What Can You Do with a Political Science Degree? High-Impact Careers for the Action-Oriented


You’re always the friend to get others involved in important causes in your spare time. You get inspired seeing communities come together to stand up for what they believe in. Nothing satisfies you more than feeling like you made a difference with your weekend.

In fact, you’re so passionate that you’re ready to turn your hobby into a full-time gig. You’re ready to launch a career that impacts individuals and improves society as a whole. And with good reason, you’re considering majoring in political science.

Political science is both interesting and impactful — two things you’re looking for in your education. And it can unlock the types of jobs you’ve already been partaking in during your free time. After all, what you’re interested in morally and drawn to vocationally don’t have to be at odds with each other. But your practical side might have you wondering if it has the ability to launch the career you’re seeking. What can you do with a Political Science degree, exactly?

As it turns out, the choices for potential professions abound for political science graduates. Keep reading to learn more about the options and see if any ignite a spark of inspiration in you.

Impactful careers for political science majors

Political science students study subjects ranging from international affairs to public policy and civil rights while mastering writing, analytical and data skills. Because of the broad knowledge base and the robust skills graduates attain, these liberal arts degrees can be quite versatile in the workplace.

In fact, 93 percent of political science majors obtain employment upon graduation, with 86 percent working full-time, according to a report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. It also notes that on average they earned a median annual salary of $59,000 upon completion of a bachelor’s degree. Many former political science majors pursue an array of different careers in the public sector, as well as in private, for-profit, non-profit and international organizations.

When broken down by industry, the largest segment of political science majors work in public administration and management, though others find employment in financial services, professional services, retail trade, education and sales.

The following careers are all viable choices for political science majors to pursue, according to the American Political Science Association:

  • Activist, advocate/organizer
  • Archivist
  • Budget examiner or analyst
  • Campaign staff
  • CIA analyst or agent
  • City planner
  • City housing administrator
  • Communications director
  • Corporate analyst
  • Corporate public affairs adviser
  • Corporate information analyst
  • Corporate adviser for governmental relations
  • Corporation legislative issues manager
  • Data scientist
  • Environmental policy analyst
  • Federal government analyst
  • Financial consultant
  • Foreign service officer
  • Immigration officer
  • Intelligence officer
  • International agency officer
  • International research specialist
  • Journalist, political correspondent
  • Juvenile justice specialist
  • Labor relations specialist
  • Lobbyist
  • Management analyst
  • Mediator
  • Non-profit program manager
  • Paralegal
  • Policy analyst
  • Political commentator
  • Polling/survey analyst
  • Public affairs research analyst
  • Research analyst
  • State legislator
  • Urban policy planner
  • Web content editor

The top titles seeking political science majors

As you can see, a political science major can open the doors to an array of positions across many different industries. But some options are more feasible than others. Some positions simply have more openings because of high growth rates and demand.

We used real-time job analysis software to examine more than 8,000 job postings from 2016.* The data helped us identify which types of jobs sought candidates with a bachelor’s degree in political science. Here are the top job titles from our analysis:

  • Policy analyst
  • Management analyst
  • Foreign affairs officer
  • Intelligence analyst
  • Program analyst
  • Communications specialist
  • Executive assistant
  • Regional manager
  • Contract manager
  • Budget analyst
  • Transportation planner
  • Archivist
  • Systems engineer
  • Sales manager
  • Statistician
  • Data analyst
  • Compliance officer
  • Director of communications
  • Financial analyst
  • Sales associate
  • Administrative assistant
  • Business analyst
  • Communications manager
  • Program manager
  • Project manager
  • Communication associate
  • Office manager
  • Sales representative
  • Survey statistician
  • Contract administrator
  • Export agreements authorization owner
  • Human resources specialist
  • Marketing manager
  • Reporter
  • Account manager
  • Intelligence specialist
  • Regulatory affairs manager
  • Case manager
  • Community planner
  • Executive director
  • News editor
  • Paralegal
  • Security specialist
  • City manager
  • Field researcher

3 common fields for political science majors

While potential careers for political science majors can fall all across the map, the bulk of them fall into three areas: Politics, government and nonprofits. We spoke with Maria Katrien Heslin, Certified Career Coach, to learn more about how a political science graduate could enter these fields to apply their learning and make an immediate impact.

1. Politics

A natural fit for a political science major may be in the political sphere. With plenty of roles dedicated to each and every aspect of the field, you’re sure to find a career with a cause to support, and an unparalleled passion amongst your peers. Whether you’re lobbying for change or supporting elected officials that represent the causes closest to your heart, working in politics can allow you to get hands-on experience with the issues that matter most to you. And your impact could affect millions.

“Of course a career in politics is an obvious choice,” says Katrien Heslin. “But perhaps less obvious is the support team politicians have.” These behind-the-scenes positions include political spokespeople, campaign managers, speech writers, volunteer directors, policy directors, strategists, researchers, outreach directors, fundraising directors and plenty more.

2. Government

Another common field for an ambitious political science major is in government, where graduates can apply all they learned of the legislative process, civic engagement, public policy and community development, according to Katrien Heslin. Effect change from the inside out with a government position, where your work could affect millions of Americans in every issue from homelessness to discrimination and education and security. Whatever your interest, there’s likely a career in government catering to it.

“Jobs exist in a range of levels and fields, from directors of public works, planning and urban development, and parks and recreation management, to facilities managers, program leaders and social media experts,” she explains.

3. Nonprofits and international NGOs

The third popular field for political science majors is the world of nonprofits, which Katrien Heslin notes is the fastest growing sector.

“You can do everything from launching or leading a nonprofit to serving as its volunteer director, fundraising specialist or outreach coordinator,” she says. “You could also serve as an excellent advocate for different causes, whether that be as a lobbyist, journalist or blogger.” The positions in the nonprofit field are as plentiful and varied as the causes they support. You’re sure to find an organization championing whatever issues touch your heart, allowing you the rewarding privilege of spending your days working for something you believe in.

Pursue your own political science path

Unlike other majors, you’re not locked into one career path with a Political Science degree. But that’s the beauty of the versatile liberal arts degree — it can prepare you to pursue whichever path your passion leads you toward.

Now that you’ve learned what you can do with a Political Science degree, are you still up for the thrill of a passion-driven career? For the ability to improve communities on a large scale? For the potential to effect positive change? What are you waiting for?

Check out the Wheelock College Political Science and Global Studies page to learn more about taking the first step to a high-impact, high-passion and high-satisfaction career of your dreams with a Political Science degree.

*Source: Burning-Glass.com (Analysis of 8,392 job postings from January 1 – December 31, 2016).