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Politics and International Studies



What courses? Politics and international relations; criminology and security studies; European politics; geopolitics; global politics; human rights; international politics; political studies; politics and government; politics and governance; political economy; political science.

What do you come out with? Generally a BA, BSc, BScEcon. MA in Scotland.

Click here to read about what it's like to study Politics

What's it about? The structures of governments here and abroad, and how they talk to and deal with one another. Political theory covers concepts of equality, justice, rights and liberty, as well as the key political thinkers such as Hobbes, Rousseau and Marx. Comparative politics assesses different governmental systems - such as parliamentary and presidential democracies. Topics include party politics, electoral behaviour, social and unconventional behaviour, and the politics of every corner of the globe, including military and ethnic dimensions. Many courses also focus on globalisation and international politics, as well as European politics. You can also combine it with legislative studies, or with war and security studies. Politics can be studied jointly with a number of subjects, such as with philosophy and economics or philosophy and history. Middlesex University also offers the possibility of choosing courses such as criminology and criminal justice.

Study options: Three years; four years in Scotland. At Birkbeck, students are part-time and therefore take at least four years to complete a degree. Some universities such as Durham and Exeter also offer a study abroad option. The degree tends to be a mix of coursework and written exams. A final examination at the end of each year is a common rule in most of the institutions.

What will I need to do it? In most cases, subjects that demonstrate students are bright and interested. Politics A-level isn’t necessary. For joint degrees, there are individual department requirements. Languages are a plus. You’ll need AAA for international relations at LSE. For politics it’s AAB for Birkbeck and Warwick and BBB for Westminster. Greenwich requires 260 UCAS points.

What are my job prospects? Depends on how good your degree is and where you got it. It's not a passport to a job, but does demonstrate the ability to think and to solve problems. The subject is useful for journalism and media, civil service or teaching, with many graduates working for think-tanks, NGOs or as political party researchers. According to The Times’ Good University Guide 2012, 31 per cent of students go straight into graduate-level jobs, earning an average salary of £20,831.

Where's best to do it? Oxford, Cambridge and Sheffield, the Complete University Guide 2012 says. Students were most satisfied with their courses at St. Andrews, Leicester and Greenwich, closely followed by Sheffield and Essex.

Related courses: American studies; law; economics; history; philosophy; media.