The subject of political science is just what it sounds like – the science of politics. People who study political science observe politics and how political systems affect societies around the globe. The study of politics focuses on government and government systems. If you’re looking to get into the field of government and politics, then earning a degree in political science is the way to go. Studying political science is a great way to build your critical thinking skills and ethical reasoning. Politics run our world. People with high political influence can impact many aspects of our lives. Politicians and government members have the ability to influence changes in the education system, in tax collection, and especially in the quality of our economy. With a degree in political science, you just might be able to impact these areas like health care and the enforcement of civil rights.
Branches of Political Science
To better understand what political science encompasses, take a look at some of the areas you’ll be studying if you decide to major in political science. Political science topics include but are not limited to the following:
Comparative politics – study of comparisons between political systems around the world, lending a better understanding of international relations; helps us understand individual political systems and the pros and cons of how the systems are run
International relations – study of global issues from many different perspectives and how foreign governments and peoples view issues like war, trading, economies, and poverty
Political economy – study of relationships of individual people and their societies and governments
Political ideology – study of justifications and explanations of particular orders of economics and governments and looking at ways to keep them steady and uninterrupted as much as possible
Political theory – study of how people look at political systems and economics
How to Get Your Political Science Degree
Political science is a very in-depth and complex subject. Many schools across the country offer programs for a bachelors degree in political science, and it’s not uncommon for people who major in political science to minor or double-major in government since the fields are so closely related.
According to the Top 20 Political Science Programs in America on America.edu, Northwestern University is ranked at number one. The university has two branches in Illinois, one in Chicago and the other in Evanston. Available political science courses for incoming freshman include but are not limited to Urban Politics, American Government and Politics, and Introduction to Law in the Political Arena. See the university’s website for more information about how you can apply to the college and declare a political science major.
The University of Notre Dame is also on the top 20 list at America.edu. The Catholic university is located in Notre Dame, Indiana. Its political science program for undergraduates offers you choices from 50 different related courses per semester. Upon graduating with a bachelors degree in political science, Notre Dame also offers graduate programs for further education in order for you to obtain your doctoral degree in American politics, comparative politics, constitutional studies, international relations, or political theory.
One more school with a reputable political science program is Emory University. Located in metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia, this university’s political science department offers students 4 introductory level courses related directly to political science. Once you declare political science as a major, the university advises that you regularly see your adviser to create and manage your course selections and goals while at Emory University. One-on-one time with an experienced professor can enhance your experience and your education at any school.
Political Science Careers
Are you wondering, “What can I do with my degree in political science?” Upon graduating with any degree in political science, there will always be career paths for you to explore, opportunities for you to discover. Before graduating, however, it’s important to have a general idea of what jobs you are potentially interested in, that way you can focus your studies around those jobs while in school.
Entry Level Careers in Political Science
With a bachelors degree in political science, you can achieve many great things. Below are a few of the many careers you can take up with that degree.
If you’re organized and good at keeping a timely schedule, becoming a legal assistant may be a good start for you. Legal assistants are generally secretaries for attorneys. They keep track of case records and file them appropriately, monitor calendars of events, and even stay in contact with clients to assure them that their cases are being addressed and progressing smoothly. A legal assistant may also get involved in a case by organizing evidence for the trial and even send subpoenas when necessary.
Basic entry level legal assistants can make between $21,000 and $30,000 a year.
Politicians hire political consultants for secretarial reasons. Most of the time, political consultants take and make telephone calls for politicians to organize events and meetings to discuss politics. They also perform campaign research and help to positively market the politicians they work for in order to help increase the probability of said politicians being elected into office.
The expected salary for those entering the political consultant career path can be around $28,000 to 32,000 annually.
Legislative aides can either work for members of the United States Senate or House of Representatives or they can work for organizations with one common goal–to influence legislation. Legislative aides usually work in one specific area of politics, like healthcare. This job requires good communication and persuasive skills, attention to detail, and an assertive and positive attitude.
A legislative aide’s salary depends on whether employed by a specific organization and that organization’s policy or if he or she works for a member of the Senate or House of Representatives. Therefore, the salary for this position can range from $31,000 to $61,000 a year.
Other Political Science Careers
Even more opportunities will become available to you once you obtain a masters degree or a doctoral degree in some area of political science.
Labor Relations Specialist
A labor relations specialist focuses on caring for union workers. He or she puts together health and safety policies for employees of a company and makes sure that the company adheres to said policies. Labor relations specialists are also involved in the court. They sometimes prepare witnesses to take the stand at a hearing. For that reason, labor relations specialists need excellent communication and reasoning skills in addition to compassion and leadership qualities.
A labor relations specialist can expect to bring in approximately $55,000 to $65,000 a year.
Political researchers are responsible for looking up specific information for political parties in order for those parties to better defend or prepare opposition arguments against certain policies. This helps politicians navigate how they handle debate topics. Political researchers perform in-depth research of those policies. They also undertake administrative duties, as well. Political researchers need to be skilled in their researching abilities and possess high communication and reasoning skills.
An annual salary for a political researcher can be anywhere from $45,000 to $72,000, if not more based on experience.
Foreign Service Officer
Highly admirable characteristics of those who serve as foreign service officers include impeccable communication and negotiating skills, persuasion, and a positive and friendly attitude. These qualities and skills are crucial for a successful officer because foreign service officers communicate with citizens of foreign countries in order to present political policies and ideas from their country to foreign countries. They are required to serve abroad for 2 to 4 years in order to gain multicultural experiences, and they are responsible for putting together reports of their experiences and presenting them to higher-ups.
With a masters degree, foreign service officers can enter the job at $48,000 a year. The longer the officers serve, the higher the increase in annual salary becomes. It is possible for a foreign service officer to make over $125,000 annually.
Companies to Hire Individuals with Political Science Degrees
This is just a brief list of companies who are willing to hire for positions related to the field of political science. Be sure to further explore your options and just use this as a starting point.
Northern Virginia Community College – offers political science courses; occasionally in search of professors for said courses
MGM Resorts International – in Las Vegas, Nevada; offers positions related to regional and federal government affairs
Verizon – telephone, internet, and cable provider; offers positions that are government-related
The Association of Academic Health Centers (AAHC) – based in Washington, D.C.; emphasizes importance of healthcare across America
If you’re intrigued by the overall concept or any specific area of political science, you should explore your degree options for bachelor degrees and more related to political science. Always remember to apply to multiple schools and for as many job positions as possible in order to get your foot in the door. Study hard to improve the world’s political systems one day at a time.