Political Science Degrees: Everything You Need to Know

11/10/202315 minute read
Political Science Degrees: Everything You Need to Know

In a world where politics and governance play a significant role in shaping our lives, a degree in political science has endless possibilities. But what exactly can you do with a political science degree once you've earned it? 

In this blog, we’ll explain what a political science degree is, the benefits of the major, and what you can do with a political science degree.


What is Political Science?

At its core, political science is the study of politics, governments, and the intricate dance of power that happens within and between nations. It's like peering behind the curtain to understand the mechanics of how societies make decisions, enforce laws, and resolve conflicts.

When you dive into the world of political science, you'll encounter a variety of fascinating subjects. Here's a sneak peek at what you can expect:

  1. Political Theory: This is where you'll explore the big ideas and philosophies that have shaped political thought throughout history. Think of it as a journey through the minds of political philosophers like Aristotle, Machiavelli, and Rousseau.
  2. Comparative Politics: In this area, you'll take a closer look at different political systems around the world. You'll analyze how governments are structured, how they function, and how well they serve their citizens.
  3. International Relations: Ever wondered why countries interact the way they do? International relations is the key to understanding diplomacy, global conflicts, trade, and the intricate web of international politics.
  4. Public Policy: If you're intrigued by the art of policy-making, you'll love this. Public policy delves into how policies are developed, implemented, and the impact they have on society.
  5. Political Institutions: Here, you'll explore the various components of government, from the executive and legislative branches to the judiciary. Understanding these institutions is crucial to grasp how decisions are made and laws are enacted.

Is Political Science a Good Major?

Now, you might be asking yourself, "Is a political science major a good choice for me?"

Here are some compelling reasons why it just might be:

1. Understanding the World: Political science equips you with the tools to understand the world's most pressing issues. You'll delve into topics like international relations, comparative politics, and public policy, giving you insights into how our planet works.

2. Versatile Skills: A degree in political science hones your critical thinking, research, and analytical skills. These skills are highly transferable and will serve you well in a wide range of careers.

3. Influence and Change: With a political science major, you can make a real impact on the world. You'll learn how to analyze and create policies that can lead to positive changes in society.

4. Wide Career Spectrum: One of the great advantages of this major is the versatility it offers. You can pursue careers in government, law, journalism, diplomacy, academia, and even the nonprofit sector.

5. Path to Law School: If you're considering a future in law, a political science degree is an excellent stepping stone. You'll gain a strong foundation in legal concepts and government, which will be invaluable in law school.

6. Political Engagement: In an increasingly politically aware world, your major will help you become an informed and active citizen. You'll be able to engage in informed discussions, cast informed votes, and make a difference in your community.

7. Problem Solving: Political science is all about problem-solving. Whether it's analyzing a complex international conflict, proposing a new policy, or advocating for social change, you'll be equipped to tackle real-world challenges.

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What Can You Do With a Political Science Degree?
CareerAverage Annual Salary
Policy Analyst$72,495
Political Consultant$66,803
Foreign Service Officer$114,517
Lawyer$125,902
Journalist$61,759
Academia$124,521
Public Relations Specialist$59,529
Intelligence Analyst$82,089
Campaign Manager$67,640

Salaries retrieved from Glassdoor.com (11 Oct 2023)

What Can You Do With a Political Science Degree?

1. Policy Analyst

As a policy analyst, your role goes beyond merely understanding policies; you shape them. You evaluate the effectiveness of current policies, propose changes, and provide evidence-based recommendations.

This could involve working in government agencies to enhance public programs, think tanks to conduct in-depth research, or nonprofit organizations to advocate for policy changes. Your work can have a direct impact on the policies that shape our societies, making it an exciting and influential role.

Average annual salary (Glassdoor): $72,495

2. Political Consultant

Political consultants are the masterminds behind successful political campaigns. Your expertise in political strategy and communication will be put to use as you advise politicians on how to connect with voters effectively.

You'll help craft compelling narratives, develop campaign strategies, and navigate the complex world of public relations. Your work is particularly in demand during election seasons, where your guidance can make or break a candidate's chances.

Average annual salary (Glassdoor): $66,803

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3. Foreign Service Officer

As a diplomat or foreign service officer, you become an ambassador for your country on the international stage. You'll represent your nation abroad, engage in diplomatic negotiations, and work to promote international cooperation.

Your role can take you to diverse parts of the world, where you'll be responsible for fostering strong relationships between your country and others. It's a career that offers the opportunity to influence global affairs and make a significant impact.

Average annual salary (Glassdoor): $114,517

4. Lawyer

Many legal professionals begin their journeys with a political science degree. Your deep understanding of the legal and political landscape is invaluable in law school and a legal career.

Whether you aspire to be a corporate attorney, public defender, or work in public interest law, your political science background provides you with critical thinking skills and legal knowledge to excel in the legal field.

Average annual salary (Glassdoor): $125,902

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5. Journalist

If you have a passion for political affairs and a talent for storytelling, political journalism might be your calling. Your role as a political journalist involves reporting on government decisions, elections, and political developments.

You'll play a vital part in keeping the public informed and engaged in political issues. Your work contributes to an informed and participatory citizenry, making it a pivotal role in any democracy.

Average annual salary (Glassdoor): $61,759

6. Academia

For those with a deep passion for research and teaching, academia offers a fulfilling path. Pursuing a graduate degree and becoming a professor allows you to share your knowledge and conduct research in universities and colleges.

You'll guide the next generation of political science enthusiasts while contributing to the advancement of the field through your research and publications.

Average annual salary (Glassdoor): $124,521

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7. Public Relations Specialist

As a PR specialist, your strong communication skills and understanding of political and social issues will be in high demand. You might work for government agencies, corporations, or nonprofit organizations to manage their public image and communications.

You'll develop strategies to maintain a positive public image, handle media relations, and navigate crisis communication. Your work ensures that organizations effectively communicate their messages to the public.

Average annual salary (Glassdoor): $59,529

8. Intelligence Analyst

If you're naturally inquisitive and analytical, a career as an intelligence analyst could be an ideal fit. Intelligence analysts work with intelligence agencies to gather and interpret data related to national security and international affairs. You'll sift through large volumes of information, assess threats, and provide actionable intelligence to protect your country's interests. Your work directly contributes to national security and decision-making.

Average annual salary (Glassdoor): $82,089

9. Campaign Manager

Campaign managers are the backbone of political campaigns. Your organizational skills, strategic thinking, and leadership abilities will be put to the test as you coordinate political campaigns. You'll oversee everything from fundraising and budgeting to developing campaign strategies and managing campaign teams. Your role is pivotal in helping candidates get elected to public office, and your successes can shape the political landscape.

Average annual salary (Glassdoor): $67,640

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Is Political Science Right for You?

So, is a political science major the right choice for you? It all boils down to your interests and aspirations. If you're passionate about understanding how governments function, have a keen interest in current events, and enjoy dissecting complex issues, then political science might be your ideal major.

It's a field that offers not just an education but a way of thinking and engaging with the world around you. You'll develop skills that are in high demand, explore topics that are endlessly fascinating, and gain a deeper appreciation for the intricacies of politics and governance.

Ultimately, the decision should align with your interests and career goals. If you're excited about the idea of influencing the world, making informed decisions, and working in diverse and impactful careers, then a political science major is not just good—it's a fantastic choice for you!

If you need help finding the right major or school for you, our expert strategists can help. Students working with Crimson Strategists are 7 times more likely to gain admission to their dream school!

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