Careers In Political Science

The Ins & Outs

TABLE OF CONTENTS

What is the value of a Political Science degree?
Jobs for Political Science graduates
Jobs for Liberal Arts Graduates
Political Science as preparation for graduate and professional school
Famous Political Science grads
Resources on the web

WHAT IS THE VALUE OF A POLITICAL SCIENCE DEGREE?

A degree in Political Science indicates that a person has developed the following skills:

  • Ability to find information in paper and electronic sources
  • Ability to read, understand, evaluate, and synthesize information from a variety of sources
  • Ability to explain complex ideas orally and in writing
  • Ability to understand the workings of political systems, governments, and similar organizations
  • Ability to adapt to changes in the workplace and learn new skills quickly
  • Ability to recognize ethical dimensions of workplace decisions and practices

For discussion of the Political Science major in particular, go to http://www.apsanet.org/content_6457.cfm

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JOBS FOR POLITICAL SCIENCE GRADUATES

Most students, when they think of jobs in Political Science, immediately think of politics and government.  Political Science provides students with background in the workings of the political system and the provides good overall background in public issues for a would-be elected official.    A Political Science degree can also lead to a job as a lobbyist, campaign manager, political consultant, political activist, diplomat, or Congressional staffer, to name just a few possibilities. Political Science also provides useful background for those wishing to work for local, state, or federal government offices.

Teaching is also a viable career path for Political Science majors.  Whether at the elementary, secondary, or post-secondary (collegiate) level, teaching is a rewarding career.  Political Science majors wishing to teach in public schools will need teacher certification/licensure as well as a broad preparation in history and the social sciences.  Most would-be public school teachers will pursue licensure at the undergraduate level.  Some students, however, may decide to pursue a plain bachelor's degree and acquire certification afterwards.  Teaching in private schools does not always require licensure.  Career advancement in either type of school often depends on getting a master's or doctoral degree (either PhD or EdD).  College and university teaching requires a minimum of a master's degree, but more often a PhD in Political Science.

For more information, check out the American Political Science Association's web page:  http://www.apsanet.org/content_6457.cfm.

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JOBS FOR LIBERAL ARTS GRADUATES

Political Science shares a lot of career opportunities with other Liberal Arts degrees.  Employers in a wide variety of fields are looking for people who have good skills in writing, oral communication, and organization and are prepared to be life-long learners.  The number of possible fields is enormous, but some particularly good fits would be in diplomacy, intelligence, non-profits, business, publishing, and journalism.

Many Political Science majors decide to be self-employed.  Some may start up their own businesses.  Others may become writers, either of books or as free-lance writers for magazines and newsletters or as technical writers.

For a detailed discussion of the value of a liberal arts program go to http://www.iseek.org/education/liberalarts.html (iseek, "Minnesota's gateway to career, education, employment and business information").

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POLITICAL SCIENCE AS PREPARATION FOR GRADUATE AND PROFESSIONAL SCHOOL

Political Science is also excellent preparation for graduate and professional schools.  Graduate study in Political Science is just one possibility.  Political Science is a popular pre-law major.  Business School is another opportunity.  Humanities and social sciences majors generally do very well on the GMAT (Graduate Management Test), substantially better than Business majors.  Public Administration is another good field for Political Scientists.  Even more science-oriented fields, such as health care, have a place for Political Science majors.

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FAMOUS POLITICAL SCIENCE GRADES

President Barack Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden both have degrees in Political Science, but check out these other famous Poli grads:  http://liberalarts.unlv.edu/WAC/programs/famous/political_science.html.


RESOURCES ON THE WEB

TSU's Career Center:  http://www.tnstate.edu/careers/

What Can I Do with a Political Science Major? (linked from TSU's Cooperative Education Office, developed by UT-Knoxville, posted by SUNY-Binghamton): 

American Political Science Association:

Humanities Resource Center Online:

iseek, "Minnesota's gateway to career, education, employment and business information":

Idealist.org (jobs and internship opportunities in non-profits):

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webpage contact:
Elizabeth Dachowski