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Careers in Political Science

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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.

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Useful Skills within the Political Science Field

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.


Career Options

To identify what education or training is typical for careers within the political science field, use the O*Net hyperlinks below and click on “Job Zone.” In addition, seek out the advice of fellow students and alumni working in the industry, using our mentoring program on The Quad (for current students and alumni only) or by speaking with a career coach.

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.

Bachelor's Degree
City and Regional Planning Aides
Court, Municipal, and License Clerks
Eligibility Interviewers, Government Programs
Intelligence Analysts
Reporters and Correspondents
Regulatory Affairs Managers
Public Relations Specialists

Master's Degree
Archivist for Political Data
Judicial Law Clerks
Political Editors
Social Science Research Assistants
Survey Researchers
Urban and Regional Planners

Positions for which students may need additional education, certificates, or credentials are listed below.

Academic Publishing
Higher Education Administrator

Political Scientists
Political Science Teachers, Postsecondary

Getting Started: Internships

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 which provide students or recent graduates the opportunity to gain real-life experience. Many 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, 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. Graduate students who have had their degree conferred in the preceding two years, from the opening of the vacancy announcement are also eligible for PMF.

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.

Getting Hired: Government Agencies, Organizations, and Search Engines

There are several government agencies and organizations that seek candidates with this degree. The list below provides a few places one might find employment specific to this degree.

American Political Science Association (APSA)
The Corporation for National and Community Service
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
Eurasia Foundation
Freedom House

The Library of Congress
The National Conference of Black Political Scientists
The United Way
U.S. Department of State
U.S. House of Representatives

While many of the major job search engines will have several positions to choose from, those listed below are specific to this field.

The Hill
Philanthropy News Digest
Roll Call News


Keeping Current: Professional Organizations and Associations
Conferences and Expositions
Get Connected: Social Media

American Political Science Association – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter
International Political Science Association – Facebook, Twitter
International Relations & Political Science Programs – LinkedIn
Law and Society Association – Facebook, LinkedIn

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