Master's Degrees for Government Jobs

Certain government jobs may use or require master's degrees. This article presents a handful of such degrees and careers paths that one can take with them.

Master's degrees are offered in several government fields such as political science, economics, criminal justice, international affairs, and public administration. Let's explore some of these degrees and government jobs that utilize them.

Government-Related Master's Degrees

Public Administration (M.P.A.)

A master's program in public administration teaches students how to develop and implement managerial and analytical skills while preparing them to become leaders in non-profit or public government sectors. Courses may include healthcare administration, data visualization and analytics, non-profit management, and management studies in other areas. The degree program typically runs for two years, or around 40 credits. A bachelor's degree in a relevant field is needed to apply.

Economics (M.A.)

Students in this program gain an exhaustive understanding of economic theory while learning how to take a quantitative perspective and perform applied economic research to find careers in multinational banking, business, government, and private agencies. Common courses will tackle the subjects of microeconomic and macroeconomic analysis, econometrics, monetary and financial economics, and so forth. Applicants generally should have a rigorous background in economics, as well as a proficiency in statistics or calculus. The length of the master's program varies by school, but it usually takes a year to complete full-time.

International Affairs (M.I.A.)

This master's degree is designed for students who wish to embrace leadership roles in the various areas of international affairs, such as human rights policy, urban and social policy, energy and environment policy, and economic and political policy. Coursework largely deals with these policy concentrations, foreign language, interstate relations, and management. Program duration is approximately one year. Requirements for enrollment vary, but they may include essays, letters of recommendation, a related bachelor's degree, and relevant work or internship experience.

Criminal Justice (M.A.)

A criminal justice major or a professional opting for a master's degree should expect a comprehensive study of the subject, from criminology to policing to research methods. The program typically offers a wide range of courses, which can be in criminal law and procedure, crime mapping, homeland security and terrorism, cybercrime, and transnational crime, among others. To apply, students should hold a bachelor's degree and the minimum GPA, in addition to submitting recommendation letters, statements, or other works. The degree should take a year or two to complete.

Political Science (M.S.)

Enrolling in a master's of political science program guarantees the applicant to come out with deep-seated knowledge of political systems and ideologies, which they can later apply in their careers. Students are grounded in the history of politics, conflict between parties, contemporary research, public policy, campaign management, and much more. Application requisites are minimal and one should be able to finish the program within one-to-two years.

Jobs Relevant to These Degrees

Job Title Degree Median Annual Salary Projected Job Growth *
Human Resources Manager M.P.A. $95,950 (human resources manager, government; 2016)* 9% (2016-2026)
Economist M.A. in Economics $101,050 (2016)* 6% (2014-2024)
Foreign Service Officer M.I.A. $86,089 (2017)** -2% (political scientists; 2014-2024)
Criminologist M.A. in Criminal Justice $41,175 (2017)** 1% (sociologists; 2014-2024)
Political Scientist M.S. in Political Science $114,290 (2016)* -2% (2014-2024)

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **

As you have witnessed, master's degrees are available in various area of study, and they can benefit or work for a number of government careers. Whether you're looking to boost your knowledge or credentials, there may be a master's program for you.

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