While not every political science student becomes involved in public service,
they all share the common goal of improving communication and understanding
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
"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
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
Besides tuition and books, you may have copying fees, since some professors
assign journal articles instead of having a standard text.
Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Social
A leadership magazine
Republican National Committee
Has a section on getting involved
Democratic National Committee
Offers an e-mail newsletter