Political science master's degree students study political structures and behaviors and how they impact people, communities, and societies. The field of political science is quite expansive and connects with many other fields such as international affairs, public health, economics, history, and sociology.
The field of political science also contains numerous subfields such as public policy, public administration, comparative politics, political theory, political psychology, and political organization. Political scientists work with and within these fields and subfields to develop theories and to better understand the practice and results of political phenomenon.
Application requirements to a political science graduate program might include, a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, GRE scores, and transcripts, a personal statement, and letters of recommendation, resume, transcripts and TOFEL scores, if applicable.
Political scientists are typically required to have a bachelor’s and graduate degree (either a master’s or Ph.D.) to work in the field. A master’s degree in political science is typically earned in 1-2 years, earning a Ph.D. in political science may take 5-7 years. Students planning on specializing in a particular field, such as public health or international governance might consider earning their bachelor’s degree in their desired specialization and then earning a graduate degree in political science.
Political science graduate programs vary among schools; however, students may encounter courses in the following subjects:
Political science graduate elective courses might include topics in:
In general, political scientists use a political lens and scientific approach to analyze and explain political structures and behaviors. More specifically, political scientists pay attention to human behaviors and how humans use politics to influence, affect, and transform political structures and behaviors. They also pay attention to the effects of those political structures and behaviors on people, communities, and societies. Political science professionals are not limited to careers as bureaucrats, politicians or lobbyists. Political scientists can pursue careers in a variety of fields including; research, education, consultative services, non-profit management, or political analysis.
The field of political science can be incredibly competitive. Candidates may want to consider gaining experience in their desired field as a salaried employee, intern or volunteer. Individuals who wish to pursue a career abroad or within an international organization might consider becoming fluent in one or more languages.
According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2012 political scientists earned a median salary of $102,000. Political scientists employed by the federal government earned a median salary of $115,740, those working in scientific research and development services earned a median salary of $99,500, and individuals working at colleges, universities and professional schools earned a median salary of $63,030. Political science jobs in the field are predicted by the BLS to grow at a rate of 21 percent between 2012 and 2022. The graph below provides 2012 median salary information for political scientists employed in select industries.