Are you interested in American politics? International affairs? Critical issues like healthcare, the environment, civil rights or the deficit? Do you want to study these subjects and pursue a career based on your interest? If so, you should consider political science as a major.
Political science is an excellent liberal arts major for students interested in learning how groups of people govern themselves, how policies are made, and how we can improve our government policies at the local, state, national, and international levels. A political science major prepares students for jobs in almost any field, from business to law to research.
The American Political Science Association (http://www.apsanet.org) provides the following description of the political science major: “Political science majors acquire skills in writing, communications, and analysis that are critical to a liberal arts education….Political science majors qualify for many different careers in private and public sector organizations, including careers in business, the law, state, local and federal government, journalism, international organizations and finance, political campaigns, interest groups and associations, and pre-college and college teaching. Political science training also provides valuable preparation for participating in community organizations, electoral politics, movements on behalf of specific policies, or even seeking elected or appointed positions in government.”
A political science major prepares you for a number of potential careers. Some examples include the following:
Many students choose to further their education through graduate school. By earning an MA or PhD, these students obtain jobs teaching at community colleges or universities, or jobs in research. Besides university-level teaching, some graduates combine their political science major with a social studies teaching certificate, to teach in secondary schools. For more information on graduate programs and political science, visit the American Political Science Association (http://www.apsanet.org).
Many majors obtain jobs working for local, state, or federal government. Examples include Congressional aids and campaign managers, state representatives, state legislative staff members, state executive office staff members, and county/city officials. Besides government work, political science graduates can obtain jobs working for government agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, State Board of Education, Social Security Office, and numerous other agencies. Sometimes this can be done with an undergraduate degree, but many positions may require graduate work in public administration. For more information on public administration and government service, visit the American Society of Public Administrators (www.apsanet.org/public/).
Law is a common route for many political science majors. Political science is one of the best undergraduate majors for students who want to go law school because of its emphasis on conceptual thinking and public affairs. The American Bar Association (www.americanbar.org) and the Law School Admissions Council (www.lsac.org) can provide more information about law school and legal studies. The Pre-law Studies program (Academics> PoliticalScience> Pre-law) at Presbyterian College also offers information and advising to students interested in legal careers.
Business and Private Agencies
The study of political science can help develop an awareness of political, social, and economic trends and attitudes affecting the business community. Also, many public goods and services, like health care, senior citizen programs, and economic development are being provided by private agencies and businesses. Many political science majors gain employment in these fields, given their policy expertise. Examples of such employment include insurance agencies, agricultural businesses, financial institutes, and consulting firms.
Communications and Journalism
With its emphasis on public affairs, public attitudes and government, political science is one of the best preparations for a career in journalism.
International Trade and Organizations
The United Nations, international businesses, and various international relief and aid groups look for people who understand the problems of our increasing economic and political interdependence with the rest of the world. Political science focuses on this interdependence.
One way to get valuable professional experience in areas related to political science is through internships. Presbyterian College offers a wide variety of such opportunities, including the Washington Semester Program (http://www.american.edu/spexs/programs/). For more information and details, come by the Political Science department. As always, if you have any questions related to a political science major, please feel free to come by the department.