Get degree ideas using our A level explorer tool

studentstudents, parents, grandparentsgb, united kingdompolitics

Politics courses

Politics is the study of how governments work, how public policies are made, international relations and political ideas - from democracy to human rights. You will learn to assess ideas and arguments and develop your written and spoken communication skills. Students often choose to combine politics with subjects such as economics, business and history. After this course you could work for a political party or in areas such as journalism, local government, civil service and law.

Studying politics at university

Example course modules

  • Central themes in political thought
  • Modern British politics
  • Capital labour and power: Britain 1707-1939
  • The holocaust
  • Total War in the modern era
  • Freedom, power and resistance: an introduction to political ideas
  • International politics
  • Making of the modern world
  • The political economy of development
  • Comparing extremism in European liberal democracies

Teaching hours / week

Average for this subject


Average for all subjects

The time you'll spend in lectures and seminars each week will vary from university to university, so use this as a guide.

More on studying and contact hours at uni

Who studies this subject

  • Female : 52%
    Male : 48%
  • Mature : 10%
    School leaver : 90%
  • Full-time : 96%
    Part-time : 4%

What students say about politics

What you need to get on a course

Subjects you need

A-levels (or equivalent) usually required

  • No Specific Requirements

Useful to have

  • history
  • Sociology
  • Politics
  • Philosophy
  • law

Application checklist

Here's a guide to what to expect from the application process - also check individual university entry requirements, as these may differ.

  • January application
  • October application
  • Personal statement
  • Portfolio
  • Interview
  • Entry test
  • Work experience
  • Audition

Personal statement advice

Your personal statement is a core part of your university application, and getting it just right takes time. Before you start work on yours, take a look at our five quick tips on writing a personal statement. We'll help you past that writer's block!

Career prospects

Sources: HECSU & KIS
Most politics or international relations graduates don't actually go into politics - although many do, as activists, fundraisers and researchers. Other popular industries include marketing and PR, management consultancy, youth and community work, the finance industry and academic research (you usually need a postgraduate degree to get into research). Politics is a very popular postgraduate subject, and so about one in six politics graduates go on to take another course to get a Masters after they finish their degrees.
Professional and accrediting bodies:

Six months after graduating

Typical graduate job areas
  • Sales assistants and retail cashiers

Longer term career paths

Jobs where this degree is useful

  • Civil Service fast streamer
  • Political advisor
  • Industrial relations advisor

Other real-life job examples

  • PR officer
  • Financial advisor
  • Armed Forces officer

What employers like about this subject

A degree in politics can help to develop skills in evaluating and applying approaches to collecting, analysing and presenting political data; in understanding the processes, theories and problems that drive and shape politics, and in interpreting political events. You can also develop useful transferable skills in communication, thinking creatively and constructing coherent arguments. These skills are sought after in industries requiring people who are good at solving problems and in negotiating and influencing, and so politics graduates often work, not just in politics and Government, but in advertising, marketing and PR, in banking and accountancy, in the defence industry, in the law and in social and welfare roles.