Political Science degree programs explore various political systems and public policies, covering subjects ranging from international relations to political philosophy. Students undertaking a degree in political science can specialize in a number of fields, including human rights, organizational management, and government policies. Some of the courses offered in these programs also intersect with other disciplines such as sociology, philosophy, history, behaviorism, statistics, and law.
Types of Political Science Degrees and Coursework
Most universities and colleges categorize political science programs under the Liberal Arts or Social Sciences departments. A degree in political science can be pursued at an undergraduate, graduate or post-graduate level, but one needs to have a strong background in political science in order to join an advanced program. Students can focus either on the theoretical aspects of political science or opt for courses that have an applied approach such as public administration. The methods and techniques used in study of political science include surveys, case studies, developing models, research, and analysis of historical documents. Most universities and colleges require students to have a satisfactory academic standing in order to be accepted into an entry level program, and a specified grade point average needs to be maintained throughout the academic program. Some universities also specialize in offering online political science degree programs that enable people to study from home at their own schedule.
Bachelor’s degree programs are usually general in nature and cover a wide variety of courses related to political science, but students can major in a field of their choice. Master’s degree programs enable students to specialize in a certain aspect of political science. Some of the highly specialized master’s degrees include Master of Public Administration, Organizational Management, and Master of Arts in Diplomacy. A variety of PhD programs in political science are also available. Political science students can benefit from a number of scholarships and grants. Some institutions also provide funds for research projects
What Can You Do with a Political Science Degree?
From exploring the function of governments to building models for development, political science graduates can contribute across the spectrum of political systems and public policy. People with advanced degrees such as master’s and doctorate in political science stand a better chance of securing a lucrative and good position. But even students with an undergraduate degree can find many interesting career avenues such as political journalism or campaign management. Individuals with a theoretical background usually pursue careers in teaching or research. Some political science graduates even choose specialized career paths such as being political commentators or political activists. Political science graduates also acquire many skills that play an important role in one’s career. These include communication & negotiation skills, analytical thinking, and administrative abilities.
Political science students may choose to serve the government sector as an elected politician coordinator of federal aid or federal government analyst. In addition to job opportunities in the government sector, political science graduates can even work with non-governmental organizations and private corporations. The corporate sector also offers many lucrative positions such as corporate public affairs advisor, corporate adviser for govt’l relations, and corporation legislative issues manager.
There are quite a few careers you could pursue with a degree in political science. With every career, professionals must possess specific skills to be successful. Some of the careers and the required skills are mentioned below.
Campaign Worker – Problem solving skills
Political Correspondent & Editor - Oral and written communication skills
Public Opinion Analyst – Analytical thinking, ability to interact with diverse populations
Social Worker & Urban Policy Planner - Understanding of community needs
Politician – Leadership and decision making abilities
Although the above mentioned careers would require a range of skills, the mentioned ones are the most important for the particular career.
Career Options and Salary Information
A degree in political science will equip you with fundamental knowledge of political systems, policies, public relations, and even philosophy. You could prepare for various careers with this degree and work in private institutions, non-profit organizations and even government sector. There are many exciting job positions to consider. Here are a few along with the 2012 salary data provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Median Annual Income: $102,000
Median Annual Income: $74,960
Market Research Analyst
Median Annual Income: $60,300
Median Annual Income: $78,600
How Long Does It Take to Complete a Political Science Degree?
Many schools in the United States, such as the Rutgers University, the University of Florida, the University of South Florida, and the Texas Tech University, are offering a degree in Political Science. Students can enroll in a 4-year Bachelor of Arts (B.A)/Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) with majors in Political Science or a 2-year Master of Arts (M.A) in Political Science. Students can also pursue a Ph.D. in Political Science, which typically takes 4 years to complete.
What Are the Requirements to Complete a Political Science Degree?
Students enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts (B.A) in Political Science program have to complete approximately 120-124 credits and those enrolled in the Master of Arts (M.A) in Political Science have to complete 30 credit hours. They have to study courses like American National Government, International Relations, American Foreign Policy, Classical Political Theory, Comparative Politics, Globalization and Empirical Political Analysis.
How Much Can I Make after Completing a Political Science Degree?
After obtaining a degree in Political Science, individuals can pursue their careers as Policy Analysts, Political Consultants, and Political Scientists. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual median pay of Political Scientists was $117,570 in 2018. The number of jobs available in this field in 2018 was 6,200.
Frequently Asked Question(s)
Q:Who should prefer the online masters in diplomacy over the campus-based one?
A:The online Masters in Diplomacy is a perfect program for those individuals who are employed and find it difficult to squeeze in time to attend a campus based program. It offers flexibility and exemplary time management as students can study from work or home.
Q:What can you do with a political science degree?
A:A political science degree instills a variety of intellectual and applied skills in you, opening up various career options. If you want to work in the government sector, you can consider the following job options: Public Policy Analyst, Foreign Services Officer, Political Aide, Lobbyist, Customs Officer etc. In the field of journalism, you can work as an Editor, Press Officer, Publisher, Television and Radio Journalist and even a Print Journalist. The private sector also hires political science majors for jobs such as: Budget Analyst, Financial/Business Consultant, Market Analyst, Public Relations Specialist, Financial Planner, etc. The income level will vary from job to job and will depend upon the level of degree you have.
Q:What can you do with a political science degree at masters level?
A:Students with a masters degree in political science can look forward to a range of careers in public administration consulting, journalism, and many other sectors. The income level will vary from job to job and will depend upon factors such as specialization and employer organization. One can also pursue further education at PhD level.
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