Some FAQs at Warwick Open Days
We have just gone through two lovely and intense Open Days. As a PAIS Student Ambassador, I got to talk to so many prospective students and their parents about the course and life at Warwick. I mentally collected some of the most recurring question that might be helpful to those of you who have not managed to make it.
Note that these are not official nor exhaustive answers – they’re meant to be a very quick overview, and from my own personal perspective!
How does the course work in terms of choices?
PAIS is structured in a way that allows you plenty of flexibility and choice. The first year has three core modules and one optional (that can be outside the department) in order to give everyone a basic knowledge on the main concepts, issues and theories. The second year only two modules will be core, with two more modules to choose. In your final year, you will get to choose up to three modules based on your interests. This allows you to gradually and effectively shape your degree – it’s what you make of it, and it’s really fulfilling. Now that I am finished, regardless of the result, I feel like I have achieved my own, tailored degree, rather than something that was forced upon me.
You can bring in other disciplines and make it original and interdisciplinary – by choosing outside modules as well as bringing other subjects within your Politics modules. For example, I was able to do a lot of architectural analysis and geography – one of my favourite parts of the degree!
Do I need to aspire to work in politics do study PAIS?
No! It’s a hugely flexible degree and will give you skills to enter all sorts of career paths. Many people are scared because they find the subject fascinating, but are not the sort of person that would happily have heated political arguments the whole time. This is definitely not the case!
Do I need to have A-Level Politics?
No – I had not done any Politics before and still managed to have a great time. For those who do study it in Sixth Form, first year will certainly touch upon familiar topics, to give everyone a sound background. But you will not be disadvantaged if you have not studied any Politics at school.
Are there opportunities to study abroad? Is it very competitive?
I know loads of people who either chose to do their second year abroad (as an integrated year), or their third year, extending their degree. People who do an integrated year tend to choose the US, Canada or a term in Hong Kong, while people who extend their time at university spend their third year all over Europe, Australia, Japan, and again US and Canada and come back for a fourth and final year. It is fairly competitive, but many of my friends who applied were successful. So it’s definitely an option to consider!
How should I write my personal statement?
I do not want to claim to be the most effective source for personal statements, so please check the many resources (this is a great guide by the University). My top two tips would be the following:
1. Be specific: do not talk about politics in general, but find a particular area that you would like to explore in your time at university. If you do not know yet (which is perfectly normal!) have a look at the list of modules from all three years and see what words spark your interest. Do some research, read a few things, talk about it.
2. Have an argument-focused approach: everything you write should be in function of your main “argument”, i.e. that you are an excellent candidate for the course! Everything you write should therefore explain why that is the case.
How does a week look like?
For each module, every week you will have one lecture (big hall, lecturer explaining the key concepts for a particular topic), one seminar (15 people, more interactive discussion on the main debates) and your own individual reading.
There are obviously more complete answers to all of these, but I hope it was a useful overview! If you have any more questions that you want to talk about in detail, do message me. Have a lovely rest of the weekend!