Career outlook

What can I do with a political degree?

Majoring in political science can qualify you for many different careers in private, for-profit, and non-profit organizations, as well as the public sector. Graduates can pursue careers in:

  • Law
  • State, local, and federal government
  • Elected office and campaign management
  • Journalism, media, and communications
  • Community service
  • Advocacy
  • Non-governmental and non-profit organizations
  • Teaching
  • Consulting
  • Research
  • Business and finance

Transferable skills

A political science degree develops the following skills in:

  • Library and field research
  • Analytical and critical thinking
  • Written and verbal communication
  • Appreciation of multiple perspectives

Career goals

The field of political science is of special importance to students whose career goals include:

  • Professions likely to involve participation in public affairs, including law, engineering, criminal justice, public health, social welfare and education
  • Administrative or executive positions in government at the local, state or federal levels
  • Teaching of political and social science at the secondary, junior college and university levels
  • Positions in the diplomatic service and in foreign and overseas programs of the U.S. government and of other organizations doing business abroad
  • Leadership, research, and staff roles in citizen organizations, political parties, campaign organizations, economic and social interest groups, municipal research bureaus, and nonprofit organizations
  • Positions associated with mass communications, such as radio, television and newspapers, where basic understanding of public affairs and governmental policies and organization is required for accurate reporting and analysis
  • Positions in private enterprise where knowledge of governmental processes is essential, such as in industrial relations, legislative liaison and public relations

Career insights by degree

Who hires political scientists?

  • Federal, state and local agencies and offices
  • Universities and secondary schools
  • Business
  • Nonprofit agencies
  • Research institutes

Recent graduates 

Wayne State graduates have secured employment as a(n):

  • Attorney
  • Wayne County Commissioner
  • Detroit school teacher
  • Program analyst for Michigan House of Representatives
  • Michigan Supreme Court Justice
  • V.P. for Ford Motor Company
  • Dearborn police officer
  • Program evaluator for GAO
  • Health services provider
  • V.P. Easter Seals
  • Director of U.S. Food Stamp Program
  • Professor
  • Director of personnel services, Farmington Schools
  • Mayor of Ferndale
  • Director of fiscal services: Kansas Juvenile Justice System
  • Adviser: World Trade Organization
  • Assistant to Mayor Dennis Archer
  • Director, SEMCOG

Graduate study

This degree also provides a solid foundation for graduate study in:

The bachelor of arts and bachelor of public affairs degrees provide preparation for:

  • Entry level positions in various governmental and nonprofit agencies
  • Graduate school for advanced degrees in political science or public administration
  • Law School
  • Secondary school teacher (as a co-major)

Notable people with a political science major

  • Barack Obama (former president of the United States of America)
  • Paul Ryan (former U.S. House of Representatives speaker of the house)
  • Condoleeza Rice (former secretary of state and current professor at Stanford)
  • Anderson Cooper (broadcast journalist)