A Level Politics is an exciting subject because the vast majority of people do have political opinions. People often have an opinion even if they think that they are “not political”.

Government and politics affects every aspect of our lives; our freedoms, our laws, the opportunities we have to succeed in life. At home in the UK debate continues on immigration, the health services and education. Of course, there are differences of opinion on these matters. This is what actually makes it such an intriguing subject to study.

Government and Politics will appeal to students who have a genuine interest in current affairs, combined with an ability to analyse and evaluate questions logically, using relevant supporting evidence. Students will review government policies at local, regional, national and European Union levels and examine the debates and controversies associated with these policies.

You will study the features of government and political systems at local, national and international levels. You do not need to have studied the subject before, but you must have an interest in politics and current affairs.

About the course

As a Politics student you will develop knowledge and an informed understanding of contemporary political structures and issues in their historical context, both within the UK and globally. You will also develop a critical awareness of the changing nature of politics and the relationships between political ideas, institutions and processes, as well as develop knowledge and an informed understanding of the influences and interests which have an impact on decisions in government and politics.

This A Level will help you develop a number of new skills, including how to research, how to write persuasive arguments and convey your point of view effectively, and how to work as part of a team. You'll also have opportunities to develop your debating and presentation abilities. All of these skills will be beneficial in both further study and employment. The course also develops knowledge and an informed understanding of the rights and responsibilities of individuals and groups, the ability to critically analyse, interpret and evaluate political information to form arguments and make judgements and also develop an interest in, and engagement with, contemporary politics.

It will be expected that you will take part in the college’s clubs and societies and take a role in either representing your local community and/or college to gain experience as a position of responsibility and further develop your political industrial skills.

Course content

You will study 3 different sections within your Politics A Level:

Government and politics of the UK

This section develops awareness of the historical developments of rights in the UK and the nature and sources of the British Constitution. You will examine the structure and role of Parliament, the Prime Minister and cabinet, the judiciary, devolution, democracy, elections and referendums, political parties, pressure groups and the European Union.

Government and politics of the USA and comparative politics

This section particular focus but their interrelationships must be understood to appreciate the complexities of the system. You will examine the constitutional framework of US government, congress, the President, judiciary, the electoral process and direct democracy, political parties, pressure groups, civil rights and comparative politics.

Political ideas

This section students develop core ideologies including liberalism, conservatism, socialism and other ideologies. 

In addition, you will develop a range of skills including:

  • to comprehend and interpret political information
  • to critically analyse and evaluate the areas of politics studied
  • to construct arguments and explanations leading to reasoned conclusions
  • to identify parallels, connections, similarities and differences between aspects of the areas of politics studied
  • to construct and communicate arguments and explanations with relevance, clarity and coherence
  • to use appropriate political vocabulary
  • to make connections between the different areas of politics studied
  • to make comparisons across two political systems

Where does this lead?

The course will prepare you for continued study at university/degree level and various possible career pathways thereafter. The study of Politics is very useful for a number of careers and is a well-established subject at the most prestigious universities in the UK. There are a variety of degrees available including specific politics degrees or politics with another subject auxh as Global Development, International Relations, History, Philosophy, Law, Social Sciences.

The Sheffield College offer a variety of Higher Education courses including degree courses - this A Level can lead onto these higher level programmes.

Students may also choose to pursue a Degree Apprenticeship in areass such as:

  • Financial services professional
  • HR Consultant/Partner
  • Improvement specialist
  • Improvement leader
  • Project manager
  • Senior leader
  • Senior professional economist

Future opportunities

An A Level in Politics can provide a springboard into a variety of career opportunities including:

  • Politician
  • Local government officer
  • Public relations
  • Human resources
  • Finance
  • Civil Service Fast Streamer
  • Government social research officer
  • Policy officer
  • Political risk analyst
  • Politician's assistant
  • Public affairs consultant
  • Public relations account executive
  • Social researcher

Other popular industries include activists, fundraisers and researchers, marketing and PR, management consultancy, youth and community work, the finance industry and academic research. Politics is a very popular postgraduate subject, and so about one in six politics graduates go on to take another course to get a Masters after they finish their degree.


There are 3 externally set exams in Year 2:

  • Paper 1: Government and politics of the UK
  • Paper 2: The government and politics of the USA and Comparative politics
  • Paper 3: Political ideas

Each exam is 2 hours. The exams are a mixture of medium length ‘explain’ and essay style questions. You will also need to pass the 4 progression tests and 2 mock exams to move from Year 1 to Year 2.

Tell me more

Trips and visits

Educational trips and visiting speakers will support the teaching of this A Level. It is expected that students will attend any education visits and visiting speakers as due to the nature of establishments and the availability of speakers, these may be at times outside of normal timetabled classes. There may be costs associated with educational visits and students may be asked to contribute towards transport and any entry fees for places of visits.

Personal study time

A Level students are expected to devote as much time outside the classroom to their studies as in lessons. Homework will be set regularly but students are expected to undertake self-directed research as well

Students are also expected to complete work experience alongside their A Levels. This can be done in a variety of different ways including volunteering, youth work, victim support, police special.*

*Please note – some of these opportunities are age-related and may need an enhanced DBS.

  • Course: P00317
  • Start Date: September 2023
  • Level: 3
  • Area: A Levels
  • Campus: City Campus
  • Category: School Leavers

Typical entry requirements:

To study 3 A Levels

5 GCSEs at grade 4 or higher, including English Language and Maths 

Please note:

  • BTEC or vocational qualifications will not be accepted in place of GCSEs
  • International applicants must also have IELTS 6.0

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