What Will You Learn As A Political Science Major
You may be questioning how its possible that a single field can prepare you for so many different types of jobs. It all comes down to the skills you develop in the process of earning a political science degree.
Youll fine-tune your writing and research skills and develop a talent for analyzing everything you hear and read. Youll become adept at taking a big idea and breaking it down into smaller pieces so that you and others can understand and evaluate it. As you discover how to make persuasive arguments supported by facts and evidence, youll hone your presentation and critical thinking skills and collect tips and tricks for influencing people. All of these skills are going to be valuable to you in virtually any field you pursue.
To get a sense of how you can make those connections with the world, check out the Topics in Politics lecture series offered by North Centrals political science faculty. Here are just two examples on YouTube: The Politics of Touch and Pseudoscience and American Democracy.
Politics Isn’t Your Only Option
Contrary to popular belief, majoring in political science does not mean that you necessarily need to work in politics. In fact, there are numerous career opportunities for political science majors across governmental, nonprofit, and private sectors. This is in large part because a political science curriculum fosters strengths in writing, communication, and research, all of which are highly in demand in the workforce. If you are a political science student exploring potential jobs or internships, here are a few career paths to consider.
Skills Gained With A Political Science Degree
During a political science program, students read documents, retrieve data, and build arguments based on their analysis. They also engage in debates on current events, work together on group projects, and gain practical experience during internships.
Through coursework, research papers, and internships, political science students gain valuable skills. The following competencies help political science majors succeed in many industries.
Political science learners study ethics as a foundational component of political theory. They examine documents focused on the role of ethics in politics, learn about ethical rules, and apply their knowledge to current political events and scandals. During this process, political science students learn the value of personal ethics.
Since the major requires extensive writing, including papers and policy briefs, political science programs build strong written communication skills. Students also develop verbal communication skills during group projects and in-class discussions. They learn how to convey complex arguments clearly and persuasively to their intended audience.
Political science students gain research skills by writing analytical and persuasive papers. Students learn how to conduct research using scholarly books and articles, newspaper sources, and other documents. They practice analyzing these sources and basing a persuasive argument on their analysis.
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Careers With A Political Science Degree
After graduation, political science majors are employed in almost every part of the public and private sectors. Some graduates go to law school or accept positions with government at the federal, state, or local level — the traditional goal of political science majors — but many go into business, the arts, public relations, teaching in secondary schools, campaign consulting, urban and regional planning, or journalism. Others pursue any of the other careers common to liberal arts majors. And some political science majors have gone on to quite lucrative careers, as the New York Times has reported. Studies on employer preferences show that the writing and research skills and creative thinking abilities offered by a political science degree can be quite valuable in the contemporary job market.
State LA graduates have occupied important positions in the public sector at the federal, state, and local levels. At least eight graduates of Cal State LA have served as members of the United States House of Representatives. Some activities of recent alumni can be found on our “Alumni Profiles” page.
Useful discussions of political science careers can be found at the website of the American Political Science Association and on College Express. Students are encouraged to consult with faculty about their future plans after graduation, as well as to visit the campus Career Development Center, and to join the Department’s and LinkedIn Alumni network.
Is A Political Science Degree Worth It
Political science is a versatile degree that can apply to many professions. Whether you pursue a career in politics and policy or translate your analytical and communicative skills to the private sphere, the degree’s potential return on investment can be quite high.
A bachelor’s degree in political science meets the qualifications for a wide variety of entry-level, white-collar positions that deal with administration, communication, and/or data.
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Best Jobs For Political Science Masters Degree Majors
- Job Outlook: nine percent
Lawyers, also known as attorneys, specialize in different areas of law. Some of the specialties include tax law, environmental law, family law, immigration law, and corporate law. Lawyers are responsible for gathering the facts of a case, conducting legal research, advising clients, preparing briefs, and representing clients in court. Youre required to pass the bar exam in order to practice law.
Among the highest-paying careers for political science majors is that of a lawyer. While political science majors must attend law school to work in this field, the lifelong career path and high salary potential make it worth it.
As a lawyer, your knowledge of the law is used to represent clients in criminal and civil cases. A lawyers job is varied and multifaceted. Most legal professionals specialize in a type of law practice, such as corporate, family, or tax.
No matter what their specialty may be, a lawyers job is to gather facts for each case, perform legal research, write legal briefs, advise clients, and provide representation in court.
- Job Outlook: 13 percent
Economists work in both the public sector and private enterprises. They advise government bodies and organizations on economic policies, issues, and programs. They also conduct research on economic policies and stay updated on global and national economic issues. Economists focus on issues relating to wages, employment, business cycles, energy, and healthcare.
