Political Science Schools Colleges & Universities

Degrees in political science can prepare you for more paths than possibly almost any other degree. Political science colleges educate future politicians, researchers, lawyers, teachers, entertainers, and more. Degrees in political science can provide the foundation for a variety of graduate programs and careers. Learn more here about political science schools.

From Political Science Colleges to Anywhere You Can Imagine: Of course many people graduate from political science colleges to become politicians. Barack Obama and Joe Biden did. But degrees in political science can lead to some surprising careers, too. Consider these graduates of political science schools:

  • • Mia Hamm (soccer star)
  • • Steve Case (AOL founder)
  • • Kevin McClatchy (Pittsburgh Pirates CEO)
  • • Jane Pauley (TV Journalist)
  • • Jerry Springer (Trash TV host)

So whether you want to run for office or run your own business or television show, political science schools can teach you important skills.

Degrees in Political Science: Political science colleges offer degrees at all levels: associates, bachelors, masters, and PhDs. To be admitted to associates' and bachelors' programs, you'll need to hold a high school diploma or GED. High school students interested in earning degrees in political science could better prepare by taking courses in advanced history (such as Advanced Placement) and sociology, if available. Joining relevant extracurricular clubs--such as Model United Nations (MUN) and Speech & Debate--could also prove useful.

Students applying to graduate-level political science colleges come from a variety of backgrounds. While many hold bachelors' degrees in political science, others have degrees in history, English, science, math, economics, and more. If you did not earn your degree in political science or closely related field, some schools might require you to complete certain prerequisites either before or during your graduate education. You'll likely need to take the GRE (Graduate Record Exams) to be considered for admittance to graduate political science schools.

Beyond Degrees in Political Science: Political science colleges are full of diverse characters, personalities, and perspectives (imagine Joe Biden, Jerry Springer, and Mia Hamm in a classroom together!). You don't have to be affiliated with a specific political party to excel, but you should have the following characteristics:

  • • Desire to learn all sides of issues
  • • Independent drive to learn and succeed
  • • Outgoing personality
  • • Strong communication skills, written and spoken
  • • Tact/diplomacy

While attending political science schools, students might benefit from joining The American Political Science Association, a national community of political science professionals and students.

Political Science Colleges to Jobs: Students often use their bachelors' degrees in political science as stepping stones toward graduate degrees in political science, law, economics, communications, education, and a variety of other fields. Others jump right into the workplace. Those with bachelors' degrees from political science schools can qualify for a variety of jobs, including:

  • • Activist/Organizer
  • • Career counselor
  • • Communications director/assistant
  • • Lobbyist
  • • Public affairs research analyst

Those with advanced degrees in political science generally qualify for more competitive jobs in the field, including:

  • • Campaign operative
  • • Congressional officer/committee staffer
  • • Coordinator of federal or state aid
  • • Corporate or government analyst
  • • Political commentator
  • • University professor

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for political scientists are anticipated to grow by 21 percent between 2008 and 2018. But the BLS points out that keen competition is expected, especially for high-paying positions, and that those with higher degrees will face the greatest prospects. The median 2009 salary for political scientists was $104,090, says the BLS.

Candice Mancini.

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