Political Science and Government, General  Program Description

 
 

Insider Info

dotWhile not every political science student becomes involved in public service, they all share the common goal of improving communication and understanding between people.

Political science builds an appreciation for all cultures and allows for the development of skills in research, fact analysis and communication. It can be used as the starting point for a wide range of career and educational opportunities.

"A degree in political science teaches students a wealth of material on American government, international relations, comparative politics and political theory. These informational skills are clearly related to jobs in government, lobbying and international affairs," says Shirley Anne Warshaw, a professor of political science at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania.

A master's degree in political science can qualify you to teach at the high school or junior college level. A PhD is required for most college or university positions.

Good marks in high school social studies and English classes are required. Be prepared to study other subjects, too.

"History, world issues, law and society...provide a useful background but aren't even remotely close to essential. What is important are the skills students develop in high school -- critical thinking, clear, well organized writing [and] good work habits," says Graham White, chair of a university political science department.

Get involved in extracurricular activities such as a model UN or debate clubs. Working for a lawmaker or political party can be helpful. Warshaw adds that any activities in school that are leadership oriented are important credentials for managing in all types of government organizations.

The importance of volunteering should not be overlooked. Even something as simple as stuffing envelopes can provide contacts and open doors. Working on a political campaign or working for a local or state government for a summer can give first-hand insight into the workings of the political system.

Many schools offer mock legislative programs. Student government organizations are also a great training ground in dealing with issues and individuals.

Besides tuition and books, you may have copying fees, since some professors assign journal articles instead of having a standard text.


Links

Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Social Scientists, Other

Student Leader
A leadership magazine

Republican National Committee
Has a section on getting involved

Democratic National Committee
Offers an e-mail newsletter

Just the Facts

Want a quick overview of what this program is about? Check out Just the Facts for a simple description.