What Can I Do with a Degree in Political Science?

Students who are interested in a career in government, public administration, or political office can find an online degree in political science might just be their best bet. Political science focuses on politics on the international, domestic, and comparative levels. Students must grasp political ideas, institutions, ideologies, processes, policies, and the art of diplomacy. Individuals interested in government, law, war, and strategy may appreciate this major.

Political scientists analyze, research, and forecast political trends. Their expertise lies in understanding how policies affect businesses, governments, and individual citizens. Political scientists monitor current affairs and predict future trends.

In this section, we cover the following topics:

Featured Programs

  • What is political science?
  • What is political science about?
  • What is a degree in political science?
  • Is a master’s degree in political science worth it?

Find out what makes an associate’s degree, bachelor’s or master’s in political science worth it.

What is a Degree in Political Science?

A Bachelor’s in Political Science target students interested in global affairs, American politics, public administration and political theory. For individuals who would like to surmise the ideal form of government, learning how resources and power are allocated in society can help them pursue their aspirations. This program features courses that imbue students with a versatile skill set. Graduates go on to pursue roles and state, local, and federal governments, businesses, nonprofits, publications, and educational institutions.

For students who pursue a bachelor’s degree, schools offer a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in the field. A Bachelor of Arts allows students to game broad knowledge of the political arena and studies include humanities and communications. Students with an aptitude in advanced mathematics can pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in public administration, political economy, or public policy.

Is a Master’s Degree in Political Science Worth It?

A degree in political science gives students a great future value. For those interested in politics, this degree can be a stepping stone to a law degree or graduate studies in social sciences. Many students who choose a master’s degree in poli sci aspire to jobs in the public arena. Higher salaries associated with higher levels of education make a master’s in political science worth it.

U.S. politics are strongly influenced by the major political parties. Therefore, American programs for political science majors cover the ins and outs of a two-party system. Learners explore how the political system developed including the origin of the two parties. Other topics include how lobbying impacts the behavior and votes of elected politicians.

Most political science degrees require classes in international relations. Students may take these as electives, or they may be mandatory in a particular program. International relations give students an opportunity to study regional issues, such as the conflict in the Middle East.

Political science degree online accredited programs include foundational coursework that covers current events and contemporary issues. Students learn about the interaction of political media, religion, race, and politics. After reviewing the best political science degree programs, students will have a good idea of which programs suit their goals.

Accreditation

There’s no political science accreditation organization specifically associated with political science programs. However, institutions in the United States that offer international relations or political science, should have a regionally accredited program. Prospective students should check out the credentials of colleges and universities in the Department of Education or CHEA database.

An accredited online political science degree offers students a high-quality education at a school recognized for its robust academics and diversity. Students who complete a political science degree online accredited by a regional accrediting board have a better chance of getting accepted into a graduate program or entry-level position in the field.

U.S. News and World Report also ranked online programs. Choosing an accredited online political science degree program gives students the flexibility to study where and when they want. Online colleges and universities also qualify for accreditation if they meet the standards of the governing bodies. This is an important consideration for students who want to learn online. Employers and grad schools value accreditation and students should avoid schools that do not hold an accreditation.

Online schools are evaluated by the same standards as brick-and-mortar colleges and universities. Students can use the CHEA and DOE links above to check out the credentials of their top picks. If students wish to transfer credits, they will need to show that they attended an accredited university in order to receive credit for courses taken.

Now, you may need to be extra careful when it comes to political science degrees online. Accredited programs will mention their accreditation status on the university’s website. Look for the school’s accreditation status before moving forward with any program. 

Associate’s Programs 

An Associate’s degree in Political Science is a two-year degree that usually falls under the humanities department and accepts academic transfers for students who want to go on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. This kind of program is known as a 2 + 2 program. It allows students to earn their two-year associate’s degree and transfer to an accredited university to complete the last two years of their bachelor’s. Graduates emerge with an appreciation of the global community.

Political science is often an interdisciplinary field that draws from the fields of history, economics, industrial relations, political science, law, sociology, communication, and philosophy, as well as other disciplines, such as:

  • International Business and Trade
  • World Literature
  • World Religions
  • World Regional Geography
  • World History

With a political science associate’s degree online, students can open doors by qualifying for jobs that require a degree. Alternately, a political science associate’s degree online makes it possible for students to continue their education at the bachelor’s level.

Many prospective students may wonder whether an associate’s degree in political science is worth it, rather than going through with a bachelor’s or a master’s. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that a political career starts small, at the local level – with community organizers, campaign workers, interns, and assistants. The only real way to break into a political career is by doing the work of politics, developing experience, and most importantly making connections. And all of that can happen with no degree at all, but an associate makes a lot of sense.

