Is Political Science a Useful Degree?

how useful is a political science degree
  • Whether a degree in political science is worthwhile depends on your interests, career goals, and how you plan to use the knowledge and skills gained from the program.
  • A political science degree can lead to careers in government or public service, international relations and diplomacy, law, political consulting, nonprofit/advocacy organizations, journalism and media, education and academia, and the business and corporate sectors.

Political science is a useful degree for extroverts who relish face-to-face interactions with people from all walks of life, but it is a field that may offer career opportunities for analysts and thinkers who prefer to work in the background. The study of political science is concerned with the theory and practice of government systems on the international, national and local levels. This is a field that is focused on analyzing and understanding political structures, institutions, strategies, and practices with the ultimate goal geared toward promoting citizenship and boosting participation in political processes.

Coverage of Political Science Studies

Political theory centers on understanding the foundations of political institutions, including the role of human nature and morality in the development of these structures. A historical study of theorists and leaders provide an overview of theories, political beliefs and the social background that may have contributed to political developments. The study of political methodology and research provides an understanding of analytical frameworks and research designs for exploring the impact and influence of politics on society.

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Comparative politics provides an understanding of the value of political systems in terms of equality, freedom, social order, economic security and well-being of the citizenry. Comparative studies provide an insight into why certain political institutions survive and which systems could serve as a template for contemporary political initiatives.

U.S. government, local governments, and international relations focus on political organizations and how they operate. The field of international relations is concerned with organizations such as the United Nations and similar international institutions forged by cooperation among participating nations.

Potential Careers

Political science majors may have chosen this field of study with public service careers in mind. This is a viable career track given the fact that the federal government employs at least 2 million people on a full-time basis according to Governing magazine. This number excludes postal service employees, contract employees, part-timers and civil service employees on the state, municipal and local levels, which may reach 21.95 million according to CNS News. For the most part, government employment is a stable career track with many opportunities for promotion.

However, a political science background is also useful in the private sector. International organizations and big businesses have a need for policy analysts to determine how legal factors can affect their current operations and future plans. Studying political science prepares one for leadership positions in elective posts, which usually begins as a do-it-all staffer in political campaigns. Expect to hone your writing, speaking and strategizing skills as part of a campaign team.

Political science graduates are well-suited for careers in public relations due to their in-depth studies on social relations, media influence, and application of political strategies in real-life situations. For that matter, social media and marketing positions provide many opportunities for political science majors to excel.

Foreign service, the diplomatic corps, and intelligence agencies are some of the fields that offer diverse opportunities for political science graduates. Those who are fluent in various languages on top of their political science background may be considered for jobs as intelligence analysts, public policy consultants or political attaches in foreign posts.

Political science is a useful degree because it can lead to diverse career opportunities in many sectors, depending on one’s personality, preferences and other skills. It is a field of study that encourages personal growth by enhancing social skills as well as analytical and critical thinking abilities.