Guide to Studying Politics

Palace _of _Westminster ,_London _-_Feb _2007

What is Politics?

  • Politics was an Ancient Greek idea, and they also provided the basis for the modern word we use today - it derives from 'politikos', meaning 'of, for, or relating to citizens'.
  • Nowadays, politics is the process of gaining and exerting governance - organised control over a state or local community. Studying politics involved looking at how that power is handled, and where the power lies.

Why study Politics?

  • Studying British now is probably more exciting that it’s ever been. Widespread constitutional reforms have changed the political map. See the recent Scottish independence debate, and the upcoming EU referendum.
  • The study of European politics also involves other European nations, comparing them with British and other political systems. Many courses allow a world focus in modules, allowing a worldwide understanding.
  • Political theory is also vital. Without theory we would not know many of the crucial elements of our own society. Students consider key questions like the nature of freedom and the strengths and limitations of democracy.
  • Few events symbolise humanity better than elections. Elections can change the course of a country. Studying elections is a thrilling and fascinating endeavour - whether predicting or dissecting results.
  • Studying an international politics module or course gives you an understanding of the world which can prove very useful for those who fancy a career in a foreign country.

Coursework, assessment and exams

  • Degree modules will be assessed by a mixture of essays and examinations. The weight given to either mode of assessment depends on the course you choose.
  • It is commonplace for a dissertation to be written in third year. This allows you to explore a Politics topic of your choosing, supervised in one-to-one sessions with a member of staff.

What degree can I get?

  • BA Politics and International Relations
  • BA Politics and History
  • BA Social and Political Sciences
  • BA Politics with a foreign language

What qualifications do I need?

  • Entry requirements vary and depend on the institution and course. Make sure to check with your chosen university or college.

Use the CUG Course Chooser to search through Politics courses.

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

  • There is an exciting range of taught MAs and research degrees at postgraduate level.
  • Examples include a Masters in International Social Policy, which can either be one year or two years with a year abroad. There are also MAs in Art and Politics, British Politics, and Conflict Resolution & Peace Studies.

Graduate job prospects



*Professional employment refers to a job or occupation which normally requires a degree.
**Non-professional employment refers to a job or occupation which doesn't normally require a degree.

What are the job opportunities?

  • You don't just have to aim to be an MP if you graduate in Politics. Otherwise, your job prospects would not be high. There are several career paths for you to follow.
  • Particular job areas include the civil service, social research, PA, consultancy work, charity work, HR, local government, market research and sales, journalism, and PR.
  • Several professional organisations offer specialised positions for Politics graduates, such as Macmillan.