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What can I do with a Political Science degree?

political science

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Political science delves into the study of governments, public policies, and political behavior. It is a social science which uses both humanistic perspectives and scientific skills to examine the United States and all countries and regions of the world. It delves into critical issues such as public policy, globalization, terrorism, the environment, civil rights, political development, or foreign policy. Theories concerning the ideal government and how power and resources are allocated in society are also topics of study. It also focuses on the theory and practice of government and politics at the local, state, national, and international levels. Political theory is concerned mainly with the foundations of political community and institutions. It focuses on human nature and the moral purposes of political association. To clarify these concepts, political theorists draw on enduring political writings from ancient Greece to the present and on various writings by moral philosophers.

To pursue the study of politics further, you can take advanced undergraduate courses about specific institutions, policies, and aspects of political life in the United States, other nations, or at the international level. Political science majors should select courses that interest them and help prepare for careers that can be entered with either a bachelor’s degree (for example, serving as a legislative assistant, or an aid worker) or a professional or graduate education (for example, law school, business school, or doctoral studies).

Most political science degrees are offered within a school’s Liberal Arts programs. For this, there are numerous campus choices as well as online learning opportunities. One such online bachelors program in Political Science is offered by Penn State World Campus. This 123 credit curriculum is designed for students who want to develop an in-depth understanding and engage in analysis of domestic politics, the politics of other nations, and political theory. Upper-level courses in the political science program emphasize research-based writing projects that allow you to hone sought-after skills for employment in a variety of fields, including government, law, business, journalism, and the nonprofit sector.

An excellent source of information is the American Political Science Association (APSA). Founded in 1903,it is the leading professional organization for the study of political science and serves more than 13,000 members in more than 80 countries. With a range of programs and services for individuals, departments, and institutions, APSA brings together political scientists from all fields of inquiry, regions, and occupational endeavors.

APSA lists the following career sectors for graduates:

Business & Finance: Undergraduate courses in political economy and development can be useful preparation for working in business development, financial consulting, or public finance.

Public Administration & International Affairs: Knowledge of the political process, strong writing skills, and familiarity with research methods are all useful preparation a career in this sector.

Non-governmental Organizations & Non-profits: Non-profits, foundations, and non-governmental organizations offer opportunities for political science graduates at all degree levels.

Journalism & Media: Typically political science courses place heavy emphasis on developing fluid writing and speaking skills, which can be translated into careers in print or broadcast journalism, publishing, social media, communications, and public relations.

Academic Research & Teaching: Political science research appears in a variety of journals, textbooks, and academic books. Research conducted by political scientists throughout the discipline—including race and ethnic studies, bioethics, electoral reform, environmental policy, political economy, gender studies, conflict resolution, and disability studies.

The career sectors each have very diverse salaries as the employment demands run the gamut from federal and city governments, private, non-profit, and learning institutions, to federal law enforcement agencies, (ex. FBI).  Therefore we recommend you peruse  job postings at sites such as indeed.com, where there are postings from Political Campaign Director to Political Analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

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