WHAT CAN I DO WITH A DEGREE IN POLITICS?

 

 

If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara desert, in 5 years, there’d be a shortage of sand.
Milton Friedman

INTRODUCTION

This section has been written for undergraduate and postgraduate students of Politics and related subjects at the University of Kent. It attempts to give a brief answer to the question: "What can I do with my degree?".

Students of Politics and International Relations may also find the section, "What Can I do with my Degree in International Relations?" useful.

Although your main interest may be in how to make the best use of your degree subject, there are many issues which are common to all undergraduates and postgraduates planning their careers. Some of these are covered in our Personal Development Workbooks and Employability Skills pages, which will also help you to assess your strengths, weaknesses, interests, abilities and skills in order to relate career options to you.

WHAT SKILLS HAVE I GAINED ON MY COURSE?

The study of Politics requires the ability to research and analyse information from a variety of sources, which should help you to develop skills in problem-solving and the ability to weigh arguments and to sift material. Written and verbal skills are necessary to present and discuss your opinions and conclusions in essays and seminars. All of these are qualities which are much valued by employers; in addition, your understanding of political issues, often in changing environments, can also be relevant to the world of work.

OCCUPATIONS ASSOCIATED WITH POLITICS

Administrative

Research

Communication/persuasion

Common Factors

QUOTE:

"Graduates … are no good unless they’ve got their feet on the ground. Everybody who works for me has come first to my constituency office, answered the phone to a constituent and dealt with their request for help. That’s the best training"

Simon Hughes, Liberal Democrat MP for North Southwark & Bermondsey

OCCUPATIONS WHERE A POLITICS DEGREE WOULD BE USEFUL

The following are examples of careers where Politics graduates might also find scope for using their skills or interests; for more detailed information, see the Prospects website

CAREERS OPEN TO ALL GRADUATES

What is democracy?

  • "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." Churchill
  • "Democracy means government by discussion, but it is only effective if you can stop people talking" Clement Atlee
  • "Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve" George Bernard Shaw
  • "It's not the voting that's democracy, it's the counting" Tom Stoppard

About 40% of all vacancies advertised for graduates do not ask for a specific degree subject. However, you may sometimes need postgraduate training or work experience.

Major areas of graduate recruitment include Business and Finance, Computing and IT, Education, Marketing, Public Sector Management but there are many more opportunities.

For more information on career choice and graduate opportunities generally, see the Prospects website

WHO EMPLOYS POLITICS GRADUATES?

A wide range of employers, including the Civil Service, local authorities and other public sector organisations, universities and colleges, manufacturing and commercial companies, financial institutions, solicitors' firms, publishing companies and media employers.

POSTGRADUATE STUDY

Postgraduate study may enable you to explore aspects of Politics in greater depth or to study a new subject. A further degree in Politics may also be an advantage in entering fields such as political research or consultancy.

You should consider why you want to do postgraduate work, whether it will affect your career prospects and whether you are likely to get funding. There is no equivalent of UCAS for postgraduate study, so investigate courses early, starting with the Postgraduate Study section of this website and the Prospects website.

If you are already a student on a taught Masters degree, you may wish to continue your studies by research, in the UK (at Kent or elsewhere) or overseas. Again, early planning is important. You should seek advice from your supervisor as to the possible options.

EXAMPLES OF FIRST DESTINATIONS OF POLITICS GRADUATES

Over the last three years the destinations of Politics & International Relations graduates have broken down as follows:

 

In employment

55%

Further study

28%

Time out/Unavailable

6%

Unemployed

7%

Other

4%

(Figures from HESA www.prospects.ac.uk/links/wdgd )

These statistics only cover the first six months after graduation. A significant number of graduates are, at this stage, engaged in work which they would regard as temporary - using a short-term job to gain work experience that could act as a stepping-stone to a better position, or earning money to finance postgraduate study or time out travelling, for example. Please remember this if some of the graduate destinations listed seem surprising or discouraging

Examples of jobs and postgraduate study entered by past Kent graduates in Politics /Politics and International Relations.

