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David Dunn - Overview

Last Updated:

29th May 2013

Polis is one of the largest departments of its kind in the country because we're a department of political science, international relations, and also sociology. We have, as a consequence, 45 members of staff who offer a variety of specialties across a whole range of topics. We have particular strengths in security studies, political economy, political theory, gender studies, British politics, German politics, American politics including foreign policy, so a whole raft of specialties across the world.

When students study politics or international relations they learn two sets of skills. They learn a body of knowledge about actually the world in which they've studied which they can apply to careers thereafter. But, they also develop critical analytical skills which are transferable in their own right, and these are often used to actually take a critical view of professions they go into subsequent.

The facilities that we offer our students really take two forms. We have a fantastic refurbished building that we operate in that has state-of-the-art computing facilities and videoconferencing opportunities that go with that. We also facilitate the students to actually engage in the wider world by trips to Boston for a model U.N., to Washington to a model NATO, and we have a study trip to Brussels every year where we visit NATO headquarters and various institutions of the European Union.

The careers that our students go into are as varied as the students themselves. They go into the armed forces, in particular into intelligence services, the police force, the law, or they might be inclined to go into the commercial field where they work for accountancies, financial firms. A number have been entrepreneurs themselves. We've had a number of distinguished journalists who've come through our department. And, we also have people who take up teaching at other school level or university level or beyond as researchers themselves.

Studying for a degree in politics or international relations is unusual in that we don't require a particular prerequisite in terms of A-Levels. What we look for instead is enthusiasm and engagement on the part of students. Will the student engage in conversation, in debate, in seminars. Will the student get engaged in the wider activities of the university in various societies. Because politics isn't just studying books. It's actually learning from the practice of being involved in practical politics, even student politics.

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