With some of the oldest universities in the world and highly respected qualifications, higher education in the United Kingdom remains a popular choice among Asian students. In fact, the UK has so many excellent universities that it can be difficult to choose between them.
One leading UK university that tends to slip under the radar is the University of Southampton on the south coast of England. Over the past two decades, it has emerged as one of the country’s leading research-focused institutions, adding to its already impressive choice of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.
The University of Southampton gained its Royal charter in 1952, but its origins go back to 1862 when it opened as the Hartley Institution. It has its main campus in the Highfield area of Southampton, with four other campuses in the area, all catering to about 25,000 students.
The University of Southampton is consistently ranked among the top 100 universities in the world and is one of the top 15 research universities in the UK. It was ranked in 18th place by The Sunday Times University Guide 2010, 14th in the Independent Complete University Guide 2010 and joint 19th in The Times Good University Guide 2010. This is a diverse and vibrant university where new international students find the right mix of the new and familiar, and emerge with qualifications that really turn heads in the employment market.
With a firm commitment to equality and diversity, and a vibrant international student population from more than 130 different countries, the University of Southampton has the right facilities, teaching staff and study environment for Asian students to excel.
The university especially prides itself on its links with institutes around the world. It is a founding member of the World Universities Network (WUN), which is dedicated to the international collaboration in graduate education and research. These global connections and the high quality of its programmes in political science and international relations make the University of Southampton a leading choice for Asian students.
The University of Southampton offers undergraduate students a comprehensive range of BSc’s and BA’s in politics. Here are just three of the programs on offer:
BSc (Social Sciences) Politics and International Relations – This three-year degree tackles politics and international relations from global, national and local perspectives, providing a deep understanding of how politics in today’s world really works. This programme provides students with a grounding in international relations, political theory, political analysis, and more, while also allowing them to delve into more specialist areas.
BSc (Social Sciences) Politics and Economics – This programme equips students with a thorough grounding in both subjects. An impressive choice of optional modules allows students to explore specialist areas that match their interests. In the third and final year, students can choose to write their dissertation on either politics or economics.
BA Politics and French – This BA programme is ideal for anyone with an interest in French culture and politics. Students emerge with a deep understanding of the entire French-speaking world. While at Southampton, students will perfect their written and spoken French, while specializing in the areas of French culture that interest them the most, such as French literature, or French politics.
The University of Southampton is home to a vibrant 4,000-strong postgraduate student population. It also boasts of one of the highest completion rates in the country. In 2005/06, the completion rate for international students was 93 percent and 90 percent for UK/EU students.
Postgraduate students at Southampton are not lacking in choice. The university offers 140 taught courses and 200 research programmes. As one would expect, these courses and research programmes cover a wide range of fields and there is plenty to interest prospective Asian political science students.
Here is a small sample of the postgraduate degrees and research options available at the University of Southampton:
MSc Citizenship and Democracy (Research) – Recognised by the ESRC, this programme allows students to take an in-depth look at how democracy works in today’s world. This is an ideal pathway to fully-funded PhD research for any student who wants to take their education to the highest level.
PG Dip/MSc Governance and Policy – This programme is comprised of two compulsory modules – Governance and Policy, and Philosophy, Methodology and Research Design – and four optional modules which will allow students to specialize and take their studies in the direction that they desire.
Politics and International Relations – PhD Research Programmes – The University of Southampton offers MPhil/PHD programmes in many areas of political science, political theory and international relations. Its main research themes are citizenship, governance and globalisation. The research opportunities here are very broad and the university is committed to creating the perfect environment for doctoral research.
With a vibrant multi-cultural student body, state-of-the-art facilities and a firm commitment to equality and diversity, the University of Southampton is a great place to study for Asian students. The Students’ Union has more than a 100 active clubs and societies offering a chance for students to meet like-minded people, whether their interests are in sport, literature, art, religion and more.
For those who like to stay active, the University offers excellent facilities on its High Street campus. The Jubilee Sports Centre includes a 25-metre swimming pool, a large gym and an eight-court sports hall. Students can also avail of squash courts, a martial arts studio and dance studios on campus.
For those who want to catch up with friends for some relaxation after a hard day in the lecture hall or at the library, the university is home to an impressive choice of cafes, eateries and bars. With snacks, sweets, drinks and international foods (often Fair Trade) on offer, there’s something for everyone.
The University of Southampton also stands out in terms of accommodation. International students are guaranteed on-campus accommodation at the university’s Hall of Residence for the duration of their studies, or part thereof. For those who prefer private rented accommodation in Southampton, the university will help with this too.
Living in Southampton
Southampton is just over one hour from central London on the south coast of England. With a population of about 200,000, this is a vibrant and intimate city. Its small size makes it an easy starting point for international students experiencing life in the UK for the first time. It’s easy to get around, but it is still diverse enough for international students to feel at home. Southampton is surrounded by areas of natural beauty including the New Forest and the Isle of Wight, and connected to the rest of the UK and Europe through superb road, rail, air and sea links.
Life after Southampton
Any international student considering studying in the UK should take into account their employment prospects after graduation. The quality of the University of Southampton’s graduates is recognised by employers worldwide. The Career Destinations Department offers free advice to all students for up to three years after graduation. It is renowned for its close links with business and industry and has been ranked in the top 20 UK universities for graduate starting salaries (2010 Sunday Times University Guide rankings).