Why study politics?

Three students walking down a university hallway

Politics is the way a country is governed, relating to activities and policies of people in positions of power. To study politics at university is to gain an insight into this knowledge, as well as developing a wide range of transferable skills alongside it. A politics degree is a great pathway to a whole range of careers – you could work in research, journalism, marketing, HR or even go into politics yourself.

Fields of politics

There are many areas of politics you can specialise in, including: 

  • International relations 
  • Political philosophy 
  • Political economy 
  • Conflict 
  • Human rights 
  • Social theories of justice 
  • Comparative politics

Benefits of studying politics

Studying politics at university looks at how power is handled and who holds the power. It involves theory, history, international relations and the study of governments around the world. 

Political studies in the UK and Europe is particularly fascinating with the current political landscape. 

There are a number of benefits to studying an undergraduate degree in politics:

Fast-changing discipline

The world is constantly changing and political power can shift for many reasons, such as social or economic issues or frustration with the current government.

Gain an international perspective

Political studies covers international relations and compares systems of government, encouraging a broad and balanced world view.

Develop transferable skills

A politics degree is intellectually challenging and develops key skills such as debating, problem solving, critical thinking and a level of self-awareness.

Take a critical view of the world

Become a reflective global citizen, able to understand the advantages and disadvantages of different political systems and how conflict arises.

Why study politics at Durham University?

World leading research underpins politics degrees at the School of Government and International Affairs at Durham University. Benefit from an engaging learning environment that relates political science to the real world and a subject that is currently ranked 9th in the UK (Complete University Guide 2020).

Politics students gain a solid foundation in the subject, covering three key streams: Political Thought, Political Institutions and International Relations. You will be part of an intellectual environment, learning through a combination of lectures, tutorials, seminars, research-based group work and self-directed learning. 

As a student at the University, you can also join the Politics and International Relations Society. It provides a great opportunity to meet friends and join in debates with people who share your passion.

Key skills from studying politics

Studying computer science will give you a range of transferable skills that are desired by future employers:

  • Research
  • Teamworking
  • Communication
  • Critical analysis

What politics degree can I study at Durham University?

If you are interested in politics courses at Durham University, a good option would be BA (Hons) Politics. If you have an interest in studying more than one subject, you could choose a Joint Honours degree such as BA (Hons) Philosophy, Politics and Economics.

During the BA (Hons) Politics course, you will study a mix of compulsory modules to provide a general understanding of politics and research, plus optional modules you can choose from. Modules may include: political theory, democratic political systems, international theory and global political economy.

As a politics student, you will be part of the School of Government and International Affairs and have access to the University Library. Here you will find an excellent collection of politics resources, specialised research collections and computing facilities.

Degree preparation at the International Study Centre

The International Foundation Year in Humanities, Law and Social Science can prepare you for a degree in politics. Through a mix of core modules and designated modules related to your degree, you will develop the English language and academic skills needed for the challenges of undergraduate study.

Political degree jobs

If you are wondering what you can do with a politics degree, you may be thinking about going in to central or local government. Degrees can also lead to Civil Service, charity work, research and even journalism and PR. You could also choose to further your studies with a Masters degree.

Jobs related to a politics degree include:

  • Charities fundraiser
  • Government research officer 
  • Journalist 
  • Politician’s assistant 
  • Public affairs consultant / lobbyist
  • Public relations officer 
  • Solicitor

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is a politics degree useful?

A politics degree can be useful as it provides a deep understanding of political systems, policies, and international relations, which can be applied to careers in government, public administration, journalism, research, and more.

What are my career options if I study politics?

Studying politics opens up various career options, including working in government, policy analysis, political consulting, non-profit organizations, journalism, and more.

What is the highest paying job in politics?

The highest paying jobs in politics can vary depending on factors such as location, experience, and specific roles, but positions such as high-level government officials, political strategists, and consultants often offer high salaries.

Note: Salary information is sourced externally. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the salary ranges.