Help me learn about politics and law!
March 20, 2007 6:59 PM   Subscribe

I'm in Western Australia and have a BA Journalism. I want to do a couple of short courses in politics and law to further my knowledge (and therefore, be better at my job). Help me find the right course!

As I work full time and don't particularly want to start another BA, going back to uni is out (and my academic record was less than stellar, so I doubt they'd want me back anyway!).

Open University and TAFE don't appear to offer any courses related to these areas. Any other suggestions?

Other options: some kind of bridging course to get into Law? (I'd love to work in media law, but I doubt my academic record would admit me to a post-grad law degree!).
posted by indienial to Education (10 answers total)
Don't limit yourself to courses offered in Perth. Interstate universities run courses which can be completed by correspondence/online, and not all require the sort of academic results that are needed to get you into, say, an honours course. To be honest, I haven't read everything on this particular page, and it mightn't be exactly what you're after, but it's an example of the sort of politics-type courses that UniSA offers online. I'm sure there are other universities that offer online stuff you can have a crack at.
posted by bunglin jones at 7:43 PM on March 20, 2007

Have you checked out the London External programs? They are offered by the University of London, and they have certificates, diplomas, and full-fledged degrees (bachelor and master's).
posted by jayder at 8:40 PM on March 20, 2007

I'd apply to uni, to do a Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma or similar.

For instance, there's a Grad Cert in Arts at UWA. Full time it takes 1 semester, but you can do it part time over 2 years, so that's about 1 day a week, which might be possible? The Grad Dip is twice as long.

Seriously, what's the harm in applying to uni? A graduate course builds on your existing degree, you can whack it on HELP (formerly HECS), and the worst they can do is say no.
posted by robcorr at 11:09 PM on March 20, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for your advice— I think I should point out that my grades at uni really were quite terrible (I think my average was only just above 50%) and all the postgrad programs I looked at required a clean and shining academic record.

The Grad Cert looks a bit closer to what I'd ideally like (they seem less fussy about the odd— or repeated, in my case— academic failure!), but I'm not sure how I'd fit it in with work. The online Uni of SA stuff looks like I'd have to start a new degree, which is daunting, but has its merits.

Does anyone know how credible a degree done entirely online is? I know Open University stuff isn't recognised in a lot of places....

To slightly change the question, who could I talk to about this? I've never figured out where to go to get good career/academic advice! (which goes a very little way towards explaining my crappy track record).
posted by indienial at 12:09 AM on March 21, 2007

I'm studying through CQU (Central Queensland University) completely externally and I know that at Edith Cowan university you can also do courses completely externally. It's not the external bit that is questionable, it's the institution you need to consider and both of those universities have reasonable reputations.

You might want to consider looking at each state's tertiary admittance website for example QTAC and also auditting courses, where you pay the university upfront, and you get marked for your work, but it does not form part of a degree program.

to get advice about this, ring a bunch of different universities and if you're lucky, you'll end up to talking to an adminstration offficer who both knows what they're talking about and cares that you get the right advice. Aim to ring the actual departments (also known as schools) rather than the general university admissions section.

You might also find this link useful and this one.

If you have funds, there are career guidance experts in the phone book, i don't know how good they are.
posted by b33j at 1:21 AM on March 21, 2007

Career advice is non-existant once you get out the education world, frankly. (And the career advice you get while being educated is pretty ho-hum... that said, everyone always said I should be a journalist and now I am, so there you go.)

But I would definitely start by ringing up the unis and telling them what you want to do and going from there. They should be able to help.

Your marks might not be a huge impediment to further study: how long have you been working? If you have enough professional experience that can count for a lot.
posted by jasperella at 2:58 AM on March 21, 2007

I know Open University stuff isn't recognised in a lot of places....

The degrees you can get from studying via Open Universities Australia are indistinguishable from the same degree you might get from studying directly via the uni - the degree is awarded by the university in question, not by 'the open university' or any such entity.

I want to do a couple of short courses in politics and law to further my knowledge (and therefore, be better at my job).

Let's get this straight - I'm now not clear on whether you really want to further your knowledge or if you simply want to complete a recognised course (honestly, I'm not being snarky here, it's just that there is a difference.) And what sort of politics/law do you want to learn about? I suggest sitting down and having a good think about your goals and what exactly you want from a course and what you want to learn. That will help us with giving advice (and will also help unis to give you good advice, and ultimately help you to get what you want!)

/not snark, and I apologise if it comes off sounding harsh - it isn't meant to!
posted by different at 5:56 AM on March 21, 2007

Response by poster: Hey different, it's cool— I'm not so thin-skinned :)

I already have completed a recognised course— the BA— so I don't really care if it's recognised or not. That, and my experience, will make prospective employers more interested than another course, I'd think. HOWEVER: I feel like there are huge gaps in my political knowledge, and I'd really like to do some kind of foundation course so I make quicker mental connections and have more background etc when covering political topics. I didn't grow up in Australia, and I feel like I've never really got to grips with Australia's political history and the way it is run over here. So some kind of crash course would be great! I've tried to fill in the blank myself, but really, where do you start??

The Open Universities comment was made because according to their website, there are no prerequisites for enrolling apart from your credit card number. I know that when I applied for uni (and also a few jobs) they did not recognise Open Uni degrees. Perhaps I've made a bit of an assumption from that though...
posted by indienial at 12:54 AM on March 22, 2007

Best answer: Hey different, it's cool— I'm not so thin-skinned :)

Good good - you never know when people are going to take horrendous offence on teh intarwebs ;-)

I didn't grow up in Australia, and I feel like I've never really got to grips with Australia's political history and the way it is run over here.

Ah ok - if you're looking for REAL back-to-basics stuff, maybe start with a year 11 or 12 Politics textbook? Seriously. It will give you the whole history of Federation, preferential voting vs first-past-the-post system, the 1975 constitutional crisis, floating the dollar in the 80s (ok I guess that's economics rather than politics!) - would that help at all?

I did politics in those last two years of school (though admittedly that was quite some time ago!) and I think it would be a good starting point for someone who doesn't know the sorts of things that you would tend to absorb if you had grown up in Australia.

Also, just by-the by, from the Open Uni website: "If you decide to complete a degree, you will graduate from the university offering that program, for example Monash or Griffith. Your degree will not say Open Universities Australia."
posted by different at 4:08 PM on March 22, 2007

Response by poster: Ooh, that does indeed sound like a good place to start— thanks different! *shuffles off to the book shop*
posted by indienial at 4:56 PM on March 22, 2007

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