Politics is not just for politicians. Whether you like to admit it or not, few people can argue with the fact that politics exist in all spheres of our lives. Even the act of trying to establish any form of public space that is free from politics is intrinsically political.
However, whether you chose to study the workings of political happenings or not is entirely up to you. If you opt for the former, one of the best ways to gain an understanding of both interpersonal and global politics is with an academic degree in political science.
The field of political science spotlights the practice of politics and government at the personal, local, state, national, and global levels. Furthermore, the discipline also covers the theories that power the political sphere and explain why things are the way they are.
Here, students get a comprehensive insight into institutions, relations, and practices that form the basis for public life and enhance citizenship.
Consequently, some knowledge of political science is fundamental to understanding your responsibilities and rights as a citizen of the state while introducing you to international law and global politics.
However, for aspiring students, one of the biggest questions before deciding on a political science major is whether a political science degree is worth it, considering future career prospects.
Is a Political Science Degree Worth it?
The “is it worth it” question for political science is one of the hardest to answer of any discipline due to a lack of fixed career pathways for political science graduates.
On average, a political science degree provides the student with varied excellent prospects as the discipline opens the door to many different public and private roles. However, students often use degrees in this field as a stepping stone before pursuing further graduate qualifications in other aspects of the social sciences or law.
Nevertheless, whether you take a degree in political science standalone or as part of an elaborate education in multiple fields, you get the benefit of increased access to jobs in both the public service and private business sectors.
One core aspect of political science that translates smoothly into roles in many different organization types is its research methods. In these courses, students learn about the scope and methods of political science that includes a mix of scientific inquiry, quantitative research, and statistical analysis techniques that incorporate industrial software products like STATA, SPSS, R, or SAS.
With these skills, students learn to analyze both public and private policy, handling issues such as linear programming, finance management, benefit-cost analysis, and organizational optimization.
If your bachelor’s or master’s degree in political science includes these vital elements in their coursework, you gain access to critical skills that translate into roles in both the private and public sectors.
Currently, a significant proportion of political science degree holders work for the government in public administration. Furthermore, with an average salary of over $100,000 per annum, political science is one of the highest paying disciplines in the country.
However, the future for this field is quite bleak, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting a decline in employment opportunities and increased competition for available jobs by 2024.
Furthermore, for many of these jobs, especially positions in the government, aspiring political scientists will be competing with applicants with masters and even doctoral degrees in political science.
So, is a political science degree worth it? Political science will always be a high-paying field and may seem to be an excellent choice for people who want to maximize their earning potential. However, massive and intensifying competition in this profession makes a degree in political science a poor choice, considering long term future potential.
Nevertheless, if you choose to opt for a political science degree, make sure to select a program with a strong technical background as this boosts your chances of getting gainful employment considerably.
Jobs Available to Holders of Political Science Degrees
Top public and private sector roles available to political science degree holders include:
- Political Scientist
- Policy Analyst
- Legislative Assistant
- Public Relations Specialist
- Market Research Analyst
- Political Campaign Manager
- International Business Development Manager
- Legislative Analyst
An Overview of Political Science Degrees
Political science degrees aim to introduce you to political behavior, political concepts, policy issues, and governmental structures that affect societies and the nations of the world.
Consequently, many political science degrees in the United States cover five main areas:
Political Theory: a study of the fundamentals of political institutions and communities. Here, students learn about human nature as well as civic associations and their moral purpose. Coursework also includes a review of political theories from classical Greece to the modern-day.
Political Methodology: this area deals with both analytical and non-experimental political research as well as the philosophical issues in the science and practice of politics.
Comparative Politics: here, programs compare contemporary political systems in a bid to assess their merits, demerits, and the best pick for situations, considering individual and societal values like economic security, freedom, equality, or order.
American Government and Politics: This section covers the politics of the US, including areas like law, policy formation, mass media, race and ethnic politics, and American political thought.
International Relations: This field of study concerns itself with understanding the dynamics of international political relations and the actions of both state and non-state actors on the international scene.