Top 10 Jobs for Political Science Majors

What You Can Do With a Degree in Political Science

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If you are intrigued by current events and find yourself glued to CNN, then political science is worth considering as a major. Political science majors study how laws are made, and the comparative structures of governments across the world. They learn how public policy is formulated and the impact of policy on the social and economic status of the populace. 

Career Options for Political Science Majors

Political science majors develop strong writing and research skills while generating papers about the political sphere. They discover how to make a convincing argument and back it up with facts. Students of political science hone their presentation and verbal communication skills as they share their work with faculty and peers.

Political science majors refine their analytical skills while exploring policy initiatives and considering the ramifications of government actions. Critical thinking is vital to evaluating the platforms of political parties and the impact of leadership changes.

During their studies, political science majors learn how power is acquired, how campaigns are waged and how public opinion can be influenced.

They study different models for leadership and gain a historical perspective regarding the relative effectiveness of different approaches.  

Your final decision about your major and career should take into account the unique configuration of your values, skills, personality traits and interests, but here are some options to consider if If you choose political science as a major, you’ll have a wide variety of options open to you after graduation, as you start making career decisions. Below is a list of political science major skills.

10 Job Options for Political Science Majors

Emily Roberts. © The Balance, 2018

1. Policy Analyst

Since political science majors study the process for generating public policy and the implications for implementing various policies, the role of policy analyst is a natural application of their work as a student. Policy analysts rely on strong critical thinking, writing and research skills as they formulate statements about the nature and impact of proposals for public policy.

Like political science majors, policy analysts must devise a sound thesis and build a persuasive argument for or against the adoption of a particular policy initiative. In addition, analysts use their understanding of the political and legislative process to enlist the support of individuals who can help advance initiatives.

2. Legislative Assistant

Senators, assembly members, representatives and other elected officials at all levels of government hire assistants to help them to carry out their duties. Legislative assistants tap the writing and verbal skills developed by the political science major to coordinate communication with constituents and inform them about developments within their district. 

They assess the interest of constituents about current political issues and present the views of their elected officials within a positive framework. Legislative assistants respond to constituent inquiries and help to resolve problems of citizens within their jurisdiction.

Legislative assistants research policy issues, track legislation and survey the positions of other legislators on pending legislation. They prepare briefings for their legislator and other office staff.

3. Public Relations Specialist

Public relations representatives influence public opinion about their clients based largely on placing stories with the media. Political science majors develop the writing skills needed to draft compelling press releases and the persuasive skills to assert the benefits of covering a particular story. They also learn how opinions are formed, and the role of the media, as they research current events during their studies.

Public relations specialists often organize and publicize press conferences and other events in order to attract media attention and get the word out about their client. Political science majors gain some insight into this process as they study the mechanics of organizing campaign events and public appearances by government representatives.

4. Social Media Manager

Public opinion is increasingly shaped by social media. Political candidates, officials, parties and interest groups need social media managers to monitor the views of constituents about their administration and current issues.

Social media managers must understand various social media platforms and orchestrate campaigns to shape perceptions of their users. Political science majors know how opinions are formed and influenced by various media and can be instrumental in formulating and implementing these plans.

5. Marketing Research Analyst

Marketing researchers analyze how consumers will respond to products or services, much like political science students assess the reactions of potential voters to candidates. Political science majors study the role of survey research and opinion polling in campaigning. The work of market researchers often involves surveying consumer reactions to potential or current products and services.

Market researchers can tap the knowledge of research standards which the political science major possesses when designing scientifically viable studies. They must present their findings to clients and co-workers and back up their recommendations with data.

6. Political Consultant

Political consultants use the knowledge of the political process gained by political science majors to devise strategies for candidates to influence voters and gain support in their campaigns for office. Political consultants help to brand candidates and repair damaged images.

They attempt to influence media coverage of candidates by offering favorable stories and positive takes on the past performance of the candidate. Political consultants may survey potential voters to discern their reaction to a candidate and the basis of their opinion.

