Studying in PPR – student life and support

University life is more than just what goes on in lecture theatres and seminar rooms. We want all students in Politics, Philosophy & Religion to have a rich and rewarding experience. And we’re keen to support students through any bumps in the road that they encounter along the way.

Meet our Part I Co-ordinator

Katherine Young, PPR Part I Co-ordinator

What you do in terms of student wellbeing?

I look after our first year or “Part I” students, and I always keep in mind that this may be the first time a student has lived away from home. Your first year is not only about learning how to study at University level, but also about learning to manage a budget, keep mind and body healthy, manage new relationships with peers and staff, and discover new talents and interests.

It’s important to have enthusiasm for the subjects you study: University work is difficult, and it is your enthusiasm which will carry you through the tough times. Life can give you big obstacles or minor bumps in the road – either can affect your mental health and your enthusiasm can wane. There is plenty of support available to you, also outside the Department, including your College or within the wider University support networks.

What do you like about PPR?

I like the way our academics are so approachable – I can stop them in the corridor or the Departmental kitchen and ask them anything; about world affairs, UK party politics, why people act the way they do, even how to explain the paranormal!

And what about our students?

I am very impressed with our students! They are so motivated, involved with societies and activities, and really want to understand their subject.

What's the best and worst bits of your job?

The worst bit is hearing of the struggles that some students face. But then the best bit of the job is seeing those students when they get an essay grade they’re proud of. It really makes my day!

What else do you get up to in the university?

As is the case for students, there is also so much opportunity for staff to get involved in other areas of interest. I’m involved in a campus-wide committee looking at how Lancaster can work towards tackling climate change.

Katherine Young
marble run Katherine's office

Support and Student Wellbeing

The University offers a wide range of support services, and your College will often be an important source of support, too. College Wellbeing Officers are part of the University’s broader Counselling and Mental Health Service, made up qualified mental health practitioners.

In the Department, we know that sometimes a friendly face is the most important thing, and that it can be hard to know where to turn when things aren’t going as you hope. As well as our Katherine and Clare, our Part I and Part II Co-ordinators, you can always reach out to members of academic staff, including your Academic Tutor.

Your tutor is a lecturer or professor who’ll stay with you across your studies. Students meet with their tutor each term, to discuss academic progress, module choices, coursework marks, exam preparation, and career plans. Tutors often provide references on graduation, and we also encourage students to use their tutor as an extra sounding-board, for example, if they have difficulties or aren’t sure about the support available.

Student Activities in PPR

There are lots of activities and initiatives in the department – some social, some more academic.

Student Societies

The student Politics Society and Philosophy Society have flourished in the past few years. Run by students – but supported by academic staff – these societies organise a wide range of events: talks, debates, socials, quizzes, study sessions open to all students in the department and beyond. The societies have elected student Committees – students organise and shape all their activities. In addition, we have a student-run journal, Ethica, which you can get involved in if your interests go in the direction of ethics and philosophy.

Student Representatives

Students play a key role in department decision-making. Every year, our students elect Academic Representatives to represent the major undergraduate subject areas of Politics, International Relations, and Philosophy, for each year of study. We also have dedicated BAME student reps. The reps convey student views to the termly Staff-Student Consultation Meeting, and take part in our Departmental Meetings and Teaching Committee. This also gives our reps a valuable experience of working in governance and committee structures!

Departmental Socials

Students organise departmental socials and parties, often with contributions from academic staff. Quizzes, music, food and drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic!) – there are lots of chances to socialise outside of the classroom. Our Student Societies also organise annual balls and many other social events.


The Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion is home to the Richardson Institute, which undertakes cutting-edge research in peace and conflict. Each year the Institute offers around 60 internships to students to undertake research projects for external organisations – themes have included sectarianism, identity and belonging, environmental issues, and urban politics. The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences also hosts an internship programme for all our students, whatever their degree.

Careers and Employability

Recent PPR graduates have pursued a range of careers in different sectors: from the civil service, diplomacy, journalism, and the charity sector, to financial services, marketing, and accounting. A PPR degree can help set you apart from other graduates on the job market.

Careers and employability