Bachelors In

Political Science Degrees

The complete guide on what you’ll learn, job prospects, university programs, and saving time and money.
on June 30, 2020

Why We Love It

  • $136,260
    Potential Avg. Salary*
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook

* Salary & growth data is based on the recent Bureau of Labor and Statistics data published at https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes231011.htm for 23-1011 Lawyers 11/2021. Based on national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary.

If you’re interested in a career in law, government, or politics, a bachelor of science in political science may be right for you. Political science majors study the government systems, political theories, and public policies of different countries and schools of thought, preparing graduates for careers as politicians, ambassadors to foreign countries, or in the legal industry as lawyers, prosecutors, or judges.

What is a Degree in Political Science?

In a bachelor of science in political science program, students generally choose an area of focus. Concentrations in the field may include focuses on American political systems, global political systems, world economic systems and politics, public policy, and public administration. Students interested in national law and politics commonly focus on American political systems, public policy, and public administration, while those interested in international work commonly focus on global political systems.

Students study many different schools of thought from political systems of both the present and the past. During their studies, students may have opportunities to take on internships with congressional candidates, to participate in model U.N. sessions, or to take summer jobs in local government agencies to gain valuable experience. Students may find government jobs or run for minor offices after graduating with a bachelor’s degree, though some earn graduate degrees to work in the legal field or as college professors.

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What Courses Would I Take For a Major in Political Science?

  • American National Government
  • International Relations
  • Political Theory
  • Comparative Politics
  • State and Local Government
  • European Politics
  • Public Administration
  • United States Foreign Policy

What Jobs Can You Get with a Degree in Political Science?

A bachelor’s degree in political science opens the door to a wide variety of career choices, so students can find work in many different industries after graduation. Some find work in local, state, or federal offices and agencies, and others run for office in their hometowns to begin their political careers. Others continue on to graduate school to earn the degrees required to work as professors, lawyers, prosecutors, or judges. Some even go into business roles and work as company leaders and managers.

How Long does it take?

A bachelors in Political Science will have a typical length of 4 years in a full time schedule. That said, there are many ways to speed up the timeframe by either taking more units via online coursework, community college, or taking free classes at OnlineDegree.com that could transfer to universities in the US.

Online Political Science Degree

There are many online bachelor degree programs in political science. Earning the degree requires completing around 120 credit hours. However, some universities may require practical experience with the courses which is called engaged citizenship experience that is completed in the form of internship and participation in a speaker series on civic engagement. Online learners can still participate online in the speaker series and can complete the internship in their local area. There are also online master’s degree programs for students who already have a college degree in political science or related fields. The master’s programs include around 35 credit hours and can be completed entirely online or in a hybrid mode.


What Can You Do With a Political Science Degree?

Political science (or Polisci, Poli-Sci) is a social science that deals with the systems of governance, communities and international relations. It involves studying and comparing the various legal systems and constitutions. It also includes knowing the effective ways for leading people and building organized modern communities. Political sciences have diverse approaches which are based on psychology, social research and cognitive neuroscience. Approaches include positivism, interpretivism, rational choice theory, behavioralism, structuralism, post-structuralism, realism, institutionalism, and pluralism.

Political studies are essential to prepare world leaders and build well-structured and prosper communities. They can be divided into several sub-divisions as comparative politics, political economy, international relations, political theory, public administration, public policy, and political methodology. Studying politics depends on a wide variety of resources including official documents, journal articles, interviews, public surveys and building models.

What does a Political Science student learn?

Courses included in political science programs include courses from social sciences, economics, politics, psychology and public relations. Courses also include laws, governance systems and constitutions. The following is a list of courses commonly studied by poli sci students:

  1. Research methods: explains the main steps of designing and executing valid experiments
  2. Microeconomics and macroeconomics: in these courses students get familiar with principles of financial and economic terms as balances, budget, business plans, growth, recession, capital, investment, cost and profit.
  3. Early political thought: the historical development of political models and principles
  4. Modern political thought: presents the current political models and principles.
  5. Law, politics and justice: knowing laws is essential for politics in addition to studying the history for developing these laws. Some students would also be interested in studying the philosophy and sources beyond various legal systems.
  6. Modern political approaches use extensive mathematical and statistical models to reach accurate conclusions and predictions. This also helps to boost the success of politicians in negotiations, elections and other important events. Accordingly, political science students may also study mathematics, statistics and database management.

I’ve got the political science degree…where can I work after graduating?

People normally think that politics is limited to the people working in the frontline or leadership of political parties, governments or diplomats. Politics is always connected in our minds to elections and international relations but this is only part of the whole picture. Graduates of are usually viewed as smart minds who have initiative and can take over leadership in an important situation. They are valuable candidates for a wide variety of jobs including:

  1. Public relations specialist or representative: studying psychology, social sciences and law enables political science graduates to lead the public and play a major role in forming the public opinion regarding specific issues. Lobbying is actually viewed in the current age as an important part of politics.
  2. Social media manager: this is closely related to the previously mentioned job as it also aims at forming certain trends or opinions towards specific issues, people, services or products. This can be part of a commercial campaign or elections campaign which have currently use very similar approaches.
  3. Political consultant: many of the candidates for the important positions or high rank officials lack the necessary knowledge of political science but they reach their positions based on their success in their field or their personal skills. Accordingly, they need to have political consultants to direct their actions when they work in the community leadership.
  4. Political Campaign Staff: political science graduates are important players in political campaigns which is not limited to elections. Campaigns can be run to advocate for specific ideas or to defend certain situations against public criticism.
  5. College-Student Leadership and Activities Directors: colleges are the actual start for future leaders where they can start advocating for their beliefs. At this stage, students need advice based on knowledge of law, psychology and political science.
  6. Intelligence and Policy Analyst: they can work for governmental agencies as the CIA to make predictions or analyze the trends in volatile parts of the world. This can also be important to major political parties, news agencies or some multinational companies.
  7. Lawyer or Attorney: the political science framework has a lot of overlap with earning your law degree.

Should I Choose a Political Science Degree?

Political science is one of the most engaging fields to study in college. If you think that you have the propensity to lead or you have strong views and beliefs towards the world, then you should probably earn your college degree in political science.

Studying political science will help you develop a spectrum of valuable skills that will be beneficial to your future in any career you choose:

  1. Strong oral and written communication skills including public speaking
  2. Research and quantitative analytical skills
  3. Effective planning and the ability to face highly challenging situations
  4. Developing leading, initiative and creative mindset.

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Best Jobs for Political Science Degrees

The advantage of a bachelor’s degree in political science is its flexibility. A thorough understanding of American and global political, government, and economic systems offers a great preparation for a variety of careers, including public servant, senator, congressman, attorney, journalist, or national news anchor. Many judges and high-ranking government officials began their careers as political science majors.


How to save time and money

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About the Author
Grant founded OnlineDegree.com with a purpose-driven mission: make college accessible and affordable for everyone. After graduating college with an overwhelming amount of debt, he was determined to change how students embark on their education. He's a frequent speaker and author in higher education, and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, Business Insider, American Express, AOL, MSN, Thrive Global, Reader's Digest, Inside Higher Ed, Evolllution, EducationDive, and nearly 100 radio shows and podcasts.

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