Information compiled by the GradSchools.com team - last updated December 2010
Studying in the field
Politics, one could legitimately argue, are the new national past time. Forget about baseball: From the pundits on CNN to the spin-meisters on Fox News, from Tucker Carlson to Bill Clinton and from Karl Rove to Thomas L. Freedman, discussion and commentary on politics is all around us, and even if you have little interest in the political life of our country per se, the fact remains that an understanding of it is more important now than ever. Political science, which is "the study of government and politics or of public issues and the institutions and processes through which conflict over such issues is resolved," whether we study it or not, affects us all in a very real way. (University of Southern Indiana). So one could legitimately make the argument that it is now more important and relevant than ever to understand the science of politics.
Just make sure you don't let the name of the field of study discourage you. Political science involves much more than merely learning about politics and history. Indeed, because of the very nature of the field, political science students study a wide variety of subjects, including, but not limited to, foreign policy, media studies, history, public policy, and even a bit of sociology. Because at the end of the day, the job of the political scientist demands a great deal of understanding of 360-degrees of specific political situations and the ways in which they affect all parties involved.
The directions in which a political science graduate may go are wide-ranging; and, because of the ever-changing media landscape, the number of options are increasing by the day. Professional opportunities exist in both the traditional areas of campaign advising and running for public office yourself, to media-based ones like writing for a newspaper or magazine or appearing as a commentator on television. But once you think outside the box of these more traditional careers, many options that you may not have considered manifest themselves, including working as a lobbyist, entering the world of academia, working in government communications, advising the military, entering into the service of a government agency, and applying your skills to non-profit organizations (www.nextstepmagazine.com).
Job opportunities in the field
As politics becomes an ever greater part of our everyday lives, the ability to understand it in all its various and often frustrating permutations grows in importance every day. As a result, then, the number and variety of job opportunities is growing at an unprecedented rate. And because it is no longer necessary or expected for political science graduates to actually work in politics, the range of opportunities is truly staggering. In fact, the nature of the degree is such that its graduates will be prepared for work in any number of fields. So though some students may choose to specialize in specific areas of political science, nearly all of them will be well-prepared for a future of their choosing. And in the end, that's what a good education is all about.