What Can You Do with a Political Science Degree?

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Political science careers are positions in the field of social science that involve working with political systems, policies, and laws. Responsibilities can widely vary depending on a professional’s industry and their specific job title.

Political Science Careers

Professionals in political science may lobby for policies, plan and coordinate programs, or conduct research and data analysis.

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Individuals interested in planning, organization, public speaking, or transforming data into useful information might be interested in a political science career.

What Can You Do With a Political Science Degree?

People with Political Science Degree

As you can see from the table above, the job market is vast for those who have graduated from a Political Science degree program.

Whether you are interested in working directly with government organizations or translating your skillset into business, education, or research occupations, there are a number of ways you can turn this degree into a challenging, lucrative career. The careers listed above show a wide range of average annual salaries – all of which are above the national average across all occupations.

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While you may make more or less than the numbers above, the majority of these fields have ample opportunity for growth into top-paying, executive careers.

5 Things You Can Do with a Degree in Political Science

Professionals in the political science field may work as political scientists, fundraising managers, or in public relations. They can evaluate political surveys as a survey researcher, use policies to create solutions as an urban and regional planner, or analyze political data and trends.

Political science degree careers are versatile and students can learn about political systems and acquire essential skills to carry out a number of responsibilities in the field.

1. Political Scientist

Political Scientists discussing in the board room

Education Requirement: Master’s degree

A political scientist conducts research on political subjects. They usually specialize in a specific field, such as national politics or political theory.

The daily responsibilities of a political scientist may include gathering and analyzing data, conducting surveys, and evaluating and forecasting political trends. Most political scientists are employed by the federal government, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

2. Public Relations and Fundraising Managers

Public Relations Manager giving a speech

Education Requirement: Bachelor’s degree

A public relations manager is responsible for planning and directing materials that enhance their client’s public image. Fundraising managers use strategies to coordinate campaigns for their clients or organization.

Public relations managers usually communicate with the public on their client’s behalf, speak to audiences, and plan promotions programs. A fundraising manager typically plans and manages fundraising programs and events, applies for grants, and contacts donors.

3. Survey Researcher

Survey Researchers analyzing some reports

Education Requirement: Master’s degree

Survey researchers design surveys to collect and analyze factual data and formulate statistics. Survey researchers that work in political science may collect and examine data for government and social science research.

They design surveys and evaluate results for a number of reasons, such as to inform the public or the entity they work for.

4. Market Research Analyst

Market Research Analysts working together

Education Requirement: Bachelor’s degree

Market research analysts analyze data and study trends to better understand public opinions. This role can be found in several industries. They can help their employer or client make decisions based on the data they present.

Some daily responsibilities of a market research analyst might include preparing reports, analyzing and converting data, and evaluating trends and methods for data collection.

5. Urban and Regional Planners

Urban & regional Planner reading some documentations

Education Requirement: Master’s degree

Urban and regional planners conduct field investigations to develop solutions for community needs. They work with public officials, engineers, and members of the community to create plans to improve an area.

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Urban and regional planners may study policies and data from various sources to figure out what issues need to be addressed.

Political Science Careers & Salaries

Political Science Careers and Salaries

To give you a better idea of the numerous career paths associated with political science, we have put together the following table that includes career ideas that may interest you after graduation.

Here you can review the list of the top 40 political science careers & salaries according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Government Service Executives $179,520
Federal Attorneys $152,590
Political Scientists, Federal Government $134,760
Judges $128,710
Lawyers $127,990
Public Relations Managers $125,780
Law Teachers, Postsecondary $123,470
Government Affairs Specialists $122,510
Public Relations Managers,
Urban and Regional Planners, Federal Government $101,860
Fundraising Managers $100,810
State Attorneys $100,330
Political Scientists, Professional $99,640
Survey Statisticians $95,570
Public Policy Professors $81,980
Social Scientists $80,890
Urban and Regional Planners $78,500
Public Speaking Professors $77,560
Urban and Regional Planners, Local Government $77,290
Community Service Directors $74,000
Writers $69,510
Government Public Relations Specialists $67,270
Market Research Specialists $63,920
Editors $63,350
Lobbyists $62,800
Media and Communication Workers $62,340
Executive Assistants $62,060
Public Relations Specialists, local $61,860
Survey Researchers $59,740
Paralegals $56,230
Social Science Research Assistants $49,720
Reporters $48,370
Legal Administrative Assistants $47,710
Eligibility Interviewers, Government Programs $47,420
Community Organization Workers $47,390
Editorial Assistants $43,940
Correspondence Clerks $37,920
Legislators $37,270
Market Research Interviewers $37,220

The political science career outlook varies based on the field that you choose to enter. Due to the number of different careers available after graduating from this degree program, it is important to research the specific job path that you are interested in pursuing.

Online resources, such as the BLS, are a great starting point for refining your long-term career goals. According to data from the BLS, the political scientist job market will see a 6% growth in employment over the next 10 years, which is faster than the average for all occupations.

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If you are passionate about politics, government, and research, a degree in political science can be an excellent tool for building a rewarding career. With the sought-after skillset gained by graduating from this degree program, you will open the door to careers across a variety of professional industries.

What Is a Political Science Degree?

Government Relations Manager meeting with officials

A political science degree is a degree path that offers students the skills needed to examine the United States, and other countries of the world, from a human and scientific perspective. Available as undergraduate and graduate degree programs, a political science major will provide you with a solid foundation for understanding the inner workings of our government and the issues that face our society.