 

Arts, Design, Culture, and Media Sector

GV Art

Gallery Assistant

News International

Research & News Editor

Sky News

Script Assistant

Bow Tie Television

Production Office Assistant

ITV

Runner

Dod’s Parliamentary Communications

Monitoring Officer

Business and Finance Sector

BP

Supplier Quality Management Programme Manager – Global

Willis Group

Junior Insurance Broker

CMC Consulting

Financial Services Consultant

Douglas Westwood

Researcher

Royal Bank of Canada

Trader

Accenture

Junior Consultant

KPMG

Project Manager

Brit Insurance

Trainee Insurance Underwriter

Prudential

Pensions Administrator

Sky Capital UK

Stockbroker

BT

Financial Analyst

Littlejohn Frazer

Trainee Chartered Accountant

NatWest

Business Adviser

Education Sector

Primary School

Trainee Teacher

Kent Union

Sabbatical Officer

King's College London Library

Information Assistant

Information Technology Sector

NHS

IT Support Trainer

Electronic Arts

Software Tester

Red Hat (IT)

Italian Sales Representative

Marketing, Sales and Advertising Sector

Coca-Cola Enterprises

Field Sales

Frank PR

Intern

Rushdie Media

PR Assistant

Citigate Dene Rogerson

Account Executive

Neo@Ogilvy

Affiliate Account Executive

Illy Coffee

Public Relations Assistant

Grey World Wide Advertising

Management trainee

Hispec Motorsport

Advertising Executive

PKA Marketing

Marketing Consultant

Property and Construction Sector

 

Estate Agents

Trainee Negotiator

Public Sector

 

MEP

Press Officer

London Borough

HR Assistant

Home Office

Parliamentary Assistant

Kent Police

Communications Officer

British Army

Officer Cadet

Medway Council

Political Adviser/Assistant

DEFRA

Executive Officer

English Heritage

International Communications Assistant

NHS

Trainee Auditor

Immigration Service

Administration Officer

Department of Trade

Policy Officer

Dept. of Energy & Climate Change

Executive Officer

Retail Sector

Abercrombie & Fitch

Trainee Manager

Marks & Spencer

Visual Merchandising

Scientific Sector

GlaxoSmithKline

Clinical Trials Technician

Social, Welfare and Charity Sector

Aldridge Foundation

Researcher

TUC

Academy Organiser

City Church

Voluntary Youth Worker

Tourism, Sports and Leisure Sector

First Choice Holidays

Project Administrator

Transport & Logistics Sector

Dryad Maritime

Tactical Operations Officer

Air France - KLM

Pricing Analyst

Royal Mail

Trainee Operations Manager

Transport for London

Graduate trainee

OOCL Logistics

Transport Operations Manager

Postgraduate study

Nottingham Trent University

MA Broadcast Journalism

Georgetown University, Washington DC

MA Asian Studies

University of Kent

MA International Relations

University of Kent

MA International Security & Politics of Terror

Uppsala University , Sweden

MA International Studies

Ecole Politique de Paris

MA Politics-International Relations

University of Leeds

MA Global Development

LSE

MSc Global Politics

Universita di Pavia

Understanding Globalisation & Management

Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona

MA Political Science

Canterbury Christ Church

PGCE Secondary English

College of Europe, Bruges

MA Politics & Administration of the EU

LSE

MSc Media & Communications

King’s College London

MA Environment, Politics, Globalisation

BPP, London

Graduate Diploma in Law

University of York

MA - Comparative Politics.

University of Newcastle

MA Town Planning

Kings' College, London

Medicine - foundation year

Cardiff University

PG Diploma in Journalism

Central St Martin’s

MA Graphic Design

City University

PG Diploma in Nursing

 

LONGER-TERM PROSPECTS

These are some of the positions occupied by past Kent Politics graduates of an older vintage:

  • Corporate and International Banking
  • Social Worker
  • Journalist
  • NHS Manager
  • Solicitor
  • Barrister
  • Probation Officer
  • Tax Adviser
  • Head of Sponsorship – film/TV company
  • Public Relations Executive
  • Sales Manager – Whitbread
  • Housing Adviser
  • Employee Relations Manager
  • Director – fine art/antiques auction house
  • Researcher – public affairs consultancy
  • Civil Servant
  • Trainer of teachers of English as a foreign language
  • Garden Centre proprietor – former bank manager

OTHER OPTIONS

Like many graduates, you may not want to go straight into a full-time job or course when you graduate. Alternatives may include time out, voluntary work or starting your own business - but all these need thorough investigation and planning. See the AGCAS information booklets Your Degree - What Next? and Self-Employment and the reference file on "Alternatives" in the Careers Service.

FURTHER INFORMATION

 

Last fully updated 2012