With an associate’s degree in political science, a graduate can start off working at the local level, laying the groundwork for a career. Furthermore, they can build on their associate’s degree with an online bachelor’s while still working. Since an associate’s degree is usually low-cost, a working student can save money while building a strong foundation for a career that will pay off in the long run.

Associate’s Jobs and Salary

Most political science jobs require a bachelor’s or master’s degree. However, earning an AA in political science qualifies students for entry-level work. For example, some graduates with associate’s degrees pursue a track leading to faculty jobs at universities.

According to Indeed.com, an associate’s degree in political science salary commands about $40,000. Current jobs included the following:

  • Policy Programs Associate: qualifications for this position included three years of work experience in a related field and an associate’s degree in political science.
  • Democracy Campaign Associate: Requirements for this job included an associate’s degree in poli sci, experience with advocacy and organizing skills.
  • Political Affairs Officer: This position required an associates degree from a top school and knowledge of public administration, economics and law.

While an associate’s degree in political science salary is humble in comparison to earnings with a bachelor’s or master’s degree, it’s a good way to get a foot in the door. Political science associates degree jobs include positions in Washington, D.C., and New York, both excellent places to begin a career with an AA in political science or international relations. Those seeking associates degree in political science jobs should ensure that they choose an accredited, well-respected online program.

Some political science associates degree jobs involve private law practices. Associates degree in political science jobs tends to be support positions, such as a paralegal or legal assistant. With a 15% job growth and an average salary of $40,000, this is a great first step for those just earning their associate’s degree.

Paralegals help run law offices by organizing files, drafting documents, and conducting research. They investigate facts to help lawyers prepare for litigation and client meetings. Some paralegals write correspondence between court staff and legal parties. An associate’s degree can get students into entry-level positions in some firms, but many prefer a bachelor’s degree in political science or the legal field.

Bachelor’s Programs 

Political science majors in bachelor’s programs concentrate on political theories and the way government systems work. Most programs offer multidisciplinary courses that include the history of economics and the distribution of wealth among countries, states, and other jurisdictions. Students also learn about policies that guide lawmakers in charge of these provisions.

Political science degree specializations often include fields like:

  • Comparative politics: which teaches students to weigh similarities and differences between governments
  • International relations
  • Public health
  • Public administration

Political science incorporates many different academic disciplines such as anthropology, economics, sociology, and law. Students also learn about public policy and criminal justice. The scope of political science is wide, like politics itself, and students can find ways to incorporate their specific interests in their concentrations, independent research, and internships.

Students can complete their political science degree online or on-campus, depending on their preferences. Some of the best political science schools in the nation offer online degrees in political science. An online political science degree confers the same credentials as on-campus programs. With a political science degree online, graduates can pursue lucrative jobs. Keep reading to find information on what salaries to expect with a poli sci degree.

Bachelor’s Jobs and Salary

You can pursue a lot of jobs with a political science major. In fact, for political science majors, jobs aren’t usually too difficult to find because this part of the economy is experiencing growth. 

Jobs for political science majors are varied, and that’s because political science degrees are versatile. These degrees come with a wide set of knowledge, and they foster all kinds of skills that can help you in virtually any career. For example, they help with skills like negotiation and networking. 

Jobs as a political science major include positions in policy, criminal justice, law, and related fields. The concepts learned in college help graduates do well in jobs for a political science major. Additionally, many of these students hone their communication and leadership skills, which help them land an interesting jobs for political science majors.

Other political science major jobs require a background in social sciences and advocacy. Meanwhile, political science majors’ jobs include roles in human resources, public relations, and community management. With a bachelor’s degree, graduates qualify for jobs for a political science major in local and state governments.

The salary potential for a job for political science majors depends on where students decide to settle down. Political science major jobs in the nation’s capital pay better than political science majors jobs for local and state governments.

Some students use their bachelor’s degree is a steppingstone in an educational track that leads to a master’s degree or PhD. With advanced degrees, political science majors can become teachers, political scientists, and researchers. A political science degree salary in academia may be lower than those who pursue a degree in political science salary in the private sector. Keep reading to learn more about the political science degree average salary for various positions.

