If you are thinking about being a political science major, you might be wondering what kinds of jobs and careers await those with political science degrees. There is a wide array of opportunities after graduation. In this era of polarization in government, there is a great demand for people who possess knowledge of how government works, as well as the research, writing, and analytical skills needed to evaluate domestic policies. These skills are needed in all levels of government, academia, law, and a host of others. This document provides information on the types of career opportunities available for those with a political science degree. While much of the information here may be more suitable for undergraduates, there is also quite a bit for those graduating with a master's in political science.
- Communication - Having the ability to convey information both verbally and written.
- Active Listening - Ability to absorb information, analyze, and formulate questions for clarification.
- Critical Thinking - Ability to use logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of an issue and determine alternative solutions.
- Social Awareness - Having awareness and understanding of current events as well as others' social views and perception.
- Judgment - Ability to consider both sides of an issue, analyze the information, and make an educated conclusion.
- Learning Strategies - Ability to use effective communication and research skills to organize and extract information.
- Analysis - Ability to use logic and analyze needs to create/design a plan.
- Persuasion - The ability to convey a message and persuade others to change their minds or behavior.
To identify what education or training is typical for careers within the public administration field, use the O*Net hyperlinks below and click on "Job Zone."
As with all majors, the education you receive serves as a foundation of knowledge that prepares you for what you may face in the professional world. The career field you chose may require additional education or experience.
Gaining real-life experience is an ideal way to start a new career. The career services website has an extensive list of internships and fellowships. Browse through the internships, organized by interest or by federal program.
There are government-organized internship programs, many of which require students to maintain either a half-time or full-time student status. The best ways to identify potential opportunities such as these is to contact branch offices directly, to search USAJobs.gov, or to look at the agencies' career portals. Keep in mind that these positions are not always posted online, so direct contact with the agency is key.
The Pathways Program is a federal initiative that offers internship programs for current students and training and career development opportunities for recent graduates. Recent graduates must apply within two years of degree or certificate completion (except for veterans, due to their military service obligation, will have up to six years to apply).The internship program for current students replaces the former Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) and Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP).
The Presidential Management Fellows Program (PMF)
PMF is designed to attract to federal service outstanding men and women from a wide variety of academic disciplines who have a clear interest in, and commitment to, a career in the analysis and management of public policies and programs. To be eligible for nomination, an individual must be a graduate student completing or expected to complete, during the current academic year, an advanced degree from a qualifying college or university.
The Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP)
WRP is coordinated by the Office of Disability Employment Policy and the U.S. Department of Defense, and aims to provide summer work experience, and in some cases full-time employment, to college students with disabilities. The program develops partnerships with other federal agencies, each of whom makes a commitment to provide summer jobs and a staff recruiter. Each year, recruiters interview about 1,500 students with disabilities at college and university campuses across the nation, and develop a database listing the qualifications of each student.
There are several government agencies and organizations that seek candidates with degrees in philosophy. The list below provides a few examples of federal agencies and organizations where degree holders might find employment.
While many of the major job search engines will have positions in several fields to choose from, the list below is specific to this field.
Involvement in professional organizations is a great way to stay up-to-date on new technology, tools, and best practices in your field. Professional organizations are also a great networking opportunity. Below are a few professional organizations you may be interested in:
- The American Political Science Association (APSA)
- American Association of Political Consultants
- Foreign Policy Association (FPA)
- International Political Science Association (IPSA)
- The International Studies Association (ISA)
- The Law and Society Association (LSA)
- Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA)
- New England Political Science Association (NEPSA)
- Phi Alpha Delta (PAD): Law Fraternity, International
- Southern Political Science Association (SPSA)
- The Southwestern Social Science Association (SSSA)