Which UK University Should I Study at to Be a Politician? | Top Universities

Which UK University Should I Study at to Be a Politician?

By Chloe Lane

Updated April 22, 2021 Updated April 22, 2021

Politicians need excellent verbal communication skills, logical and analytical thinking and  attention to detail. To be a politician you’ll need a strong academic background, an active involvement in campaigning and other political activities, as well as an understanding of politics, society and culture.  

The United Kingdom is home to some of the top politics schools in the world, including four universities in the world top 20. 

There are 27 British universities featured in the QS World University Ranking by Subject 2021 for politics and international studies. So, if you’re looking to become a politician, you have plenty of outstanding institutions to choose from. 

Read on as we reveal the top 10 politics and international relations schools in the UK, and dive into what makes these schools so attractive to future politicians. 

Top 10 Schools for the Politics and International Studies Subject Area in the UK 

Based on the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021 

UK Ranking 

World Ranking 



University of Oxford 



London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) 



University of Cambridge 



King's College London (KCL) 



SOAS - School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London 



UCL (University College London) 




University of Essex 





Queen Mary University of London 




The University of Manchester 




The University of Sheffield 


=10. The University of Sheffield 


Topping off our countdown in joint 10th place in the UK and ranking 51-100 in the world is the University of Sheffield. The school’s politics and international relations course offers research-led teaching. It aims to give students a strong grounding in political analysis and theory while applying these theories to relevant global issues, such as international trade and climate change.  

Data from the university found that 90 percent of graduates are in work or further study 15 months after graduating. To further enhance their CV, students will have the opportunity to complete a year in employment where they can complete a work-based learning dissertation, working closely with an outside organisation to conduct research that they really need. 

=10. The University of Manchester 

Also ranking in joint 10th is the University of Manchester, placing 51-100 globally for its politics and international relations course. The school boasts one of the largest politics departments in the UK, with more than 45 research active staff.  

In their first year, students will complete a series of introductory courses to prepare for second and third year where they can specialise in areas of interest. Students can also get involved in the university’s politics society, which hosts a variety of events – from a ‘meet your MP’ series to workshops with notable political figures, researchers and alumni.  

=10. Queen Mary University of London 

Flickr: Ewan Munro 

The last entry in 51-100 globally, also ranking in joint 10th place in the UK is Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). In QMUL’s politics and international relations course, students will achieve a firm understanding of government, political thought, empirical and theoretical approaches to international relations, and how multiple levels of political governance – national, regional and international – interact in the world. 

Throughout the course, students will have access to one-on-one guidance, tailored workshops, career webinars and other career advice. There is also an opportunity for students to study abroad in their third year as QMUL has links with universities in EuropeNorth AmericaAsia and Australia.  

7. University of Essex 

Flickr: Alvin Leong 

Ranking in seventh place in the UK and joint 48th worldwide for their BA Politics and International Relations programme is the University of Essex. The course offers access to a wide range of modules and topic areas that will help any political career, including elections, referendums and the psychology of voters; civil war and international peacekeeping; and protest, revolution and democracy. 

Outside of the classroom, the university offers a range of societies for politics students, including debating and the Model UN, as well as a series of seminars and events run by the politics department. Essex has a wide range of successful political alumni, including the former president of Costa Rica and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Dr Oscar Arias, as well as the former Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt. Hon. John Bercow . 

6. UCL (University College London) 


Sixth in the UK and joint 42nd in the world for politics this year is University College London (UCL). UCL’s politics department aims to provide students with a broad and deep understanding of all fields of politics, including international relations, political theory, human rights, public policymaking, and administration. 

UCL’s politics department runs an assortment of events throughout the year, including the ‘Policy and Practice’ seminar series which includes presentations by high profile policymakers, practitioners and academics. UCL’s politics department also offers a specialist careers consultant who helps students looking to get into careers in politics. 

5. SOAS - School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London 


The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) is ranked fifth in the UK for politics and international relations, and 21st worldwide. Teaching international politics from a non-Western angle, through a diverse range of scholars, SOAS’s politics courses offer both a theoretical and a hands-on approach to politics. The university also holds a wide array of talks and events. 

SOAS is in the political and cultural hub of London, and the university has a wide choice of societies that politics students might wish to be part of including debating society, free speech society, policy forum, politics society, and UN society. 

4. King's College London (KCL)