Study Politics, why & how to study
The world of politics is constantly changing. So, if you literally want to learn something new every day, a Politics degree could be the course for you.
Politics is the process of gaining and exerting governance – organised control over a state or local community. Studying Politics involves looking at how that power is handled and where the power lies. Recent constitutional reforms have changed the political map in the UK and beyond, making the study of Politics more compelling than ever.
During a degree course, you'll learn how political systems operate and will be encouraged to think about what works and what doesn't. You’ll also examine political theory, considering key questions such as the nature of freedom and the strengths and limitations of democracy.
Politics undergraduate degrees in the UK frequently include joint degrees with a related subject:
- Philosophy, Politics and Economics BSc
- Politics and History BA
- Politics and International Relations BA
- Politics with a foreign language BA
Course options may include an integrated foundation year, professional placement or a year abroad.
Entry requirements for a Politics degree range from 88–168 UCAS points. This could include the qualifications below:
- A Levels: A*AA–CCD
- BTECs: D*DD–MMP
- Scottish Highers: AAAAA–BBBB (Advanced Highers: AAA)
- International Baccalaureate: 39–26
- Universities will usually ask that you’ve studied: subjects required by joint honours degrees, such as maths A Level (or equivalent) for Economics and Politics degrees
Other good subjects to have studied include:
- Social sciences or humanities subjects
- General subjects are unlikely to be considered, such as general studies or critical thinking
Experience that would look good on your application:
- Experiences that give you insights into the workings of state structures, such as attending council meetings, court visits, visiting your nation’s parliament
- Volunteering with charities, such as those who campaign for social justice, or joining a pressure group
- Assessing the news from broadsheet newspapers representing differing viewpoints
- Independent reading into the subject, or areas of research at your chosen uni
Other requirements for this subject include:
- Interview and entry assessments may be required by some universities
Typical modules for courses in this subject include:
- Classical political thought
- Explaining public policies
- Global challenges
- Politics and public policy
- International relations
- Comparative politics
Courses may be assessed in a variety of ways, depending on the module:
- Individual and small group presentations
- Dissertation or research project in your final year
A degree in Politics will develop your ability to think and analyse critically, along with many other skills.
- Understanding of political theory, contemporary politics and how the political system operates
- Insights into international relations and the global alliances, multinationals, non-governmental organisations and other forces that may influence policy
- Articulate verbal reasoning
- Independent, analytical and critical thinking
- Organisation, planning and time management
- Research and evaluation
- Written and verbal communication
Starting salaries for a Politics graduate range between £18,000–£26,000.
As your career progresses, your average earnings will depend on your field of work. The average income for a public relations officer is £31,500, rising to £80,000 for those promoted to director. Diplomats starting via the Civil Service fast stream are initially paid £28,000. Climb to the top ranks and your pay could be in excess of £100,000.
You don't have to aim to be an MP if you graduate in Politics – although you’ll be well suited to work in the public sector or the media. Career paths you could follow include:
- HR manager
- Management consultant
- Market researcher
- Parliamentary researcher
- Policy officer
- PR account executive
- Social researcher
- Film production coordinator
Examples of taught master’s and research degrees at the postgraduate level include:
- Diplomatic Studies PgDip/MSt
- International Relations MPhil/PhD
- Politics and International Studies MPhil
- Social and Policy Studies PhD
If you’re interested in how society operates, you could also consider:
Ask us! You can email email@example.com with your questions about studying Politics – we’ll be happy to hear from you.