Political Science Majors: Salary and Career Facts

Learn how a major in political science can help to prepare you for a career in education, research, or another related field. Continue reading for more information about degree programs, learning outcomes, job duties, and salaries. Schools offering Political Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Can I Do With a Political Science Major?

Political science majors train students to think critically and consider different facets of world politics like power dynamics, government, public law, public policy, and politics in different countries. The most common degree levels available to political science majors are bachelor's and master's, though a Ph.D. may be offered at some institutions. Graduates typically become political scientists, researching these topics in law and policy and presenting their findings to governments, businesses, and the like to try to find solutions to world political problems. They may also choose to pursue careers as college professors, where they can both teach political science and conduct independent research.

What Will a Political Science Major Teach Me?

The bachelor's and master's degrees are possibly the most common degree levels available and are an important part of furthering your education and career. The purpose for these degrees is to hone your research, writing, and presenting skills. You work on critical thinking, problem-solving, and statistics, and learn more about political theory, power, government, public law, and policy-making. Some of the subjects that may come up through these two degrees are foreign policy, sexism in power, regional politics, public policy, comparative politics, American politics, and developing nations.

The Ph.D. program focuses on training professors. The purpose is to understand teaching methods and to relay the important information that you have learned throughout your education. You study political theory and comparative politics, as well as foreign policy. Some subjects that may come up are American politics, international relations, political methodology, democracy, Chinese politics, and globalization.

What Does a Political Science Graduate Do?

As a political scientist, you conduct research and study statistics to discover trends between the U.S. and other countries. Once you have conducted your research, you can report findings to businesses, the government, and organizations to find solutions to possible issues. Also, through presentations, research, and papers, you may offer guidance in repairing issues within government and not-for-profit industries and forecast political trends. Some students go on to work in other countries helping with foreign affairs.

You can also work as a university professor passing on the political science knowledge you have earned. This is an opportunity for you to teach about international affairs, political trends, political policies, and how to research and observe issues within government agencies. Many universities advocate individual research by their professors, so you are able to take sabbaticals to do your own paid or not-for-profit research.

What do Political Scientists Make?

As of May 2015, the average yearly salary for political scientists was $103,210. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported scientific research and development organizations had the highest levels of employment of political scientists, followed by the federal government, universities, advocacy organizations, and management, scientific, and technical consulting services (www.bls.gov). If you want to be a political science professor, you can expect to make $88,680.

What Are Some Related Careers?

Political scientists have many things in common with other types of researchers, such as economists and sociologists. These professionals study different facets of our society on local, national, and international levels, similar to political scientists. For economists, this means looking at the economies of different countries and the world as a whole to predict market trends, with sociologists studying groups of people in different cultures to learn more about humanity and how we've come to be who we are. Political scientists may even use data collected by these professionals while doing their own research. In order to qualify for a career in these fields, you will typically need a master's degree.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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