The Government Honors Program
Government Majors who would relish the opportunity to write a senior thesis and whose GPA is 3.5 or better are encouraged to apply, in Fall of Junior year, for the Government Department Honors Program.
The Honors program begins in Spring of Junior year, and the new Honors cohort take two designated courses together. Thus Government majors who hope to be selected for the Honors Program should not plan to study abroad in the Spring.
During senior year, Honors students participate in a research seminar and write a Senior Thesis under supervision. If that thesis is deemed of Honors quality, then the student graduates with Honors in the Major.
The senior thesis fulfills the Department Seminar requirement and the College requirement for one integrated Writing Course in the major.
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Establishing A Career In Politics And Policy
A successful career in politics and policy takes a lot of networking, perhaps more than any other career track. Building a web of scholars and professionals in the field starts with your education. Professors can offer valuable industry connections, and peers may become coworkers and competitors.
Completing an internship after graduating college is generally essential to securing a political science job. This is especially true in political hubs like Washington, D.C., and New York. Internships also allow you to experience working in specific areas of interest, such as state governance, international relations, and immigration policy.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Internships, particularly paid internships, often lead to full-time jobs. Political interns can find a career foothold in many industries, such as education and technology. Work experience at places like MSNBC, the U.S. Congress, or Amnesty International can help poli/sci majors land their first full-time jobs in media, politics, or nonprofit work.
While political scientists perform vital work at many agencies and organizations, most work for the federal government. The organizations that employ political scientists tend to promise secure, well-compensated careers, but the reality is that the number of qualified candidates is projected to exceed the number of available positions.
Entry Level Jobs For Political Science Students To Look For On Handshake
Learn about common entry level jobs for political science majors and how to find them on Handshake.
If youve majored in political science, you may be wondering what your options are for an entry level job. The good news is, political science students are well suited for a variety of career paths. Here are descriptions of common entry level jobs for political science majors and tips for finding these types of jobs on Handshake.
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Political Science Career Opportunities
Career opportunities with a degree in political science are extremely varied. It is this flexibility that makes the degree so practical. Political science majors qualify for many different careers in business, the law, state, local, and federal government, journalism, international organizations, finance, political campaigns, interest groups and associations, and pre-college and college teaching.
Political science training also provides valuable preparation for participating in community organizations, electoral politics, movements on behalf of specific policies, or even seeking elected or appointed positions in government.
Some Job/Career web sites to consider:
Top Graduate Programs in Political Science
The following sites will help you choose a quality political science graduate program.
Caution: We recommend that you do not rely on any single ranking source, nor should you rely on rankings alone. You should investigate a variety of material before deciding which program may be best for you.
What Can You Do With A Political Science Degree
Home » What Can You Do with a Political Science Degree?
What can you do with a political science degree? Political science careers include work in government, political campaigning and lobbying, teaching, nonprofit leadership, journalism, and public policy research and advocacy.
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A bachelors in political science may open even more doors if you go on to get a masters or professional degree, which could qualify you to work as a professor, political scientist, or lawyer.
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What To Do With A Political Science Major
What can you do with a political science degree?
The short answer: pretty much anything.
Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration. A poli sci major wont qualify you to become a five-star chef or Olympic figure skater. But political science IS an extremely versatile bachelors degree when it comes to job opportunities. Why is a political science degree worth it? Because the knowledge and skills youll gain in a great political science program will serve you well in virtually any professional setting.
Well talk more about exactly how that happens, but first, heres a list of a few political science career options that will give you a taste of some jobs you might enjoy after earning a political science degree.
Top 7 Highest Paying Political Science Degree Jobs
What can you do with a political science degree? This is aquestion a lot of prospective poli sci students find themselves pondering. Althoughpolitical science is a popular major at many colleges and universities aroundthe country, career paths for graduates arent always clear-cut. Even so, it ispossible to secure a lucrative position in the field when you know what youroptions are. In this article, well explore the seven highest paying politicalscience jobs.
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What Are The Best Entry Level Political Science Jobs
That depends on your interests and skills. The best entry level political science job for you is one that allows you to use your strengths to reach your career goals.
If you prefer a fast-paced environment, meeting new people, and writingyou may like being a legislative or press assistant. But if youre more analytical and enjoy research, you may want to consider market research or consulting.
What Do Political Science Majors Do
As a political science major, youll learn about lawmaking, political institutions, legislative policy, political trends, and public opinion. Youre also likely to develop proficient communication skills.
