FROM OPPORTUNITY (A CAREERS MAGAZINE FOR BLACK AND MINORITY ETHNIC STUDENTS): AN INDEPENDENT PUBLISHING MAGAZINE
Get a global outlook with a degree in politics and international studies
Cahal Milmo is the chief reporter of The Independent and has been with the paper since 2000. He was born in London and previously worked at the Press Association news agency. He has reported on assignment at home and abroad, including Rwanda, Sudan and Burkina Faso, the phone hacking scandal and the London Olympics. In his spare time he is a keen runner and cyclist, and keeps an allotment.
Wednesday 04 April 2007
Courses on politics and international studies at university have traditionally focused on political theories, the government of powerful states, and the electoral process in Western democracies. Theories of sovereignty, the social contract, power, property and democracy are considered central to an understanding of politics, along with a knowledge of ideologies such as liberalism, socialism, Marxism and conservatism.
The study of politics and international studies has become much more international and even global in scope. The curriculum reflects concerns about global warming, the international environment, terrorism and ethnic conflict, and how states and international bodies are trying to manage these crises. There has thus been a mushrooming of courses related to processes of globalisation and regionalisation. These include the politics of international trade, security, ethnic conflict, terrorism, migration, environmental justice, non-governmental organisations, and diplomacy. Changes have also been in response to student demand for courses on the European Union, China, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.
Demand for university places to study politics and international studies is high and attracts students from all over the world, which means that good grades at GCSE and A-level are essential. Many have standard offers of AAB/ABB plus an AS-level of C or better. Students taking the International Baccalaureate will need 34/35 points. Courses at university are generally taught through a mixture of lectures, seminars and independent study. In the first year, students will be introduced to the key concepts, theories, institutions and processes of politics and international relations. After that, courses become more specialised and have a greater range of choice.
Modules can be assessed by examinations, long essays, project work and coursework. Normally a certain proportion of assessment has to be by examination. Students may be allowed to do a module by a dissertation of up to 10,000 words.
Some politics and international studies graduates will be interested in pursuing careers in closely related areas such as party politics, local government, local radio, journalism, pressure groups and non-governmental organisations. Those with language skills and high ambitions may pursue jobs with the likes of the Foreign Office, the European Commission, the United Nations. Careers in the Civil Service are popular with many politics students. A large number pursue further study by doing a Masters degree and those who wish to pursue academic careers will need to enrol on a doctoral programme. Many will enrol on postgraduate training courses for teaching, the law, or administration.
Students are able to study politics as part of a joint degree with other subjects such as history, economics, philosophy and sociology. In these cases, different careers may be an option. Economics with politics and international studies is a good basis for a job in the City in London, while politics and a language will provide a good foundation for applications to international organisations.
For those with a passionate interest in politics, a degree in politics and international studies generally proves an excellent route to a satisfying career.
Zig Layton-Henry is professor of politics at the University of Warwick, www2.warwick.ac.uk
For regular news about UK politics
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
To find out more about the FCO
For further information on how the UN works
Vanee Permal, 21, is in the final year of a politics degree at the University of Warwick
I studied politics, psychology and English literature at A-level and drama at AS-level.
Politics affects everyone and is forever developing; I wanted to study a subject which would be both exciting and a challenge. Also, being particularly interested in international issues such as immigration and globalisation, I felt a degree in politics would best serve my interests.
The course involves practical work where students organise group presentations and debates. There is also the opportunity to study abroad. In terms of optional modules, there is a lot of choice. Personally, I have studied subjects such as citizenship, ethnic conflict and political violence.
The course is very flexible. Most modules allow students in their second and third years to choose between the option of 100 per cent exam or 50 per cent coursework, 50 per cent exam.
I am applying to do a PGCE in social science next year, and I would love to be a politics and psychology A-level teacher. In the short term, I would like to work with refugees and do some volunteer work while travelling.
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
- 1 Isis 'jihadi bride' claims forced sex with Yazidi girls is never rape because Koran condones it
- 2 Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
- 3 Art Garfunkel calls Paul Simon a 'monster' with a Napoleon complex
- 4 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Application Developer - ...
£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...
£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Software Developer - Norf...
£18k + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright, enthusiastic and internet...