What Can I Do With a Major in Political Science?

Marketable Skills

Ability to Communicate:

  • Present ideas clearly in writing and orally
  • Turn data into useable information
  • Argue and debate effectively
  • Negotiate and mediate conflicts
  • Listen critically

Methods and Research:

  • Interpret and analyze data
  • Discern good information from bad
  • Perform basic quantitative analysis
  • Use summary statistics
  • Understand the basics of a reliable sample survey
  • Employ effectively a variety of research sources
  • Use computers with facility
  • Design research
  • Summarize findings
  • Test theories and hypotheses

Analytical Ability:

  • Interpret data
  • Understand components of complex problems
  • See problems from a variety of perspectives
  • Synthesize themes from complex issues
  • Think outside the box
  • Think internationally
  • Access policy and propose options
  • Analyze and solve problems systematically and logically

Planning and Development:

  • Organize information
  • Conceptualize problems
  • Implement strategies
  • Make effective decisions
  • Demonstrate leadership

Group Skills:

  • Work in a team and individually
  • Develop consensus
  • Interact effectively within a diverse environment

Related Career Titles

Federal Government:

  • Ambassador

  • Archivist

  • Assistant Secretary of State for…

  • Budget Analyst

  • Civilian Consultant to…

  • GAO Evaluator

  • Deputy Undersecretary of…

  • Foreign Service Officer/Specialist

  • Historian

  • Information Technology Manager

  • Intelligence Specialist, CIA

  • Management Auditor

  • Officer, FBI

  • Program Analyst

  • Public Affairs Specialist

  • Researcher

  • Secretary, Department of…

  • Staff Aid, Congressional Committee

  • Tax Inspector

  • Teacher, Overseas School for…

State & Local Government:

  • Advisor

  • Assistant Budget Examiner

  • Assistant Chief of Police

  • Chief of Staff

  • City Housing Administrator

  • City Planner

  • City Project Coordinator

  • City’s Coordinator of…

  • County Council Member

  • County Treasurer

  • Deputy Secretary

  • Juvenile Justice Specialist

  • Labor Relations Specialist

  • Legislative Coordinator, Mayor’s Office

  • Program Director

  • Senior Criminologist

  • State Chief Purchasing Officer

  • State Personnel Officer

  • Supervisor, State Department of…

Nonprofit Organizations:

  • Budget Analyst

  • Director, Fund Raising

  • Director, Nonprofit Agency

  • Field Officer, Human Rights Campaign

  • Lobbyist

  • Political Director

  • Program Manager

  • Public Relations Specialist

  • Research Analyst

Campaigns and Polling:

  • Campaign Manager/Consultant

  • Director, Political Action Committee

  • Fundraiser

  • Issue Analyst

  • Political Consultant

  • Political Director

  • Political Reporter

  • Pollster

  • Press Officer for Candidate

  • Survey Researcher

Law:

  • Assistant Budget Examiner

  • Assistant Chief of Police

  • Attorney

  • Broadcast/Newspaper Reporter

  • CIA Inspector

  • Commissioner

  • Corporate Legal Counsel

  • Criminologist

  • Deputy Secretary to the Governor

  • Judge

  • Juvenile Justice Specialist

  • Labor Relations Specialist

  • Labor Union Official

  • Law Professor

  • Lobbyist

  • Paralegal

  • Politician

  • Public Interest/Consumer Advocate

  • Public Policy Analyst

  • Research Consultant

  • State Legislator\ Mediator

Journalism:

  • Director of Corporate Public Affairs

  • Director of Surveys, Television Network

  • Information Manager

  • Press Officer

  • Producer, Local Television News

  • Public Affairs Research Analyst

  • Television Reporter

  • Writer/Editor

Education:

  • College Professor

  • Curriculum Developer/Supervisor

  • Education Reporter

  • Government/Politics Teacher

  • Researcher

  • Student Affairs Administrator 

International:

  • Agent, International Bureau, FBI

  • Analyst, CIA

  • Consultant to Multinational Corporations

  • Director of International Marketing

  • Field staff

  • Foreign Service Officer

  • Instructor

  • International Banker

  • International Correspondent

  • International Research Specialist

  • Lobbyist

  • Peace Corp Volunteer

  • Policy Analyst

  • Press Officer

  • Strategic Planning Specialist

  • Translator

Potential Employers

There are over 170 federal departments and agencies. See http://gogovernment.org/ 

