Is doing a degree in politics the best way to get into a politics related job?

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Ruth_b
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I've been looking at politics courses at universities such as Warwick and Sheffield as well as less conventional courses such as Politics, Philosophy and Law at Kings. However lots of people that land politics-related apprenticeships tend to have studied other subjects such as Law. Does anyone have an first-hand experience or advice on this? Thanks :-)
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Origami Bullets
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Politics and parliamentary studies at Leeds / British politics and legislative studies at Hull are fantastic launchpads as they are degrees with internships.

You can get involved with party politics (eg Labour Students and Conservative Future) regardless of your degree subject.

Tbh there are a lot of ways into politics, but ultimately much of it comes down to the contacts that you make whilst you're at uni, not your specific degree subject.

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jelly1000
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(Original post by Ruth_b)
I've been looking at politics courses at universities such as Warwick and Sheffield as well as less conventional courses such as Politics, Philosophy and Law at Kings. However lots of people that land politics-related apprenticeships tend to have studied other subjects such as Law. Does anyone have an first-hand experience or advice on this? Thanks :-)
Well it depends what political careers you are looking at. Obviously to be an MP you need to be elected, the degree subject is irrelevant. To be an MP's assistant again the degree subject doesn't matter, same with the civil service (except the economics and social research streams) and local government. People working in think tanks tend to have Political related degrees or have studied languages but mostly doing a Politics degree won't help you any more than studying any other degree.
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i-love-coffee
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(Original post by Ruth_b)
I've been looking at politics courses at universities such as Warwick and Sheffield as well as less conventional courses such as Politics, Philosophy and Law at Kings. However lots of people that land politics-related apprenticeships tend to have studied other subjects such as Law. Does anyone have an first-hand experience or advice on this? Thanks :-)
I agree with the other poster that it's really the contacts you make at university rather than the actual degree course. Studying politics will give you a good starting point in job interviews as to why your interested.. but then again for example half of lawyers don't have law related degrees. Just study a subject you love so that you'll get a good grade and focus on the extra-curricular/work experience and contact building.
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jelly1000
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(Original post by i-love-coffee)
I agree with the other poster that it's really the contacts you make at university rather than the actual degree course. Studying politics will give you a good starting point in job interviews as to why your interested.. but then again for example half of lawyers don't have law related degrees. Just study a subject you love so that you'll get a good grade and focus on the extra-curricular/work experience and contact building.
they do the Law diploma instead though so not the best example but yeah I agree with the rest of what your saying
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StretfordEnd
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First off, PPE isn't really 'less conventional'. True, there are a smaller number of Universities at which it's offered, but they are generally very, very good Unis. The corridors of power at Westminster are packed to the rafters with PPE graduates. Edit: Sorry, just noticed you said Politics, Philosophy and Law rather than Politics, Philosophy and Economics. My bad!

I'm a mature applicant. I've been working for the past 7 years and when looking at 'getting into' politics, I had a look at what options I had without a degree but ultimately I came to the conclusion that a degree was going to set me up in a much more beneficial way.

To put things into perspective, I couldn't even any voluntary work in an MP (or Welsh Assembly member's constituency office) because there were current Uni students on their summer break requesting the same thing; and the office managers were basically saying 'Well, this guy's doing a Politics degree - he needs it more than you).

To the people saying it's who you meet rather than what you study - I sort of agree. I'm starting University this September and I'm a strong candidate; but I wasn't interested in Warwick or Durham despite them being very good social science Unis because I thought opportunities would be limited compared to living and studying in London/Leeds/Manchester etc etc.

That said, the course matter is important. Of course it is. History, Classics, English or Law all teach/require a 'similar' skillset to something like Politics or IR, and they're generally regarded as good degrees - but if you had one of those and you applied for a job in Westminster, or a constituency office, or for a think tank and you were equal to a candidate with a Politics degree - they're likely to pick the other guy if we're being honest!
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User1248243
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(Original post by Origami Bullets)
Politics and parliamentary studies at Leeds / British politics and legislative studies at Hull are fantastic launchpads as they are degrees with internships.

You can get involved with party politics (eg Labour Students and Conservative Future) regardless of your degree subject.

Tbh there are a lot of ways into politics, but ultimately much of it comes down to the contacts that you make whilst you're at uni, not your specific degree subject.

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(Original post by jelly1000)
Well it depends what political careers you are looking at. Obviously to be an MP you need to be elected, the degree subject is irrelevant. To be an MP's assistant again the degree subject doesn't matter, same with the civil service (except the economics and social research streams) and local government. People working in think tanks tend to have Political related degrees or have studied languages but mostly doing a Politics degree won't help you any more than studying any other degree.
(Original post by i-love-coffee)
I agree with the other poster that it's really the contacts you make at university rather than the actual degree course. Studying politics will give you a good starting point in job interviews as to why your interested.. but then again for example half of lawyers don't have law related degrees. Just study a subject you love so that you'll get a good grade and focus on the extra-curricular/work experience and contact building.
(Original post by jelly1000)
they do the Law diploma instead though so not the best example but yeah I agree with the rest of what your saying
(Original post by StretfordEnd)
First off, PPE isn't really 'less conventional'. True, there are a smaller number of Universities at which it's offered, but they are generally very, very good Unis. The corridors of power at Westminster are packed to the rafters with PPE graduates. Edit: Sorry, just noticed you said Politics, Philosophy and Law rather than Politics, Philosophy and Economics. My bad!

I'm a mature applicant. I've been working for the past 7 years and when looking at 'getting into' politics, I had a look at what options I had without a degree but ultimately I came to the conclusion that a degree was going to set me up in a much more beneficial way.

