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A bachelor's degree in political science can sharpen students' analytical skills and help prepare them for further education or a career in a variety of fields, such as public relations and research. Students typically work towards their degree for four years before earning a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in political science. During those four years, students take required political science coursework and any additional core requirements and electives needed to complete their program.

Online bachelor's degree in political science: coursework and overview

The classes that students take while working toward their degree can vary depending on the curriculum offered at their school. However, there are several courses that are common to many political science degree programs. Examples of courses that students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in political science take include:

Political science degree courses

  • Introduction to Political Science: Students receive an overview of political science, reviewing national and international politics, political theory and comparative politics.
  • Political Theory: Students are educated about the leading theories used to analyze political events and concepts, such as the definition of democracy. Schools typically offer specialized political theory courses that cover such topics as ancient and modern political thinkers and ideologies.
  • International Relations: Students analyze both historical and current events, as well as issues in international politics. Examples of topics covered include foreign policy, war, peace and globalization.
  • American Government: Students study the types, structure, and roles of the various U.S. government institutions (e.g., legislative branch, executive branch). Specific course discussion topics include: political parties, decision-making processes and separation of powers.
  • Comparative Politics: Students study and conduct comparative analyses of political systems and political cultures.

Courses outside of the political science degree

  • English Composition: Students in English composition classes analyze literary works through essays and in-class discussions. English composition courses give students an opportunity to strengthen the analytical and critical thinking skills that they use in political science courses.
  • U.S. History: Students learn about the history of America, from its founding to present day events. Political science courses often reference major events studied in American history, including world wars and historic presidential elections.
  • Legal Studies: In legal studies courses, students learn about the American legal system and study topics such as legal procedures and the branches of government - topics that political science courses often draw upon in their curriculum.

Potential career opportunities for individuals with a bachelor's degree in political science

Holding a bachelor's degree may prove to be a benefit in one's job search. An online bachelor's degree in political science can sharpen a student's analytical and research skills, which can be valuable in a variety of careers. Some of these careers are outlined below:

  • Survey researchers design and conduct surveys as well as analyze data. Researchers working on public surveys can apply knowledge of American government gained in political science courses.
  • Public relations specialists are responsible for an organization's communication with consumers, investors and media contacts. An understanding of American culture that students can gain through political science courses can help public relations specialists direct their material more effectively to their target audience.
  • Legal assistants help lawyers by performing legal research and drafting documents such as contracts. Students hoping to become a legal assistant can gain a valuable understanding of legal procedures and government systems through courses in legal studies and American government.

In addition to pursuing a career, individuals with a bachelor's degree in political science have the option of pursuing a graduate degree. A master's degree in political science or a related field may open up greater career opportunities for students and help them with career advancement. Students interested in pursuing a master's degree in political science should speak to an admissions counselor for more details and information about requirements.

Sources

"23-2011 Paralegals and Legal Assistants," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm

"Paralegal and legal assistants," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/paralegals-and-legal-assistants.htm

"11-2031 Public Relations and Fundraising Managers," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes112031.htm

"Public Relations and Fundraising Managers," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbooks, January 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/public-relations-managers.htm

"19-3022 Survey Researchers," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes193022.htm

"Survey Researchers," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/survey-researchers.htm

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