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Top Universities for Politics in the UK

Dec 17, 2022Date Published
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UniSearch - Top Universities for Politics in the UK

From contrasting and competing for political ideologies to unique positions of external influence, the UK remains a fascinating country to study and enjoy. If you want to study politics or political science, this is the ideal option. You can get a degree in politics and government, international relations or even study law, depending on what you want to do after graduation. We've put together a list of the top universities for politics in the UK. Find out who is leading the pack and how to get into one of these renowned institutions!

Best Universities for Politics in the UK in 2023

In the UK, politics is a big deal. For decades, the political system in the UK has set the template for governments around the world. Studying political science here will give you a broad vision and practical experience. It can lead you to different careers, from politics and law to public relations, communications and business management. You'll get the chance to combine your knowledge of international and domestic politics with other subjects like history, economics, and law. You could also gain an internship in your final year that will provide valuable real-world experience.

So now the question is - which universities have the best programs for politics? Where should you study? The United Kingdom is home to many top universities in the world. Some of the world's most powerful political leaders are alumni of UK universities. We've put together all the top universities for politics in the UK to help you figure out where you should go next.

Best UK Universities - Guardian University Guide 2022
QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022 - Politics
#4#4London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
#23=13King's College London (KCL)
#77#15School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
#9=30University College London (UCL)
=44University of Manchester
#64=50University of Essex
#5#51-100Durham University
Queen Mary University of London

Top Universities to Study Politics in the UK

1. London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

The LSE is a top university for politics in the UK. It offers a wide range of political degrees, including MA and PhD programmes in political science!

Founded in 1895, the LSE was an evening school for working men and women to learn how to read and write English, math, and history. The university now has over 15,000 students from around the world studying subjects such as political science and international relations at its four campuses across London. It is one of the UK’s top ten universities, ranking in the top 60 globally, according to QS Top Universities.

The LSE offers a variety of resources and services to assist students in making the most of their studies, including IT and learning technology assistance. The tuition fee per year for international students at the undergraduate level is £23,330. At the postgraduate level, tuition fees for overseas students can fall between £25,000 and £39,000 per year.

2. King's College London

Having one of the finest departments for Politics and International Studies in the UK, King's College London is a major attraction for bright students like you. Founded by King Henry VIII, it has won four Nobel Prizes now (more than any other British university). Another of the UK’s top ten higher education providers, and a global top 40 university according to QS Top universities, King’s College London has a well-earned reputation as one of the world’s best universities. 

King's offers a wide range of courses across this subject area, including:

  • Institutions and Political Culture (BA)
  • European and Global Perspectives on Terrorism (MSc)
  • Global Politics & Society (MA)

The university ranks highly in Politics and International Relations (PIR). It has additional recognition as one of the world’s standout academic and research institutions:

  • Overall score of 5/5 stars at Research Good University Guide
  • 4/5 star rating from QS World Rankings 2019
  • 4+ Stars at Times Higher Education for its research quality

King’s College London’s approach to teaching politics combines theory with practice. This means you can spend lots of time researching political issues while also getting hands-on experience through volunteering or internships with local political parties like the Labour party or the Conservatives (or both)!

3. SOAS University of London

The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) is one of the top universities in the UK. It's also a leading university in the field we're covering here, with a strong reputation for its politics degrees and courses. The QS World University and Times Higher Education rankings have consistently placed it among the top 20 universities in the UK. If you're interested in political studies focusing on Asia or Africa or comparative international politics in general, this may be the perfect place for you!

4. UCL

If you're looking for a university that's not only well-respected but also focused on research and innovation, UCL is the place to be. UCL can trace its history back to 1826, when seven professors left Oxford University to start their own college focusing on science education. The university has an excellent reputation for its politics department and is ranked #30 worldwide for politics by QS Top Universities. QS also ranks UCL as one of the top ten universities in the world and one of the top 5 in the UK! The Guardian ranks UCL 5th among Europe's most innovative universities.

Today, over 11,000 students from over 120 countries are studying at this university. Whether you're pursuing an undergraduate program or a postgraduate degree (MScs), plenty of options are available here. UCL's degrees in politics encompass various areas and themes, including public policy, comparative politics, and political theory.

5. University of Manchester

Established in 1824, the University of Manchester is one of the top universities for politics in the UK. It's a research-led university with over 100,000 students and 30,000 staff members. The university ranks as one of the world's top institutions for political science and is one of the world’s top 30 best higher education providers according to QS Top Universities.

The university's politics department offers a BSc (Hons) in Politics, Philosophy and International Relations degree course with an optional year abroad at Harvard University or the University of Oxford. It also includes modules on European Union Studies and Gender Politics along with other politics-centric courses.

The department offers research seminars throughout term time and practical experience through internships during vacations or holidays. The department has strong links with other departments within Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), including those studying law and social sciences such as sociology, health sciences, education, and psychology.

6. University of Essex

The University of Essex is highly regarded in social sciences, especially politics. It is respected for its worldwide perspective. The university ranks #6 in the UK for research power in politics and international studies, according to THE's Research Excellence Framework (2021). It also ranks in the top 10 within the country for Politics and International Studies, according to QS Top Universities.

Many Essex graduates with a degree in politics work in public administration, foreign services, business, finance, and marketing. Given this, a politics degree from the University of Essex will propel your career forward.

7. Durham University

The School of Government and International Affairs at Durham University is one of the top locations in the UK to study politics. It has a long and rich academic history, specializing in numerous study fields such as politics, political economics, political theory, and international relations. The university prioritizes research and is proud to have one of the largest student research groups. Durham University is not only one of the UK’s best universities, but is also a top 100 ranking institution globally.

8. Queen Mary, University of London

Queen Mary is another of the top universities for politics in the UK. It's a world-class institution ranked by The Times as one of the top 10 universities in Europe. It boasts a high level of student satisfaction and a high level of research participation.

Its academic excellence already makes it a popular destination for thousands of international students. The university is located in London, which makes it easy to get around and gives you access to all kinds of culture, activities and events. Queen Mary, University of London is another of the world’s top universities, landing in the global top 120 and the UK’s top 20 institutions.

Our Concluding Thoughts on the Top Universities for Politics in the UK

As a global political leader and with a rich history in politics, it is no surprise the country has some great universities for students who want to study the subject. Each university has different strengths in helping students develop political skills. As long as you meet the eligibility requirements before applying, there should be no problem selecting your ideal pick from the top universities for politics in the UK that suits you perfectly!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the requirements to study political science in the UK?

The first thing you'll want to do is find out what kind of degree you want to get. You have to meet the basic requirements. At undergraduate level, the most common ones include:

  • AS/A2 Level (A-C) or equivalent qualifications in relevant subjects
  • English language requirement

For a master’s degree, you can usually qualify with a bachelor’s degree in politics, political science, or other relevant subject.