Is Political Science a Good Major? [2021 Guide]
Is political science a good major? The answer depends on your interests and career goals, but political science may be a good fit for you if you have a passion for politics and want to develop a keen understanding of political institutions, public policy, and public administration.
A major in political science may allow you to work in a variety of areas, including nonprofits, think tanks, government institutions, political campaigns, media, and more.
With a bachelors in political science, you may also be suited for continuing education in a masters or PhD program. A graduate degree may offer you enhanced career prospects and an advanced understanding of key political science principles.
Is Political Science a Good Major?
Yes, political science is a good major for many undergraduate students. With an average salary of $59,230 and 4% job growth for media and communication occupations (Bureau of Labor Statistics), majoring in political science can help you launch a career in this interesting field.
Common political science careers include journalist, speechwriter, policy analyst, media correspondent, and public relations specialist. Bachelor degree programs in political science commonly offer a wide selection of coursework. Curricula include general elective courses in addition to coursework that is specific to political science majors.
The breadth of knowledge gained in a political science major program may prepare you for a wide variety of career outcomes. Job opportunities may include positions in politics and government but can extend into media, public relations, and nonprofit as well.
Pursuing further education in this field and gaining a masters or PhD in political science may lead to more advanced career paths. Graduate programs also tend to be more focused and streamlined on politics and government.
Political Science Major Curriculum
Earning a bachelor’s in political science may require you to complete a variety of coursework. You’ll often take general electives on topics such as history, communications, data science, research methods, or philosophy.
In addition to general electives, you will need to complete coursework that is specific to political science. Such courses may include:
- Introduction to American Politics
- Introduction to Comparative Politics
- Introduction to International Relations
- Introduction to Political Theory
- Justice and Law
- Elections, Representation, and Governments
- Political Economy
- American and the World Economy
- Political Power in America
- Theories of Civil Society, Philanthropy, and the Nonprofit Sector
Your poli sci major courses may vary depending on the school you choose to attend. In some cases, political science majors may allow you to choose between various program tracks, including international relations, data science, elections and representation, justice, and political economy.
Top 5 Things You Can Do with a Political Science Degree
Bachelor programs that offer political science majors may prepare you for a rewarding career as a reporter, correspondent, or broadcast news analyst, a public relations specialist, a writer, a market research analyst, or a management analyst.
1. Reporter, Correspondent, and Broadcast News Analyst
As a reporter, news correspondent, or broadcast news analyst, you may have the opportunity to research and investigate topics and current events. You may then provide insight and perspective to the public through various forms of media.
You may communicate through written articles, radio, television, social media, or all of these forms put together. You may also perform interviews with public officials, private citizens, and other individuals.
2. Public Relations Specialist
As a public relations specialist, you may be responsible for maintaining a business image in the public eye. This could include drafting press releases, writing speeches, and collaborating with various media outlets.
As a public relations specialist, you may work for private businesses, governments, or nonprofit organizations. You may perform crisis management, arrange interviews, and ensure that the organization is represented in the right way.
With a political science degree, you may be well suited for writing positions as a freelancer. You may also work for a business, government, or nonprofit organization.
These positions may include writing articles on current political events or providing opinion pieces on government institutions or upcoming public policy changes. Your position may also involve drafting speeches for government officials.
4. Market Research Analyst
As a market research analyst, you may have the opportunity to conduct research in the form of interviews, public opinion polls, literature reviews, and surveys. The collected data would allow you to gain an understanding of public perceptions and opinions related to various topics.
This work may be performed in relation to products or services, but it may also be used by governments to understand the impact of policy changes within society. A market research analyst could also work for political campaigns to evaluate their standing in the public eye.
5. Management Analyst
As a management analyst, you may support businesses and organizations—including nonprofits and government institutions—in the evaluation of existing policies and practices.
In this position, you may gather information about current problems and practices and perform a thorough analysis of existing circumstances. You may then be in a position to provide recommendations to create greater efficiencies and more successful practices within the business or organization.
Political Science Careers
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a political science bachelors degree may qualify you for careers that offer higher than average annual salaries.
As career options span over a variety of industries, a political science major may offer you flexibility in your career path and the opportunity to gain a wide array of experiences.
