Information compiled by the GradSchools.com team - last updated December 2010
Government is one of the many universals in this world, and it has been for centuries. The study of government involves exploring the ways in which humanity has regulated itself. Government graduate curriculums explore the challenges and problems faced by the world, as well as how governments handle and solve them through legislation. Students of government studies on a graduate level will learn a great deal about their own government throughout the ages, as well as about foreign governments.
Studying in the field
Government curriculums on a graduate level can typically be found in departments of public affairs and administration, and is also commonly referred to as “political science.” Government studies
aim to educate students on the connections between government theory and policy. Students will find that the field is an interdisciplinary one by virtue of all the issues touched by government policies.
Issues addressed in government studies may include border disputes, ethnic and national rivalries, and race and gender issues. Students may also investigate economic development, world health crises and colonialism. They will explore the way governments are portrayed in history, as well as in the media and entertainment.
Students are likely to take government courses that cover history, communications, literature, law, social sciences and international studies, among others. Students will read writings on politics by authors going back as far as the inventor of politics, Aristotle. In fact, students in government graduate curriculums may decide to study abroad in, say, Greece, the birthplace of democracy, or in another country in order to study different governmental theories and practices.
Regardless of location, students enrolled in a government curriculum will have several concentrations from which to choose, depending on the graduate school. Government concentrations may include American government, international relations, public law, government policy, conflict law resolution, democracy and government and comparative government.
No matter which government concentration students choose, in order to earn a Masters or PhD degree in government studies they will take requisite government courses such as political theory and methodology, applied statistics, ethics and civics. Other common graduate government courses may include political economy, comparative politics, political movements and party systems.
Other course topics common to many graduate government curriculums include government practices, foreign policy, formal theory and methodology, and defense policy. Students may also take classes in agent-based modeling, social change and the court system. Government PhD degree students will take their studies further by taking specialized seminars and courses, as well as doing a great amount of research.
Job opportunities in the field
Government workers with a Masters or PhD in government studies
are in great demand worldwide. Some students find themselves in government careers that are involved in political fundraising, poll-taking and campaign management. Others go on to pursue PhD studies or elect to enroll in law school. Students enter government careers in which they work for government and state agencies, consulting firms, corporations and non-profit organizations.
A Masters degree in government studies can lead students to a career as a government affairs representative, which commands an average annual salary of $66,000. Managers of government affairs can earn an average of $80,000 each year, while directors of government affairs can earn an average of $87,000. Government securities traders can make $72,000 each year, and lobbyists can command annual salaries of $90,000.
Students with a PhD degree in government may go on to earn an average of $100,000 per year. A position as a chief government affairs officer or as a federal affairs executive can earn a graduate $130,000 per year. Vice presidents of government affairs may command a mean annual salary of $137,000.
Graduate curriculums in government offer students many options when it comes to what they decide to focus on, the planning of coursework and the type of careers in government they choose. What all graduate government curriculums have in common is the fundamental knowledge base students need for a successful career in the government sector, as well as in other sectors in which their expertise can make a difference.
Check out: Government Graduate Programs