Political Science

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Major in Political Science

Article by Rachelle Wiggins

“God instituted government to establish ordered and peaceful social space where not only is judgement carried out, but good is recognized and encouraged…[It] has been instituted by God not only for the good of humanity but also for the glory of his own name.”  ~Michael Oh, PhD

Political science is defined as “the study of power applied for public purposes.” We need only wade into shallow conversations about healthcare, the environment, education, homeland security or immigration to realize how passionately many of us feel about these political “hot topics!” A major in political science not only dabbles in these political waters, but dives headlong into a deep understanding of political structures, processes and policies that affect our everyday lives. It delves into the inner workings of American government but also compares various governmental forms and political theories. This broad, liberal arts degree helps prepare students for a wide range of careers in anything from law to public service to communications to business.

If you are fascinated by current events, enjoy watching CNN and thinking about all-things governmental, then this major may be a great choice for you. In addition to a desire to actively engage in the political system, there are other important traits necessary for success. One of these is strong critical thinking skills since you will constantly be dealing with complex information that must be synchronized into pragmatic, real-world solutions. In addition, good communication is a must, including written, oral and active listening skills. As a political science major, you will engage in discussion and debate about controversial topics and it’s important to back up your convincing arguments with clearly stated, factual arguments.

A political science major is an interdisciplinary degree, meaning you will take a diverse breath of courses in many subject areas. You may have opportunities to study abroad, participate in an internship and will likely be asked to write a senior thesis on a topic that interests you. Courses you can expect to take include: 

  • U.S. Political Systems
  • Comparative Systems
  • International Relations
  • Elements of Political Theory

Students who major in political science land in many different career settings—some serve in local, state or national government, others in the nonprofit sector or in business-related fields. Others continue with ongoing education. Some of the more common career outcomes range from:

  • Campaign worker/political consultants who contribute to a political campaign in areas such as budget, advertising, fundraising, strategy and media response.
  • Lobbyists. Activists representing a specific group/organization who seek to persuade government members to enact legislation beneficial to the group they represent. 
  • Public affairs specialists who act as a liason between an organization and the public, seeking to create and maintain a favorable impression through press and social media.
  • State legislators. Officials elected by the public for the sake of proposing, passing and amending laws beneficial to those they represent.
  • Analysts (of research, public opinion or policy) who gather data, track political trends and currents, evaluate, analyze and offer recommendations to candidates, parties or elected officials.
  • Customs/immigration officers who work to protect American borders and enforce trade, drug trafficking or immigration laws in order to keep our country safe.

If your mind comes alive at the thought of efficiently administering a public bureaucracy or you dream of investing your energy in international relations or the creation of effective political platforms, then maybe God wants to use you to impact the world through a major in political science!