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What is a Political Science Major?

Curious about what a Political Science major entails? You're not alone! Political Science is an interdisciplinary field that explores the theoretical and practical aspects of government and politics. Political Science majors develop skills relevant to nonprofit, public, and private jobs.

Sep 6, 2023
  • Education

What is political science?

Political science is the scientific study of government and politics. The scope of political science covers a wide range of topics, from analyzing political behavior to international relations to comparative politics. Political science majors learn about the structures and functions of governments and fundamental theories like liberalism and conservatism.

What do political science majors' study?

During your political science degree, you will learn the philosophy and practice of political systems. Typically, political science bachelor programs contain the following topics:

Political theory

You will study the behaviour of citizens, human nature, and the moral purpose of government. You will draw upon the thinking of Ancient Greek philosophers balanced with modern political theorists.

International relations

You will explore the interactions of international actors, encompassing states, corporations, and organizations such as the United Nations. You will delve into core global topics, including:

  • Trade
  • Finance
  • Development
  • War
  • National Security

Comparative politics

You will analyze the development and effectiveness of different political systems and discuss how these systems can best provide for citizens and support values like order and freedom. Comparative politics examines how systems diverge and align to discover general laws and theories.

American governments and politics

Some political science programs focus on the American political science system, with its unique presidency, courts, congress, and state politics. Students look into American policies, political ideas, and the impact of mass media.

Political methodology

Students practice and develop their data analysis skills by looking at new methods for the Scientific Study of politics using econometrics, experiments, statistics, and formal theory.

Political Science majors also gain an understanding of the historical development of governments and their current situations around the world. You will study concepts of ethics, justice, and democracy; learn about systems of government and political behavior; and apply theory to current political events.

Some Political Science programs offer internships that provide valuable experience in fields such as

  • Law
  • Public policy
  • Advocacy.

What skills do political science majors develop?

Political science majors develop skills applicable to many job fields. These include thinking critically and analytically, researching and making sense of information, and understanding complex topics like international relations. In addition, political science majors learn how to write well and present data clearly and concisely.

How to know if a major in political science is the right fit for you?

A political sciences major can give you an excellent foundation for understanding, supporting, and discussing political arguments. You can improve government programs as an academic, speaker, or critical thought leader. Students explore topics related to American public opinion, nuclear security, and Europe. You could study policy theory if you want to understand political philosophy. Political science can be a great social science study option if you would like politics as part of your studies.

Difference between a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in political science and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in political science

The difference between a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts in political science is the emphasis on study.

A Bachelor of Science degree typically focuses more on the scientific aspects and empirical data. At the same time, a Bachelor of Arts in political science looks at politics' philosophical, legal, ethical, and practical implications. The BSc in political science also examines international relations, economic systems, and government roles in society.

The Bachelor of Science degree may also provide students with skills related to data analysis, statistics, and research methods for an in-depth look at politics across different nations. The Bachelor of Arts in political science provides a broader view by exploring social issues, theories of justice, political development, and more.

The Bachelor of Science in Political Science gives students a greater technical understanding. In contrast, the Bachelor of Arts in Political Science offers students a greater breadth and depth of knowledge on political issues and how they impact different nations.

Does a political science major provide excellent career prospects?

Political science is a versatile degree. It can springboard a career in politics and policy, nonprofit work, business, media, or education. The research, communication, and data analysis skills acquired in the study of political science also have broad applications in both the private and public sectors.

Political Science majors are well-suited for jobs such as:

  • Lobbyist
  • Political analyst
  • Lawyer
  • Diplomat
  • Campaign manager
  • Public relations specialist

Become a political scientist

Becoming a political scientist or someone who analyzes and proposes policy requires a master's or doctoral degree. With a BA or BSc (each has slightly different course requirements), graduates can land an entry-level administrative, communication, or analyst job with a public sector, business, or nonprofit organization.

Political Science and law school

Political science is also one of the traditional majors for undergraduates on their way to law school. Three years of law school and passing the bar exam are generally required to practice as an attorney.

Overall, a political science major offers exciting and challenging career paths. It is perfect for students interested in politics, policy-making, and current events. With a major in political science, you will gain a deeper understanding of our complex political systems and explore ways to improve them.

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Political Science