Students considering political science major for their undergraduate studies are most probably interested in local and international relations, political systems, and other issues in the political and public sphere.
OPPGATE provides you with information on a bachelor’s degree in political science as part of our university majors guide to have an overview of political science and what you might learn from it. You can also find information on job opportunities and career prospects that political science graduates can fit in.
What is Political Science?
Political Science is a social science that deals with power and governance and how they are exercised in the political sphere. It studies political institutions or systems and their behavior and how it is associated with the laws that exist in a society.
A Political Science Major
Students majoring in political science will study the decisions of governments and explore how they exercise their power in different contexts. In addition, they investigate topics in political theory, international relations and analyze the structures of governance and political behavior.
Not only that, but political science majors also approach the study of political institutions from a comparative perspective where they study the similarities and differences of the policies and laws of different countries.
When students complete their studies in political studies, they will be equipped to build arguments regarding current events in politics. They will also be able to critically analyze and understand how the political processes are guided in different systems and/or countries.
So, is studying political science worth it? Continue reading below to help you make a decision.
Why Study Political Science?
Studying political sciences can be rewarding both personally and professionally. Understanding the politics taking place locally in your country and internationally, for example, the discussions on the existing political parties and interest groups that influence certain policies in your country can help you become a well-rounded citizen who is aware of the issues that affect your day-to-day life.
Furthermore, political science can you will gain a solid understanding of important concepts such, morality, justice and rights, and issues of gender, class, and race that are at the core of many conversations today.
A major in Political science can also prepare for many career opportunities in both the private and the public sectors.
Fields and branches in Political Science
Modern political science borrows a lot from other social sciences and humanities such as economics, philosophy, and history. Hence, the fields within political science are interdisciplinary and incorporate lines of thoughts and theories from other fields.
Political Science is usually divided into the following subfields
- Comparative Politics
- International Affairs
- Political theory.
- Public Policy.
These are not the only fields in political science, of course, it has many other fields that have been established throughout the last few decades including:
- Political Economy (PE)
- Political Institutions (PI)
- Political Methodology
- Security, Peace, and Conflict
Political science is also interrelated with other fields such as law, sociology, history, philosophy, and economics.
If you are lost in choosing between economics and political science major. Read the economics major guide to he learn more about economics.
Benefits of studying Political Science
A major in political science can equip you with a wide range of skills that will help you develop your academic, interpersonal, and professional skills.
As a political science major student, you will improve your oral and written communication skills. You will be able to articulate logical arguments on current affairs and defend them whether by writing papers, or doing presentations, participating in class debates and discussions.
You will be exposed to various academic articles and books in political science which will broaden your views and introduce you to different perspectives. You will be able to form your own opinion and persuade others about your own point of view on various political issues.
A degree in political science can help you develop transferable skills in the job market. It is widely believed that political science graduates can only become politicians. This is not the case, however. Many political science graduates enter even the corporate world where they work as investment consultants for example. So do not worry, you will not be pigeonholed and there is plenty of career paths for you.
A bachelor's degree in Political Science
In this section, we will provide you with an overview of the courses you will take during an undergraduate program in Political Science. You can also find information on the job opportunities that political science graduates and the future of the field.
Undergraduate Courses in Political Science
Just like most bachelor’s degree programs, political science students are required to take introductory courses in their first and second years of study. This helps the students to build a strong foundation in the field and to introduce themselves to the different areas of study within political science.
Most universities offer a wide range of elective courses in political science that students can choose from depending on their interests and future goals.
Below you can find a list of some of the undergraduate courses in political science. Please note that this list may vary depending on the university.
- Political System.
- Early Political Thought.
- Modern Political Thought.
- Introduction to Political Science.
- Principles of Economics.
- Law, Politics, and Justice.
- Research Methods.
Political Science Graduate Jobs
The emphasis of the political science study programs on analytical students prepares students for a wide spectrum of career paths from a career in journalism to a career in law and both in the private and public sector.Below is a list of job positions that a political science graduate can fit in:
- Policy analyst.
- Public relations. professional/specialist.
- Legislative Assistant.
Brief History of Political Science
Political Science as a social study originated in the second half of the 19th century. Before that, it was not separated from political philosophy which goes back to the work of Aristotle and Plato nearly 2,500 years ago. We can find traces of the study of political science in Plato’s dialogues on politics, the nature of power, justice, good and bad, the perfect society/government, and other related concepts.
Political Science borrows heavily from other modern fields such as moral philosophy, history, political theology, and political economy, and many others. However, political science today has become more established and took its own form within the last few decades.
Father of Political Science and Major Political Scientists
It is difficult to name one person who established political science since it is a field that went through major historical developments throughout different periods of time. However, the Greek philosopher Aristotle is considered to be the father of political science.
Other important figures in the field of political science are:
- Niccolò Machiavelli.
- Alexis de Tocqueville.
- Benedict Anderson
Best universities to study Political Science
You can find below a list of the best universities to study political science according to the QS World University Ranking by subject. You can read their methodology or criteria of ranking.
- Harvard University.
- Princeton University.
- Sciences Po.
- University of Oxford.
- The London School of Economics. and Political Science.
- University of Cambridge.
- Stanford University.
- The Australian National University.
- Yale University.
- University of California, Berkeley.
FAQs About Studying Economics
Is political science an easy major?
A better question would be: is a political science major right for me? Political science demands analytical and critical thinking skills on current political issues. If you are interested in learning about political institutions and how they shape current affairs, then political science is major you should consider.
What can I do with a degree in political science?
There is a broad spectrum of career paths you can fit in as a political science graduate. You can work in the public sphere as a policy analyst or a government official. You can also work in the private sectors in NGOs as a consultant or in research think tanks.
What do you learn in political science?
Studying political science will teach you, in depth, about governments structure, political behavior and political institutions and how they exercise power within different contexts.