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Studying politics

From who rules the nation to who sleeps on the streets, politics affects every aspect of modern life, and studying the subject will help you understand why.

What is politics?

Politics describes how states and governments function, and how power works in society. Studying politics will mean looking at things like:

Political structure: how different political institutions are organised and have developed throughout history

Political theory: how concepts like liberalism and communism were created and are put into practice

International relations: how different countries interact with each other

Politics has a lot of crossover with subjects like history, economics, sociology and philosophy, and requires similar research, analytical and essay writing skills.

Where can I study politics?

Politics is available at the following levels:

Studying politics at A-level will give you a good introduction to the subject, but you don’t need to take it at A-level if you want to study politics at university. You will need good grades in facilitating subjects like English and maths, however.

Most politics degrees at university give a broad overview of the subject, although you might also be able to do a single honours degree specialising in one area like international relations. Some universities also offer Philosophy, Politics and Economics (sometimes referred to as PPE) as a single subject. You could also do a joint honours degree combining politics with another subject like law or a foreign language.

Where can it lead?

Read our article What can I do with a degree in politics? to find out about some of the career options open to you.

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