Political science is one of those really amazing social science majors that can help frame your understanding of the world and its political landscape. From everything to understanding what is going on with Egypt’s government and the US’s involvement to analyzing the workings of shows like House of Cards or The West Wing, you can find yourself fascinated in all the theories and explanations of why the political world is the way it is.
What is Political Science?
Political science covers a wide range of topics ranging from political behavior to public policy. Depending on your college or university’s political science major focus, you will be exposed to various subfields of the subject as well. Below are a few of them that you may encounter and a brief description of what they entail:
Primarily focuses on the political institutions and behaviors in the United States. You would learn about the understanding of democracy theory, voting behavior, the role of race, gender, and ethnicity in politics, and public policy under this category.
As the title sounds, this subfield of political science focuses on understanding and comparing various forms of government and foreign policies. This complex subfield also focuses on the methodology of political science and its framework for a government.
One of the most popular subfields, international politics/relations focuses on the relationships among countries, non-governmental organizations (NGO), and other institutions on a global landscape.
This subfield focuses on explaining, describing, and conceptualizing political events and institutions in the past, present, and future. Focusing on the history and formation of political as well as political philosophy, you will engage in the subfield through interdisciplinary methods that often involve history, philosophy, and history as well.
What can you do with a Political Science degree?
While many may think that you will definitely go to law school after undergrad as a political science major, you actually have a lot more options and routes to take. Political Science majors learn how to critically read, analyze and write, all important skills to develop for any profession. Below are some popular career paths for political science majors from APAS:
- Academia (Professor, Teacher)
- Activist, Advocate/Organizer
- Congressional Office/staffer
- Financial Consultant
- Public Affairs Research Analyst
- Urban Policy Planner
What colleges or universities have good Political Science departments?
Here is a list of some wonderful political science departments and programs. A lot of institutions also offer specific degrees or programs in foreign relations:
- Princeton University – Politics
- UC Berkeley – Political Science
- UNC at Chapel Hill – Political Science
- University of Virginia – Politics (focusing in Foreign Services or Government)
- University of Rochester – Political Science and International Relations
- George Washington University – International Affairs
- Georgetown University: School of Foreign Service – Foreign Service