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Employability – University of Reading

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  • Develop the skills you need to excel

    Our graduates go into a wide range of careers and sectors

Employability

Studying with us will prepare you for your future career. You will develop a wide range of skills, as well as have the option to gain real-world experience through placements and practical modules.

Career destinations

Our graduates have gone into a range of fields, such as public services, welfare and housing, media, business and finance, sales and marketing.

For specific career destination information and data, please see our undergraduate degree course pages

Skills you will develop

Our goal is to ensure that you graduate with all the skills you need for a successful future career.

Analysis and problem solving

For every module you will read a lot (and sometimes also watch films or videos) and then analyse what you have found in order to develop convincing answers to particular questions. Some of our modules also put particular emphasis on problem solving:

  • In the second year, our "Model United Nations" module challenges you to think about how to pursue your objectives in international negotiations.
  • The biggest piece of analysis you will do is your final-year dissertation, when you will write a paper of 8,000-10,000 words on your own original research project. This is an opportunity for you to hone the skills you have developed throughout the degree programme to develop a well grounded answer to a question that fascinates you.

“The skills I've learned have proven to be very helpful during internships in finance, as I was required to find information quickly and evaluate the importance of such to the issue at hand, while being prepared for all sorts of questions.”

Felix Johnston-Brunn – Undergraduate student

Written and oral communication

All our modules have written assignments. In most modules, this includes an essay in which you answer a specified question. Other modules include other kinds of written work.

  • For example, the "Freedom" module in the first year includes a review of a book, film, or play, while the "Democracy and Democracy Promotion" module in the third year asks you to write a research report on the prospects of democracy promotion in a particular country of your choice.
  • In 2014/15, students taking the "British Government and Politics" module in the second year made a submission to a consultation being conducted by the House of Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Committee instead of a regular essay.
  • Oral presentations are also part of all modules. In many modules they are not formally assessed, so they are an opportunity to try out your ideas before committing them to paper. But other modules do include them as part of the assessment, so they give you an extra opportunity to practise your presentation skills and receive feedback. These modules include "Freedom" in the first year, "British Government and Politics" in the second year, and "Democracy and Democracy Promotion" in the third year.

Research methods

We provide extensive research training to our undergraduate students, including how to collect and make sense of various types of data. Through our "Study of Politics" module, you will learn the different theoretical approaches to politics, as well as different methodological approaches to political analysis. You will also have opportunities to develop core skills of political research.

Self-management

You will need to manage your time well and learn to effectively prioritise your work to succeed in your degree. This means giving yourself enough time for independent study outside of lectures and seminars, and ensuring you meet all the deadlines for your assessed work.

“I have learnt many transferable skills throughout my degree so far, especially research and analysis of large amounts of texts and explaining my own thoughts and views on them in essays. As well as this, my presentation skills have improved so much since the beginning of my degree.”

Izzy Coleman-Wood – Undergraduate student

Team working

You will have plenty of opportunities to work in groups with fellow students on projects and presentations. For example, in the first-year "Freedom" module, you will work in small teams to give presentations on key issues. In "Media and Politics" in the second year, you will join a team of two or three students to produce an extended radio report.

Numeracy and IT skills

Numeracy and IT skills are increasingly important in the contemporary workplace. All of our modules require basic word processing skills and you also have many opportunities to develop your skills with PowerPoint and other similar software. Skills in finding and evaluating online materials are also central to the research that you will do for your modules and your dissertation. Our "Study of Politics" module requires students to learn SPSS software, whereas "Politics of the Welfare State" tasks you with engaging with data about social policies.

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