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What are the Different Political Science Careers?

By D. Jeffress
Updated Feb 17, 2024
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Political science is a very broad field which incorporates the study of historical and modern political systems, governmental policies and procedures, international relations, and public affairs. There are many different political science careers available for knowledgeable, analytical professionals in government organizations, law offices, research institutions, and universities, among other settings. The most common political science careers include policy and survey analysts, journalists, political advisers, attorneys, and judges.

Individuals with specialized knowledge of public policy and survey analysis often find political science careers with nonprofit groups, research institutions, and government offices. Individuals might research historical policy decisions or analyze the effectiveness of present ones using information from public surveys and records. Many policy and survey analysts produce detailed reports which are used by politicians, judges, and other members of government to influence future decisions.

Many graduates of political science programs choose to become involved in print, television, or radio journalism, where they apply their expert understanding of political systems to create reports about current events. Political scientists might cover elections, conduct interviews, or attend press conferences where they often have the opportunity to ask questions. Most journalists recognize the importance of objectivity and attempt to present their stories and reports in a manner that reflects factual information, rather than opinions.

Political advisors are political science experts who work alongside politicians and government officials, helping them make important decisions in a number of different situations. Advisors for city or state officials often focus on local affairs, such as raising money for schools or health institutions. Individuals involved in policy advisement for federal politicians may specialize in proposing international agreements, changing environmental policy, raising or lowering taxes, or making important economical decisions.

People who fully understand the nature and meaning of constitutions, rulings, and regulations often pursue political science careers in law. Judges and attorneys usually have extensive knowledge of historical court decisions and public policy. Many attorneys become involved in analyzing legislative decisions and determining whether or not a case is worth representing. Judges are elected officials, and those with extensive political science experience can apply their knowledge of elections and public opinion to help them win positions.

To obtain most political science careers, individuals must usually obtain, at minimum, bachelor's degrees from accredited universities. Many people choose to pursue master's or doctoral degrees in the subject to solidify their understanding of political systems and improve their chances of finding meaningful employment. Many new employees in government, law offices, and journalism institutions begin their careers as assistants to established professionals in the field, where they have the opportunity to observe the detailed work involved in such jobs.

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Discussion Comments
By BrickBack — On Aug 21, 2010

I have a political science degree and I have say that there are other careers for political science majors.

Careers for political science graduates also include urban planning and development. This field requires a graduate degree upon obtaining the initial political science degree.

It is a growing field that really provides a lot of opportunities especially for minorities. Urban planning projects can be very rewarding.

Making full use of available land raises the quality of life for the citizens in the area. Building a park or creating some low income housing provides opportunities for children to play and for poor families to have a decent place to live. This is just another career in political science.

By cafe41 — On Aug 21, 2010

Latte31- Those with political science degrees often go on to law school and become attorneys because of their deep desire for justice and making positive changes in the world.

Some seek criminal justice careers and end up working as public defenders, and prosecutors. Although the pay for these positions is low many people seek these positions because they want to make a difference and have other political aspirations.

If the prosecutor, for example wins several high profile cases,it will open many doors for them both in the field of government, a potential political office, or even private practice.

Some move on and become judges and even work at the federal level as a US attorney. This position yields a lot of power which is another reason why people are attracted seek careers for political science.

By latte31 — On Aug 21, 2010

A political science major takes courses in constitutional law, foreign policy and local and federal government.

Many political science degree careers allow graduates to pursue a master's and PhD degrees in order to perform research and teach at major universities.

Many political science professors specialize in a particular field such as international relations and American foreign-policy. These professors are generally offered government grants to travel aboard in order to perform research on behalf of the US government.

When I took Cuban history my professor visited Cuba many times with government grants in order to publish several books on the island.

Although there is a ban on travel to Cuba, people traveling there with a political science job in order to perform research are generally exempt.

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