Government & Politics Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What is Government & Politics?

A government is a group of people that have the power to rule in a territory, according to administrative law. This territory may be a country, a state or province within a country, or a region. Governments make laws, rules, and regulations, collect taxes and print money.

Politics is the art of government, the exercise of control within the society through the making and enforcement of collective decisions.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in Government & Politics in the following subject areas:

  • Certificate in Irish Government and Politics – An introduction to the political institutions and systems that determine how Ireland is governed.
  • Master of Arts: Local Government Management -Explore the key issues in local government.
  • A-Z of Irish Local Government – The A – Z of Irish Local Government is designed to give an overview of each of the key services, and the principal pieces of legislation underpinning the services currently being provided by Local Authorities in Ireland.
  • Diploma in Local Government Studies – An in-depth and analytical treatment of the main local authority services in Ireland.
  • Role of the Citizen Course – This course is for those interested in understanding how current affairs, local, national and European government works.
  • Bachelor of Arts in Humanities Joint Major: Sociology and Politics – Examine society, its structure, its organisations, and the complexities of this social world.
  • Diploma in Politics & Society – Acquire in-depth knowledge of politics and society and an understanding of the laws and rights that govern the Republic of Ireland.

Studying Government & Politics

There are many courses in Government & Politics that may take place over a few days, weeks or even 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

Courses will cover theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials and taught modules. Assessments will take place on a continuous basis with written examinations and practical assignments combined in order to achieve a qualification.

You could also consider work experience or a work shadow in the industry. Many charities and not-for-profit organisations have volunteering opportunities that will give you valuable work experience Relevant work experience is a good way of demonstrating a genuine interest in the field and is regarded favourably by employers.

Work Experience will not only give you the opportunity to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, it will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and gain valuable contacts for the future.

Career options

After completing a Government & Politics course you will be able to get started in a career that uses specific knowledge of political policies, government and law.

Politics graduates are typically employed by accountancy and banking organisations, charities, commercial businesses – particularly within marketing departments, councils, law firms, local and national government, retail companies and media organisations.

Other employers include the United Nations (UN), the European Commission, the Civil Service, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), lobbying, campaigning, and voluntary organisations and the public sector in general. The skills, experience and knowledge you gain make you very employable, particularly in roles where you can use your research skills and understanding of the political system.

You should aim to take on increasing responsibility and build up your experience by specialising in a particular policy area or by being involved with select committees. This will also allow you to establish useful contacts and make your name known. Try to create a portfolio of press releases, articles and policy involvement. As you progress, you may carry out financial and line-management duties and you can also move into the area of speech writing and research.

Competition is strong and many posts are obtained by applying speculatively, as vacancies are often not advertised externally. Recruitment usually reaches a peak in the run-up to a general election and there is often a shakeout of staff immediately afterwards, regardless of whether or not the party has been successful.

Contact party headquarters and regional party headquarters to enquire about opportunities. Send speculative applications to individual members and make sure they are tailored to their interests. You can also check political parties’ websites and individual politicians’ websites.

Working hours are generally 9 am to 5 pm, with extra hours likely at certain times, such as during the run-up to an election, when preparing high-profile legislation, and at times of national or political crisis.

Related jobs include:

  • Politician
  • Political risk analyst
  • Politician’s assistant
  • Public affairs consultant
  • Civil Service Fast Streamer
  • Government social research officer
  • Policy officer
  • Social researcher
  • Business development manager
  • Charity officer
  • Detective
  • Diplomatic service officer
  • Forensic accountant
  • Human resources officer
  • Local government officer
  • Market researcher
  • Marketing executive
  • Newspaper journalist
  • Public relations officer
  • Stockbroker

Further study

After completing a course in Government & Politics, you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skill set. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practise in certain career areas such as Law, Government, Law enforcement, Environmental politics, Human rights, International relations and European politics, International security, Political communication, Advocacy and Campaigning.


What is the importance of Government & Politics?

Politics helps you to know your rights and are a fundamental part of our society. Knowledge of government and politics helps us to understand that if we engage in political processes, using the pressure points built into the system, then every individual really does have the opportunity to change the world.

What are the different types of governments?

  • Democracy – The most common type of government in the Western world, in democracies people in a country can vote during elections for representatives or political parties that they prefer.
  • Monarchy – A monarchy is a government ruled by a king or a queen who inherits their position from their family, which is often called the “royal family.” There are two types of monarchies: absolute monarchies and constitutional monarchies. In an absolute monarchy, the ruler has no limits on their wishes or powers. In a constitutional monarchy, a ruler’s powers are limited by a document called a constitution.
  • Aristocracy – An aristocracy is a government run by the people of a ruling class, usually people who come from wealthy families, families with a particular set of values, or people who come from a particular place.
  • Dictatorship – Under a dictatorship, the government is run by one person who has all the power over the people in a country. A dictator’s rule is not stopped by any laws, constitutions, or other social and political institutions, and can last many years or even decades.
  • Oligarchy – An oligarchy is a government ruled by a small group of powerful people. These people may spread power equally or not equally. An oligarchy is different from a true democracy because very few people are given the chance to change things.

Where can I study Government & Politics?

Explore your options here

Did You Know?

  • The system of democracy was introduced 2 500 years ago in Athens, Greece.
  • India is the world’s largest democracy with more than 700 million registered voters.
  • The oldest existing governing body operates in Althing in Iceland. It was established in 930 AD.
  • Bolivia holds the highest turnover of governments. Since their independence from Spain in 1825, Bolivia has had almost 200 governments. Since 1945, Italy saw more than 50 governments and more than 20 Prime Ministers.
  • George Washington was the first president under the US constitution of 1789. However, the US was an independent nation for 13 years before the Constitution was signed. For one year during this time John Hanson served as “President of the US in Congress assembled.” Technically, John Hanson was the first president of the United States.

Mariza Halliday

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