Many people ask the question: is political science a good major? The short answer is yes, yet the reasons are many and varied. Read on to learn more about the many benefits of a political science major, including how it can help you develop a broader perspective and more meaningful understanding of the world.
What Is Political Science?
Political science is an exciting and complex field of study, focused on examining how power is distributed within societies, both domestically and internationally. It takes a deep dive into how political systems (governments) operate and impact society at large and provides analytical tools to anticipate the outcomes of various types of government policy. Political scientists study history and culture to gain a deeper understanding of politics, economics, law, philosophy, sociology, and psychology. From this interdisciplinary approach, they develop knowledge and theories to explain current global issues such as migration, poverty alleviation, and resource scarcity.
Is a Political Science Major Right for You?
If you’re passionate about learning about the inner workings of the political world, then a political science degree might be just what you need! This fascinating area of study offers an in-depth look at modern politics and international relations, giving you a detailed understanding of how governments and social systems work. You’ll gain knowledge on a wide range of topics, including research methods, media and public policy, allowing you to gain insight into how decisions are made and why they have the effects they do. While many political science majors go on to become policymakers or legal analysts, those skills are valuable in many other careers, as well. So if you’re looking for a major that will equip you with pertinent knowledge and sharpen your critical-thinking skills while providing career opportunities both inside and outside politics, political science may be the right fit for you!
Political Science Major Curriculum
By obtaining a political science degree, students can explore the complexities of power dynamics and learn to assess issues pertaining to governance, justice, and injustice on both a domestic and global scale. This course offers a rigorous and thorough curriculum that develops students’ analytical, critical, and ethical thinking skills – essential attributes for anyone looking to work in the field of politics or public service. Political science majors dive into the ever-changing, intricate realm of politics by studying a rigorous core sequence that focuses on political awareness and articulation, civic and international involvement, moral choice-making, and applying theory to current world affairs.
What Can You Do with a Political Science Major?
- Upon completion of a bachelor’s degree in political science, graduates are expected to be able to:
- Examine various political systems, movements, and topics to understand the ever-changing international landscape.
- Put political theory into practice to better understand politics.
- Demonstrate fluency and skill in the essential concepts of political communications, regardless of the professional environment or situation.
- Utilize qualitative and quantitative research methods as necessary to meet data requirements.
- Articulate and incorporate essential ethical values and norms that define public service and the professional discipline of political science.
These skills can be applied to a wide range of career opportunities, including:
A policy analyst researches and analyzes public policies, legislation, and procedures to understand their impact on organizations, industries, communities, and individuals. They use their expertise in economics, political science, international relations, law, or other related fields to understand the implications of policy decisions. Policy analysts specialize in examining data and making recommendations for changes to existing policies or the implementation of new ones based on their research. They use a variety of tools including analytics software and databases to synthesize their findings before creating presentations that summarize their conclusions for stakeholders. Policy analysts may focus on a particular field, such as healthcare, education, national security, or the economy. As policy analysts work towards finding the best strategies, they must stay informed of current events and consider the potential effects their conclusions may have on people, businesses, and communities.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not classify policy analysts as a separate occupation from political scientists, who they estimate to make a median salary of $122,510 per year. However, according to GlassDoor.com, policy analysts make an average base salary of $69,689, with PayScale providing an even more conservative estimate of $62,689 per year.
Market Research Analyst
A market research analyst plays a vital role in the success of a business by evaluating the demand and overall effectiveness of products, services, and strategies. They assess market conditions to pinpoint trends and estimate sales opportunities more accurately. To do this, a market research analyst studies demographics and gathers data from customer surveys, interviews, or focus groups. They then assemble this data into reports that show which products and services are performing well or need improvement. Finally, they provide insights for business decisions based on their findings. If you’re looking for a career where you can shape the trajectory of businesses with sound research and analysis skills, being a market research analyst may be the ideal fit for you.
According to the BLS, market research analysts earn a median salary of $63,920 as of 2021, with a projected job outlook of 19%, much faster than the average for all occupations.
Public Relations Specialist
Public relations specialists help create and maintain a positive image for their company or client. They are responsible for creating goodwill that attracts interest in their organization or clients and helps maintain their reputation. A public relations specialist’s job is to help convey stories about the company or organization’s mission, services, products, and more through different communication platforms. Public relations specialists may create press releases, pitch articles to media outlets, manage media interviews, research trending topics that could be relevant to their clients, update websites and social media channels with relevant stories, work with external influencers and advocates to promote the company’s brand story on a larger scale, build relationships with local and national stakeholders – the list goes on. These activities are bundled into one uniquely impressive job: creating positive interactions between companies or organizations and their target audiences.
