledge in Organisations
  3. Intelligent Organisations
  4. Technology and World Change
  5. The Games and Digital Media Industries

The Globalisation courses enable students to develop a stronger sense of global awareness by broadening their exposure to business, political and social practices beyond Singapore. The following is a sample of courses that can be taken to fulfil this requirement.

  1. Corporate Responsibility in the Global Era
  2. International Law and Global Politics
  3. Economics of Globalisation
  4. Social Media and Organisations
  5. Sustainability Governance and Management

The Modes of Thinking courses aim to equip all students with the intellectual skills needed to operate in a complex and challenging environment. Students are required to take one of the following courses.

  1. Managing Volatility, Uncertainty, Change and Ambiguity
  2. Analytical Skills and Creative Thinking
  3. Critical Thinking in the Real World

The Entrepreneurship courses enable students to gain familiarity with the entrepreneurial process and acquire practical skills that will help them transform into innovative leaders of tomorrow. The following is a sample of courses that can be taken to fulfil this requirement.

  1. Accounting for Entrepreneurs
  2. Design Thinking and Innovation
  3. Entrepreneurial Finance
  4. Entrepreneurship and Business Creation
  5. Enterprise Consulting

The Asian Studies courses provide students with an enhanced understanding of the role of Asia in a modern business environment and foundational knowledge of the multiplicity of countries within the Asian region. The following is a sample of courses that can be taken to fulfil this requirement.

  1. Contemporary South Asian Societies
  2. Exploring Asian Identities
  3. Political Economy of East Asia
  4. Politics of Southeast Asia
  5. Popular Culture in Asia

The Internship Programme consists of a 10-week business attachment in a public sector organization or business organization and a 80-hour attachment at a Voluntary Welfare Organization (VWO). As the details of the organization and the time spent in each organization will be reflected in the transcript, students must ensure that they have fulfilled their attachments before filing for graduation.

 

Note: Course listing may change from time to time

* The details for each course are available in the Course Catalogue.

Course Exemption for SMU Juris Doctor Programme

PLE students who are admitted to the J.D. programme within three years of obtaining their bachelor degree may be exempted for up to 5 course units from the 25 course units of the J.D. degree, if they have completed 5 Law courses at SMU in the undergraduate degree. LGST courses and other universities’ courses taken on exchange do not qualify for exemption. The grade point obtained for the Law courses exempted will be computed into the J.D. GPA. If, in addition to the 5 exempted Law courses, a student has completed other SMU courses listed in the J.D. list of Law core courses, s/he does not have to take those courses again, but will have to replace them with J.D. Law electives, in order to bring the total course units completed in the J.D. degree to 20 course units.