Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

What can I do with a politics degree?

A politics qualification won’t automatically get you the keys to 10 Downing Street, but it could open the doors to a wide range of careers.

Politics teaches transferable skills such as:

  • Communication
  • Critical thinking
  • The ability to construct an argument
  • Problem solving
  • Understanding complex information

These can be used in a wide range of careers including:

Politics

Politics is the obvious choice for many politics graduates. Political parties and MPs hire researchers to help devise policies and administrative staff to run their offices. To get one of these jobs you’ll normally have to have shown your support for the party by becoming a member, doing work experience and getting involved with the party’s society at university.

Another option for those interested in policy and research is to work for a thinktank, which are organisations that advise governments on specific areas like health or economics. You will normally need a postgraduate qualification, and volunteering for a charity will also look good on your CV. The Work For An MP website is a good place to start searching for jobs and internships with political parties and thinktanks.

But there’s more to politics than just the parties, and the civil service requires politics students across all the departments that run the day-to-day workings of government, working in roles such as press and communications through to office administration. You can start looking for jobs on the Civil Service website.

Don’t assume that all political careers lead to Whitehall either. There are plenty of opportunities for politics graduates to work in local government, where you could supervise social services departments or help to manage council budgets, for example.

Law

Politicians might pass laws, but it’s up to the legal system to make sure it works. A politics degree would be useful at any level of the legal system, from frontline police work catching criminals on the street to million pound business takeover deals in corporate boardrooms. You’ll normally have to do a law conversion course if you want to become a lawyer, and additional training for a career in the police, although there are other ways in. Take a look at our Careers in Law section for some ideas.

Journalism

Almost everything you see in the news has a political angle, and a politics degree will not only help you understand them more for yourself, but give you the communication skills to explain them to others as well. You could study for an NCTJ course after your politics degree, but work experience is more important than qualifications for getting into journalism, so you should take the opportunity to get involved with your student media, and maybe start writing your own blog. See our Careers in Media section for more ideas.

Business

Office politics can sometimes seem as mysterious as political theory, so the insight you’ll have into how institutions work will be a real bonus if you want to go into business. Certain big businesses like banks might sometimes be political stories themselves, and need communications professionals to deal with this. The powers of persuasion you’ll pick up on a politics course will also be useful in a marketing or human resources role, and management and consultancy also require the ability to multitask and process complex information. See our Careers in Business section for more ideas.

Charity

If you want to change the world for the better, the charity sector rather than political parties could be the way to do it. Many charities are advocacy organisations, which means they lobby the government on issues like poverty and human rights, so will deal with politicians directly and need politics graduates who understand them. But almost every charity needs people to fundraise, manage campaigns and recruit volunteers, something which the organizational and communication skills you’ll gain with a politics degree – and some volunteering experience of your own – will perfectly prepare you for. See our article on working in the charity sector to find out more.

Related links