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BA (Hons) Politics and Sociology course preparation

To help you feel prepared for your university studies, we’ve gathered together a range of course related activities including suggested reading, useful websites and some great things to do right now. Open the links below to find out more:

Suggested reading

During Induction Week, you will be provided with a comprehensive reading list of key texts, and guidance from your tutors on how to make the most of them. In the meantime, you may wish to make a start with some reading.

Politics textbooks have a habit of becoming out of date rather quickly. So we don’t recommend you buy any until you are on the course and have a clearer idea of what you need. However you can prepare by looking for the following in large public libraries.

  • Besly et al (2018) How Parliament Works (might be listed under Rogers) London. Routledge
  • Ferdinand et al (2018) Politics. Oxford. OUP
  • Westen (2008) The Political Brain. New York. Public Affairs.

Also look for political biographies, autobiographies, memoirs and diaries. Material by or about any current or recent politician or political operator will be useful. We particularly recommend:

  • Balls, Ed (2016) Speaking Out. London. Biteback
  • Clegg, Nick (2017) Politics: Between the Extremes. London. Vintage
  • Clarke, Kenneth (2016) Kind of Blue. London. Macmillan
  • Seldon, Anthony (2019) May at 10. London. Biteback
  • Campbell, Alastair (2011 and later) Diaries

You will be studying Political Theories in your first year and you can often find some of the key texts on line. They should also be available in cheap paperback form and are guaranteed not to go out of date. If you can, have a look at one or more of these:

  • Mill, John Stuart. On Liberty
  • Marx and Engels. The Communist Manifesto

Finally, it is worth getting to know some of the political commentators with blogs or twitter feeds. We recommend:

  • Conservative Home
  • Labour List and Lib Dem Voice websites
  • Britain Elects

Gain an understanding of current events

As a Politics and Sociology student, you will need to have a good knowledge and understanding of current events (at home and abroad) so getting into the habit of paying attention to news and political events will certainly help you with your studies.

  • Get into the habit of reading a good quality, broadsheet newspaper on a daily basis; The Guardian is a good choice. The ‘i’ newspaper is a cheap and effective way of getting across current events.
  • Listen to or watch extended news programmes and programmes specifically about politics. Radio 4 has a lot of these. The BBC Parliament Channel is also an excellent source. The Politics course includes a focus on International Relations, so an awareness of what is going on internationally will help.
  • Look at the UK Parliament website and browse around the sections
  • Look at the House of Commons Library Service and sign up for updates on areas that interest you
  • Focus on websites that will help you follow very current stories.

Additional ways to prepare

Preparing to start

This session examines how to make a successful transition to university. From planning your results day, accommodation and commuting tips, extra support available to you and general advice on uni life.

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Find out more about who you are

The following information provides an insight into what to expect when coming to university along with some good advice on how to navigate some of the potential challenges you may face.

Start preparing yourself