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BSc (Hons) Politics and International Relations course preparation

Congratulations on choosing to study BSc (Hons) Politics and International Relations. It is a fascinating subject which changes frequently, and which can prepare you for a wide range of jobs. To help you prepare, we have put together a list of things you can do before term starts so that you feel ready.

The first, and most important, thing you can do is be interested. That means being interested in what’s going on locally, nationally, and internationally.

Read, listen to, or watch the news regularly. Ask yourself why decisions are being made and what the arguments are for and against. Ask yourself how politicians are promoting themselves and their parties and whether this works. Think about how an event in one place can have a knock-on effect in another. Think about long-running (historic) conflicts and about short-lived ones and how journalists choose to cover them. Ask yourself how that coverage may impact the diplomatic decisions politicians have to make.

Think about how regional or national events are impacted by what goes on internationally. Similarly, think about how whatever happens in the UK may affect European or world politics. And while we often talk about UK or British politics as an umbrella term, don’t forget to pay attention to how politics is conducted at a devolved level (Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, London, city regions in England).

Your degree covers all levels of Politics, from the United Nations Security Council to the way local authorities work, with Parliaments, assemblies, trade unions, campaign groups and other bodies in between.

Don’t buy Politics textbooks. These have a habit of dating very quickly. The Edge Hill library (located in the Catalyst building) will always have a stock. Instead, spend some time focusing on what real politicians do and say and on some of the key political thinkers.

An excellent way of achieving this first focus is to dive into political biographies, autobiographies, diaries and memoirs. While these are often biased, they also give you a real insight into what goes on. Most public libraries will have some of these.

To consider political thinkers, if you haven’t already studied some political theory, have a look at On Liberty by John Stuart Mill or The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Both should be available in public libraries.

Useful websites, podcasts and political blogs

And finally, don’t be frightened to get in touch and ask. If you want another reading suggestion or other ideas about how to get ready, just get in touch.

Your main contact between now and when you join us is: