Politics (A Level)


What Will I Study?

How Will I be Assessed?

What Next?

Suggested Reading

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A Level

Examination Board



What Do I Need To Study This Course?

6 or above in a written subject e.g. English Language, English Literature or History.

What Will I Study?

With an incredible series of unexpected and unpredictable events at home and abroad in recent years, the study of Politics has never been more relevant or more fascinating and it’s a great subject for those with enquiring minds and a desire to find out just what is going on in the world today and why.

A Level Politics gives you an understanding of the workings of the British political system, an in-depth analysis of political ideologies and global politics including international relations. You will explore the extent to which governance in the UK is democratic, what is freedom, how is it best promoted and protected and question whether or not we need a government at all.

A Level Politics involves a lot of discussion, so is ideal for those who enjoy talking and thinking about current affairs. You will also need to keep up-to-date with what is happening in the world via the internet, newspapers and TV programmes, and will need to engage in independent learning to increase your knowledge of politics past and present.

How Will I Be Assessed?

Component 1: UK Politics

  • Political Participation – democracy and participation, political parties, electoral systems, voting behaviour and the media.
  • Core Political Ideas – conservatism, liberalism, socialism.
  • Written examination: 2 hours – 33%

Component 2: UK Government

  • UK Government – the constitution, parliament, Prime Minister and executive, relationships between the branches.
  • Non-core political ideas – one idea from the following: anarchism, ecologism, feminism, multiculturalism, nationalism.
  • Written examination: 2 hours – 33%

Component 3: Comparative Politics

  • Global politics – sovereignty and globalisation, global governance: political and economic, global governance: human rights and environmental, power and developments, regionalism and the European Union, comparative theories.
  • Written examination: 2 hours – 33%

What Next?

Having A Level politics presents you as a person who can rationally debate a passionate subject, who understands the needs of the UK, who understand how the country is run and what affects it, who can look at arguments with an empathetic but level-headed view and with great social knowledge. You will be a strong candidate for jobs in politics, international organisations, the media, government and political parties or civil service.

Having A Level politics can lead you to university degree courses in law, politics, sociology, history, international relations, ethics, philosophy, advertising, media studies, journalism, and a range of management and business areas.

Suggested Reading List

Books on UK politics and global political issues

  • Arford, Bernie, Politics: An introduction
  • Heywood, Andrew, Politics
  • Holsti, Kalevi, International Politics
  • McNaughton, Neil, Success in Politics
  • Nugent, Neill, The Government and Politics of the European Union
  • Renwick, Alan, Basic Political Concepts
  • Robertson, David, The Penguin Dictionary of Politics
  • Acemoglu and Robinson, Why Nations Fail
  • Annan K, Interventions: A Life in War and Peace
  • Dunt I, Brexit: What the Hell Happens Now?
  • Halliday F, Two Hours that Shook the World
  • Harari, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century
  • Levitsky and Ziblatt, How Democracies Die
  • Livingstone K, You Can’t Say That: Memoirs
  • Marr A, The History of Modern Britain
  • Murray D, The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam
  • Obama B, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance
  • Rawnsley A, The End of the Party: The Rise and Fall of New Labour
  • Rice C, Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom
  • White Sowell J, Wealth, Poverty and Politics


Texts from key political theorists


  • Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan
  • Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France
  • Michael Oakeshott, On being Conservative
  • Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged and The Virtue of Selfishness
  • Robert Nozick, Anarchy, State and Utopia



  • John Locke, Two Treaties of Government
  • Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Women
  • John Stuart Mill, On Liberty
  • Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique
  • John Rawls, A theory of Justice



  • Karl Marx and Fredrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto
  • Rosa Luxemburg, The Accumulation of Capital
  • Anthony Crosland, The Future of Socialism
  • Anthony Giddens, The Third Way: The renewal of Social Democracy



  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper
  • Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex
  • Kate Millett, Sexual Politics
  • Sheila Rowbotham, Woman’s Consciousness, Man’s World
  • bell hooks, Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism

Useful News websites

  • BBC News – bbc.co.uk. This is the best place to go for unbiased and neutral news reporting. In particular, if you look at their Politics section there is political news from around the world and keep an eye out for coverage of Question Time.
  • The Economist – economist.com. There are plenty of interesting articles to access for free which are not just to do with economics but to do with global politics and current affairs.
  • Guardian – guardian.co.uk. In particular, the Guardian ‘Long Reads’ section has lots of interesting in-depth journalism on some controversial areas.
  • Independent – independent.co.uk. This newspaper is great for both UK and US politics and also has a good section called ‘Climate Blogs’
  • Telegraph – telegraph.co.uk. This newspaper is good for current affairs but also has some interesting opinion pieces written by its columnists.


Political blogs or websites: