Is a Political Science Degree Worth It? [2021 Guide]

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Is a political science degree worth it? A political science degree may open the door to many different types of careers. At its core, the degree provides a practical understanding of how local, state, national, and international governments work. This versatile degree is a great way to get involved in politics, campaigns, social advocacy, or nonprofit causes.

Is a Political Science Degree Worth It

It also builds a solid foundation for graduate school in fields such as law, public policy, and economics, as well as many issue-oriented professions, like health, social justice, or environmental studies.

On top of all of this, it will help you become a better thinker, writer, and communicator. You will refine your research, analysis, and writing skills and learn to develop theories and persuasive arguments.

Is a Political Science Degree Worth It?

Attorney meeting with his clients

Yes, a bachelor’s degree in political science degree is likely worth it.

With an average salary of $122,220 and a projected 6% job growth from 2018-2028 (Bureau of Labor Statistics) a degree in political science can help you launch a career in one of many exciting and ever-changing fields where you can participate in significant local, state, national, and international events.

This profession is for you if you want to be part of the news, not just watch it. A bachelor’s degree in political science may open doors to entry-level jobs in research, policy analysis, public information, polling, issue analysis or teaching.

Just as important, it will build your resume, give you chances to network with people who can help you in the future, and help you decide which of many possible careers is for you. Common political science careers include:

  • Legislative assistant to elected officials
  • Public relations or social media specialist
  • Market researcher
  • Pollster
  • Campaign worker
  • Teacher
  • Community organizer

It is important to know that higher salaries and increased responsibilities are usually reserved for those with master’s degrees in political science or related fields, such as law or public policy. But that doesn’t mean there are no interesting and rewarding entry-level jobs for bachelor’s degree graduates.

How to Decide Whether a Political Science Degree is Right for You

Female lawyer reading a book in her office

While the political science field has many possible career paths, perhaps you’re still unsure whether it’s the right field for you.

Here are three reasons why you might want to pursue a bachelor’s in political science.

1. You have an interest in current events.

You consume media every day to see what is happening in the world. Whether it’s election season or not, you watch the news, read the blogs, follow Twitter, and can’t wait to discuss what’s happening with your friends and family. You also want to learn more about how government agencies function.

If this is you, then the constant focus on local, state, national, and international politics that is a part of the political science field will likely be highly interesting and motivating to you.

2. You want to work in politics.

Political analysts attending a global conference

You are in college or working in a job, but it does not fully match your interests or passions. In your heart, you want to do something more meaningful that will make you feel that you are contributing to the changes you want to see in the world.

If this desire or interest is something that you feel currently, then this degree could be the first step in making that desire become a reality.

3. You care deeply about the world and its people and want to make a genuine contribution to creating a better future.

Each day, as you learn about current events, you want to do more than shake your head as you hear stories about the many problems facing the earth and its people.

With a political science degree, you will gain the knowledge and skills you need to do your part to make this world a better place for everyone.

Top 5 Things You Can Do with a Political Science Degree

The field of political science includes a variety of jobs in various areas related to politics, research, and advocacy.

Here are some of the specific careers you might pursue after completing a political science degree:

1. Researcher

Researchers meeting for a project

Every policy initiative begins with comprehensive research about the status of the problems the policy will address.

In this job, you will read journals, position papers, and materials from academicians and specialists in a particular field so you can thoroughly understand the issues you are investigating. You will also interview experts and draft policy recommendations.

2. Social Media Manager

Social Media Manager working in a cafe

Social media is the primary source for news for the vast majority of people today, regardless of age.

In this position, your employer will want you to post a steady stream of relevant information to mass media influencers and readers to inform them and spur action. The job requires excellent writing skills, a hunger for evidence, and the ability to deliver information in a lively manner.

3. Legislative or Policy Aide

group of lawyers in a meeting

Depending on the type of organization you work for, colleagues will be studying, analyzing, drafting, and advocating ideas they want to advance.

