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Gregory Burke - HSPS

At school I studied Latin, French, History and German. Outside of these I was involved in the debating, historical and philosophical societies. My interests were broad, and they gave me an insight into politics from a variety of perspectives. For me, this variety was reflected in the HSPS course. You are given a solid foundation in the philosophical principles of politics and then led to apply them to historical periods and current developments, going from the very abstract to the very practical and back again.

HSPS will enable you to see issues in their full complexity and from every angle.

Whilst immersing you in these approaches to politics, the course offers the opportunity to pursue your individual interests. The ability to choose from a range of papers, including other subjects, brings considerable flexibility when deciding how far you would like to specialise. This freedom is enhanced by the dissertations in second and third year. As an example, I wrote my second year dissertation on stabilising revolutionary states in the wake of the Arab Spring, and then in third year I opted for a sociology module on “Revolutions, War and Militarism”. At the same time, I kept my interests broad by choosing a module on political economy, which explored the reasons behind the financial crash of 2008 and rising inequality.

The course will give you a comprehensive insight into the most pressing current problems and most interesting historical episodes. At the same time, you will be able to assess new developments in light of the knowledge and understanding you have gained on the course. I am currently training to be a solicitor.

St John’s is a breathtaking place to live and study. Many of its alumni have been at the political forefront, from William Wilberforce to Manmohan Singh. The walk along the backs to the HSPS department is the best way I know to start the day and the May Ball is reason enough to choose John’s by itself.