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A future in Political Science
By Jennifer Bailey
Politics is everywhere. Believe it or not, it affects the very air we breathe, the schools we attend, the career paths we choose, the communities we strive to live in and, of course, the taxes we pay. If you choose to major in political science, you will learn the principles behind the decisions that affect every aspect of our lives.
When trying to determine the best career direction for yourself, it is always good to think about what interests and excites you. Do you desire to understand what is justice? How about what is human nature? Or what is virtue? Consider what is the relationship between politics and philosophy? What is the right way to live? Is there a right way to live? What is the ideal relationship between religion and politics? Do you want to be a part of change in our society? What kind of change?
Whether they're conservative or liberal, cynical or idealistic, one common trait among political science majors is their passion for politics. If you want to be active in the political system, then a political science major is a great way to get started.
Like government majors, political science majors learn the practical understandings of democracy. They study the causes as well as the consequences of authoritarian and revolutionary political regimes. They also analyze constitutional orders, political parties, electoral systems, government bureaucracies, judiciaries, militaries and how other institutions of governance affect outcomes in the political realm.
The field of political science is generally divided into "subfields." These include; American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations and Political Theory/Public Law as well as Political Analysis.
Getting a degree in political science includes taking classes in political philosophy, political theory, comparative government and politics, political parties, interest groups, international relations, public opinion, political research methods and studies of historical governments and their politics.
To name a few of the key things you will learn, in addition to all of the above, is writing development skills, analytical and critical thinking, communication skills and research development. Majoring in political science will prepare you for jobs in and out of government including law, political science, history and public policy.
The outlook in this field is strong and growing and jobs exist at the federal, state and local levels. Great positions are available in nonprofit organizations and the business sector in addition to local, state and federal agencies of all types.
There are many internship opportunities available to give you great hands-on experience and gain good insights for furthering your long-term career goals. Some areas for internships might include: Communications, Media, Congressional Offices such as your local and national offices of U.S. Senators or Congressmen/women, Education such as Curatorial, Research, Historical, Public Affairs, Naval Historical Center or perhaps you’d enjoy interning for a Government Consulting Firm or nonprofit organization, a lobbying firm, a Political Action Committee like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee or even a Think Tank like the Heritage Foundation.
Once a degree in political science is obtained, you can find long term employment in many diverse areas such as: Campaign Worker, Lobbyist, Political Consultant, Policy Analyst, Urban Planner, Intelligence Officer, Fundraiser, Program Manager, Volunteer Coordinator, Grant Writer, Journalist, Immigration Agent, Paralegal/Legal Assistant, Regulatory Specialist, Public Affairs Specialist, Research Assistant or, with additional schooling, an attorney.