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Published: 17 May 2017

What can you do with a degree in politics?

Graduating with a degree in politics doesn’t necessarily mean spending your career on the front bench. A degree in politics or international relations can open the door to a wealth of career opportunities. Read on to discover how the skills you learn throughout a politics degree can help you find work in a wide range of exciting and rewarding careers.

Are you tempted to pursue your passion for politics with a degree, but unsure of what career opportunities await you on the other side?

Graduates of politics or international relations are not confined within the walls of Parliament. Discover below how the skills you gain from a politics degree could help you excel in a wide range of careers; some of which may surprise you.

What skills will a politics degree teach me?

As a student studying for a degree in politics or international relations you will develop impressive critical thinking, analysis, reflection and research skills. You will also greatly improve your communication, negotiation and problem solving abilities. The international perspective you gain whilst studying politics is invaluable, and you are sure to take it with you throughout the rest of your personal and professional life.

“I have developed so many skills, from organisation, independence and time management to analytical and critical thinking. I was able to apply the knowledge I had learnt during my degree to a work environment and I am now aware of all the different professional opportunities I can go into once I graduate.”

Beatriz Marques, BSc International Politics

Politics students also gain a range of vital employability skills alongside degree-specific skills. These highly transferable skills include time management, organisation and self-management, as well as attention to detail and good written English. Politics students are also able to understand a wide range of viewpoints and effectively debate important issues. These are all skills which are highly valued by employers and can be beneficial in a variety of roles.

What job can I get with a degree in Politics?

Politics and international relations graduates are arguably most qualified for careers in areas such as:

  • Civil service
  • Public affairs
  • Public relations
  • Social research
  • Government research
  • Government administration/secretarial

“I like the variety of areas you can discover on this Politics degree as it has opened me up to new things. I enjoy the political philosophy lectures but also the more practical side in public policy. I feel through coming here, it has given me a head start to a promising career in Politics."

George Guven, BSc Politics

However, as a graduate of a politics and international relations degree you may find that the knowledge and skills you gain will allow you to pursue other, perhaps unexpected, career paths.

Unexpected career paths for politics graduates

Charitable sector

If you have a passion for helping others, a career in the charitable sector could put your degree in politics to good use.

Political knowledge and insight is highly beneficial when working for non-for-profit organisations, as you may be required to lobby government and other policymakers on behalf of your cause. As a politics graduate, your strong communication and organisation skills will also aid you in the marketing and public relations side of a career in the charitable sector.

HR

As a politics graduate you’ll undoubtedly be familiar with various aspects of government policy. This level of understanding is sure to aid you in the development and implementation of HR policies - relating to the effective use of staff in an organisation.

Your critical analysis, reflection, communication and problem solving skills will be highly beneficial in a HR role, particularly roles concerning staff welfare and those that involve administration, strategy and planning. If you are a politics graduate who enjoys helping and working with a variety of people, a career in HR could be the right choice for you.

Marketing

Politics is all about people, power and influence, and the world of marketing isn’t a far stretch from that. Once you’ve changed your focus to influencing people as consumers, and not voters, a career in this exciting area seems a much more natural step for a politics graduate.

Your outstanding communication and negotiation skills will make you a strong candidate for roles in this exciting field. Additionally, your critical analysis, research and organisation skills will be invaluable in understanding marketing data, and conceptualising and managing marketing campaigns. Every company needs a marketing presence and roles are available in most sectors, from retail and manufacturing, through to charitable and Higher Education.

Journalism

The news is constantly flooded with political stories. A career in journalism, particularly political journalism, is well-suited to a politics graduate with a passion for communication and the written word.

A degree in politics will not only give you the knowledge necessary to understand complex political issues, but will also have provided you with the outstanding communication skills necessary to report on new developments effectively. If you decide to become a journalist it will be your job to keep the nation, or even the world, informed about key stories. This will give them the knowledge they need to form their own opinions and make informed decisions.

Law

Politicians pass the laws, but it's up to the legal system to implement and uphold them. Strong research, communication and critical analysis skills give politics graduates a unique advantage when pursuing a career in law. 

Some politics graduates go on to undertake a law conversion degree after completing their undergraduate studies in order to allow them to practise law. Although it might suprise you to learn that you don’t need a degree in Law to pursue a career as a legal secretary, paralegal, law reporter, and more.

 

Here at Surrey, our degrees ranked first in the politics category of the 2015 National Student Survey, scoring 98 per cent student satisfaction for teaching and achieving a perfect 100 per cent score for overall student satisfaction.

Discover more about where a degree in politics from the University of Surrey could take you. Explore some of the top jobs our politics alumni have secured since graduating and learn more about careers and employability at Surrey, including our world-renowned Professional Training placement programme.