"I picked Goldsmiths because it had a reputation for excellence, which was confirmed by my experience."
This degree aims to advance your intellectual engagement with the study of politics as both an academic discipline and as an activity, and with the study of economics, which informs important areas of public policy making and is a major focus of contemporary political debate.
The Department provides a lively interdisciplinary environment, specialising in the study of cultures and conflicts in a way that crosses boundaries between disciplines. You develop a broad foundation in politics in the first year, with courses covering: UK and European government and politics; key concepts in political theory, including democracy, freedom, and rights; the development of social welfare systems, combined with the main theories, concepts, problems and questions of political economy; and theories of international relations and the main developments in international politics since 1945.
In the second year, you then specialise in the subjects that interest you most. The current politics options enable you to study: the evolution of European society since 1945; Chinese politics; modern political theory; art and politics; or themes and issues in British politics since 1945. The economics courses enable you to study: the modern African economy; or the main theories, concepts and problems in political economy.You can choose an approved course from another department.
This degree is made up of 360 credits – 120 at Level 4, 120 at Level 5 and 120 at Level 6. If you are a full-time student, you will usually take Level 4 modules in the first year, Level 5 in the second, and Level 6 modules in your final year.
In the first year you take four introductory modules worth 30 credits each:
Each unit is assessed by one essay and a two-hour unseen examination.
In the second year you must take at least one 30-credit Politics unit from a range of choices which currently includes:
And at least one 30-credit Economics unit from a range of choices which currently includes:
And a further 60 credits chosen either from the lists above or 30 credits from the list above and 30 credit unit approved from another department at Goldsmiths.
In your third year you are required to write a dissertation on a subject of your choice in the broad disciplines of politics, public policy and economics.
You must also take at least 30 credits from a range of choices which currently includes:
At least 30 credits of Economics units from a range of choices, which currently includes:
And a further 30 credits chosen either from the above lists.
Find out more about the units listed above.
To be awarded a degree in Economics, Politics and Public Policy you need to take at least 120 credits of politics units and at least 120 credits of economics units over the entire length of the degree.
Most units in the first and second years are assessed by a combination of written essays and unseen examinations. In the third year, there is a greater focus on coursework, and a substantial dissertation on a topic chosen by you.
On this degree you'll attend lectures and seminars where you'll hear about ideas and concepts related to specific topics, and where you'll be encouraged to discuss and debate the issues raised. This will enhance your academic knowledge of the subject, and will improve your communication skills.
But this is just a small proportion of what we expect you to do on the degree. For each hour of taught learning in lectures and seminars, we expect you to complete another 5-6 hours of independent study. This typically involves carrying out required and additional reading, preparing topics for discussion, or producing essays or project work.
This emphasis on independent learning is very important at Goldsmiths. We don't just want you to accept what we tell you without question. We want you to be inspired to read more, to develop your own ideas, and to find the evidence that will back them up. Independent study requires excellent motivation and time management skills. These skills will stay with you for life, and are the kind of transferable skills that are highly sought after by employers.
Learning and teaching on this degree will take place through:
Find out more about these learning and teaching approaches.
This programme will develop you intellectually, and will enhance your transferable and communication skills – learning to plan your workload, to research solutions, and to express your ideas coherently.
Our graduates go on to a wide variety of careers. Some go on to postgraduate study or further training in law, accountancy, social work, business administration, or to specialise in one area of their academic studies, whilst others go directly into employment.
Recent graduates have found employment in administration and management; in various departments of central and local government; in finance, in the media; in research and computing; in voluntary agencies; in health, education and housing management; the probation service; in company management, and as lecturers and teachers.
At Goldsmiths politics goes beyond voting systems, parliaments and the conventional arenas of power.
And it looks beyond the West. We focus on conflict, cultures and crossing boundaries so we’re exploring clashes of ideas in the world that’s emerging, drawing on a range of disciplines and examining everything from anarchism to anime. We study a politics for the 21st Century, in which anarchism may be as important as liberalism and in which Asia and Africa will be as economically and geopolitically important as Europe and North America.
As a department we’re interested in what happens at the edges of cultures, societies or systems – but we’re also covering the core ground. So as a student here you’ll graduate with an excellent all-round Politics degree but you’ll also be able to take advantage of our specialist strengths in international relations, political theory, and art and politics.
Whether you want to study the gravitas of graffiti, the politics inside your own family, or social media and the Arab Spring, you’ll be able to debate your ideas within an award-winning department – scoring 22 out of 24 in the latest UK government teaching quality assessment – with the freedom to pursue the areas that interest you most.
We’re unconventional. We see politics as an expansive discipline and use it as a lens to view the world. So you may be working on group projects, writing a blog, or submitting a Manga comic instead of an essay, but you’ll be at the sharp edge of the subject – our students’ coursework was described as ‘absolutely excellent’ in the 2010–11 external examiner assessment.
