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What jobs can you get into by studying Politics?

31st May 2019

Has there ever been a more exciting time to study Politics? From the shocking election of President Trump in America, the ongoing saga of Brexit in Britain, the rise (and fall?) of President Macron and En Marche in France, to the huge risk posed by Kim Jong-un and North Korea, there is plenty to discuss and debate.

If you’re looking to make sense of the political world at the moment, you’re not alone.

If you do choose to study Politics at university, here’s your guide to the careers which could follow.

The Houses of Parliament in London, quite near Oxford

1. Politician

Barak Obama

The most obvious choice.

A lot is said nowadays about ‘career politicians’, and not much of this is positive. Around the world populists deride and rally against ‘political elites’, who they claim have never done anything brave or interesting outside of politics.

Yet many university graduates do still choose to go into politics after studying, and lead varied and interesting careers. They stand for election as councillors, majors, and Members of Parliament (MPs).

This is especially the case when it comes to Oxford University graduates in Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE). This has been called the ‘Oxford degree that runs Britain’, in recognition of the fact that graduates in PPE make up a significant proportion of the political elite across all parties.

2. Researcher

Behind every great politician is a group of great researchers.

MPs rely on a team of parliamentary researchers who predict which issues will become important in the political world, and provide notes and briefings so they are prepared to handle them.

Parliamentary researchers may be responsible for speaking to constituents and finding out which issues are important to them. They may release statements to the media, advertising the political positions of their politicians. They will certainly have to work with a range of different people, including the general public, the media, businesses, charities, and the officers of other MPs and ministers.

Some university graduates go on to do this research relatively independent of politics and politicians. They may work in a ‘think tank’, a body of experts providing advice and ideas on specific political or economic problems.

The House of Commons in London, UK, near Oxford

3. Journalist

Rosamund Pike plays war correspondent Marie Colvin in A Private War

Behind every great politician is a group of journalists which holds them to account!

Journalists have also come under attack recently. “Fake news” has been as favourite phrase of President Trump, who has been critical of what he sees as a hostile media treating his administration unfairly. Traditional print journalism has also been in decline, with more people getting their news online and over social media.

However, many Politics graduates still go on to become journalists, writing not only on political issues but on topics like entertainment, finance, travel, sports and business.

Life as a journalist involves keeping up with news trends, researching stories, interviewing people, and then writing and editing articles. Many graduates do internships at news or media outlets as a gateway into this exciting career path.  

4. Non-Governmental Organisation (NGo) Worker

Many Politics graduates go on to work in NGOs. These are non-profit organisations which work independently of government, typically to address a social or political issue.

Working for an NGO may involve creating policy and lobbying for policy changes, or it may involve being on the front line and delivering services, such as legal advice. NGOs operate in many different areas, including immigration and human rights, homelessness, prison reform, and violence against women.

The Oxbridge International Summer School is run by a non-profit organisation, too. We work to widen participation to Oxford, Cambridge and other top universities, helping able students from disadvantaged backgrounds make strong applications.  

Mind charity logo

5. Academic 

Martin, phd student and politics tutor on our summer school

Some Politics graduates choose not to leave university after all!

They stay on to study a postgraduate degree in Politics or a similar area like International Relations, Sociology, Anthropology, Gender Studies, or Criminology.

For example, after completing an undergraduate and a Masters degree at Oxford University, our politics tutor Martin chose to stay on to complete a doctorate.

Martin’s research focuses on the politics of the European Union, especially the European Community’s Common Fisheries Policy. You can read more about Martin’s Politics course here.

Alongside their academic research, postgraduates may also go on to teach themselves at university, delivering lectures and supervising undergraduate students.

Along with the jobs highlighted here, Politics graduates take a whole variety of different career paths. University equips you with a host of transferable skills, including written communication, critical thinking, independent thought and intellectual versatility. So whether you’ve seen something on this blog that appeals to you, or you’re motivated by another career, studying Politics could be for you.

Interested in studying Politics? Read more about the Politics course on the Oxbridge International Summer School.