Table of Contents

Political scientists study all aspects of public policy and political systems, including their origins, development, and operations. Their research ranges across other fields as well. Those who specialize in international relations typically examine the relationship the United States has with other countries or the political systems and institutions within other countries. Other areas of political science involve looking at politics in small towns or large urban centers, researching the political life of various nations and the institutions involved, and even looking at U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

Political scientists use a variety of tools to analyze both the structure and operations of political entities and governments, be they federal, state, or local, including:

  • Ideology
  • Political decision making
  • Public opinion
  • Public policy

They gather data by interviewing public officials, analyzing elections, and conducting public-opinion surveys, among other methods.

Political Science

Political Science Degrees and Career Training

Political scientists should have a firm grasp of mathematics, statistics, quantitative research methods, using computers to conduct research, as well as the latest research technology. Written and oral communication skills are typically crucial in order to communicate the results of their research to others. They should also have excellent critical thinking skills and the ability to analyze complex information.

It's often necessary to obtain master's or doctorate degree program in social science in political science, to launch a successful career in political science, especially if you want to teach at the post-secondary level. Bachelor's degrees can lead to a number of career opportunities including jobs in:

  • Business
  • Campaign management and polling
  • Electoral politics
  • Federal, state, or local government
  • International organizations
  • Journalism
  • Law
  • Nonprofit associations and organizations
  • Pre-collegiate education
  • Research

Political Science Career Prospects

Political scientists held 4,700 jobs in 2006, but only 5 percent job growth is predicted to occur by 2016. This slow growth is expected because most political science jobs are with the federal government and very few opportunities have previously existed outside of it. For example, in 2007:

  • 2,320 political scientists worked for the federal executive branch.
  • 580 political scientists worked in scientific research and development services
  • 230 political scientists worked for colleges, universities, and professional schools
  • 160 political scientists worked for local government
  • 60 political scientists worked for state governments

Most of these jobs are obviously based out of Washington D.C., with other high concentrations in Virginia, Wisconsin, Washington, and New York.

Yet in spite of these numbers and percentages, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that demand for political science research should begin to grow due to increasing interest in politics and human affairs. Political scientists should also be able to get involved in such hot topics as environmental policy and immigration. Social organizations and nonprofit groups may hire more political scientists as this interest grows, and political scientists may also become more important in political lobbying in order to further those groups interests.

Pursue your Political Science major today…

Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT Clear All

    See More


    See More



    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
Matching School Ads
1 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked among the 2015 Best National Universities by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Designated as a Military Friendly School every year since 2012 by Victory Media.
  • Offers credit for prior learning and experience through assessment tests.
  • Provides a short term Leadership Certification program in partnership with EQUIP®.
  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA).
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
  • Ranked 33rd among the Best Grad Schools for Social Work in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Founded in 1904 as the nation’s first institute of higher learning to offer training for clinical social workers.
  • Provides a rigorous education, including a nationally accredited Master of Social Work (MSW) Program and PhD in Social Work.  
  • Offers inventive programs with hands-on experience.  
  • Incorporates social justice values and multicultural perspectives into curriculum. 
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Founded in 1890, it has a campus in Waterbury, CT and offers online degree program in eight-week modules, six times a year.
  • About 800 students are enrolled at the main campus, and about half of them commute.
  • Online courses help make it possible for students to earn a bachelor’s degree in as little as 24 months and a master’s degree in 12-18 months.
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor's Programs in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Implements a one-to-one teaching model, partnering one student with one faculty member in each course.
  • 100% of faculty members hold doctoral degrees.
  • No physical residency requirements, allowing students to pursue their degree online.
  • Committed to innovation, diversity, excellence, and accountability since its founding in 1996.
  • Offers several programs in business, education, psychology, and more.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
  • Founded over 60 years ago on the principles of inclusion and social justice.
  • Offers credit for previous life and work experience.
  • Equipped with over 17,000 titles in their library.
  • Has 3 semesters and 6 start dates a year.
  • Located in Pasadena, CA, with instructional sites in Sacramento, Salinas, Santa Cruz, and Visalia as well as online options.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
  • Ranked 25th among the Best National Universities in 2015 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • One of the world’s leading private research universities.
  • Its student-faculty ratio is 9:1, and 56.8% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • Has an average freshman retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction, of 96.8 percent.
  • Dedicated to a strong tradition of integrating liberal and professional education since 1880.
  • Its faculty includes National Academy members, Nobel Laureates, MacArthur Fellows, and more.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses

Iowa Wesleyan University is a transformational learning community whose passion is to educate, empower and inspire students to lead meaningful lives and careers.

Learning in Community: An Academic Vision

The story of Iowa Wesleyan University is a story of community; its founding, an act of community; its long history, an affirmation of community. Its defining vision draws on a community of memory even as it forges a dynamic future.

  • Online Courses