The BLS estimates a median annual salary of $62,800 for public relations specialists, with an 8% projected job growth (faster than average).
A campaign staffer is an individual who works with a political campaign, usually for a specific candidate. Their job is to ensure that all aspects of the campaign run smoothly throughout the entire process, which can start months to years in advance. They may be responsible for any number of tasks, including:
- Media outreach
- Policy research
- Researching opponents or policies
- Setting up events or rallies
- Talking to potential voters
- Operational support
Campaign staffers can have many different roles which require an assortment of skills: communication prowess, problem-solving ability, administrative efficacy, and an ability to thrive under pressure. In short, they are critical players in ensuring a campaign runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible. It’s also essential to remain adaptive and flexible as the political landscape changes quickly due to external events or shifts in polling numbers. If you’re looking for an exciting career path that serves your community while providing unique opportunities to make a real difference, becoming a campaign staffer could be ideal!
The BLS does not separate campaign staffers from the broader category of public relations managers, so salary statistics are unavailable. However, ZipRecruiter estimates an average salary of $37,137 for campaign staffers, and salary.com provides a median salary of $63,941 for political campaign managers. This means your expected salary could fall anywhere in this relatively broad range, depending on factors such as job title, years of experience, and location.
An intelligence analyst’s job is to use critical thinking and modern technology to collect and analyze political, financial, criminal, or military data. This analysis requires understanding cultural and regional differences and the complex dynamics of current events to draw accurate conclusions. These analysts pay acute attention to detail to interpret complex data about their target and provide valuable insights. They must often synthesize large amounts of information from multiple sources, utilizing advanced knowledge of their subject matter. Intelligence analysts utilize the latest methods of analysis and technology to interpret the information into meaningful recommendations. Higher-level decision-makers use the collected data to make more informed decisions about policy planning and implementation. It is a crucial position demanding high levels of expertise that dramatically impacts national and global security.
The BLS categorizes intelligence analysts with information security analysts, making the median salary estimates too broad. Glassdoor.com provides an estimate of $70,567 as the average salary of intelligence analysts, while PayScale estimates a slightly higher average base salary of $74,618.
A legal assistant assists lawyers and other legal personnel with the daily operations of a law firm. Legal assistants can do tasks like research, preparation of documents, and even some limited forms of client communication. Since technology has advanced, many legal assistants have specialized skills related to the latest software used by their firms. Legal assistants also have knowledge of different legal topics depending on the industry they work in—from family law to civil litigation or bankruptcy. They support attorneys, which helps law firms function efficiently and effectively while allowing attorneys to focus more on their cases. With the right experience and training, a legal assistant can be a valuable part of a successful legal team.
According to the BLS, legal assistants make a median annual salary of $56,230, with a job outlook of 14%, or much faster than average.
Importance of Political Science in the World
Political science is one of the most important fields of study in a constantly changing world. By studying and understanding politics, both locally and globally, we can make informed decisions on a wide range of topics – including international relations, public policy, legal systems, human rights, and economic development. Political science also provides valuable perspectives on gender issues, social movements, minority rights, and civil society throughout the world. Ultimately, it serves as an invaluable tool for understanding our ever-evolving global political environment and how individuals and governments interact within it. Studying the complexities of political science has allowed us to build bridges across differences and create more sustainable paths toward peace, diversity, stability, and justice.
Local Community/Societal Impact
Political science can significantly impact our local communities, regardless of how small. It affects the politics and policies that determine everything from what neighborhoods we live in, to how our schools are run, to the opportunities available to us locally. From understanding the political dynamics of a city council meeting to comprehending the economic implications behind different public initiatives, understanding political science enables citizens to better understand their own country from a local level all the way up. It is paramount for people in a society to be informed and aware of the political systems shaping their lives, whether voting for a mayor or being part of protests against unjust policies.
Ready to Make Your Impact?
To learn more about Johnson & Wales University’s College of Professional Studies and how our online degree programs can help further your career, complete the Request Info form or call 855-JWU-1881 or email [email protected].