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

Some careers in political science

Career Median salary Market growth
Social Science Research Assistant  $42,480 5 – 8%
Secondary Teacher   $57,200 5 – 8%
Public Relations Specialist  $56,770 5 – 8%
Social and Community Service Manager  $63,530  9 – 13%
Reporters and Correspondents  $36,360  -2%

Source: O*NET Online, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration

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)