Deciding what courses to take at college or university can confuse many high school graduates. If you like getting a political science degree, you want to ensure it offers exciting career opportunities.
A major in political science instills the skills and proficiency with which you can work in the public sector, nonprofit, business, finance, advocacy, and education.
In addition to political jobs such as lobbyists, political analysts, political scientists, and legislative assistants, you can diversify into other fields such as public relations specialists, market research analysts, and more.
This article discusses whether a political science degree is worth it by highlighting the requirements, career opportunities, and salary potential.
What is a political science degree?
A political science degree is a certificate awarded to students who meet the requirements for completing a political science program at a university or college.
Political science is the study of government, policy, and political behavior. As such, a political science major helps students understand governance and power systems, political activity and patterns, and how humans operate in the political space.
By studying political science, you will also gain writing, communication, critical thinking, and leadership skills that can be translated into work in many fields.
What are the requirements to study political science?
Political science is a social science that does not require advanced math or science like engineering or IT programs.
Basically, political science majors offer courses in government, American politics, political theory, and domestic and international policy.
It relies primarily on reading, research, logic, critical thinking, writing, and effective communication. So, if you excel in debating, writing, public speaking, and research, then political science might be right for you.
However, it is essential to note that you can earn a BA in Political Science or a BSc in Science. The major difference is that the Bachelor of Arts focuses more on humanities and communications.
On the other hand, the Bachelor of Science teaches more mathematical, scientific, and quantitative skills for policy and public economics.
Most universities or colleges require a minimum of 120 credits, including oral and written communication, history, and humanities studies, for a political science major.
You may need upper credit in mathematics, computer science, or physical science for a BSc degree.
What can you do with a political science degree?
There are various political science jobs, depending on experience and education level. Some jobs are entry-level and require little experience, and some jobs may require further education and training.
Nonetheless, there are opportunities to apply the skills and proficiency you gain by studying political science, both within and outside politics and governance.
The following are career options available to political science degree holders:
1. Policy scientist/analyst
Political scientists or analysts are experts who study national trends related to political, social, economic, and international issues. They use data gathered from research to come up with meaningful policies.
Becoming a political scientist requires you to have a bachelor’s degree and at least a master’s degree in political science.
However, with a B.Sc., you can find a job as an analyst in an NGO, business, or the public sector.
2. Legislative Assistant
This person’s job is to assist lawmakers in monitoring pending legislation, conducting research, making recommendations, and drafting legislation.
Additionally, they help legislators pass legislation and achieve their political goals. Legislative assistants can work at the state or federal level.
Your bachelor’s degree is sufficient to provide you with the administrative, research, and effective communication skills you need to become a legislative assistant.
As surprising as it may seem, lobbying is an attractive career. These are professional advocates who work for the benefit of organizations and people to influence political decisions in their favor.
A degree in political science can give you a solid understanding of the law and draft, helping you know what strings to pull when advocating. A good campaign can lead to the introduction of new laws or the revision of old laws.
4. Intelligence analyst
Talking about the best international security jobs out there, intelligence analysts are sure to grace this list. They are professionals whose job is to collect and analyze intelligence reports from around the world to identify threats and make the right decisions.
Intelligence analysts work as part of a private security company or with law enforcement agencies. Through these experts, countries have identified and prevented national threats that could have escalated into loss of life and property.
Although a criminology or international relations course is a basic requirement for intelligence analysts, a bachelor’s degree in political science can help you get the job.
5. Public relations specialist
Since the public perception of a brand affects patronage of their business, they need someone to help them maintain a good reputation in the public eye.
Public relations or officials are communication specialists who help organizations, individuals, or brands express their ideas clearly and rationally to the public.
As a public relations specialist, your activities will include handling press conferences, pitching to the media, writing press releases, and developing strategic plans to improve the relationship between the brand and the public.
Studying political science can help you develop the oral and written communication skills you need to become a PR professional. Additionally, your knowledge of the laws that guide businesses and consumers will help you make better decisions.
6. Market research analyst
Market research analysts help business managers, sales teams, and entire businesses make better decisions by collecting and analyzing consumer and competitor data to help increase sales and drive growth.
Through data analysis, they can spot trends and provide meaningful insights for better decision-making.
By assessing consumer behavior, they help companies understand what products people want, their target audience, and how they can better position their products or services.
Additionally, a competitive analysis can help businesses understand what their competitors are doing and how they can gain a competitive advantage in their industry.
Political science helps you acquire the analytical skills you need to be an effective market researcher.
7. Political advisors
You can call a political advisor a campaign advisor who helps facilitate successful political campaigns. Their job functions include conducting polls, writing press releases, organizing events and rallies, writing speeches, and more.
They are like the eyes and ears of an aspiring person, and all their activities are geared towards helping aspiring politicians gain the favor of the masses and achieve their political goals.
Political consultants can also work closely with PR managers to raise the public profile of politicians and work with accountants to manage campaign budgets.
How much can you earn with a political science degree?
The earning potential of political science graduates is indeed encouraging. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here’s how much you can earn in different political science-related jobs:
- Political scientist: $122,510
- Market research analyst: $63,920
- Historian: $63,940
- High school teacher: $79,640
- Public relations specialist: $62,810
- Paralegal or legal assistant: $52,920
- Journalist or broadcast news analyst: $48,370
- Urban and regional planner: $78,500
- Attorney: $127,990
Is a masters in political science worth it?
A master’s degree is higher than a bachelor’s degree. It translates into more experience, training, and expertise in any field.
Therefore, a master’s in political science gives you better job opportunities and career benefits.
Is political science a difficult major?
No, it isn’t a hard major. However, it would help if you were interested in writing, doing extensive research, and debating topics. You also have to deal with political jargon.
How many years does it take to complete a political science degree?
A bachelor’s degree takes four years, a master’s degree takes up to two years, and a doctoral degree takes three years and ends with a dissertation.
Conclusion – Is a Political Science Degree Worth It?
Of course, yes. A political science degree gives you a wide range of career paths. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an increase of 9% in life, physical, and social science occupations over the next ten years.
For better pay and career opportunities, work towards a master’s degree in political science or other related fields of interest to you, such as law and urban planning.
Most importantly, before choosing a major or career path, take the time to identify your unique values, skills, personality, and interests to ensure you’re heading in the right direction.
That said, the article on aptitudes will help you identify what career or jobs will be personally rewarding and fulfilling for you.
I hope this article helps. Thanks for reading.