Bachelor of Social Science — Politics, Law and Economics (PLE) Major

The first of its kind in Singapore, the PLE major will be offered by SMU School of Social Sciences for the pioneer intake in Academic Year 2016-17. The programme provides a unique and rigorous, interdisciplinary major between Politics, Law and Economics. The PLE major curriculum will be integrated with internships and study abroad programmes so that students would have opportunities to work with partner organisations and apply their knowledge on real world problems. It 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. As a student of this major, you will hone strategic and analytical thinking skills and seek innovative solutions to real world problems.

We are looking for students who possess the following attributes:

•    Strong academic records;

•    The ability to think strategically and reason well;

•    The ability to frame a problem and develop a solution in new ways by drawing from multiple disciplines;

•    The ability to express ideas clearly and effectively;

•    The ability to gather and utilise relevant knowledge;

•    Personal characteristics such as curiosity, open-mindedness and persistence.

Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the programme, 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.

You will graduate with a Bachelor of Social Science degree. The PLE major will be indicated in the official result transcript.

The BSocSc (PLE major) does not enable a graduate to be called to the Singapore Bar. However, BSocSc (PLE major) graduates may choose to apply to the SMU Juris Doctor (JD) programme. If they are so admitted and are graduates of the BSocSc (PLE major), they will be eligible for certain exemptions when completing the JD 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. Graduates of the SMU JD programme (if they fulfill the minimum GPA of 3.0) can qualify for legal practice in Singapore after completing the practical requirements of training and the exam for the Singapore bar. Further information on the JD programme can be found at:

The PLE major enrols 45 students in each year.

SMU adopts a holistic approach to selection. Applicants will be evaluated on their academic credentials and co-curricular activity records. Interviews will be conducted for shortlisted applicants.

Prospective students are expected to demonstrate a strong command of the English Language and possess strong grades in Mathematics.

English Language Requirements

The English Language requirements are as follows:

•    GCE A-Levels (H1/H2 Level curriculum): Minimum of A or B in General Paper (GP) or Knowledge & Inquiry (KI)

•    GCE A-Levels (A-Level/AO-Level curriculum): Minimum of B3 grade or better in GP

•    Polytechnic Diploma: Minimum of A1 or A2 in O-Level English Language

•    IB Diploma: Grade 6 or 7 in English A1 at Higher Level or Standard Level or Grade 6 or 7 in English A - Literature or English - Language and Literature at Higher or Standard Level

•    NUS High School Diploma: English Language Subject CAP of B+ or better and B+ or better in EL5102 English for Academic Purposes or EL5101 Language in Society II and EL6103 Language in Society III

•    International Qualifications: Either one of the following:

◦            SAT (old SAT - before March 2016) : A minimum total score of 1,900 with a combined score of 1,400 for critical reading and writing

◦            SAT (new SAT - from March 2016) : A minimum total score of 1,350 with at least 700 each for evidence-based reading and writing. Essay is not required.

◦            ACT : A minimum composite score 29 and a writing score of at least 32

◦            IELTS : A minimum overall score of 7.5 with at least 7.0 each for both reading and writing

◦            TOEFL iBT (internet-based test) : A minimum score of 100, with at least 24 each for both reading and writing

◦            TOEFL PBT (paper-based test) : A minimum score of 600, with at least 5.5 for TWE (Test of Written English) and 50 for reading

Note: The minimum scores indicated above for law applicants will be minimally sufficient for applicants to make a competitive application. Meeting these requirements does not guarantee an admission into SMU, as admission is on a highly competitive and selective basis.

Mathematics Requirements

A significant number of courses in the PLE major are of a highly quantitative nature. As such, applicants are expected to meet additional requirements in the form of a good pass in Mathematics at H2 Level/A-Level/H1 Level/Additional Mathematics at O-Level. Applicants who do not meet this requirement can still apply for consideration if they have an alternative Mathematics content background. The PLE selection committee makes the final decision on admission.


Shortlisted PLE applicants will be interviewed by a joint panel comprising faculty members from the School of Social Sciences, School of Economics and School of Law.

Yes, you must declare your interest in PLE major at the time of application for admission into SMU. You will be asked to indicate your interest in the online application for admission.

Yes, PLE major students can take a second major. Double-counting of subjects is only allowed for core courses but not for electives. For example, PLE students may do Economics or Legal Studies or Political Science or Public Policy and Public Management (PPPM) as second majors but they may not double count for the electives taken in PLE. If an elective course is offered in both the PLE and PPPM curricula, then a student may take it under PLE or PPPM, but not both.

Yes, PLE major students are eligible to apply for consideration into the double degree programme with their secondary degree either in Accountancy, Business Management, Economics or Information Systems. If you aspire to do a double degree programme at the School of Law, you must first be offered admission into the School of Law. Selection for a place in the double degree programme at the School of Law is highly competitive as a very small number of places are available each year.

At the moment, there are no plans for PLE to be offered as a second major. Prospective students who wish to pursue the PLE which is offered as a first major must apply for it at the time of application into SMU.

No. This option is not available to current SMU students.

At the end of Year 2, non-Social Science students can apply to be considered for the double degree programme with Social Science (PLE major) as a secondary degree. This option is not available to Social Science students.

For prospective students, please click here to apply. There is no separate application for the PLE major.

Undergraduate Prospectus 2019/2020

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