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Questions for Politics and International Relations postgrads! watch

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    Hi, I'm applying for undergraduate Politics and International Relations this year, (at Aberystwyth, Warwick, Bath [with a year's work placement], Sheffield and either Nottingham or St. Andrew's). At the moment I'm most looking forward to studying political philosophy, international relations theory, strategy, foreign policy and East Asian politics.

    I've recently starting thinking a little about what I'd like to do after uni, which has got me really curious about what other people have gone on to do. I was just wondering whether anyone would mind answering some questions about their experiences of doing studying politics!

    Did you have any idea what you wanted your career to be when you did your undergraduate degree?
    What are your research interests? Are they similar to what your interests were at undergraduate level?
    What made you decide to go for a postgraduate degree? How are you funding it?
    Have you had any work experience relating to either politics or international relations? What are your plans for after you complete your masters?
    Is there anything you wish you'd known/been aware of when you first started undergraduate politics?

    Sorry for all the questions! (And I'm very sorry if I've posted this in the wrong place...) Thank you very much!
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    (Original post by mrandmr.crane)
    Did you have any idea what you wanted your career to be when you did your undergraduate degree?
    Not really - I was thinking about becoming a politics teacher afterwards but my plans changed in the middle of my undergraduate degree.

    (Original post by mrandmr.crane)
    What are your research interests? Are they similar to what your interests were at undergraduate level?
    At the moment: post-colonialism, national identity and the politics of Hong Kong. Before I started my UG degree, I was primarily interested in British politics. Somehow that changed to psephology in the middle of Year 1, before I started gaining an interest in nationalism after a research assignment in Year 2. It'll probably still change a litle more, though I feel like I'm finally starting to 'specialise' so to speak.

    (Original post by mrandmr.crane)
    What made you decide to go for a postgraduate degree? How are you funding it?
    After originally planning to do a PGCE, I was pursuaded by my tutors in Year 3 to continue studying with a view to eventually completing a PhD. It's funded partially through a departmental scholarship.

    (Original post by mrandmr.crane)
    Have you had any work experience relating to either politics or international relations? What are your plans for after you complete your masters?
    I haven't had any direct work experience within politics, though I have been able to attend sessions of Parliament and numerous lectures and research seminars led by parliamentarians and scholars working in politics and IR.

    After my MA, I'm hoping to continue on to a PhD and potentially to become a lecturer in political science.

    (Original post by mrandmr.crane)
    Is there anything you wish you'd known/been aware of when you first started undergraduate politics?
    "Those three years will fly past in no time", I didn't realise that people were being serious when they said that!

    Other than that though, I found that part of the joy of my BA was flying blind into a degree armed only with a passion for politics and a faded knowledge of the subject from A-Level. If you have a passion for what you study, you've already done half the work.

    Hope that helps, and good luck with your application.
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    Thank you, that was really interesting!
    Plus I ended up learning a new word, since I'd never heard of psephology before and had to google it...

    I feel more confident about just going with what I'm passionate about! (Often if I tell people I want to do politics they either presume I want to be an MP [which is fair enough, I guess] or say something like, 'What are you going to do with that? Isn't it sort of pointless?') So it really did help. Thanks again
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    Anymore experiences anybody'd like to share?
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    (Original post by mrandmr.crane)

    Did you have any idea what you wanted your career to be when you did your undergraduate degree?
    What are your research interests? Are they similar to what your interests were at undergraduate level?
    What made you decide to go for a postgraduate degree? How are you funding it?
    Have you had any work experience relating to either politics or international relations? What are your plans for after you complete your masters?
    Is there anything you wish you'd known/been aware of when you first started undergraduate politics?
    I don't think I really knew what I wanted my career to be - I still don't really, and I've been working for over three years now. I like my job now (public affairs) and I'm more focused on my next step than where I will be in, say, 10 years time.
    I switched from politics to IR at grad level, but I remained interested in US foreign policy.
    The biggest driver towards a postgrad was my thesis. I love writing my thesis, and wanted to do more writing. I opted not to do a PHD in the end, partly because of funding, and partly because I realised that I didn't want to be an academic.
    I have had quite a bit of work experience. I did several weeks with MPs at school, a placement at undergrad, and I worked in Parliament before I got my current job, which is still in politics.
    I think the thing to focus on when you are applying is that there are so many options, so it's important to check out course content, rather than assuming all politics degrees are the same. From experience, work placements are key to getting employment, so I guess get as much work experience as possible. The work placement in my degree was probably the best thing I ever did in terms of future employment - and probably quite key to getting into my masters.
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    (Original post by Little Jules)
    I don't think I really knew what I wanted my career to be - I still don't really, and I've been working for over three years now. I like my job now (public affairs) and I'm more focused on my next step than where I will be in, say, 10 years time.
    I switched from politics to IR at grad level, but I remained interested in US foreign policy.
    The biggest driver towards a postgrad was my thesis. I love writing my thesis, and wanted to do more writing. I opted not to do a PHD in the end, partly because of funding, and partly because I realised that I didn't want to be an academic.
    I have had quite a bit of work experience. I did several weeks with MPs at school, a placement at undergrad, and I worked in Parliament before I got my current job, which is still in politics.
    I think the thing to focus on when you are applying is that there are so many options, so it's important to check out course content, rather than assuming all politics degrees are the same. From experience, work placements are key to getting employment, so I guess get as much work experience as possible. The work placement in my degree was probably the best thing I ever did in terms of future employment - and probably quite key to getting into my masters.
    It's nice to know that you can still be happy even if you don't have your entire life totally planned out! Thank you for answering!!
    I'm sorry, I've just got one more question... Do you think that work experience is more important than how 'well-known' a university is, in terms of employment?
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    (Original post by mrandmr.crane)
    It's nice to know that you can still be happy even if you don't have your entire life totally planned out! Thank you for answering!!
    I'm sorry, I've just got one more question... Do you think that work experience is more important than how 'well-known' a university is, in terms of employment?
    There's no straightforward answer - someone looking at your CV is generally looking at the full picture, and not one single element. So, generally, it's a combination of good academics and good experience, but it will always depend on what you are applying for.
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    (Original post by Little Jules)
    There's no straightforward answer - someone looking at your CV is generally looking at the full picture, and not one single element. So, generally, it's a combination of good academics and good experience, but it will always depend on what you are applying for.
    Thank you!
 
 
 

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