Why study the subject
Politicians have huge power over us, but how much power do we have over politicians? With so many unexpected and unpredictable political events taking place in the UK and the USA in recent years, the study of Politics has never been more relevant. It is the perfect subject for those with enquiring minds and a desire to find out what is going on in the world today and why. This course allows you to study contemporary politics and develop a strong understanding of the factors shaping both British and American society. You will also gain insight into some of the great political ideas that have shaped the world we live in. Studying politics helps in the development of discussion and debating skills and encourages you to think beyond the constraints of a textbook. Over two years, you will explore questions such as: ‘What is Brexit all about?’, ‘Is Britain truly democratic?’, ‘Why are guns and race such big issues in America?’, and look at the influence of significant political thinkers such as Edmund Burke, Karl Marx and Mary Wollstonecraft.
Studying this subject will develop your understanding of structures of authority and power, how political systems differ, and enable you to interpret, evaluate and comment on the nature of politics and government. You will also develop a range of transferrable analytical, debating and communication skills - all of which are valuable in a wide range of careers.
Students suited to the course
You don't need any prior knowledge of Politics in order to start the A level course but you do need a solid complement of GCSEs: with mostly 5 grades at GCSE. You may well find Politics very demanding, especially the Political theory sections so to access the course you will need to have a GCSE grade 5 in English Language or Literature.
The requirement to write essays, in which you evaluate means that you should also have a good grasp of the English language. Most important, though, is that you have a genuine curiosity about societies are governed and how people are represented in modern democracy.
What other subjects it combines well with
Politics is well suited to students who are both predominantly arts and humanities focused and/ or science focused; therefore the subject is often taken with subjects such as History, Geography, RS, Art, Sociology, English, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics.
UK Politics and Government: Political Participation; democracy and participation, political parties, electoral systems, voting behaviour and the media. UK Government; the constitution, parliament, Prime Minister and executive, relationships between the three branches of government.
Core Political Ideas; conservatism, liberalism, socialism and feminism.
Comparative Politics – Representation in the USA; the US Constitution and federalism, US Congress, US presidency, US Supreme Court and civil rights, democracy and participation, comparative theories.
Democracy and participation
Relations between the branches
Constitution and federalism
US Supreme Court
Civil rights, democracy and participation
GCSE grade 5 in English Language or Literature