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Five Reasons to Study Politics at University 

10th June 2019

Politics, in its broadest sense, is the activity through which people make and amend the general rules under which they live.

It’s exciting to study because people disagree – sometimes fiercely and violently – about what these rules should be. Who should get what? Who should have power in society? How, indeed, should these powerful people make the decisions which affect the rest of us?

If this sounds interesting to you, then you may be suited to studying Politics at university. Here are five reasons students choose Politics.   

I voted badges

1. UNDERSTAND THE WORLD YOU LIVE IN   

Donald Trump and Vladamir Putin Russian Dolls.

Studying Politics is exciting because it stubbornly refuses to standstill.

Indeed, we appear to be living in a world where the pace of change has increased – where ideas and institutions which were familiar are quickly disappearing, and new social movements are growing.

Just look at the shock victory of President Trump in America, Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, and the quick ascent of President Macron in France, to name but a few tumultuous political events.

But while they have left many citizens of the world confused, students of Politics can better understand the trends and ideas which lead them to come about.

Did you know, for example, that while Donald Trump is new on the political scene, an American President in the 1980s won on the platform to ‘Make America Great Again’ – Ronald Reagan.  

2. UNDERSTAND HOW TO CHANGE THE WORLD YOU LIVE IN   

In the past decade we have seen the growth of a whole range of groups looking to bring about social change.

For example, we’ve seen an upsurge in ethnic nationalism, the growth of feminism, the rise of civil rights groups like ‘Black Lives Matter’, and a bump in environmental ‘green’ movements.

Being a student of Politics doesn’t just mean learning about existing structures and institutions – for some students it gives them the knowledge and motivation to try to change society in ways they see as beneficial.

So along with studying at university, you may be interested in the student activism too.  

Protesters in pink hats

3. IMPROVE YOUR PUBLIC SPEAKING 

Theresa May giving speech at lecturn

Studying Politics at university can involve a lot of public speaking – whether you’re just answering a couple of questions in class, or joining in with an active debating society.

Being able to masterfully deliver a message, and convince others of your point of view, is an invaluable life skill.

You may choose to put this skill to work by becoming a Politician yourself, learning how to inspire others and provoke social change.

But even if you don’t become a politician, the ability to be articulate and present well is highly valued in business and in the workplace more generally. 

4. GET BETTER AT ARGUING 

As mentioned above, Politics is exciting because people disagree.

Studying it will give you plenty of practice in putting your point across, and indeed responding and criticising the points made by others.

There is surely an art in debating. If this interests you, you may want to look more into the Oxford Union debating society, which has existed since 1823.

Alongside student debates, it has hosted Presidents and Prime Ministers through the ages. (Students on the Oxbridge International Summer School debate in the chamber too – and you can read more about our trips and activities here).   

Student at Oxford Union for debate

5. DO ALMOST ANYTHING AFTER GRADUATING 

Studying Politics will equip you with lots of transferable skills – including critical thinking, time management, and verbal and written communication.

Once you graduate, this will make you an attractive prospect for employers from a range of different sectors.

Graduates in Politics may go on to work in journalism, marketing, research, finance, communications, or in the charity sector.

Indeed, Politics courses are often set up to be broad – giving students the option of studying modules which are linked to what they want to do post-University. The world is your oyster!

So, if this all sounds interesting to you, what can you do next?

Research a little more into Politics courses offered by the universities you’re interested in. Maybe purchase an introductory book on Politics to have a read through – you’ll soon be able to tell whether this is a subject you’ll want to study.

If you’d like to learn more about the preparatory course the Oxbridge International Summer School offers in Politics, you can click here.