Becoming an agent of change and reform
Source: Jagiellonian University

With a multitude of global issues at the forefront collective consciousness, it’s no surprise that young people are seeking skills that make a difference.

From ongoing famine in Yemen, to the Latin American Migrant Caravan making its way to the US border, ongoing Brexit negotiations and the Brazilian President accelerating climate change, many parts of the world are in social and political turmoil.

The fresh perspective of the young generation may be just what it takes to tackle these issues, combining an interdisciplinary approach with a global outlook.

If you’re already armed with passion, what you need is relevant depth of knowledge, training and direction that comes from studying in a research-rich faculty with experienced staff and strong alumni links.

Luckily, many schools throughout Europe offer exciting, interdisciplinary courses in the realm of Politics and International Development, equipping you with the tools needed to pursue a successful career and become an agent of change.

We’ve chosen five of the best universities to inspire you on the quest for change.

Whether you want to specialise in policy making, global development or security, you’ll find a course among this list to help you achieve your goals and help heal the world.


Located in Krakow, Poland’s cultural and academic capital, this reputable, interdisciplinary faculty is the perfect place to foster your desire for learning.

Conducted in English, the faculty’s 20 programmes include the BA in International Relations and Area Studies (IRAS) and the BA in Global and Development Studies (GLAD).

IRAS is a unique programme, blending knowledge of different disciplines with the social sciences and humanities to help students understand the complexity of today’s world. GLAD is an interdisciplinary programme, equipping students with an in-depth understanding of globalisation within various spheres of human activity.

Source: Jagiellonian University

Thanks to a long-lasting cooperation with international partners, the Faculty’s Centre for European Studies offers BA in European Studies and double and joint degree Master programmes, giving the students a unique opportunity to study in different countries and obtain degrees from two or more top universities from around the world.

The faculty recognises that current global problems have increased urgent demand for specialists and strategists, creating more specific MA programmes – like the MA in International Security and Development (ISAD) and the MA in TransAtlantic Studies (TAS) –  in response.  ISAD combines a cutting-edge academic experience with a practice of two closely interwoven realms. TAS is designed to provide students with knowledge of contemporary global affairs from the transatlantic point of view.


The Faculty of Social Sciences at the world-class University of Helsinki educates experts who understand social phenomena, placing them in a historical and social context.

If you choose to study the Masters in Global Politics and Communication, you’ll deal with questions such as how do global transformations affect democratic politics? Or what is the role of the media in the transformation of contemporary democracies?

You’ll explore why economic activities result in global and national financial crises, and how governance affects organisations and communication, as well as political and economic activity.

The study of Social and Public Policy at the University of Helsinki is based on the university’s research in social and public policy. It focuses on poverty, sustainable welfare, unemployment and obstacles to employment, health differences, aging, and social scientific disability studies. You can study both a bachelor’s and a master’s in Social Research.

In terms of Political Science, Helsinki bases this discipline on a pluralist philosophy and encompasses empirical statistical research, as well as social criticism and interpretive research that applies more recent approaches.

The faculty offers a wide range of graduate and postgraduate courses in Political Science, instilling you with all the skills needed to take the next step.


The International Institute of Social Studies at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, Netherlands, offers an exciting MA in Development Studies, designed for those wishing to start or continue their professional careers in the area of development.

This masters offers you the opportunity to specialise in an array of relevant fields such as Agrarian, Food and Environmental Studies, Human Rights, Gender and Conflict Studies: Social Justice Perspectives and Migration and Diversity Track, to name a few.

So, whether you’re interested in how food is produced and distributed around the world, or migration patterns and how they can be better managed – whatever your particular interest, you’ll be able to pursue it at Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Source” Erasmus University Rotterdam

Alternatively, you could go down the International Relations & Politics track, where you’ll gain great depth of understanding in global affairs by focusing on the way states interact with each other, citizens and regional or global political organisations in an increasingly interdependent world.

Considering the changeable nature of governance processes at all levels, this interdisciplinary major familiarises students with the sub-fields of International Relations, Comparative Politics, Public Administration and Political Theory.

EUR maintains an excellent reputation in both student feedback and international university rankings. It’s an institution proud to consistently rank in the top two percent of the world’s best universities, so why not choose to learn how to make a difference at Erasmus University Rotterdam?


The vibrant School of Politics and International Studies (POLIS) at the University of Leeds, UK, provides academic tuition and theoretical training, allowing you to explore current challenges of society and help you on your way to solving them.

The university ranks in the top 50 in the world for Development Studies and offers a plethora of undergraduate, masters and research degrees to help you begin or enhance your career.

You can choose to go broad in your studies with a Global Development MA, or you could choose to specialise in Africa, Education or Gender, among more.

If you know the specific direction you’d like for your career, choosing a more specialised course will set you apart from other graduates and give you a deep understanding of your chosen field.

With specialist courses in Global Governance and Diplomacy MA, Conflict, Development and Security MA and Security, Terrorism and Insurgency MA, University of Leeds has got postgraduate studies covered.

With graduates now pursuing careers in politics, the civil service, the media, non-governmental organisations and international organisations such as the UN and World Bank, employment opportunities for Leeds graduates are vast.

Plus you’ll have access to an extensive alumni network to help you on your way!


QMUL is located in London, a global hub for business and politics. It teaches and researches international relations from an exciting perspective, covering everything from the traditional to the emerging.

For example, the school focuses on the politics of the Global South, in terms of the interface between development and security. Exploring public policy through different scales: local, European, and Global, and combining academic rigour and real life practitioners to research and teach British politics.

Source: Queen Mary University London

Postgraduate students at QMU study in this dynamic and expanding research environment, with the opportunity to participate in workshops on key skills, and the added benefit of unique seminars and events made possible by the university’s metropolitan and politically-significant location.

With flexible options for course durations and study modes, you can choose from master’s courses such as International Public Policy MSc and International Relations MA as well as a wide variety of undergraduate courses, where you can combine politics with other disciplines such as languages or Law.

With an exciting programme of careers events – including networking with key employers and successful alumni – QMUL will be a key stepping stone to achieving your career goals.

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International

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