To put things into perspective, I couldn't even any voluntary work in an MP (or Welsh Assembly member's constituency office) because there were current Uni students on their summer break requesting the same thing; and the office managers were basically saying 'Well, this guy's doing a Politics degree - he needs it more than you).

To the people saying it's who you meet rather than what you study - I sort of agree. I'm starting University this September and I'm a strong candidate; but I wasn't interested in Warwick or Durham despite them being very good social science Unis because I thought opportunities would be limited compared to living and studying in London/Leeds/Manchester etc etc.

That said, the course matter is important. Of course it is. History, Classics, English or Law all teach/require a 'similar' skillset to something like Politics or IR, and they're generally regarded as good degrees - but if you had one of those and you applied for a job in Westminster, or a constituency office, or for a think tank and you were equal to a candidate with a Politics degree - they're likely to pick the other guy if we're being honest!
What kind of contacts would you need? Care to give examples of types?
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StretfordEnd
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(Original post by Guren)
What kind of contacts would you need? Care to give examples of types?
Well, to use the PPS degree that Origami Bullets mentioned (I applied for it but was unsuccessful - they had over 250 applicants for 12 places this year). In your third year on that degree, you work in an MP's Westminter office for either a full year or for 6 months, with the other half being spent in Ottawa working for the Canadian Senate or in DC working for Congress.

IMO, that makes PPS one of the best degrees in the land because the opportunities there are fantastic. If you chose to work in an MP's Westminster office for an entire academic year, there's no way he doesn't know who you are when you leave; and I'd imagine there have been no small amount of people who have walked into a job as soon as they graduated because they had an MP pulling some strings to find them a job.

In a more holistic sense, if you are studying Politics or similar at a prestigious/highly ranked University, your classmates and friends will be in a similar position as you - intelligent, ambitious people who will be moving in the same world as you for most of your working life. Look at the top tier of Politics today (and this is true of the 'behind the scenes' power as well as those in the public eye) you find that many of the big 'players' were very involved in their student unions or with the NUS etc.

Lastly, what I mentioned about living in a big city, it's just a question of common sense. I know a lot of people will want to return home over Summer, but if you did want to do an internship with a big bank, a law firm, a think tank or whatever you will have more opportunities for almost anything in a big city; there are even, for example, more constituencies and thus more MPS. That was my primary motivation in choosing London, Manchester and Leeds for all my choices!
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i-love-coffee
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(Original post by Guren)
What kind of contacts would you need? Care to give examples of types?
- Joining your universities politics society: means you will get involved with local political issues. You'll most likely meet local MPs/notable people. You'll also become good friends with people who may end up in political careers later and thus can call on them for help!

- Just your fellow students: e.g. a girl in my flat was an aspiring accountant and another girls dad was high up in a big firm. Connections always help.

- Your lecturers: often established in their field; get on their good side, they may end up taking you to political events or letting you know about them.

- Recruitment events: at humanities recruitment events you get the opportunity to meet recruiters like the civil service and make connections.

I'm sure theres more but that's just a couple I can think off
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Origami Bullets
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(Original post by Guren)
What kind of contacts would you need? Care to give examples of types?
- internships with MPs, think tanks, campaign organisations
- student politics - standing for election in the SU elections, and getting involved with organisations like Labour Students
- campaigning on a suitable matter
- lecturers - they very often have contacts in the "real world"
etc.
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User1248243
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(Original post by StretfordEnd)
Well, to use the PPS degree that Origami Bullets mentioned (I applied for it but was unsuccessful - they had over 250 applicants for 12 places this year). In your third year on that degree, you work in an MP's Westminter office for either a full year or for 6 months, with the other half being spent in Ottawa working for the Canadian Senate or in DC working for Congress.

IMO, that makes PPS one of the best degrees in the land because the opportunities there are fantastic. If you chose to work in an MP's Westminster office for an entire academic year, there's no way he doesn't know who you are when you leave; and I'd imagine there have been no small amount of people who have walked into a job as soon as they graduated because they had an MP pulling some strings to find them a job.

In a more holistic sense, if you are studying Politics or similar at a prestigious/highly ranked University, your classmates and friends will be in a similar position as you - intelligent, ambitious people who will be moving in the same world as you for most of your working life. Look at the top tier of Politics today (and this is true of the 'behind the scenes' power as well as those in the public eye) you find that many of the big 'players' were very involved in their student unions or with the NUS etc.

Lastly, what I mentioned about living in a big city, it's just a question of common sense. I know a lot of people will want to return home over Summer, but if you did want to do an internship with a big bank, a law firm, a think tank or whatever you will have more opportunities for almost anything in a big city; there are even, for example, more constituencies and thus more MPS. That was my primary motivation in choosing London, Manchester and Leeds for all my choices!
(Original post by i-love-coffee)
- Joining your universities politics society: means you will get involved with local political issues. You'll most likely meet local MPs/notable people. You'll also become good friends with people who may end up in political careers later and thus can call on them for help!

- Just your fellow students: e.g. a girl in my flat was an aspiring accountant and another girls dad was high up in a big firm. Connections always help.

- Your lecturers: often established in their field; get on their good side, they may end up taking you to political events or letting you know about them.

- Recruitment events: at humanities recruitment events you get the opportunity to meet recruiters like the civil service and make connections.

I'm sure theres more but that's just a couple I can think off
(Original post by Origami Bullets)
- internships with MPs, think tanks, campaign organisations
- student politics - standing for election in the SU elections, and getting involved with organisations like Labour Students
- campaigning on a suitable matter
- lecturers - they very often have contacts in the "real world"
etc.
Thanks guys
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