Politics, Aristotle's ‘Master Science’, is about power within and between states. Studying politics involves examining the formal institutions of government and exploring the ways in which power is exercised by individuals, groups and states. As a student of politics at Glasgow, you will also consider the nature of society, the purpose of government, and the role of the state by examining the philosophies which underpin state and political action.

Our courses look at questions of legitimacy, authority, justice, freedom, and rights, sometimes as pure ideas, sometimes from the perspective of particular countries, and sometimes in terms of states in the international system, but also often using a combination of all these and other approaches.

Why study politics at Glasgow?

  • We are one of the UK's leading research institutions for political studies. Our staff publishes in top journals in the discipline and regularly advise governments (both in the UK and abroad), international organisations and NGOs.
  • We actively promote research-led but student-centred teaching. This means that from the first year you can expect to be taught by leading scholars, and to enjoy small class groups. Moreover, individual dissertation supervision is guaranteed.
  • We offer a wide variety of course choice at the Honours level (about 30 different courses a year) allowing you to tailor your curriculum to your academic interests and future career plans. 
  • We maintain strong channels of communication between staff and students, always endeavouring to respond to student requirements as efficiently and quickly as possible.
  • Our academic staff comes from all over the world to teach at Glasgow and our student body is also composed of several nationalities.
  • Single Honours students have the opportunity to apply to undertake a year's academic exchange in a comparable department in an overseas university. We also receive a regular flow of incoming overseas exchange students.  

How is politics studied at Glasgow?

  • Politics can be studied as a single degree or in combination with other subjects in the College of Social Sciences and the College of Arts.
  • During the first two years, you will get an overview of the key concepts and issues in politics and international relations. During the third and fourth years you will be able to choose from a wide range of more specialised courses. You can also do a non-Honours degree in three years.
  • At all levels of study, politics is a subject that is open to interpretation and debate. Lectures identify themes that are explored in depth in seminars that encourage all students to develop and defend arguments in a rigorous and analytical manner, to challenge the views of others and to engage in constructive and thoughtful debate.
  • Through such debate, as well as through written essays and projects, the study of politics will develop your analytical skills and writing abilities, equipping you for a wide variety of careers. After graduation, many of our students go on to work in journalism and the media, as well as in government, and non-governmental organisations, including business and the third sector/charities.