Degree in Political Science

Political Science Schools

If you are interested in a career as a political scientist, campaign worker, city manager, judge, politician or lobbyist, you can attend university to earn a political science degree at the bachelor, masters or doctorate level. Political science universities and colleges train students to use political concepts to develop generalizations, build theories, solve problems and engage in debates and discussions. Students have an in-depth understanding of the government, laws, and cultures, and learn how to contribute to society through politics, governance and social policy. Political science degree programs are available at accredited colleges and universities, and some political science schools offer degrees and certification in an online format.

Universities that Teach Political Science

Political science universities train students to explore and learn about world events from different perspectives. Students learn how governments work and thrive, how politics affects society, key concepts in international relations, and how to deal with many of the issues politicians face on a day to day basis. Some political science degree programs are designed for those who want to work in public service, but others focus more on research and theory developments.

Universities that offer masters or doctoral degrees in the field typically require students to complete extensive research projects, and work through a fellowship or internship program.

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Types of Political Science Degrees

Some political science schools and colleges offer diploma and certificate programs for students who want to acquire important skills in a particular area or specialty. These educational programs can be a good match for those who already have a political science degree, or for those who are working the field and want to improve their skills.

Universities that offer associate's degree programs prepare students for a four-year degree. Most employers prefer to hire those who have at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited political science university, so a student may choose to complete an associate's degree if they want to later transfer into a larger campus.

The most common types of political science degrees available include:

  • Bachelor's Degree in Political Science - covers the basic educational requirements in areas of politics, political behavior, public opinion, government organization and contemporary politics. Students completing this type of political science degree program are usually required to take electives in a certain specialization.
  • Master's Degree in Political Science - a graduate program that digs deeper into the subjects of nonprofit law, administrative theory, regulatory policy, public policy and labor management relations.
  • Political Science Doctorate Degree - a professional program where students develop strong research and analysis skills to prepare for a career in a private research foundation. Students may choose to focus on a specialized area such as American politics, public policy analysis, public administration and justice politics.

Some bachelor's and master's degrees in political science are also available in an online format.

Getting a Masters Degree in Political Science

Students who have successfully completed a bachelor's degree in political science can enter a two-year master's degree program to acquire advanced research and analysis skills, and explore a particular area of study in depth. Some of the most common types of courses offered in a master's degree include:

  • General Contemporary History
  • Theory of Politics
  • International Relations
  • History of Political Institutions
  • Social Movements
  • World Political Systems
  • International laws
  • Sociology and Psychology of Politics
  • Political Decision-Making

Getting a Political Science Doctorate Degree

Students interested in a PhD program participate in research studies and learn how to develop and apply different political science theories to solve problems and analyze events. Fields of study in a political science doctorate degree programs may include:

  • International Relations
  • Political Institutions
  • Political Theory
  • American Politics
  • Political Methodology
  • Comparative Politics

Colleges and universities that offer political science doctorate degree programs may require the student to produce a scholarly research paper and learn a variety of research techniques used by political scientists. Students may also be required to be a teaching assistant in undergraduate courses.

Career Options with a Political Science Degree

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for political scientists was $104,090 in May 2009.

Many graduates are well-prepared for careers as an:

  • Activist
  • Banking Analyst
  • Political Data Archivist
  • CIA Analyst or Agent
  • Congressional Office or Committee Staffer
  • Communications Director
  • Corporate Public Affairs Advisor
  • Federal Government Analyst
  • Foreign Service Officer
  • Intelligence Officer
  • Legislative Analyst/Coordinator
  • Political Commentator
  • Policy Analyst
  • Public Affairs Research Analyst
  • Urban Policy Planner