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Public Relations and Fundraising Managers||$116,180|
|Management Analysts for Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services||$91,160|
|Management Analysts in Government||$79,720|
|Business Operations Specialists||$68,730|
|Writers and Authors for Religious, Grantmaking, Civic, Professional, and Similar Organizations||$68,560|
|Writers and Authors for Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services||$63,920|
|Market Research Analysts||$63,790|
|Public Relations Specialists||$61,150|
|Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners||$50,600|
|Reporters, Correspondents, and Broadcast News Analysts||$46,270|
Political science career options become more expansive as you gain more expertise in the field. Specifically, earning your masters or your PhD in the field of political science may broaden the types of careers available to you.
These additional options may include positions in academia, such as research and teaching, or as a political scientist working for various levels of government.
How to Know If a Degree in Political Science Is Right for You
A bachelor-level education in political science provides a broad overview, with coursework covering general core curriculum as well as content specific to political science .
Generally, political science curriculum offers an overview of government, political theory, public administration, policy, law, and political structures and institutions.
If you are interested in a career in government, working for political parties, providing commentary on governmental decision-making, or working for nonprofits, then a degree in political science may be right for you.
A political science degree may also be a good fit if you’re interested in pursuing advanced education in the field, including a masters degree or PhD.
What Can You Do with a Political Science Degree?
A bachelor’s in political science may prepare you for a broad selection of career opportunities, from government and nonprofit to media, think tanks, or research.
Some positions may allow you to earn high annual salaries. For example, public relations and fundraising managers ($116,180), management analysts ($91,160), and business operations specialists ($68,730) all earn average salaries that are quite above the national average (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
A bachelor’s in political science may also be a great first step towards completing a masters, law, or PhD program in the field. Earning higher degrees offers additional career paths, including teacher, political scientist, political consultant, or lawyer.
Is Political Science a Hard Major?
You may find a political science major to be more enjoyable if you have an interest in the world of politics. It also helps if you are curious as to how public policy is developed, how political institutions work together, or how political campaigns for office work.
In some cases, poli sci programs may require you to dive into complex political theories. You may also write essays and papers on various political topics and engage in the frequent reading of academic journals.
What Do You Learn in Political Science?
As an undergraduate program, courses will include general education core curriculum coursework. These topics may include American history, language, philosophy, data science, quantitative and qualitative research methods, and communication.
Some political science specific courses may include an introduction to American politics, an introduction to comparative politics, an introduction to international relations, and an introduction to political theory. Other courses could include justice and law, political economy, and elections, representation, and governments.
Is It Hard to Find a Job with a Political Science Degree?
Finding a position with a political science degree may depend on a number of factors, including location, additional qualifications, and other applicants. Another important factor is the number of positions available and the level of growth in the field.
Several career options that you may be qualified for with a political science major are predicted to experience growth over the next several years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
These career paths include business operations specialists (6% growth), public relations specialists (7%), meeting, convention, and event planners (8%), public relations and fundraising managers (9%), and market research analysts (18%).
What’s the Difference Between Political Science vs. Public Policy?
Political science covers a wide range of topics, including public policy. Other content areas for political science may include political theory, government structures and institutions, international politics, and American politics, including the relationship between different levels of government.
Public policy, on the other hand, is more keenly focused on the understanding of government policy. Public policy is made up of laws and regulations as well as subsequent actions that impact various areas of society. Public policy may be in relation to the economy, healthcare, culture, or specific sectors of society.
Is a Political Science Degree Worth It?
Yes, a political science degree is worth it for many students. With an average salary of $59,230 and 4% job growth for media and communication occupations (Bureau of Labor Statistics), a degree in political science can help you launch a career in this dynamic field.
Common political science careers include business operations specialist, writer or author, market research analyst, public relations specialist, and meeting, convention, and event planner. A political science degree may also lead to further education, including masters and PhD degree programs.
Getting Your Political Science Degree Online
Pursuing a political science major may be a path for you to consider if you enjoy discussing and learning about the political landscape, both nationally and internationally.
Earning a bachelor’s in political science online may allow you to explore political institutions and gain an awareness of how different levels and bodies of government work together. You may also gain insight as to how the government uses public policy to enact laws and regulations intended to benefit society as a whole.
A degree in poli sci from an accredited university may provide you with exciting and dynamic career potential along with promising room for growth and advancement.