You might apply your knowledge and advocacy skills in local government work or in the public nonprofit arena. You may conduct public opinion survey analysis for political campaigns or public relations firms.
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Some political science majors will go on to get a professional law degree. You may also pursue a masters degree to qualify for more positions, including postsecondary teaching jobs or leadership roles in policy analysis or advocacy.
As a political science major, you might also develop a career in journalism, work for a political party, or seek elected office.
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Continuing Education And Certifications In Political Science
Unlike certain other fields, there’s no real licensure you need in order to write or practice Political Science in some other sense — typically, you benefit best from getting some experience.
Typically, Political Science advanced degrees come in two programs — a freestanding program leading to the Master of Arts degree in political science and a program leading to the Doctor of Philosophy in political science, which is usually finished in around seven years.
Pursuing an advanced degree
Having a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science is obviously a great first step regardless of what sort of career you might be considering, but once you’ve finished that, another question remains: should you go onto further studies?
We did a little research, and while the Master’s might be useful to you, you’ll want to think long and hard about whether a Ph.D is for you and your chosen career.
Here are common advanced degrees that people with Political Science degree normally consider:
Master’s in Political Science
If you’re looking to increase your knowledge in a particular aspect of Political Science or improve your research skills , then a Master’s might be supremely useful to you.
If you’re looking more to increase your earning potential, a Master’s can help do that for you too, but you want to be aware of the hefty price tag that might be associated with it. Figure out how long you’ll be willing to pay off the debt and compared to how much earnings you can anticipate from it first.
Explore Careers & Build Networks
Career Exploration 101
Informational interviews are a great way to connect with professionals in a career area of interest and gain valuable insights about a particular career, company, or industry that would otherwise be difficult to find in books or online. Check out our tip sheet to learn more.
Check out our Alumni Profiles page with submissions from UTM grads to find out how their experiences have affected their career direction.
Attending career panels, networking events, employer info sessions, and career fairs is a great way to meet professionals and learn more about careers, companies and industries. Login to CLN and click on Events & Workshops to see what’s coming up.
Talk to Professors
Connecting with your professors can be a great way to explore the different paths a major can lead you to, as well as learn about possible opportunities for research, volunteering or becoming a TA. Drop by during their office hours or request an appointment.
Join a student club or an academic society at UTM to meet like-minded people, explore your interests and make valuable connections. To view a list of current clubs and societies, visit the Centre for Student Engagement’s website. Some organizations you may consider are:
- Political Science & Pre-Law Association
- UTM Students’ Union
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Best Political Science & Government Schools
In 2022, College Factual analyzed 781 schools in order to identify the top ones for its Best Political Science & Government Schools ranking. When you put them all together, these colleges and universities awarded 48,196 degrees in political science and government during the 2019-2020 academic year.
What’s on this page:
Urban & Regional Planners
Job Growth: 7%Education: Masters degree
There are many people and scores of organizations that have different ideas for how certain land should be used. Its the job of urban planners and regional planners to meld these concerns into a coherent plan. They may meet with public officials, gather data, conduct field investigations, or even administer government plans. Most of all, they need to stay current on zoning laws and building codes to provide the best input for community development. Planners earned a median salary of over $75,000 in 2020 and had a strong recorded pay for the top earners of over $118,200. Professionals in these political science jobs can expect a career growth of 7%, an average rate of growth for careers in this area of study. However, you will likely need a masters degree from an accredited planning program.
Job Growth: 25%Education: Bachelors degree
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Where To Begin Your Career After Getting Political Science Degree
Your adaptable skills as a Political Science Major’s makes you suitable for almost every field, so it’s up to you to narrow your focus.
And if you aren’t fortunate enough to network your way into a position, it might be worth taking a look at what sort of internships you might be qualified for, even if you’ve already graduated.
A good internship can potentially lead directly to a position, and even if it doesn’t it gives you an undeniable edge — a Millennial Branding survey shows that 91% of employers think that students should have between one and two internships before graduating.
Here are some common types of internships for Political Science Majors:
If your goal is to intern for a politician, your best bet is to apply directly through the local office’s website — good luck with finding a paid one. If you’re looking for something a little higher on the totem pole, try the House of Representatives Employment Bulletin and the Senate Employment Bulletin.
Before you settle on an internship, though, you’ll want to make sure it’s the right fit for you. Ask yourself these questions:
- Where do you want to work?
- What size and type of organization do you want to work for?
- Do you need compensation in an internship, or might you be able to consider alternative compensation
- Is relocation an option?