What Can You Do With a PhD in Political Science?

May 31, 2020

Those who earn a PhD in political science will gain a deeper understanding of politics and its effects on governments and their people, as well as take subjects like basic regression, research design and qualitative methods. Recent graduates will typically have the education and skills necessary to find jobs in a number of fields. We'll take a look at a few of these careers that those with a PhD in political science may find themselves in upon graduation.

PhD in Political Science Jobs/Salary

Job Title Median Salary (2019)* Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Political Scientists $122,220 5%
Market Research Analysts $63,790 20%
Postsecondary Political Science Teachers $85,930 8%
Public Relations Specialists $61,150 6%
Survey Researchers $59,170 1%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

PhD in Political Science Careers

Political Scientists

Political scientists uncover information on political and social issues affecting a country and use their data analytical skills to come up with solutions to such problems. When conducting research, these same individuals attempt to remove all bias from the materials that they gather and only look at them objectively to ensure that the data they generate is both reliable and accurate. Furthermore, they may work as aids for politicians and help them to better understand how the legislation that they are voting on will impact their constituents. While some positions only require a master's, most higher positions will prefer a PhD over a master's.

Market Research Analysts

Market research analysts help their employers to figure out what their consumer base is interested in and collect data on pricing to determine what those same consumers would be willing to pay. Additionally, they attempt to determine how consumers will react to a given situation and analyze current market trends to give an accurate assessment of what future sales might look like. These same individuals will present any and all findings to top level executives and managers in a way that is easy to digest in order to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Those with a PhD may be assigned more complex research projects and may also likely be more competitive candidates for leadership or managerial-level positions.

Postsecondary Political Science Teachers

Postsecondary political science teachers spend their time doing research or teaching subjects related to international affairs, political science or foreign affairs. They instruct students on international law, US foreign policy, public policy, and public administration. Additionally, they foster discussions with students on these same topics and hold meetings with them to help them gain a better understanding of the subjects being covered if necessary. While individuals may be able to teach at the university level with a masters, a PhD will allow them to teach at any four-year university and give them the educational background to teach a wider range of courses.

Public Relations Specialists

Public relations specialists seek to help their clients in improving the public's opinions of them. They work as first line communicators between their client and the press and help to answer any and all questions that journalists pose to them in a way that is both satisfactory to their client and to the public. In addition, they instruct their clients on how to address members of the press and the public in an effective manner. While such a degree is certainly not necessary, a PhD in political science will help prospective job applicants stand out and they will have the education and skills necessary to deal with a wider range of issues.

Survey Researchers

Survey researchers need to be able to ask the right questions in order to get the answers that they seek. In an effort to do so, they will first obtain information on the general populace of an area they will be polling and then use the data that they have gathered to then structure their survey in a way that it is easy to understand and likely to generate accurate responses. Once they have obtained enough responses they will then interpret the data they have collected and present their findings to relevant parties. Through obtaining a PhD, prospective job seekers will have the degree necessary to secure higher level jobs within the field of survey research.

Those who obtained a PhD in political science will have the mathematical and analytical skills necessary to collect and analyze information such as those obtained from surveys. They use their deep understanding of politics and policy to then take this information and shape the behavior of society and the government by working as professors, political scientists, and market research analysts, among others.

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