Education

10 Reasons You Should Study A Politics Degree

14:57Ciaran McCormick

I have just graduated from the University of Warwick, having studied for three years in the Politics and International Studies Department. It was an incredible and challenging experience. Originally my degree choices flitted between Medicine, Law and English Literature. My eventual choice was a leap in the dark that surprised everybody. However, it was the best decision ever and I want to encourage young people to also choose Politics.

1) It has the best seminars

Unlike many other subjects, students of politics tend to hold very forceful views. This means that classes can become passionate debates. For example, in my seminars on the Politics of Religion, the tutor would ask us a question and rank our believes on a scale from 1 to 10. We would then be split into two groups fight it out to determine which side was the more persuasive.

2) The most passionate lecturers

The experts in their field are often the most excitable and enthused people to encounter. Our most memorable experience was a first year lecture on feminism delivered by a Professor in the Department. He switched from the usual lecture style to deliver a passionate statement about how his girls would grow up denied the same opportunities as boys. It was so powerful that it was met with a standing ovation.

3) You are part of one of the best student communities

Because of the engaged, critical course they study, Politics students tend to be one of the closest communities in universities. You can join political parties and student groups, make close friends and fight for endless communities. Studying politics introduces you to most of the key players in all of these groups. For example, during my time at Warwick, we held student protests against the brutal repression of student protest.



4) Learn about the world

I met people of more nationalities than I can count and now have friends from all over the world. The experiences of these people add a richness to classes that is fascinating. A Politics degree should not just be about the usual topics in Britain and the US but reach into all areas of the world.

5) Theory is fascinating

Politics goes well beyond what people on the street see on the news. Political theory can be studied in many forms, from applied courses in real issues like immigration and rights to the study of classical theorists. They all touch on fundamental conflicts in our lives. My own study of political theory inspired this blog, looking at issues in politics beyond politicians.

6) Become an interesting person

Politics is a great thing to study because you will tend to follow current affairs more closely. This will make you a more knowledgeable and interesting person. You will also ace the politics rounds of pub quizzes too.



7) It is so much better than A Level

University courses of Politics are so much better than those studied in school. The subject is unrecognisable because at university you are encouraged to think critically and thoughtfully consider the deeper tangles of politics. At A Level though, it was little more than a memory test of the most boring institutions and superficial theory.

8) It is personally challenging

The subject can force you to confront your own assumptions and re-evaluate your political positions. For example, the issue of animal rights was something that challenged me for many months before I settled on a coherent position. You may be confronted by the reality of oppression, imperialism, climate change, neoliberalism or something else that will carry uncomfortable truths.

9) Take yourself to weird and wonderful places

Politics is such a diverse array of issues that it can introduce some fascinating ideas. For example, in my first lecture of World Politics in first year, the topic was Time and Space. This mindblowing introduction terrified and amazed us. We learnt that the real world does not actually look like traditional maps, which are the product of the geopolitical order.



10) It can be an art or a science

It is a diverse subject that crosses the boundaries between the thoughtful debate of a humanities and the rigorous experimental method of the sciences. If you doubt that it can be considered scientific, check out many American political science journals filled with mathematics used to prove their theses.


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