Political science bachelor degree salary jobs include the following according to Payscale.com:

  • Associate Attorneys jobs as a political science major can lead to a pay potential of $75k (law degree required)
  • Attorney jobs for political science majors average $86k (law school required)
  • Paralegals political science degree salary jobs average $49k
  • Project Manager political science degree salary jobs averages $71k
  • Executive Directors with a poli sci bachelor’s degree earn $86k
  • Operations Manager jobs with a political science major fetch around $68k
  • Executive Assistant jobs with a political science major average $54k

Experience and education affect the amount made by graduates seeking a political science major job. Not all students pursuing a degree in political science know what their future careers will look like. However, an individual’s degree in political science salary depends on many factors. Those who wish to earn a top political science degree average salary may need to be willing to relocate to Washington DC, New York, or other centers of politics in The United States.

A political science bachelor’s degree salary for new graduates may seem humble in comparison to top wage earners in this field. However, entry-level jobs for political science majors can provide the experience needed to excel in mid-level and leadership positions, where the potential earning power of a political science major job increases dramatically.

Master’s Programs

An online political science masters can lead to jobs with a positive outlook. the demand for highly trained political scientists is expected to increase through 2029. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there may be a 6% job growth for political scientists. This exceeds the average job growth for all occupations.

Further, an online master’s in political science from a reputable school can lead to a variety of high-paying career options. An online political science master’s targets working professionals seeking to continue their education or advance their current careers in political science. Successful graduates complete 40 credit hours that include electives students can use to customize their education. This intensive program requires a comprehensive examination prior to graduation, a thesis, and participation in selected case studies.

Online master’s programs give students a great deal of flexibility. This widens access to advanced degrees to students who work full time or have family obligations that prevent them from attending class in person. Graduates of online political science master’s degree programs acquire professional skills that enabled them to pursue careers in public service.

Master’s Jobs and Salary

According to Payscale.com, a political science masters salary can be quite lucrative. Students wondering what to expect from a masters degree in political science salary can review the examples below. Job experience, GPA and location are primary factors in potential political science masters degree salary.

Returning to school to earn an online Master’s in Political Science is the best way to improve your career path and increase your overall earning potential. The more education you have, the more opportunities for advancement will come your way. Within the political science field, your level of education is a barometer that indicates how invested you are in your future. The more you learn about how politics works, the better able you are to face its many challenges.

Masters of political science jobs include positions in private industry, government and education. Some masters in political science jobs involve graduate positions as associate professors, as students continue their education at the doctoral level.

Once graduates gain a few years of experience, they typically put out feelers for higher-paying political science master’s jobs. Top earners in the field usually have at least 5 years of experience in master in political science jobs.

Masters political science jobs include the following:

  • Project Manager masters in political science salary average $64k
  • Research Analyst political science masters salary average $52k
  • Executive Director masters degree in political science salary average $74k

Political science master’s degree salary can top six figures, especially for savvy graduates who learn their way around Washington, D.C. Whatever masters of political science jobs students choose, the degree gives them a wide array of knowledge. Some masters in political science jobs include journalism and teaching, while other political science masters jobs take graduates to elite think tanks at major universities.

Master in political science jobs often follows months or years of study online. Flexible programs and ever-advancing technology make it easier than ever for students to complete the criteria for master’s political science jobs.

What if I Just Want a Certificate?

When people start researching Political Science degrees, a lot of them ask about getting a Political Science certificate online instead. Is getting a Political Science certificate online more viable than getting a degree? 

If you’re thinking about earning a Political Science online certificate, then it’s important that you know the difference between a certificate and an associate’s degree. First, a certificate in political science, online or in person, can take just one year to earn, while an associate’s degree will generally require two years. 

Next, a Political Science online certificate is more specialized than an associate’s degree. While an associate’s degree requires some general education courses, you can focus solely on political science topics if you earn your certificate in Political Science online. 

All of that said, many certificate programs aren’t meant as replacements for an associate’s degree. Some even require that you earn a degree before you can get your certificate. They’re designed to help you go deeper with the knowledge that you already have, not to cover the basics. (The exception is usually technical jobs like massage therapy or automotive repair. Because these jobs don’t usually require a degree, a certificate program can provide the knowledge that students need to get started.) 

Of course, for some people, getting a certificate is still the right option. For example, maybe you already have an associate’s degree in a different field. Or maybe you have a lot of experiential learning under your belt, and a certificate would give you an extra edge. 

In that case, you can definitely earn your certificate online. Most certificate programs come from community colleges. A lot of people look for free online certificate courses in political science. Unfortunately, those free online certificate courses in political science are tough to find. However, you may be able to take some courses for free. You may not earn credit for those courses, but they can give you an idea of what to expect. 

Related Rankings:

Top 25 Best Value Online Associate’s in Political Science

Top 25 Best Value Online Bachelor’s in Political Science

Top 25 Best Value Online Master’s in Political Science