Skip to main content

Learn about politics with online courses and programs

Politics relies on leveraging social dynamics to influence policy. Learn how to create change with online courses delivered through edX.

What is politics?

Politics is the process by which groups of people make decisions. These decisions may be internal, such as the laws and regulations that govern a particular community or country. They can also be external, informing relationships with other political groups. There are many types of political systems that exist today, including:Footnote 1

  • Closed autocracy: Citizens are unable to choose their representatives through elections.

  • Electoral autocracy: Citizens may elect representatives, however they lack certain freedoms that impact fairness.

  • Electoral democracy: Citizens elect representatives through free and fair multi-party elections.

  • Liberal democracy: Citizens may elect representatives and hold individual rights, prohibiting lawmakers from discriminating against specific groups.

Politics impacts everything from how people get around their communities to the allocation of resources. By studying politics, you can better engage with your community, influence policy, and contribute to a global society.

Politics | Introduction Image Description

Politics course curriculum

Learners interested in studying politics can select from a variety of courses offered by edX. Foundational courses may cover topics such as constitutional foundations, political institutions, and comparative political systems. These courses may also include introductory modules around justice, ethics, and activism. After gaining a solid understanding of the fundamentals, you may engage in more focused study, examining specialized topics such as:

  • How the U.S. Supreme Court influences American politics

  • How to apply political science principles to understand political phenomena

  • How human rights impact and are impacted by political decision-making

  • How different countries’ political systems have evolved over time

There are different approaches to learning about politics and other related subjects. With edX, you can find options for learners with varying levels of expertise and experience. Pursue a bachelor’s degree program or (for more advanced learners) a master’s degree program. Established professionals may opt for an executive education program or an accelerated boot camp. Find the learning path that best aligns with your goals.

Explore jobs related to politics

Political knowledge is important in many jobs and industries. Your professional plans don’t necessarily need to lead into public service in order to utilize political skills on a daily basis. Explore opportunities that connect representatives to their constituents and the issues they care about in roles such as:Footnote 2

  • Political consultant: has a strong grasp on the political process to assist candidates in their pursuit of election. They can use their knowledge to develop strategies that align with their campaign goals.

  • Lawyer: is well versed in local and national legislation pertaining to their specialization or client roster. They may use their influence to build relationships with policymakers or lawmakers as a means of benefiting their clients’ needs and interests.

  • Caseworker: understands the government programs currently in place, including their purpose and their intended beneficiaries. They may work with government agencies or officials while managing their relationships with constituents.

  • Journalist: communicates relevant stories in a way that is both truthful and helpful for the public. They interview sources, conduct research, and fact-check their stories prior to publication.

  • Urban planner: understands the varied needs of a community, as well as the abilities and limitations of their implementation. They can serve as a middleman between government officials and their local communities.

  • Policy analyst: studies previous, current, and future policy changes through research and analysis. They can use their knowledge to assist in legislative strategy and help representatives make decisions.

  • Economist: has a strong grasp of how local and global economies work and react to one another. They may work in a government position to consult on large transactions or provide recommendations for future financial decisions.

  • Security specialist: understands protocols regarding the safety and security of individuals they serve to protect. They may use their experience to strengthen security measures when necessary.

While many of these roles exist within similar industries, employment qualifications for careers that use political knowledge can differ based on the position and employer. Some roles may require a higher-level degree or security clearance, while others may ask for a demonstration of skills that can be acquired through a certification program. Before deciding on which learning path will work best for you, research potential roles you hope to pursue and align your coursework with your professional aspirations.

Last updated