What can I do with a politics degree?
You might be interested in a career in central or local government, the Civil Service or charity work after finishing your politics degree, but there are also plenty of other careers open to you, including law and business.
Politics students tend to be up to speed with current affairs and interested in leadership and the ways in which ideas and principles are put into action – attitudes that can be useful in the workplace. They are typically enthusiastic about their subject, opinionated and hardworking, and used to arguing a case and presenting their views. Many politics graduates go on to further study, often in specialised areas of politics such as international relations and international human rights. Others pursue careers in areas such as business, HR and finance.
Skills for your CV
The kind of skills you will have developed include:
- gathering information, assessing and interpreting it
- leading and participating in discussions and groups
- organising workloads and working to deadlines
- developing opinions and ideas
- essay writing, presentation and analytical skills
- reading pages of text and picking out the essential points
- stating a case
- solving problems
- assimilating facts
- expressing yourself clearly (certainly in writing, and probably in person too)
Job roles and career areas you could work in
Fresh out of university, there are plenty of options – public services, the Civil Service and local government, non-governmental organisation (NGO) work, and research.
Even with a minimum amount of training, many organisations are looking for enthusiastic graduates fresh from university. Potential career paths could include:
- aid worker/humanitarian worker
- charities fundraiser
- Civil Service administrator
- government research officer
- health service manager
- investment analyst
- logistics or distribution manager
- management accountant
- marketing manager (social media)
- market research executive
- political party research officer
- public affairs consultant (lobbyist)
- public relations (PR) officer
- retail buyer
- social researcher
What do politics graduates go on to do?
Here’s what politics graduates who finished their degrees in 2017 were doing six months after graduating, according to the What do graduates do? report published in 2018.
|Full-time employment in the UK||45.6|
|Part-time employment in the UK||8.7|
|Working and studying||6.6|
Source: What do graduates do? 2018
Key areas of employment for fresh politics graduates
These are the top five areas of work taken up by 2017 politics graduates six months after graduation, according to the 2018 What do graduates do? report.
|Areas of employment||Percentage|
|Business, HR and finance professionals||22.8|
|Marketing, PR and sales professionals||15.4|
|Retail, catering, waiting and bar staff||12.9|
|Clerical, secretarial and numerical clerks||9.2|
Source: What do graduates do? 2018
Which careers attract politics students?
Law (barristers) was the most popular career choice for students of social studies subjects, a group that includes politics, identified by a 2020 survey of more than 71,000 undergraduates carried out by Cibyl (a research business owned by the same company as TARGETjobs). Just over a quarter ( 25.7% ) of politics students who participated in the survey said they were interested in this area. The most popular careers for students of social studies subjects were as follows:
|Law – barristers||25.7% expressed an interest|
|Investment banking and investment||20.9|
|Banking, insurance and financial services||19|
|Charity and not-for-profit||16|
Source: Graduate Survey 2020
What salaries can politics graduates earn?
Want to know what graduates in your degree discipline typically earn in different locations? The Pay Index has provided TARGETjobs with a handy graduate salary tool showing just that.
Famous people with politics degrees
While some politics graduates do get elected into positions of power, it's possible to turn your degree into a successful career without making politics your life’s work. Consider the following celebrities:
- George Alagiah – the BBC newsreader studied at Durham University, where he developed his interest in journalism.
- Tim Farron – studied at Newcastle University before being elected as an MP and going on to become leader of the Liberal Democrats.
- Miranda Hart – studied political science at the University of the West of England before becoming a comedian and actress.
- Barack Obama – put his political science degree to good use when he was elected president of the US.