Is a Degree in Politics Worth It?

Written by Shahid Lakha, Spires Co-Founder

A degree in politics or political science at college can offer diverse career opportunities and equip graduates with valuable skills for navigating the complexities of politics and international relations.

The study of politics has long been a subject of interest for those looking to pursue careers in government, law, and international relations. However, with the rising cost of education and the uncertainty of job prospects post-graduation, many are questioning whether obtaining a degree in politics is worth the investment. While there is no definitive answer to this question, it is important to consider the potential benefits and drawbacks of pursuing a degree in politics.

Overview of Politics Degree: Worth it or Not?

Before delving into the advantages and challenges of pursuing a degree in politics, it’s important to understand the nature of political science education and its relevance in today’s world. A degree in political science equips individuals with a deep understanding of political systems, public policy, and the study of politics and government.

Political science careers encompass a wide range of opportunities that can be pursued with a degree in political science.

A degree in political science may prepare students for diverse career prospects, including careers in public administration, the public sector, or even in politics itself.

Graduates with a degree in political science have excellent employability prospects and transferable skills such as critical thinking, analysis, and communication that are highly valued by employers across different sectors.

While salary expectations may vary depending on the chosen career path after graduation, a degree can help graduates secure higher-paying positions with greater potential for growth.

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What is a Degree in Political Science?

A degree in political science encompasses the study of topics such as political theory, international relations, public policy, and the analysis of political issues. It provides graduates with a comprehensive understanding of the dynamics within the public and private sectors, preparing them for a wide range of careers related to politics and governance.

Benefits of Obtaining a Political Science Degree

Graduates with a political science bachelor’s degree often possess strong communication skills, a nuanced understanding of political systems, and the ability to navigate complex organisational structures. This makes them well-suited for careers in public relations, political campaigns, and political research, among other areas within the political and international relations sector.

Challenges and Misconceptions About Political Science Degrees

Despite its benefits, there are misconceptions surrounding the career prospects of political science graduates. Some challenges include the need for relevant work experience and the competition within the field. However, a degree in political science may open doors to rewarding career paths for those passionate about making a difference in the world of politics and governance.

Education and Career Paths

As a field of study, political science offers a wide range of courses and specialisations that cater to different interests and career aspirations. Typical courses in political science cover political theory, public policy analysis, international relations among nations, comparative politics, and research methods. Specialisations may include areas such as environmental politics, human rights, security studies, or public administration. Students also have the opportunity to delve into specific regional politics or focus on particular political systems and ideologies.

Politics plays a significant role in the business world, especially when it comes to government policies and regulations. Graduates with a degree in politics often find themselves well-prepared for careers in business and nonprofit organisations, including charities. Their knowledge of political information and its influence on business decisions can be a valuable asset.

In the context of England, a degree in politics can provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the country’s political landscape and its role in international affairs. This knowledge can be particularly valuable if you aspire to work in public policy or government positions in England.

What Can You Do With a Political Science Degree?

Political science degrees can open up many career prospects. Jobs in government, public policy, law, diplomacy, and other related fields are open to graduates with a political science degree.

Social issues can be addressed in political science careers. Employers across industries value the transferable skills learned during the degree programme, such as critical thinking, analytical and research skills, communication, and writing.

Political science graduates work in many fields, not just politics or government. A political science degree is worth it if you want to work on important social issues and have a variety of career paths after graduation.

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Career Opportunities in Political Science

Political science graduates have access to diverse career opportunities in the public, private, and non-profit economic and various other sectors. They can pursue careers in government agencies, diplomatic services, international organisations, research institutions, consulting firms, advocacy groups, media outlets, or educational institutions. Some graduates may also choose to enter the legal profession, work in public relations, or explore roles in political campaigns and communications. The versatility of a political science degree allows graduates to pursue various paths within the realm of politics and governance.

Job Market and Career Prospects for Political Science Graduates

The job market for political science graduates is influenced by factors such as regional political stability, economic conditions, policy trends, and the demand for expertise in areas such as international relations and public administration. Graduates with strong analytical and communication skills, as well as practical experience through internships or research projects, are well-positioned to compete for entry-level positions and advance in their careers. The ability to adapt to evolving political landscapes and contribute to diverse organisational settings further enhances the career prospects for political science graduates.

International Relations And Political Science

International relations is closely intertwined with political science, encompassing the study of global political dynamics, diplomatic relations, international law, and global governance structures. A degree in political science may provide a solid foundation for pursuing a career in international relations, as it equips individuals with the analytical tools and knowledge to navigate complex international issues, negotiate diplomatic agreements, or engage in cross-border policy analysis and implementation.

Public Policy And Political Science

Political science is closely linked to public policy, contributing to understanding the dynamics of government, policy-making, and the impact of political decisions on society. A degree in political science provides a foundation for analysing and influencing public policy, enabling graduates to shape legislative agendas and advocate for societal change. By studying the intricate relationship between politics and public administration, individuals can develop a deep understanding of how policies are formulated, implemented, and evaluated within governmental and non-governmental organisations.

Personal and Professional Development

Skills Developed through a Political Science Degree

A political science degree cultivates a diverse skill set essential for personal and professional development. Politics graduates acquire critical thinking abilities, research proficiency, and the capacity to comprehend complex social and political issues. Additionally, the degree fosters strong interpersonal skills, negotiation expertise, and a heightened awareness of ethical considerations in decision-making processes. These competencies empower individuals to engage in informed discourse, collaborate effectively with diverse stakeholders, and address contemporary challenges in the public and private sectors.

Work Experience and Internship Opportunities

Embarking on work experience and internships during a political science program provides majors  and masters students with practical insights, ideas, applications and exposure to real-world political environments. Internship opportunities within government agencies, advocacy organisations, or research institutions allow individuals to apply theoretical knowledge to practical scenarios, honing their analytical and problem-solving skills and understanding work behaviour. Moreover, such experiences facilitate networking, mentorship, and potential employment prospects, enabling students to gain valuable industry exposure and establish cross-field professional connections, including economics, which are crucial for future career development.

Building a Successful Career in Political Science

Building a successful career in political science demands a proactive approach to professional growth and continuous learning. Beyond academic achievements, cultivating a strong professional network, engaging in extracurricular activities, and pursuing leadership roles enhance career prospects. Furthermore, leveraging digital platforms, publishing research, and participating in public discourse contribute to establishing a credible professional profile. By exhibiting a passion for civic engagement, a commitment to advancing public policy objectives, in civil service, and a multidisciplinary skill set, individuals can forge a rewarding career in the dynamic field of political science. You can even join law school after your degree and get a formidable set of qualifications for office.

How Much Do Political Science Graduates Typically Earn?

Political science graduates can choose from a variety of career paths in the public and private sectors. People with an undergraduate degree in political science may find employment in almost everything; government agencies, non-profits, and political campaign organisations. Graduates with doctoral degrees in the political sciences can work as educators, researchers, and policy analysts.

Political scientists’ median annual wage was $125,350 in May 2020, according to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics. Political science jobs are expected to grow 6 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. It’s important to note that job growth and salary vary by location and industry. Political science graduates have many career path options and higher earning potential.

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Author Bio:

Shahid Lakha is a distinguished Educational consultant with a robust background in Physics and a progressive career in both the independent education sector and EdTech. As a Co-Founder of Spires he has been enhancing online tutoring excellence since 2016. A dedicated private tutor since September 2011, Shahid educates students in Maths, Physics, and Engineering up to university level. He holds an MSc in Photon Science from the University of Manchester and a BSc in Physics from the University of Bath. This article was fact checked by Karol Pysniak, Spires Co-Founder

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