We’re challenging. Because we work beyond the boundaries of conventional politics, you graduate with a University of London degree that’s as rigorous as it is broad. And, we have a whole range of options to support and inspire you while you’re here, from personal tutor sessions and embedded work placements to Goldsmiths seminars and guest lectures.
We’re curious. It’s why we have specialists teaching the politics of China, India, Japan, and Africa. But it’s also why we want to know what you think. Come with an agenda of your own and test out your debating skills within small, diverse teaching groups led by an expert team of ‘passionate and enthusiastic’ staff (National Student Survey 2011).
• Choose from seven undergraduate degrees described as ‘theoretically rich and methodologically rigorous’ (2010–11 external assessment)
• Explore the character of the world, cross subject boundaries and develop the kind of critical thinking you can take into any career
• Learn Mandarin and study in China as part of our recently launched BA International Studies & Chinese
• Be part of a small friendly department where 92% of students say “the staff are good at explaining things” (National Student Survey 2011)
• Take advantage of an optional work placement in your third year [if you are enrolled in the BA IS degree]to apply your learning in a professional setting
• Study courses you can’t elsewhere from Anarchism to the Politics of Rhetoric
• Talk to your own personal tutor throughout your degree giving you guidance and feedback on your work
• Learn from academics who are experts in their field and published authors in their own right
• Go on to work within a range of areas – many of our graduates now work within NGOs and central government or use their skills within journalism and the media
Find out more about the specialisms of staff in the Department of Politics.
Rosella, Business Analyst for EDF Energy
BA Economics, Politics & Public Policy, graduated 2013
"I picked Goldsmiths because it had a reputation for excellence, which was confirmed by my experience."
I came straight from sixth form to Goldsmiths as I knew my degree would broaden my knowledge and understanding of the world, especially of politics and world affairs, and greatly enhance my employment opportunities. I picked Goldsmiths because it had a reputation for excellence, which was confirmed by my experience.
I’ve enjoyed my Goldsmiths’ experience, especially the second and third years as I gained more confidence and was more involved in directing my studies. I found the course challenging, yet engaging and thought provoking. The lecturers are very supportive, so I’d recommend all students take advantage of all the help and support available. And you should always discuss your coursework and essay practice with your lecturer – they’re the ones marking it!
I'd advise any Politics students to keep up-to-date with current affairs and carefully balance university work with a social life. I'd also recommend students make the most of the Students' Union societies and the pubs in the area – especially the Hobgoblin on a Wednesday.
Since finishing university I've started work for EDF energy as a Business Analyst. I plan to continue to pursue my interests in ‘green energy’ and environmental politics and economics.
"There are very few universities where you can engage with the great debates of politics, philosophy and economics while surrounded by the great artists, playwrights and musicians of the future!"
I studied at Goldsmiths between 2005 and 2008, taking BA Economics, Politics and Public Policy, and I think it offers one of the most distinctive undergraduate experiences around.
Goldsmiths specialises in creativity and ideas, and this shows in the Politics Department. Students are challenged to think for themselves and to constantly question the ideas that they are being presented with. The lecturers are fantastic, treat all students with the same degree of respect and are very generous with their time. A diverse yet tight-knit community, the body of students is large enough to create a collegiate atmosphere but small enough that you don't get lost or feel forgotten. And there are very few universities where you can engage with the great debates of politics, philosophy and economics while surrounded by the great artists, playwrights and musicians of the future!
After graduating from Goldsmiths I went to work for a politics think-tank, a micro-finance bank in Bangladesh, and spent a summer studying at Beijing University. I then completed a Masters degree in international political economy, while working for an economics consultancy. I now work for a 'big four' professional services firm, specialising in the financial services sector, and am now training as a chartered accountant.
I think that my time at Goldsmiths prepared me for my current and future career by encouraging me to continually challenge myself and to develop critical thinking skills. All interesting careers require good judgment which entails independent, rational and creative thinking. I was given both the space and the support to develop thoughts and ideas which were, crucially, my own. I would recommend the Goldsmiths experience to anyone who wants to push themselves intellectually, socially and creatively. But most importantly to me, the friends I have today are some of the most interesting people I've ever met.
"The great array of perspectives, ages and backgrounds is a real advantage, especially in a politics course."
As a mature-aged student the decision to return to study after more than a few years out of education was a pretty frightening one. Coming to study at Goldsmiths has been fantastic – the incredibly diverse student body is a real advantage to studying here. The great array of perspectives, ages and backgrounds is a real advantage, especially in a politics course.
The support I’ve received from staff and students alike has made the difficult transition from the ‘real world’ of work to the world of studying quite an easy one. The course itself is interesting, and in many ways it’s quite a non-traditional take on the subject - which is both challenging and enjoyable.
Content last modified: 06 May 2014
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