Coursework Details

I took part in the King’s College Applicant Day last week and got a really good sense of what kinds of questions students were asking. Although there is a plethora of information on the internet, I feel its best if I give an overview of what to expect from your modules next year. Although the course has changed somewhat over the last year (since we are a new and rapidly expanding department) most of the modules I did last year will be very similar to what you can expect, I’ll give some information about the modules you’ll be doing that I also did:

Studying Politics – This was an interesting module, with overlaps in philosophy and logic. It gave me a real understanding and grounding on how to tackle questions on politics through the lenses of ontology, epistemology and methodology.

World Politics Since 1945 – Essentially a module on international relations. This course was extremely diverse in its scope – covering topics such as nuclear war/terrorism to topics such as regionalisation or the United Nations.

Introduction to Political Theory – This module was absolutely brilliant, giving us a thorough walk-through of some of the most contested topics and thinkers on political theory and political philosophy.

Principles of Economics – For me this module was quite simple since I had done A-level economics beforehand, however I have heard from the module convener that they have changed the module radically. It now includes topics that any undergraduate degree in economics would cover, namely consumer theory. This module tackles issues on both micro and macroeconomics.

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Every week you are given a reading list for each module which includes chapters you required to read before the lecture, I would highly recommend reading further than the ‘compulsory reading’ and looking at the ‘further reading’ sections if you are interested in a particular issue – it can be fascinating!

A Brief Overview

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.
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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.

3 Tips for Uni life

Hey everybody,

Following up on my previous post; I think the best way to give you guys a taste of what it is like to study here at King’s is for me to give you some top tips on how to succeed as a fresher!

1) Prepare!

143606It honestly feels like yesterday when I first stepped into the grand Strand building and thought am I really at university? The first few weeks are always a rollercoaster as a fresher; you have to get to grips with the workload, socials and the commute! It genuinely is another ballpark form college or 6th form. I think it’s best to do some preliminary reading before you start your modules to have a sound understanding, for my course I’d recommend books such as ‘Political Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction ‘ ISBN: 978-0192803955.

Also be well prepared for if you are going to be living out – do your research, speak to as many people as you can and get a list of essentials! Get to know your university and the City of London and once you’ve settled in, get to know the people you’ll be spending most of your time with! 

2) Explore and get involved!

uncle_sam__get_involved-223x300Aside from the academics as mentioned before, neither London nor King’s will leave you bored any day of the week. Being at Kings has offered me a whole host of opportunities, which I don’t take for granted. When I arrived at Fresher’s Fair I was overwhelmed by the vast variety of societies and clubs on offer. Initially you may feel like trying them all, as I did! But after you’ve been to a few events, you will know which ones you’d like to invest your time in and benefit from. Last year I was involved with Team Up, a charity who aims to improve the social mobility of young children in order for them to attend the best universities possible. I used to tutor maths at a school in East London on a weekly basis – when the students received grades beyond their predictions, it gave me a real sense of achievement!

 3)      Budget, budget, budget!

NUS-AdvertUnless you’re a millionaire or have thousands and thousands of pounds to spend feverishly, then you have to budget. First work out how much you will be spending on a weekly basis (add more to the costs section in case of unexpected purchases or events like Christmas: it can be expensive!), and then stick to your budget! If you overspend one week, you have to spend less elsewhere. Get an NUS card or use your regular university card to get heaps of discounts. Whenever you have to buy something make sure to ask if a student discount is available.

 

I hope these tips have been helpful. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and I’ll come back with more in the new year!

Political Economy 101

A little bit about my course: though the course and department are very niche they offer an array of modules to study, that means every student’s experience differs. Whether you would like to focus more on International Political Economy, or whether your interest is in Economic Policy Making, you will be able to pursue the area of your interest. The teaching and seminars are excellent but beyond easy; you must work hard as the department expects academic rigour – yet the nature of the course allows you to work with others and make the whole experience of learning even greater.

So it has been a year and a half since I started my studies at King’s and honestly I do not know where the time has gone. Personally there has not been one day where I’ve thought, “I’m bored today, and I’ve got nothing to do!” – studying in the middle of London is a whole other adventure. If there is one thing I can promise you, that is the fact that you will always be doing something – whether that is studying a world class degree or getting involved with the plethora of societies and clubs that King’s boasts. I myself got involved with a number of projects in my first year which have I believe have improved my core skills, for example in October of last year I took part in a nationwide charity competition where we were tasked to raise as much money in a week. King’s managed to raise over £70,000!

 Aside from this is, I’d like to mention the amount of support and facilities King’s offers its students. ‘The Compass’ is a one-stop student centre for support and guidance on practically any issue, if they can’t help you there and then, they will guide you in the right direction. Other facilities include the numerous computer rooms, cafés and restaurants that King’s has and with 3 Pret a Manger’s and two Tesco’s within a 5 minute walk from our campus, you will never go hungry!

 Oh and we have a chapel on the second floor too!

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