Department of Political Science

College of Letters & Science
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Career Planning

Career Opportunities in Political Science

Political science is the study of governments - their procedures and policies - and the political behavior of citizens and officials. Actors and entities that often participate in political and governmental procedures and policy-making include nonprofit and advocacy organizations, corporations, and citizen or other grassroots movements. 

Students of political science develop the ability to conceptualize, think analytically, and communicate effectively. Thus, it provides good preparation for a wide range of potential careers including law, administration, urban affairs, and any other professional path that involves public policy and decision-making.

It's a fact that graduates with political science degrees can be found in every professional job sector. Political science provides important foundational learning that employers value, but where you end up in your early career path depends equally on more specific skills you develop during your studies and the experiences you can accrue while you are a student such as completing internships, directed research projects, participating in major-related clubs, societies and advocacy groups, and network-building among alumni and other professionals.

General skills that all political science majors will be required to develop, and that are cited by employers as positive attributes of potential hires, include:

  • A thorough understanding of the American political and governmental system
  • Accurate research skills
  • Strong writing skills
  • Oral communications skills

Relatively few students are hired as a "political scientist," but political science graduates have opportunities to pursue careers in a diverse set of fields. Common areas of employment following graduation include teaching, public relations, government service at the federal, state or local level, lobbying with interest groups or business, policy research, journalism, and campaign work (polling, media relations etc.). In addition, a large number of graduates go into business: marketing, personnel, advertising, communications, public relations, banking and finance. The non-profit sector is another major avenue for political science majors to explore. 

Sample Job Titles

Bachelor's Degree/Entry Level Further Education/Experience Often Required

  • lobbyist assistant or campaign assoc. *labor relations specialist
  • paralegal *legislative coordinator
  • international business *public relations officer
  • legislative correspondent *political campaign manager
  • broadcast journalist *lawyer
  • foreign service officer *political representative
  • staff assistant