Political consultants may also work for public interest groups and help them to formulate strategies for advancing their causes.

7. Attorney

Lawyers working for political figures, interest groups and lobbying firms use the legal research skills developed by political science majors to conduct research about legislative and policy issues. They help draft and edit the language for bills, and assess the legal precedents for pending legislation.

Attorneys formulate and deliver arguments on behalf of their clients and attempt to influence decision makers about the merits of their stance. Attorneys use political savvy in other areas of the law as well. They select sympathetic jurors and frame their cases in favorable ways when there are controversial political issues related to trials.

8. Intelligence Analyst

Intelligence analysts work for clandestine agencies of the government like the CIA and National Security Agency. They tap the political science major’s understanding of political groups to assess developments in volatile areas of the world. Intelligence analysts study particular groups which pose a threat to security and analyze patterns of leadership and popular support.

Intelligence analysts write reports with their findings, and present briefings to agency leadership and executive and legislative leaders and staff. In addition, knowledge of foreign languages used by potential terrorists helps analysts to investigate potential threats first hand. In addition to a political science major, a minor in foreign languages used by potential terrorists would be helpful for analysts investigating potential threats first hand. 

9. Political Campaign Staff

Political campaign staff members help to formulate and execute campaign strategy. They work towards building a brand or favorable public image for the candidate. Political campaign staff use the ability of the political science major to study current political issues and assess voter reactions to a candidate's platform. 

They write press releases and help draft language for speeches. Political campaign staff help manage the candidate's social media imprint and organize events to gain exposure for candidates. They recruit, train and supervise volunteers. Political campaign staff orchestrate efforts to raise money to fund the campaign.

10. College Student Leadership and Activities Officer

Activities officers can apply knowledge of political science as they structure student elections and leadership programs. They help set standards for elections and monitor proceedings to make sure that student rights are upheld.  

College student leadership and activities officers develop leadership training exercises and advise leaders about effective and ethical ways to exercise their authority. They oversee the use of financial resources and investigate irregularities in student run clubs and programs. College student leadership and activities officers mediate disputes between student leaders, and ensure that minority interests are reflected in budgets and activities.

Skills Employers Seek

Here are some of the skills employers look for in political science and government major graduates. Highlight the skills you acquired during your studies, internships, and jobs held during college in your cover letters, resume and job applications.

A - C

  • Abstracting general principles from examples
  • Active listening
  • Analytical
  • Analyzing public policy initiatives
  • Applying an intercultural and international perspective to political issues
  • Assessing the impact of pending legislation on public policy
  • Assessing the validity/reliability polls/surveys
  • Carrying out descriptive statistical tests such as mean, median and mode
  • Conducting legal analyses
  • Conducting multiple linear regression analyses
  • Conducting primary research
  • Constructing polls and surveys
  • Creating charts and graphs
  • Creativity
  • Critical thinking

D - I

  • Debating
  • Decision making
  • Designing research models
  • Detail orientation
  • Devising logical arguments
  • Dissecting campaign strategy
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of government programs
  • Facilitating discussions
  • Independence
  • Interpreting current events within a political context
  • Interpreting political events in light of political theory
  • Interpreting political polls
  • Introducing speakers
  • Investigative

L - O

  • Leadership
  • Logical reasoning
  • managing stress
  • Matlab
  • Mediating conflicts
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Moderating panels
  • Negotiating agreements
  • Networking
  • Note taking
  • Organizational

P - S

  • Performing two way correlations
  • Persistence
  • Persuading others to a point of view
  • Planning
  • PowerPoint
  • Predicting outcomes
  • Presentation
  • Prioritizing
  • Proposing political solutions to social and economic problems
  • Reading critically
  • SAS
  • SPSS
  • Systematizing

T - Z

  • Teamwork
  • Testing hypotheses
  • Time management
  • Tolerating divergent opinions
  • Verbal communication
  • Writing case studies
  • Writing editorials
  • Writing research reports

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