Why Study Politics?
Studying politics educates us on a fundamental part of our society and helps us to understand that if we engage in political processes, using the pressure points built into the system, then every individual really does have the opportunity to change the world. (A Level Politics Student)
The list of political events and personalities that have and are shaping our lives today is staggering: Brexit; Boris Johnson; Donald Trump; Scottish Independence; Party Gate. The list could go on and on. Politics is a real-world subject rooted in political systems and beliefs. It helps you to understand and prepare for the adult world in which you will live, work and make a difference.
Being informed about the political system can be very empowering and very useful in sifting out the uniformed opinion from the reasoned arguments about the way our system of government operates. It does not take sides or tell you what to think but does help you to understand the system and the parties that shape policy on all the issues that matter to young people, whether that is climate change, tuition fees or funding for public services like the NHS and mental health provision.
What will I gain from studying Politics?
Ever-evolving subject - The world of politics does not stand still, and courses are always being updated in their content and teaching methods to meet the changing political landscape. This means it will offer an interesting yet relevant education that sets them up for their future in the contemporary world.
Transferable skills - The skills they develop during a Politics course include understanding how the political system operates, critical enquiry, communication of argument, the evaluation of competing views as well as the ability to compare different political systems; all transferable skills.
Good facilitating subject - Politics dovetails nicely with many of the other A level subjects offered by the college, especially History, Economics and Geography. It even opens up the prospect of an interdisciplinary trip to Washington DC.
Good graduate prospects – For those who continue with Politics, the future is bright; students enjoy a pretty good chance of ending up in a professional job or further study within six months of graduating – although fewer end up engaged directly in politics careers than you might think.
Is Politics the right subject for me?
You need to be interested in what is going on in Britain. If you are interested to understand the politics behind Brexit, the reasons Americans cannot agree to ban guns or whether politicians really are all the same, then this subject may be for you.
If you like to watch the news and current affairs shows but wish you understood it then politics might be for you.
If you like to understand and present reasoned arguments and not just impassioned opinions when you write or engage in debate, you will do well.
It is expected that you will have achieved at least a grade 5 in English Language or History.
What will I study?
Component 1: Political Participation covering themes such as democracy and participation, political parties, electoral systems, voting behaviour and the media. Core political ideas: Conservatism Liberalism Socialism
Component 2: UK Government including the UK constitution, parliament, the prime minister and the executive, relationships between the branches including the courts.
One Non-Core topic chosen from: anarchism, ecologism, feminism, multiculturalism, nationalism.
Component 3: US Politics: the US Constitution and federalism, US Congress, US presidency, US Supreme Court and civil rights, democracy and participation
Assessment Each of the 3 component are equally weighted (33%) and are assessed by a 2-hour, 84-mark exam.
Where will it take me?
Politics graduates are typically employed by:
accountancy and banking organisations
commercial businesses - particularly within marketing departments
local and national government
Other employers include the United Nations (UN), the European Commission, the Civil Service, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), lobbying, campaigning, and voluntary organisations and the public sector in general.