Careers with a Political Science Degree

Degrees in political science typically cover law, politics and international relations. Find out about career options, job growth and salary info for political science graduates.

Essential Information

Political scientists research political issues in international relations, political life and the legal system, among other areas. A bachelor's degree is acceptable in many political science-related fields, although a master's degree may be required for upper-level positions.

Career Management Analyst Public Affairs Specialist Political Scientist
Education Requirements Master degree preferred Bachelor's degree Bachelor's or advanced degree
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)* 19% 12% 21%
Average Salary (2013)* $89,990 $63,020 $100,900

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

Political science degree-holders have employment opportunities in both business and public affairs. Read on to learn more about career options for graduates.

Federally Employed Political Scientist

Because of the field's focus on politics, international politics and the justice system, many political science graduates look for jobs as political scientists with the federal government. Graduates who hold these positions use their analytical and research skills in roles that affect public policy and raise awareness of issues such as healthcare or crime prevention.

Those interested in jobs with the government are required to possess at least a bachelor's degree; however, a master's degree or even a doctorate may be necessary for some positions. Political science graduates who work for the federal government can work as analysts, foreign service officers and international relations specialists.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of political scientists is expected to increase by 21% between 2012 and 2022, which is considerably faster than average. As of May 2013, the average annual salary of a political scientist was $100,900.

Management Analyst

Management analysts, also known as management consultants, improve an organization's or company's efficiency, structure and overall profitability. These improvements are made by examining company data, observing workers and learning the organization's logistics. Management analysts use this information to improve efficiency, trim budgets and increase productivity.

Some management analysts specialize in a particular area, such as healthcare or banking. According to the BLS, most employers prefer to hire management analysts with at least a master's degree, although some small firms and certain government jobs require only a bachelor's degree for entry-level positions.

Management analysts may go on to work in a variety of industries, such as healthcare, defense, education and government. The BLS indicates that employment of management analysts will grow by 19% between 2012 and 2022, which is faster than the average for all jobs. As of May 2013, the average salary for management analysts was $89,990 annually, per the BLS.

Public Affairs Specialist

U.S. Government public affairs specialists may act as advocates for the federal government, particularly in the area of foreign affairs. These specialists organize relationship-building events such as fundraisers, meet-and-greets or press conferences. They may also write press releases and news articles, maintain websites, manage charitable efforts and organize outreach or educational programs.

Some public affairs specialists have backgrounds in journalism or marketing. Those seeking careers as public affairs specialists with the U.S. government may be hired by a variety of government organizations, including the Department of State. According to the BLS, most public relations manager and specialist positions require a bachelor's degree.

The BLS states that employment of public relations specialists, the larger group to which public affairs specialists belong, is expected to increase by 12% from 2012-2022, which is roughly equal to the average for all jobs. The average annual salary for public relations specialists was $63,020 as of May 2013, per the BLS.

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