Politics refers to legal practice and the running of a country or an area, however, it’s also about power and how it is achieved, maintained and used by individuals and countries in their interactions with each other. A politics degree covers an array of areas, from political theory, political structures, international relations and contemporary political issues.
Politics was an Ancient Greek idea, and is derived from ‘politikos’ meaning ‘of, for, or relating to citizens’. However, in current society, politics is the process of exerting governance and organising control over a local community, state or country. Studying this area involves looking at how that power is controlled, gained, handled and who holds it.
The prerequisites for this degree aren’t too strict or ask for specific A-level grades. The majority of courses will ask for a high UCAS tariff point score, but not require students to study specific A-levels to gain admission. However, a social science subject will help a candidate’s application, and if they do have a politics or sociology A-level, it will only make the application more promising.
Students are advised to check with their chosen institutions and degree courses to ensure they understand what they need to gain admission.
The majority of politics degrees will last three years in length, and some universities offer an option to study abroad for a year, which could be relevant if you’ve chosen to focus on global politics or international relations – (Learn more – Studying abroad). During the first year, students will take modules that offer a broad overview of the different areas of politics and then be able to specialise in the final years of the degree. The final part of the degree usually involves writing a dissertation, which is a long and in-depth essay on a topic of the individual’s choosing.
Degree options include taking a Bachelors of Arts (BA) degree in politics, international relations, social and political sciences, politics with a foreign language or politics and history if a student decided to study a joint degree.
A politics degree will cover broad areas of international political economy and relations theory, political philosophy and ideology, including socialism, liberalism, conservatism, Marxism, environmentalism, feminism and much more. Individuals will also study theories of government, human rights, contemporary history, politics and society, business ethics and corporate social responsibility.
If a candidate chooses to study global politics, they will also take modules that are concerned with this area.
Students will be assessed through a mixture of methods, from written coursework, presentations, group projects, examinations and even class debates.
Students that graduate from university will gain transferable skills such as time management and organisation from working towards deadlines, and social skills from group projects and presentations.
Politics is best suited to individuals who want to gain insight into how a country is run, what’s going on behind the scenes, and to gain a greater perspective on why politicians act the way they do. Politics is also critical to everything that goes on in society, and this degree will equip individuals with a range of transferable skills which will be valued by any employer.
Students will learn about political systems at home and abroad, widen their knowledge of how these systems work, and the effectiveness of government policy at global, regional and local levels. This degree encourages candidates to think critically about contemporary issues, and their historical contexts, which enables them to think for themselves as informed citizens.
Studying European politics involves other European nations, comparing them with the British and other political systems, offering a worldwide understanding to students. Without political theory, society would not know many of the crucial elements and contexts of our history.
Students can choose to either continue with their studies or begin looking for work in many employment sectors. The degree offers students valuable skills that they can use in employment opportunities or to postgraduate qualifications. Writing skills may aid students to work in publishing, marketing, PR, and research.
There is also the option of obtaining a PGCE degree and teaching or to enter the world of research and academia.
Candidates don’t have to hold dreams of becoming Prime Minister to study this degree. However, other job prospects in association with this degree will be the same – there are several career paths to follow.
Particular job areas for politics graduates include; social research, consultancy work, personal assistant, civil service, human resources, charity work, sales, journalism, market research and press release.
Students who wish to study a Masters of Arts (MA) qualification can gain one in the following subjects, social policy, art and politics, British politics, international social policy – which can either include time studying abroad – conflict resolution and peace studies.
Gerald Norman Springer, also known as Jerry Springer who earned his claim to fame through his controversial ‘reality’ television talk show The Jerry Springer show, obtained a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in political science from Tulane University in 1965. He was also former Democratic mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio.
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