By studying the various levels of government, behavioral and social sciences, and political ethics, you will learn valuable tools to critically analyze and develop public policy and business strategies. Throughout the course of your political science degree program, you will take specialized classes that focus on the following subjects:

  • Political research
  • Professional communication
  • International relations
  • Comparative politics

After completion of your political science undergraduate program, you can jump right into the workforce or further your education with graduate degrees. Many students find that political science is an excellent starting point for entering into law school or working towards earning their teaching license.

If you’re interested in working towards your degree at your own pace, several accredited universities now offer programs leading to online political science degrees. These flexible programs provide you with the same quality education as on-campus courses and allow you to juggle the demands of schooling with family or career obligations.

Is Political Science a Good Major?

Students taking Political Science Major

Yes, political science is a good major for many undergraduate students. Individuals can gain a broad skill set applicable to a number of careers. The median salary of a political scientist is $122,510 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Individuals may work as policy advocates to lobby for issues they care about. It may be a useful career path for individuals who want to become political research analysts or political journalists. Political science degrees can also act as a foundation for individuals who wish to go to law school and become a lawyer.

What Do You Learn in Political Science?

Political science is the study of government and politics at the local, state, federal, and international levels. Political science degree programs are designed to teach students about political theories and practices. Coursework included in many political science programs include domestic and foreign policy, political theory, types of government, and political issues.

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Common skills you can acquire while studying political science might include collecting and analyzing data, managing documents, and presenting research and ideas. Interpersonal skills can also be useful for many careers in political science.

Is Political Science Hard?

Litigation Paralegal discussing with her clients

Political science degrees can be found at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Undergraduate political science programs provide a broad overview of the subject and different perspectives on the field. These programs can include introductory coursework in government and politics, economics, and public policy and law.

Graduate political science programs usually offer a more in-depth study of the subject and may have specialized subject matter according to a student’s specific interests. A political science graduate degree has more advanced coursework, such as policy and program evaluation, security intelligence, theories of international relations, and research methods.

How Much Can You Make with a Political Science Degree?

Political Scientists in a meeting

A poli sci major salary can widely vary depending on where one works, who they work for, and what their position is. Public relations specialists make a median salary of $62,800 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The median salary for high school teachers is $61,820 and postsecondary teachers earn a median salary of $79,640. Management or leadership positions in political science may have higher salaries, depending on various factors. Advertising and promotions managers earn a median salary of $133,380 per year.

What Jobs Can You Get With a Political Science Degree?

Public Relations Manager greeting the guests

There are a number of political science degree jobs you may pursue. Similar occupations to a political scientist, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, include economists, historians, and survey researchers. These positions may be found in the public or private sector.

Individuals interested in teaching others about political systems may pursue a career in teaching. Job availability can depend on a number of factors, such as geographic location and how much work or education experience you have. Additional training may be highly desired for certain careers in political science.

Where Can You Work with a Degree in Political Science?

Jobs with political science degree professionals can be found in several different industries. They may work for the federal government or at the local or state level.

They also work for professional, scientific, or technical services organizations, nonprofits, or educational institutions. Some professionals are self-employed. Work environments can vary depending on where an individual works and what his or her job title is.

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The type of organization a political science professional works in may be dependent upon their area of expertise, where they’re located, and their specific interests.

What Are High Paying Political Science Jobs?

High Paying Political Science Jobs

There are a number of high paying jobs in the political science field. Minimum education requirements can differ depending on the career.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, lawyers make a median salary of $127,990 per year. Political scientists make a median salary of $122,510 each year. Public relations and fundraising managers make a median salary of $119,860 annually.

The average salary for operations research analysts is $82,360. Postsecondary teachers have a median salary of $79,640 per year. Salaries and job availability can differ depending on the level of education, experience, and geographic location.

What’s the Difference Between Political Science vs. International Relations?

Political science and international relations are both in the social sciences field, but these sectors focus on different things, such as:

Political Science International Relations
  • Examines political theories
  • Broader understanding of domestic and foreign policies
  • Focuses on issues that directly impact countries
  • Examines political relationships on a global scale
  • Concentrates on foreign policies
  • Focuses on issues that impact the world

International relations is a concentrated field of political science because it focuses on political relationships from a global standpoint. Political science is a more broad subject that focuses on the study of political theories and domestic and foreign policies.

Is an Online Political Science Degree Worth It?

Government Service Executives discussing

Yes, an online political science degree is worth it for many professionals. It’s a versatile degree program that can teach students skills and knowledge that can be useful for numerous careers in the field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, political scientist positions are expected to experience a 6% job growth increase over the next decade, with about 600 openings every year.

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Students can learn about the intricate systems of politics and governments at the local, state, national, and international levels. Political science bachelor’s can also prepare individuals for a number of related graduate-level degrees.

Getting Your Political Science Degree Online

Woman pursuing a degree in Political Science online

Careers with a degree in political science can be an interesting path for individuals who like analyzing data and trends, working with others, public speaking, or advocating for policies.

If you’re interested in learning more about political systems and different types of government and their roles, you might enjoy a political science degree program. Students who study political science may acquire skills in communication, research, presentation, and analysis.

You can start your journey toward a career in political science by researching accredited institutions and political science degree programs that best support your interests and career goals.

You can also view our Careers in Nutrition and Careers in Psychology guides for more options.

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Elizabeth Abner
WRITTEN BY Elizabeth Abner

Elizabeth is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Foreign Policy and earned her master's degree in business administration. For her undergraduate studies, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a concentration in international business. Elizabeth's research is focused on universities offering online degree programs.