Last week, I took part in King’s College’s Applicant Day whereby I got to meet some of the prospective students who chose Political Economy as their area of study. The meeting included an overall presentation by Professor Collings, an example of a lecture on the Game Theory, and also a short session of questions and answers between students and parents. And I was there of course, along with the other Political Economy student buddy Daniel. I will try to go over some of key points that were discussed at the event and cover the best aspects of the Political Economy Department.
First of all, the uniqueness of the department was mentioned in terms of the combination between politics and economics. At King’s, you will find a place where the fusion between the two areas of study result in a homogenous product. Here, economists and political scientists work together to create the best outcomes for the students in the department. This is a unique approach in the UK, whereas in most universities Economics and Politics are separated, and the only way to combine them is by taking courses from both. Courses such as Political Economy reflect at its best this idea, to the extent that you will aim to study the roles of government in the context of the capitalist system. This might represent the core idea of the department, but it doesn’t just end there.
This leads me to the second point, which represents the emphasis on research methods . In the first year, we had an introduction for the qualitative, quantitative and mixed research methods, as well as a course of applied analysis for different academic texts. In the second year, this approach was discussed in more depth. For example, in the first half of this semester, we discussed different approaches to qualitative data analysis and we were expected to make an essay using these concepts. What is important at these courses is that they enable the student to make professional academic research by themselves. This is an essential plus to the general theoretical approach of the module. Moreover, this will count a lot in the eyes of the future employer, as an essential skill obtained during the academic years.
A third important aspect regarding the department is represented by the complexity of the degrees. In my case, in International Politics, I can informally say that we study everything from a theoretical perspective. During the first year, courses such as Political Theory in which we studied the main ideological forces which backed up political actions such as Democracy or Marxism, or main political principles such as Liberty, were combined with the study of international relations in the second half of the 20th Century. Now, in the second year, I am combining these ideas in a course in which we try to identify which international politics actions are determined by which main political ideology.
I hope this post will help you get a better overview of this department, and help you decide if this is the one that suits you the most. Always remember that it is important to take what you need from your university degree in terms of the best outcomes for you, but also not to make a distorted image of it and to be able to realise what it really consists of. Quite a headache when you just finished High-school and think of nothing else than a cool summer.