A Level
2 years
Curriculum Manager: 
Fiona Webb

What is Politics?

Since the referendum to leave the European Union UK politics has been in turmoil. How do we make sense of these events? Politics focuses on how we manage disagreements in society – national and global. In other words, it concentrates on analysis of current affairs, Parliament and other institutions, and generally the events and issues that affect our day to day lives. A knowledge of such things helps us to answer questions that are both directly relevant to us – for example, why are we allowed to drive at 17 but not vote until we get to 18? – and more general in nature – why are British soldiers deployed in overseas conflicts?

Component 1: UK Politics 

1. Political Participation, students will study:

  • Democracy and participation, political parties, electoral systems, voting behaviour and the media.

2. Core Political Ideas, students will study:

  • Conservatism, liberalism, socialism.

Component 2: UK Government 

1. UK Government, students will study:

  • The constitution, parliament, Prime Minister and executive, relationships between the branches.

2. Optional Political Ideas, students will study:

  • One idea from the following: anarchism, ecologism, feminism, multiculturalism, nationalism.

Component 3: Comparative Politics (Students study either USA or Global) 

For USA, students will study:

  • The US Constitution and federalism, US congress, US presidency, US Supreme Court, democracy and participation, civil rights.


For Global students will study:

  • Theories of Global Politics, sovereignty and globalisation, global governance: political and economic, global governance: human rights and environmental, power and developments, regionalism and the European Union.

Is Politics suitable for me?

The best way to answer this is to consider how current and previous students have responded to the course:

  • They have enjoyed visiting speakers and debates in this subject as they felt these two areas particularly reinforced their understanding of the subject. Visiting speakers have included high profile politicians such as Baroness Sharpe and Damian Hinds.
  • They have enjoyed working on a Mock Parliament debate and attending Politics Conferences where guest speakers have been well-known MPs.
  • They have found writing essays and the reading hard work and also have singled out the fact that the subject is all exam based as an issue.

How will I learn?

Lessons will involve a variety of tasks, individual research, debates, note-taking, videos and use of related websites. Students will sometimes do individual work and sometimes small group work to prepare presentations on relevant areas. The amount of homework will vary, but usually students should aim to do 4 to 5 hours of private study, plus set aside time for relevant television programmes like “Question Time” and build up a media file of relevant articles from broadsheet newspapers.

How will I be assessed?

Coursework: Year 1 - 0%; Year 2 - 0%.

Year 1: AS Level

You will be examined in units 1 and 2 from a range of data response, short answer questions and essays. These units will be examined by external papers of 1 hour 20 minutes each.

Year 2: A Level

Units 3 and 4 will also be examined externally using a range of data response, short answer questions and essays. These units will be examined by external papers of 1 hour 30 minutes each.


Politics will give you a deeper understanding of the institutions that affect our daily lives and the people who work in them. This will develop your analytical skills, both in oral and written communication. For this reason Politics is a respected A Level subject that is useful in both employment and Higher Education.

Chris came from TPS, and completed A Levels in Politics, English and History. After his gap year he went on to study Politics and Philosophy. Chris was President of the SU whilst in his second year. Katie (Perins) studied Politics A Level and went to Swansea to study International Relations. Sam (Eggar's) studied politics and is now at Aberystwyth studying Politics and Law.

Entry requirements

Students should normally have achieved an A*- C grade profile at GCSE. For GCSE English and Maths where a new grading system has been introduced, a Grade 4 is equivalent to a Grade C.

An interest in political issues is the most important requirement for this course, but good writing and research skills are also essential. 

Course costs

All students will be expected to provide standard textbook and/or relevant materials. All students will be expected to provide their own stationery, computer disks and calculators (where appropriate). Optional costs for lectures to London.

Course Code