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Undergraduate study in Politics

Politics is the study of how power is organised and used, nationally and internationally. Power relations affect every aspect of our lives, determining what we think, say and do, and how we co-operate to make the world a better place.

Consider what you stand to gain from a better understanding of people and power, conflict and cooperation. The knowledge and skills acquired from studying Politics will not only empower you to make a difference, but are very attractive to future employers.

Why study Politics?

By studying Politics, you will get to know power intimately and acquire the insight and skills to use power for the betterment of yourself, society, and the world. Politics is a practical field of study in the sense that it empowers you to understand and take part in responsible decision-making. It is also an intellectually stimulating field. 

Carys Goodwin_profile pool thumbnail“Try some of everything. The strength of Otago's Politics Department is its breadth. In one degree you can take anything from political philosophy to environmental politics.”
Carys Goodwin, Politics graduate

Politics allows you to address the big questions

  • Why should we consent to be governed?
  • What is justice?
  • Is war ever justified?
  • Is democracy the best form of government?

Keep your studies broad, or specialise, the choice is yours

At Otago you can either explore all the different areas of Politics, or specialise in the area of most interest to you. Areas of specialisation in Politics at Otago are:

  • International Relations
  • Political Theory
  • New Zealand Politics/Policy Studies
  • Comparative Politics/Area Studies

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Study options

Students can take one or two POLS papers or complete a Politics degree. While an interest in national and international affairs is an advantage, the study of Politics does not require any specific previous study. In fact, we encourage all students to consider including some Politics, whatever their degree.

Studying Business? Humanities? Science?

Whether you are studying Law, Psychology, Geography, Economics, Communication Studies, History, Management or almost anything at Otago, diversify your degree with a POLS paper or two.

View our Politics study options

Image of Ben Abraham_thumbnail“I was actually more of a science student at high school but when I started university I really wanted to broaden my horizons and try a number of different subjects, which I did in my first year. The international relations courses in particular really resonated with my general fascination with the wider world and the Politics teaching staff are excellent.”
Ben Abraham, Politics graduate and Rhodes Scholar

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