Politics is essentially the study of a universal construct that has been around since the dawn of man; power. It examines who is in power, why they are in power, how they exercise that power and the the forecast for the future of their power.
There are two common misconceptions that need to be addressed when it comes to the study of politics. One is that every student of politics aspires to become a politician. But whilst a high proportion of students studying say, Dentistry, do indeed go on to work in their corresponding field, fewer law students become lawyers, fewer sociology students become sociologists, and fewer politics students turn into politicians. This is because politics is not considered a vocational degree at all – like sociology and law and it is instead an academic subject consisting of the study of history and theory of politics rather than job training or preparation. That isn’t to say that it’s not an astute choice for aspiring politicians, studying it of course puts you in great stead for understanding and shaping the future of politics in government. But for every politician who studied politics there are others who studied unrelated degrees. For instance, current UK Prime Minister Theresa May studied Geography at Oxford University.
The second misconception is that only elite members of our society choose to study politics and go on to have a successful career. The truth is that government and the public sector is an increasingly diverse workplace with many initiatives pushing for more inclusion.
Politics at university level includes the following areas of study:
- Democracy, Citizenship, and Contemporary Elections
- International Relations
- Political Theory
- Political Philosophy
- The European Union
- Human Rights and Globalisation
- National Security
- Foreign Policy
- Gender and Political Theory
- Border Politics
- Global Justice
- Global Conflict and Nuclear Weapons
- Terrorism and Counterterrorism
- The Rising Powers
In addition to these, there are numerous other modules and areas of study, as well as the opportunity to specialise in a particular field. Third year usually includes a dissertation on a specific area of interest with a specialist tutor, and this can be taken further to postgraduate level. It is an exciting, dynamic, and diverse discipline which allows you to engage with the crucial issues on the world stage of today.
At the end of a politics degree, students will have gained an excellent understanding of politics on a local, national and international level as well a sound knowledge of economics, history and law. Transferable skills include the ability to debate and examine issues from all points of view, the ability to analyse and identify solutions to problems, construct reasoned arguments and hone strong communication skills.
Despite its academic nature, a good politics degree will nevertheless engage students directly with the practical world of politics, and many offer internships and incredible opportunities such as gaining experience overseas with the UN and shadowing top Ministers in Westminster.
Popular careers include working in the Civil Service, public affairs officers and MPs, social research, journalism and working for charities, human rights organisations and NGOs, and many more. Many students go on to teach in academia and secondary schools, and many others branch out into careers in media, marketing, and business.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/politics – BBC Politics Website
http://www.parliament.uk – Parliament UK
https://www.gov.uk – UK Government homepage
http://politics.co.uk – Impartial political analysis
http://www.totalpolitics.com – Online political magazine
https://www.psa.ac.uk – Political Studies Association
http://filibuster.org.uk – Online platform for young people to get their opinions published
http://www.nakedpolitics.co.uk – Impartial politics blog
https://blog.politics.ox.ac.uk – Oxford University Politics Blog
https://www.opencanada.org – International Relations links and articles
http://www.incore.ulst.ac.uk/services/cds/ – Ulster University’s International Conflict Research Institute
http://cain.ulst.ac.uk – Ulster University Irish Conflict Conflict and Politics in Northern Ireland
http://www.ucis.pitt.edu/reesweb/ – Virtual library for Russian and Eastern European Studies
http://www.internationalaffairsresources.com – International Affairs virtual library
http://www.css.ethz.ch/en/services.html – International Relations and Security Network resources
http://www.politicsresources.net – Political Sciences resources
http://www.britishpoliticalspeech.org/speech-archive.htm – Political speeches online archive