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2021 Political Science & Government Degree Guide

Political Science is an ancient discipline that has evolved and adapted to current societal needs. A major in Political Science and Government will teach you about political and government principles and how they affect our educational system, workplaces, and communities. This is a diverse major that covers a lot of information using scientific and humanistic perspectives. Issues will range from voting behavior to revolutions to public policy. You may also look at politics outside the United States and explore issues from different regions around the world.

Some of the classes you can expect to come across are comparative government, United States foreign policy, contemporary political ideologies, gender and politics, legislative process, public policy analysis, political theory, and judicial processes.

Concentrations in this major include: American Government and Politics (United States); Canadian Government and Politics; and Political Economy.

A Recent Jump in Political Science & Government Degrees

#21 Most Popular Major
47k Degrees Awarded
5.1% Increase in Graduates

Political Science & Government was the 21st most popular major in the 2018-2019 school year. Colleges in the United States reported awarding 47,035 degrees in this year alone. This is a difference of 2,384 over the prior year, a growth of 5.1%.

The United States has 1,220 different schools where you can get a degree in political science and government. This year's Best Colleges for Political Science & Government ranking compares 367 of them to identify the best overall programs in the country. Explore this or one of our many other custom political science rankings further below.

Political Science & Government Degree Requirements

Your studies will involve a lot of research papers and group projects mean to teach you strong writing and oral communication skills, as well as the ability to cooperate with others. Class discussions and presentations will also be part of your work. Be prepared to analyze an issue from multiple points of view, as well as defend your own opinions. You should be confident and ready to provide data and examples to back up a point.

Students will also need to be flexible and work under pressure to meet deadlines or participate in heated debates. You should be comfortable utilizing different research methods to find and analyze data and come to conclusions. Research will include everything from ancient philosophy to current ideas on homeland security.

Political Science Degree Program Entry Requirements

New students will need to have completed high school or a GED program and each school will have their own minimum GPA and SAT/ACT test requirements. In addition to these basic political science and government program qualifications, to serve in some political science careers, special certification may be required outside of your degree.

Types of Political Science & Government Degrees

Political Science degree levels vary. You can get anything from a associate's degree in political science and government to the highest political science degree, a professional practice doctorate. The time it takes to complete a political science degree varies depending on the program.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A doctor's degree (research / scholarship) is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to political science, with approximately 41.0% of workers getting one. Find out other typical degree levels for political science workers below.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Doctoral Degree 44.4%
Bachelor’s Degree 25.8%
Master’s Degree 20.5%
Post-Master’s Certificate 3.0%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 2.2%

Most workers in political science have at least a master's degree. The chart below shows what degree level those who work in political science and government have obtained.

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The education level required is different depending on the political science career you are seeking.

Career Opportunities for Political Science Majors

Average Number of Jobs
$34k Average Starting Salary
8% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

Political Science and Government is a broad major that prepares graduates for a number of different occupations. The most obvious choice is working for the government or becoming a politician. However, you can also become a political consultant, diplomat, or lobbyist. Working in congressional research is another option. This degree also prepares you to go into graduate studies in business or law.

Growth Projected for Political Science Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your political science degree? Political Science & Government careers are expected to grow 8.0% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to political science and government.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Managers 1,071,700 8.0%
Political Science Professors 23,400 10.4%
Economists 22,600 6.1%
Economics Professors 18,300 10.9%
Political Scientists 7,500 2.7%

How Much Money Do People With a Political Science Degree Make?

Political Science & Government graduates between 2015-2017 reported earning an average of $33,977 in the 2017-2018 timeframe. Earnings can range from as low as $20,000 to as high as $82,800. As you might expect, salaries for political science graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.

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High Paying Careers for Political Science Majors

Salaries for political science and government graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top 5 highest paying careers political science grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Economics Professors $117,180
Economists $116,020
Managers $115,590
Political Scientists $115,300
Political Science Professors $99,480

Getting Your Political Science & Government Degree

With over 2,472 different political science degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased political science school rankings to help you with this.

One of 13 majors within the Social Sciences area of study, Political Science & Government has other similar majors worth exploring.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Economics 48,297
Sociology 37,611
General Social Sciences 19,694
International Relations & National Security 15,207
Anthropology 11,703

View All Political Science Related Majors >

References

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