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ACTA Designates the Philosophy, Politics, & Economics minor program (UNC PPE) as a Hidden Gem for its Robust Liberal Arts Curriculum

March 21, 2024

Washington, DC—The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) is proud to designate the Philosophy, Politics, & Economics minor program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a Hidden Gem. ACTA’s Hidden Gems initiative shines a light on honors programs, major degree programs, minor degree programs, and certificate programs that guide students through a high-quality and coherent interdisciplinary education across the liberal arts. Philosophy, literature, politics, history, and the Great Books of Western Civilization are topics that are often focal points. The rigorous interdisciplinary PPE minor program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill consists of five courses in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, an interdisciplinary Senior Capstone, semester-long reading groups, and an active speaker series.

“The PPE Program focuses on understanding how social, political, and economic institutions, as well as considerations of justice, rights, and liberty, have, do, and should interact and shape one another. At its heart is the recognition that philosophy, political science, and economics are each individually important to understanding the world in which we live—but that bringing the three disciplines together illuminates issues that otherwise are obscured by the shadows cast by relying solely on one or the other,” says Geoffrey Sayre-McCord, founding director of the PPE program. “We are proud, to say the least, to counted among ACTA’s Hidden Gems.”

Gabriella Hsu, ACTA’s Senior Program Manager for Curricular Improvement says, “ACTA’s Hidden Gems program highlights major, minor, and certificate programs that offer students an unparalleled education in the liberal arts. Hidden Gems programs are so named for the high caliber of their faculty, thoughtfully structured curricula, and commitment both to the challenges and rewards of liberal education. Students enrolled in Hidden Gems programs are drawn into community and discussion rooted in the rich interdisciplinary study of the liberal arts and sciences. In its mission to support academic excellence, ACTA believes that the Hidden Gems program is an invaluable resource for students seeking a robust, collegial, and enriching education.”

ACTA’s Hidden Gems initiative serves as a complement to our What Will They Learn?® (WWTL) project. WWTL rates the core curriculum requirements at over 1,100 schools to determine which institutions provide a rigorous, liberal arts-oriented general education. Programs designated as Hidden Gems offer a robust liberal arts education regardless of their home institution’s core curriculum. WWTL and Hidden Gems help prospective students locate universities and programs that will prepare them for successful careers, informed citizenship, and human flourishing.

See a comprehensive list of all Hidden Gems here.

See full press release here.


ACTA is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to academic freedom, academic excellence, and accountability in higher education. We receive no government funding and are supported through the generosity of individuals and foundations.

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