Social sciences

Top universities where you can study politics & international studies (incl development studies)

A politics degree essentially looks at power and how it works. You will look closely at the power structures of your country and at how the various institutions which make up the government work together.

Students will also have to think about the meaning of ideas such as freedom, justice, equality and rights and look at the history and effects of the various social and political movements that coalesced around these ideas. As well as studying history and the workings of governmental institutions and political theory, most politics courses will also include an international element, looking at how nations interact in times of war or peace, negotiate trade deals and maintain or upset the global balance of power.

Students will also study the works of great political thinkers such as Machiavelli, Rousseau and Marx. In the latter half of the course, students can specialise more looking in detail at one particular strand of political thought, for example socialism, neoliberalism or anarchism.

Not all politics graduates are politicians in training. Many go into jobs in the media or charity sector, jobs which require an in-depth knowledge of how the government functions. Many politics graduates move sideways into financial services jobs or teaching and others opt for careers in the civil service or a government think tank.

If you do want to ascend to the heady heights of government, many universities arrange internships or work experience placements within government departments or working directly for elected representatives. A politics degree will give you invaluable skills and insight into how power works and provide a great platform for a career in the public or private sector.

Other subjects within the discipline of social sciences
Political protest

What can you do with a politics degree?

Why study politics? What should you study at high school to get on the right degree course, and what jobs will you get on graduation?