Once a strategy is selected, they will need your help with scheduling, planning, speechwriting, and distributing their ideas and positions. They will count on you to help them make sure every detail is taken care of properly and with the care it deserves.

4. Analyst

Analysts working together in the office

Proper analysis, often with statistical support, is essential for advocating realistic solutions to any problem. Sophisticated data analysis is required to assure truthfulness and fairness. This position requires accurate and careful work.

Research must always be analyzed to make sure it was properly conducted and that all its conclusions can be verified. In this position, many people will review your material to make sure your analysis is always perfect.

5. Social Advocacy Organization

Media Specialist working on his laptop

Non-profit groups offer positions creating and implementing strategies for maximum impact on communities and their issues.

Jobs in non-profits often overlap, as these organizations rely on flexibility and teamwork. Non-profit roles include volunteer manager, donor relations, event planner, and marketing or media specialist.

Political Science Degree Alternatives

Politician and his team walking happily in the hallway

If you want to build the skill set you need to work in politics or government, here are three alternative degrees that may help advance your knowledge base, critical thinking, writing and communication skills.

  1. Bachelors in Journalism or Communications. A vast number of jobs in political require solid writing skills. This degree will teach you to create persuasive copy and articles on deadline and to get them placed where it counts.
  2. Bachelors in Specialized Studies (Latin Studies, African American Studies, Asian American Studies, or Gender Studies). Your knowledge of the history, culture, and issues facing specialized populations may help you land a position focused on that population.
  3. Bachelors in Philosophy. This major will help you develop the logic and critical thinking skills you need to gather and manage information and will prepare you for graduate school admission tests and coursework.

These degrees focus on many of the skills that are sought by both future employers and graduate schools, who value what you have learned, not just the name of the degree you earned.

Political Science Careers & Salaries

Political Science Careers & Salaries

There are many entry-level careers for graduates with a bachelor’s in political science. Jobs with higher pay and increased responsibility often require master’s or other advanced degrees as shown in this chart from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Be sure to research the educational requirements of each job listing.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Political Scientist in Federal Executive Branch $127,500
Attorney $122,960
Urban Planner $114,170
Community College Political Science Teacher $99,850
Social Advocacy Organization $98,500
Political Scientist with State or Local Government $90,280
Market Research Analyst $63,790
Social Media Manager $50,815
Legislative Assistant $40,289
Campaign Staff $35,994

This chart lists national median salaries for positions held by people with political science degrees through 2028. Remember that advanced degrees are normally required for higher paying jobs and advancement within organizations.

What is the Point of a Political Science Degree?

Political analysts meeting at a conference

A political science degree will give you the education and tools you need to work in a field focused on changing the world. This versatile degree will teach you about government, policies, and laws and their impacts on various groups. You will learn to think critically, write, research, analyze, and communicate.

It will also prepare you for a new career, should you want to change fields in the future. Your degree, coupled with some employment, volunteer work or internship experience, gives you the foundation you need to advance your career or succeed in law school or graduate school in many different fields.

Getting Your Political Science Degree Online

Political Science Degree student studying online

If you are concerned about government, law, policies, and social problems and want to be involved in finding real-world solutions to local, national, and international problems, look no further than an online degree in political science.

An online political science degree is a great choice for anyone who needs to get an affordable, practical education while balancing college with other life demands. Online degrees are respected by employers who understand the difficult realities that come with getting a comprehensive education today.

A political science degree will help prepare you for a career that can pay well in both salary and personal satisfaction. With many online options for political science programs, this next step might not be as difficult as you think. Get started today, and you might just change the world!

Maureen Rubin
WRITTEN BY
Maureen Rubin
Maureen has a Juris Doctor, MA in public relations, and a BA in journalism. She is an Emeritus Professor of Journalism at California State University, Northridge and enjoyed a career working in public information at non-profits, and in Congress & the White House. She welcomes an opportunity to share educational information with readers.