People often ask me what degree I’m studying. When I reply that I’m studying BSc Politics and Data Science, the most common response is, “Do we do that here at LSE?! – I’ve never heard of it”.
My programme is a brand new programme for 2022/23, so this explains the confusion of my peers. This means that I am part of the first cohort ever of the programme, which has been a very exciting (and also slightly scary) experience. I am also a complete “newbie” in both aspects of my degree, having never studied politics or computer science before. Luckily, the only prerequisite for the course are three As at A-levels, including an A in A-level Maths, so if you’ve got that or are on track to achieve it, read on to find out why I highly recommend you to apply to this course.
Firstly, if, like me, you have no experience in the areas of this programme, don’t let that put you off! The politics side of the course starts with an introductory approach which you will have no problems following. Although I will say that the politics modules require a fair amount of reading, this can be easily supplemented by recordings of LSE public events and other lectures to solidify your understanding.
As for the data science side, there is a heavy emphasis on programming in these modules. But again, don’t be put off by a lack of experience. I had never programmed before in my life until starting at LSE, and I must admit that I felt very much thrown in at the deep end. But I was able to receive a lot of support during this steep learning curve. The LSE Digital Skills Lab, for example, provides pre-sessional courses on Python and R for you to do to get the basics of programming down, and my teachers and professors are always available and more than happy to help and answer my questions. The only real prerequisite in my opinion is that you’re up for a challenge! – The interdisciplinary nature of the programme certainly requires this, and this is one of the best things about the programme. Companies are increasingly searching for candidates who display the ability to work across disciplines, politics and data science prepares you extremely well for this type of work, as well as equipping you with the skills needed in a world where technology seeps into all aspects of our lives and careers.
BSc Politics and Data Science falls under the Department of Government. My experience with the department so far has been overwhelmingly positive. The activities they planned during Welcome Week provided fantastic opportunities to meet other students from the department as well as get to know London a bit. We had welcome talks, breakfasts (pastries included!) and fun active events such as a treasure hunt around London where we had to perform ridiculous tasks as a group – that one served as a real ice-breaker!
In addition to the Department of Government, my course is also tied closely with the Data Science Institute (DSI), a relatively new institute at LSE. The DSI works with the academic departments across the School to foster interdisciplinary study of Data Science applications. It also organises many exciting events throughout the year, which include the CIVICA Data Science Seminar Series and the Careers in Data Science series. As a programme representative for my data science module, I have had the opportunity to work with staff from the DSI to improve the curriculum based on student feedback. The way that feedback has been taken on board is amazing, and students really feel listened to and supported by staff.
I hope that I have managed to convince you to consider applying to the newest (and best) programme at LSE, and provided you with some useful information should you end up studying BSc Politics and Data Science.