  • Academic journals

  • Advocacy organizations

  • Boards of education

  • Broadcast media companies including television, radio, and the movie industry

  • Campaigns: national, state, or local

  • Charitable organizations

  • Cities

  • Consulting firms

  • Contracting and consulting firms

  • Corporations

  • Counties

  • Court systems

  • Defense contractors

  • Departments of state government

  • E Newspapers: national, local, or trade

  • Educational institutions

  • Federal, state, and local government

  • Financial institutions

  • Foundations

  • Government agencies

  • Historic sites/historical societies

  • Hotels

  • Independent radio syndications

  • Industrial, educational, and public interest groups

  • Insurance companies

  • Intergovernmental agencies, e.g. World Bank, United Nations, etc.

  • Internet sites

  • K-12 schools, public and private

  • Labor unions

  • Large business firms

  • Large corporations

  • Law firms

  • Legal aid societies

  • Legal clinics

  • Legislative agencies

  • Legislative, executive, or judicial officials

  • Libraries

  • Lobbying organizations

  • Local and national nonprofit agencies

  • Magazines

  • Major networks

  • Manufacturers

  • Medical and professional schools

  • Municipalities

  • Museums

  • National, state, or regional radio networks

  • Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)

  • Nonprofit and public interest organizations, e.g. ACLU, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Legal Services Corporation

  • Other business corporations

  • Other private legal services

  • Policy and research organizations

  • Political action committees

  • Political parties

  • Polling and consulting firms

  • Print and electronic media

  • Private businesses

  • Private practice

  • Product and service organizations

  • Professional publications/associations

  • Property management firms

  • Public, cable, and private television stations

  • Real estate companies

  • Religious organizations

  • Research institutes

  • Research organizations and think tanks

  • Restaurants

  • Retail stores

  • School districts

  • Special interest groups

  • Technical schools

  • Townships

  • Trade or professional associations

  • Two-year and community colleges

  • Universities and colleges

  • Video production companies

  • Wire services

Strategies

  • An undergraduate degree in political science is good preparation for graduate or professional study in areas such as political science, public administration, foreign policy, law, business, and more. Carefully research programs in order to choose specializations or concentrations of interest.

  • Maintain a high grade point average to ensure admission into a graduate or law program and/or a position within the government.

  • Expect keen competition for federal positions. Prepare yourself with a strong academic background and good experience. Many government jobs have strict guidelines and want to carefully match candidates’ knowledge, skills, and abilities to the job description. Research this first and seek the classes and experiences that will best prepare you.

  • Explore application to Administrative Careers with America (ACWA) and the Outstanding Scholar Program for federal positions.

  • Develop strong leadership skills; run for office in clubs and organizations in school or community. Volunteer to organize or lead an event or project.

  • Join related social and/or professional organizations.

  • Build a strong personal network through informal contacts.

  • Consider military experience and training as an entryway into government jobs and public service. The Peace Corps is also a good way to enter a career in government.

Career Planning Links

Occupational Outlook Handbook

Careers in Government

Opportunities in Public Affairs

Go Government

Call to Serve

Public Service Careers

Congressional Research Service Careers

Law School Admission Council

American Bar Association

FBI Employment

CIA Careers

US Customs and Border Protection Careers

US Department of the Interior Careers

US Department of Justice Careers

Department of Homeland Security Careers

US Department of Veterans Affairs Careers

US Public Interest Research Group Careers

Peace Corp

Americorp

USA.gov

Presidential Management Fellows Program

Professional Associations

American Political Science Association

Academy of Political Science

American Society for Public Administration

National Academy of Public Administration

International Association for Political Science Students

Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management

American Association of Political Consultants

Association of Corporate Council

Miscellaneous Links

Democratic Congrsessional Campaign Committee

National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee

United States Senate

US Department of State

National Security Agency

National Conference of State Legislators

Foreign Policy Association

State of Arkansas

Partnership for Public Service

American Enterprise Institute

Political Science Quarterly

American Presidency Project