Global leaders of tomorrow: Politics and International Studies
Image via Shutterstock

With the recent results of the U.S. Presidential Election, the study of politics is more important than ever. Be honest, how much do you know about politics in your own country, or even internationally? And no, watching The West Wing, Veep or House of Cards doesn’t count, though watching is a great way to get into politics. But there’s often a misconception that people who do study politics are those solely interested in running for future office.

While that has some truth, studying about politics doesn’t necessarily mean your main aim is to become a politician; there are plenty of other areas you could venture into after gaining a degree based in politics, showing just how versatile the type of degree can be. If you’re interested but still in need of convincing, allow us to share a few pointers on what brings value to a politics degree.

An education in politics provides you with transferable skills that are applicable to a broad range of fields. For those majoring in politics and international studies, a degree can provide you with international perspective and outlook on issues and policies. Not only will your degree success make you look committed and impressive, it will also open doors of opportunity regardless of which industry you join.

Intrigued to know more about politics and what earning a degree could do for your career? We’ve listed 5 of the best UK universities that will show you why an education in politics is more than a sound investment.


University of York

Image courtesy of the University of York

“Politics is always exciting,” says  Professor Martin Smith, Head of Department at York and seemingly more so now than ever with the election of Donald Trump, turbulence in the Middle East and crisis in the European Union. The University of York has a prestigious, lively and international community of students and staff – and they’re consistently rated highly for teaching and research. As the department proudly states, it is at the heart of current thinking, research and debate in politics and international relations. You’ll be taught by academics at the forefront of research in conflict and development, international politics, political theory, and the politics of many countries, from Europe to the Middle East and Africa.

The Department offers several undergraduate courses where students can tailor their degrees to suit their interests. There are also postgraduate (taught and research) degrees. For anyone interested in research, you’ve come to the right place. The Department of Politics has been ranked 8th for research quality, in the latest Research Exercise Framework (REF) and at the top for teaching amongst the Russell Group of elite Universities.

The institution also prepares students for real-world employment from the very start, teaching transferable skills, offering hands-on guidance and providing opportunities to gain work experience and study abroad. With such a well-rounded education, it’s no wonder the graduates of University of York are among the most employable.


University of Leeds

Image courtesy of the University of Leeds

Named ‘University of the Year’ by The Times’ Good University Guide 2017 and a continued feature in the top 100 of the QS world rankings, students who choose the University of Leeds can rest assured they’ve selected an institution that will prioritise their needs and help them reach their goals.

With over forty academics, the department is one of the largest in the UK, renowned for academic research that informs and boosts the staff’s teaching methods. It offers four undergraduate degrees: BA International Development, BA International Relations, BA Politics, and BA Economics and Politics. There are also an array of postgraduate taught (Masters) and research (PhD) programmes, on top of scholarships and bursaries for both local and international students who are interested in postgraduate study. The university also has a language centre that offers pre-sessional courses in general and academic English to improve your language skills before starting a course.

Studying a degree at the School of Politics and International Studies can widen your career prospects, with previous graduates proving that it’s possible to work in different fields across the globe including journalism, civil service, higher education, the European Commission or non-governmental organisations (NGOs) – we’re sure you’ll agree that the opportunities are endless!


University of Strathclyde

Image courtesy of the University of Strathclyde

Ranked 11th in the UK, the school combines acclaimed academic and applied policy research with excellent teaching programmes. Its academic courses allow students to develop their skills and critical capacities, preparing them for a wide range of careers in the public and private sector. As of now, the university allows students to combine an undergraduate degree in Politics with another subject in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, or the Strathclyde Business School.

At postgraduate level, students have three options of study: International Relations, Political Research or Public Policy. There are also opportunities to study for an MPhil or a PhD in these research areas. As one of the founding members of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR), the School of Government and Public Policy has a long history of producing world-class research. The academics within the school are recognised in their areas of expertise, having regularly published some of the top journals, and consulted for major national and international organisations.


Ranked 9th by The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017, the Politics department at the University of Exeter is among the nation’s best. The College of Social provides an exciting range of programmes at Exeter’s Streatham campus, as well as at the Cornwall campus, located close to Falmouth.

The school currently boasts several undergraduate programmes, all available with a study abroad scheme, or flexible combined-honours scheme. On top of this, the school hosts a variety of postgraduate taught and research degrees.

What sets Exeter apart from the competition is how the academic staff offer activities to help students broaden their career prospects, equipping them with skills that employers find most valuable. The university also has a Politics Student Society that frequently arranges guest speakers and networking events to provide students with invaluable experience and opportunities.

University of Exeter

Image courtesy of the University of Exeter


Within this world-class institution lies the first-rate Department of Politics, offering students a range of high-quality undergraduate and postgraduate courses, placement opportunities and exciting options for studying or working abroad. What makes Politics at the University of Bath a noteworthy choice is its vision to ensure students will be challenged and have an understanding of contemporary politics, while gaining a critical perspective towards real-world problems.

The department offers five undergraduate programmes in International Management and Modern Languages, Language and Politics, Modern Languages and European Studies, Politics with Economics, and Politics and International Relations. For those who want to further their studies after graduation, you can also pursue a postgraduate or research degree. But if you’re focused on finding a job after completing your undergraduate degree, the department offers a placement year to help strengthen your CV and increase your chances of achieving your unique career goals.

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

Liked this? Then you’ll love these…

The student guide to studying Politics & International Studies

5 world-class U.S. law schools