Where will an undergraduate degree in political science take me in professional life?

Earning a degree in political science opens the door to a diverse array of career and graduate education options. Political science graduates possess a deep understanding of governmental systems, policy analysis, and global affairs, making them well-equipped for roles in government, international organizations, advocacy groups, and the private sector. Many graduates choose to work as policy analysts, legislative aides, political consultants, or even run for public office. Additionally, the strong analytical, research, and communication skills developed during a political science degree are highly transferable, enabling graduates to thrive in fields like law, journalism, and public relations.

Students at Graduation

Envision the Jobs of the Future

Political science is a great fit for the traditional career trajectories such as work in government or political advocacy. But in the rapidly evolving landscape of today’s world, political science graduates are also well-positioned to excel in interdisciplinary fields such as data analysis, digital governance, and environmental policy. As technological advancement continues to shape global affairs and social dynamics, a solid understanding of political systems combined with expertise in emerging technologies can lead graduates to define their own innovative career paths in fields only just beginning to emerge. Whether embarking on a career right after graduation or pursuing advanced studies, political science graduates have a wealth of opportunities to make meaningful contributions to society and influence positive change from the local level to the global scale. 

As you consider your future path, keep in mind that many of the career opportunities you will pursue throughout your life do not yet exist. This article, from PBS, lays out the ways that education can be a process of preparation for jobs/fields that have yet to emerge. 

Prepare for Law School

A degree in political science serves as an excellent foundation for success in law school.  The comprehensive study of political systems, legal frameworks, and the intricacies of government equips aspiring lawyers with critical analytical and reasoning skills essential for legal practice. Furthermore, a political science background provides an understanding of the broader societal context in which legal decisions are made. This contextual awareness is crucial for lawyers who seek to navigate the complexities of legislation, precedent, and public policy.

In addition to these intellectual advantages, the research and communication skills honed during a political science education are transferable to the rigorous demands of law school. Students with a political science background are accustomed to sifting through vast amounts of information, synthesizing key points, and articulating their findings persuasively – skills that align closely with the demands of legal research, case analysis, and courtroom presentations. 

This resource, from the Law School Admissions Council, can help you consider whether this path may be right for you. In addition, the University of Maine’s Career Center has resources and dedicated support to help you chart your path to law school.

Pursue Graduate Education

For those interested in advancing their expertise and delving deeper into the complexities of political systems, pursuing graduate education is a compelling option. A master’s degree or PhD in political science can open up specialized career paths in academia, research institutions, think tanks, and policy consulting firms. Graduate programs offer the opportunity to specialize in areas such as international relations, comparative politics, public policy, or political theory. These programs provide a platform for students to engage in advanced research, contribute to scholarly discourse, and potentially influence policy decisions. Moreover, a graduate degree in political science can enhance earning potential and leadership opportunities in various sectors.

If you’re considering graduate school, check out these resources on the application process and what you should be considering as you make this decision.