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Published: 01 November 2018

Five reasons to study politics and international relations at Surrey

We spoke to subject leaders for our politics and international relations degree programmes about what makes our degrees different, and the secret behind our graduates’ success.

student discussion during class

1. Innovative teaching

Studying politics at Surrey puts you at the heart of a small, dynamic community of staff and students. We provide seminar-focused teaching based on a combination of systematic study and interactive discussion and debate, promoting your critical thinking, decision-making and communication skills.

We’ll develop your practical skills through innovative classes and research labs, such as organising an election campaign, running political scenarios through social media, and debating topics from a diverse range of viewpoints. Our teaching is focused on challenging you and encouraging you to develop your own ideas and the skills you’ll need to succeed after graduating.

2. Collaborative and international links

We are actively involved with politics at a local, national and international level. The department holds events around the year including hustings for general and council elections, round table discussions and public lectures. To reflect the ever-changing political environment, we hold regular events focused on current and topical political issues. Recent examples have included presentations featuring the Catalonian Independence Referendum and Hong Kong democracy activists.

We frequently invite guest speakers from all sides of the political spectrum and international scene to talk on relevant and ongoing political matters.  Guest speakers in the past have included the Australian High Commissioner, the UN special envoy to Somalia, former Leader of the Liberal Democrats Lord Paddy Ashdown, and political activists such as Gina Miller,as well as live link up events with residents of #notinyname activists from Kabul.

3. Professional Training placements

Many students take advantage of Surrey’s renowned Professional Training placement programme, which enables them to get a year’s valuable work experience. By doing a Professional Training placement, you’ll get the opportunity to experience first-hand how politics operates in the real world, such as a voluntary sector organisation, a government or local authority department, an MP’s office or an international organisation. Many of our students also choose to use our international network of Professional Training placement providers to work or study overseas.

The department will give you plenty of support in securing the right placement and during your time there. Many of our students also go on to receive a graduate job offer from their placement. Our recent students have undertaken placements at organisations including the House of Commons, the European Chamber of Commerce, Metropolitan Police, British Embassy, The Walt Disney Company, Virgin Media, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Unilever, British Airways and Eli Lilly UK. Our students have also work and study placements around the world from Europe to Brazil, Singapore, Australia and the United States of America.

4. Cutting-edge research in the classroom

All members of the Department of Politics are research-active, and bring cutting edge expertise and their research agendas into the classroom. Our wide selection of modules reflects not only current affairs, but also the current research projects of our staff ensuring that you’ll learn from internationally-recognised academics who are at the forefront of their respective fields who are passionate about what they teach.

In your final year, you’ll also have the opportunity to get first-hand experience with the internationally-renowned political research going on at Surrey by taking part in research labs and presenting your findings at our international research seminars.

5. Graduate destinations

Studying Politics and International Relations at Surrey opens up a huge range of career opportunities, not only for government agencies, but also in areas such as journalism, market research and public opinion research, banking, law and policy analysis for international, private sector organisations.

Our graduates have gone on to work for organisations such as the House of Commons, the Latsis Foundation, Deutsche Bank, Department for Education, Wells Fargo, GfK Global, Westminster Forum Projects, Menzies Corporate Finance, the Department for Transport, Serco Ltd. and Ipsos Mori.