PhD in Political Science Careers

Feb 27, 2018

A PhD in political science grants you the skills and abilities to occupy a range of career roles in research and academics. Read further to explore the various options, including the salaries, growth predictions and duties of the various professions.

Although a PhD in political science can prepare you for a role in the political science field proper, it can also position you competitively in a number of other related fields. The following are a few of the jobs you can expect to be considered for with your degree.

Careers for a PhD in Political Science

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Political Scientist $114,290 3%
Historian $55,110 6%
Sociologist $79,750 1%
Postsecondary Teacher of Political Science $79,210 11%
Survey Researcher $54,470 2%

*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Details for Careers with a PhD in Political Science

After completion of your doctoral program, you will be able to fill roles such as political scientist, historian, and postsecondary political science teacher. The following are descriptions for some of the professions that require a PhD, or for which this degree would make you a more competitive applicant.

Political Scientist

A political scientist implements a range of methods to conduct research into political subjects, including the United States government and the country's relationship with other nations. They also become adept at analyzing information such as voter registration and demographic data. These professionals are researchers who gather data and test that data against political theories, while often informing the development of public policy.


The skills that political scientists draw upon, such as the gathering and analysis of public data, can be put to use in the role of a historian. Historians draw upon historical statistics and use a variety of tools to analyze that data to make generally applicable statements about the past to create a historical narrative. The work of historians can be used to inform the policies of organizations such as governments, nonprofits, and businesses.


The work of sociologists can inform the activities of other social scientists and policymakers. They often observe and research the behaviors of political, social, religious, and economic groups. These professionals analyze behaviors, collect data from their observations, and prepare reports that discuss those behaviors.

Postsecondary Teacher of Political Science

Postsecondary teachers work at the college level teaching students about their subject through a combination of class lessons, projects, and assessments. Political science teachers address topics such as international affairs or relations and various political theories. These professionals sometimes collaborate with other professors to settle on topics in a series of courses and also perform research in their field. Professors also help guide students to achieving their academic goals, which requires them to meet and engage with students.

Survey Researcher

Survey researchers contribute to the greater knowledge of a topic through the design, creation, and administration of surveys. These individuals engage with the public while conducting background research on various topics. The data collected during these efforts are used in a variety of fields ranging from government to education. The survey researcher is also required to summarize data in visual displays and to be familiar with software for analyzing statistical data.

With your PhD in political science, you'll be ready to fulfill a wide range of job positions. Your duties will often involve working with data and creating research that can be used in various fields.

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