The Murphy Institute

The Murphy Institute The Murphy Institute

Parents’ FAQs

These pages answer questions we often hear from students, parents, and prospective visitors. Detailed information about Murphy Institute programs, people, events, and publications can be found in those sections of this website.

1. Why study “political economy”?

At the Murphy Institute, the political economy major promotes sustained reflection upon the interconnections between politics and economics. While the major provides students with the basic skills of economic analysis, it is also based firmly on the view that study of these interconnections arises out of a rich humanistic tradition that encourages careful thinking about fundamental values.

2. Where is the Murphy Institute located?

Murphy Institute faculty and staff offices are on the first floor of Tilton Memorial Hall. Tilton Hall is one of the three main Tulane University buildings, located at 6823 St. Charles Avenue, directly across from Audubon Park.

3. How many credits are required for a B.A. in political economy?

39 credits.

The curriculum of the major is built on eight “core” courses: Economics 1010, 1020, and 3010, as well as Political Economy 3010, 3020, 3030, and 3040, and Political Economy 6000, a senior seminar that is the program’s capstone course. The total number of required credits in the core is 24. The major also requires five electives chosen from an multidisciplinary list of courses grouped in four different concentrations. The total number of required credits for elective courses in the concentrations is 15.

4. What do you do with a political economy degree?

Since 1986, some 750 students have graduated with B.A.s in political economy. Many have gone on to earn professional degrees at leading universities such as Chicago, Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Johns Hopkins, Duke, Vanderbilt, and Stanford. Career paths include business, education, finance, law, and medicine.

5. When was the Murphy Institute established?

The story of the Murphy Institute is, in part, the story of Charles H. Murphy, Sr. (1870-1954).

Operating in South Arkansas and North Louisiana, Mr. Murphy launched family businesses in timber, banking, and oil exploration that were brought together in 1950 to become the Murphy Oil Corporation, a now worldwide oil and gas exploration company based in El Dorado, Arkansas. Named in memory of Charles H. Murphy, Sr., the Murphy Institute is funded by the endowment of the Tulane Murphy Foundation. Original donors to the Foundation included the widow of Mr. Murphy and his children and their spouses.

Part two of the story is about Charles H. Murphy, Jr. (1920-2002). While serving as Chairman and CEO of Murphy Oil from 1972-1986, he made substantial additional gifts to the Tulane Murphy Foundation. Charles H. Murphy, Jr. also served as Chair and driving force of the Foundation as the Murphy Institute first came to life.

6. I am a high school student thinking about majoring in political economy. How can I learn more?

Check out the Admissions page on the Tulane University web site. The Admissions office offers campus tours, admissions information sessions, and financial aid information sessions. Contact the Murphy Institute directly for an appointment to visit our offices by phone at 504/865-5317 or via email.

7. When did the Murphy Institute establish the Center for Ethics and Public Affairs?

In July, 2001, in an effort to spread the intellectual and financial resources of the Murphy Institute more broadly across Tulane University, the Board of the Tulane Murphy Foundation approved a plan that allowed the Murphy Institute to coordinate establishment and development of the Center for Ethics and Public Affairs. Support for the Center broadens the Murphy Institute’s mission to include moral questions that not only are basic to the study of political economy, but also are the heart of Tulane’s academic mission.