Within this broad purpose, the Murphy Institute supports a number of academic programs in the fields of political economy, ethics and public policy. Since 1984, it has sponsored a highly acclaimed undergraduate program in political economy which brings together economists, historians, philosophers, and political scientists committed to moving beyond traditional boundaries of their disciplines in a common search for new insights and new ways of studying the interconnections of politics and economics. Some 90-120 Tulane students annually enroll in the undergraduate political economy courses, making it one of the most popular multidisciplinary majors at the University. The average major cohort size is 25-30 students for each graduating class, allowing students to form meaningful personal and professional connections with each other and with faculty and staff.
The demanding curriculum of this program includes courses drawn from economics, history, philosophy, and political science; it also requires completion of five ‘core’ political economy courses designed specifically for the major. The strength of the undergraduate program can be measured, in part, by the recognized excellence of its students.
To enrich teaching and research in political economy, the Murphy Institute also hosts conferences, seminars, and lectures by prominent public figures and visiting scholars. With Cambridge University Press, it sponsors “Murphy Institute Studies in Political Economy,” a series of occasional volumes comprising original essays by leading scholars in the United States and other countries. With Sage Publications, the Murphy Institute also sponsors PPE: A Journal of Politics, Philosophy & Economics. Published three times annually, PPE is a forum for scholarly interchange of concepts and methods among political scientists, philosophers, and economists interested in evaluating political economic institutions and practices.
In 2001, the Murphy Institute broadened its operations to establish the Center for Ethics and Public Affairs, which offers both Visiting Faculty Fellowships and Graduate Prize Fellowships. The idea driving the Center is that Tulane should have a place where faculty, students, and visitors can broadly examine critical issues of right and wrong, justice and injustice, citizenship and community, and the ethics of the professions. The Center’s annual Faculty Seminar provides a setting in which Faculty Fellows, Tulane faculty, and visiting scholars present new scholarship-in-progress.
In 2010 the Murphy Institute expanded its intellectual scope by creating the Center for Public Policy Research, a multi-disciplinary research center that balances academic research with applied work in the areas of healthcare, public finance, regulation, and education policy issues. This Center focuses on increasing public policy research, supporting external grant opportunities, and escalating campus and community outreach. The Center is enhanced by the systematic and rigorous analysis of social perspectives and alternatives that stem from Murphy’s other programs.
These three assets make the Murphy Institute a one-of-a-kind intellectual center that fosters ethical reflection on social values, an undergraduate education focused on political and economic dynamics, as well as research and outreach on public policy. These programs are united by their focus on research, teaching, and outreach to both the Tulane community and beyond, while building on the existing and significant strengths of affiliated faculty. Together they enrich the scope of analysis, thought, and discussion on campus, setting the Murphy Institute apart from any other institute throughout the country.