Understand and address the key issues facing our country, and the wider world.

Politics allows us to understand how governments, policies, and international relations work. Many important questions or global challenges, like human rights issues, poverty, equality, and welfare, can be addressed through an understanding of this topic.

A degree in politics can lead to a career in many different sectors. If you become an MP, you could represent your constituents, and progress to party whip or leader, a committee chair, cabinet minister, or even prime minister! Or you could work in business, diplomacy, the civil service. or human resources, among other things.

The impact you could make
  • Vote on new laws or policies that you’re passionate about, and be a voice for your constituents on the issues that affect them.
  • Undertake political research to better understand an issue and bring about effective change where it’s needed on a local, national, and global scale.
  • Be an advocate for diversity, innovation, and progress in the UK and the wider global environment.
What you could study
  • Understanding politics
  • Introduction to political theory
  • Understanding international relations
  • Global history
  • Pathways to political research
  • Political and economic data analysis
  • Emerging powers in a changing world

Study options

Options to study in this field include:

Chat to a current politics student

Chat to a current politics student using UniBuddy.

Some conversation starters for you:

  1. Ask which modules they really enjoyed.
  2. Find out how easy it was for them to make friends on their course.
  3. Do they have any tips on your personal statement?
  4. Did they do anything to prep for uni before they went?
  5. Are there books, podcasts or YouTube channels they would recommend?

Chat to students powered by Unibuddy

Start your search now

Get your UCAS Hub

Your place to discover your options and research your future.

Sign up today
Example module
"Global Political Economy – I got to research the Middle East and learn about their fascinating contributions to the world. I also thoroughly enjoyed International Economics, learning about trade theories, and understanding how countries trade."
Second year politics student, University of Sheffield
Example assignment
"For Media and Politics, we produced a live one-hour radio broadcast slot on an issue we chose in class. Examples are climate change, gender and ethnicity and immigration. We combined the theories we'd learnt and made it relevant to the topic."
Second year political and international relations student, University of Reading

Third year international relations student, University of East Anglia

I get to pick for each module the theories that I am most interested in to do in my assessments. It is a versatile subject that can be applied to many different topics, so I always stay interested. I often find when I am listening to the news, I hear about things I learned in class.

Subjects it's useful to have studied first

Some politics courses or apprenticeships will have requirements for previous qualifications in certain subjects. Entry requirements vary, so always check with the provider.

Hard skills you'll develop
  • Negotiation
  • Effective debating
  • Data analysis
Soft skills you'll develop
  • Written and verbal communication
  • Empathy
  • Listening skills
  • Leadership
  • Logic and reasoning

Careers: Where it can take you

Find out more about your career prospects from studying politics. The following information is based on a typical elected representative role.

Available jobs
12,258 vacancies in the past year
5.01% growth over next eight years
Average salary
Up to £143,081

Career options

What is a… political risk analyst?

You may not have heard of a political risk analyst, but they advise governments and businesses on the current political climate. They may assess things like economic conditions, crime and security (including cyber security), government stability, risk of conflict, and human rights or humanitarian issues. The information they provide will be used by organisations in the public or private sector to inform their decision- and policy-making or business interests. As a political risk analyst, you could focus on a specific geographical region, issue, or sector. 

Getting in: Entry requirements

Find out more about what you'll need to study politics at university or as an apprenticeship.

Average requirements for undergraduate degrees

Entry requirements differ between university and course, but this should give you a guide to what is usually expected from politics applicants.

A levels
Scottish Highers
Other Level 3/6 qualifications (e.g. Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma) may be accepted as an alternative

Considering an apprenticeship?

Applying for an apprenticeship is just like applying for a normal job. Here’s what you need to know:
  1. Deadline

    Apprenticeships don't follow the same deadlines as applying to uni, the deadline is down to the employer.
  2. Where to apply

    You apply directly through the employer.
  3. No limits

    You're not restricted to one apprenticeship application; you can do as many as you like.
  4. Apply to university and apprenticeships

    There's nothing stopping you applying to university through UCAS, while also applying for apprenticeship vacancies.
  5. Find out more

Explore further

Go deeper into topics around politics with the following:


  1. The Rest Is Politics podcast

    This podcast is hosted by Rory Stewart and Alistair Campbell, two presenters from opposing sides of the political spectrum, who discuss politics and ‘disagree agreeably’. A fun and engaging way to understand the world of politics. 
  2. The West Wing

    Get an insight into the White House's inner workings to see how the political landscape in the USA differs to that of the UK with this acclaimed drama.
  3. Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs)

    If you want to really get an in-depth snapshot of UK politics then you can watch (or listen to) Prime Minister’s Questions every Wednesday lunchtime, when MPs put their questions to the Prime Minister in the House of Commons. 
  4. BBC News – Politics

    The Politics section of the BBC News website has up-to-date news articles and features about UK and foreign politics. 
70% of students
would recommend politics to others, based on their experience of the subject so far
(UCAS subject guide survey 2023)

Application advice

Whether it's personal statement tips or what to write in a cover letter for an apprenticeship application, our application advice will help you get ahead in your politics journey.
Skills, experiences, and interests to mention
  • Show your understanding and enthusiasm for politics. What books, TV shows, podcasts, etc. do you consume, and what have you gleaned from them that made you want to study this subject further?
  • Have you been involved in any politics clubs in your community or at school, like a steering group or youth parliament, and what have they taught you about the skills needed for politics, like listening skills, diplomacy, and an understanding of the world around us?
  • Studying politics also involves skills like critical thinking and analysis, and an interest in social justice, morals, and ethics. Is there a relevant book or movement you can critique that shows you understand the requirements of a politics degree?
  • Think about your hobbies and part-time jobs, too, and how they have helped you foster good communication skills, or a better understanding of the lives of others.

Personal statement builder

Try our tool.

Get help structuring your statement.

Sign up today