Political science majors have a wide range of employment options upon graduation, a great advantage over students that pursue general liberal arts degrees or programs that provide narrow career opportunities. The study of political science entails coursework in public policy, communications, law and government that provides a broad background for work in advocacy, administration, research and politics. The nature of political science requires that students learn to analyze data, think critically, and develop the ability to present coherent arguments. The 21st century workplace demands graduates with these skills, and the political science major has several career paths from which to choose.
The obvious career choice for the student that enjoys debates on public policy, those that wish to be actively involved citizens and those that seek the thrill of a political campaign, may apply a political science degree to a career with a political party, either in Washington, D.C. or at any of the state houses across the country. Working as an aide to a candidate, or to a seated lawmaker, gives the graduate an insider view of government and offers career growth opportunities that can lead to national recognition.
Employment with the federal government is a natural fit for the political science major. These positions are geographically widespread, the federal government has branches in every state, and the wide range of departments provide employment possibilities in a diversity of fields. These positions generally provide competitive wages, excellent benefits and job security.
For those with an altruistic nature, an education in political science will give them the necessary background for work in the nonprofit sector, building support for an organization, securing funding and influencing legislation to meet the charity’s mission. For-profit businesses also hire political science majors for government relations and lobbying efforts. A thorough understanding of public policy as it relates to the economy and private sector business is one area of focus a political science major may pursue.
Multiple career opportunities exist in media and communications for the political science major. Print, online and television news sources require writers with a background in political science to report and provide insightful commentary on government actions and political activity. Jobs can range from highly public positions in front of a camera to behind-the-scenes work developing a Web page. Political action committees, private foundations and private interest groups may tap a political science major for a marketing position as ‘getting out the message” is crucial to an organizations survival and growth.
For those that are more reflective in nature, and consider political science a study in philosophy or human psychology, a career in academia may be an attractive consideration. States that offer alternative teacher certification programs will issue a public teaching certificate in social studies or government to one who holds a bachelor’s degree in political science provided they complete some coursework in the field of education. A master’s degree can open the door to teaching at the college level.
The option to study online makes pursuing such a program more even more attractive, allowing for flexibility with scheduling that a brick-and-mortar college cannot provide. A recent high school graduate, or an adult student seeking a career change, does not need to decide on a career path before entering into a political science degree program. Over the course of study, it may become clear which job area is the right fit. Students can be assured that whatever path they choose, a political science degree will move them forward along that path.