Careers in Political Science
Political Science graduates enjoy a versatility of skills which prepare them for a range of exciting careers in business, government, law, the nonprofit sector, campaigns and elections, survey research, and education, just to name a few. In addition to pursuing a career path, we provide preparation for success in continuing education in either graduate or law school. In Fall 2016, the department began offering a one credit hour course in Careers in Political Science.
Finding a Job in Public Service
Each state and most local governments have a human resources or personnel agency or office. You may find websites for these government offices at http://www.statelocalgov.net. For more information about state employment, visit the South Carolina Employment Security Commission.
Choosing a Career
Analyze yourself. Consider your aptitude and preferences. Do you work best with other people? Do you work best by yourself? Are you skillful at organizing? Do you enjoy research and problem solving? Consider the characteristics of individual jobs. Is this a good profession for a loner? Are there opportunities for professional advancement?
We have a variety of our graduates employed all over the world. Some examples of jobs are: Community Relations Specialist for the Charlotte Area Transit Authority, Finance Director for the City of Rock Hill, college professor at Western Carolina University, office manager for Southeast Valve, Inc., civil rights attorney, paralegal, and an investigator for the Department of Defense. The American Political Science Association has more information at QuickLinks for Students | APSA.
Graduate degrees in political science are valued by all employment sectors mentioned above. The Ph.D. is the most advanced degree and is awarded in a variety of fields. Master's degrees in political science are valued by public and private agencies and a growing number of nonprofit associations or NGOs. Many people enter graduate school immediately after they finish their undergraduate degree. Some choose to work and gain job experience. Trying different things and figuring out your aptitudes and preferences is rarely time wasted. Dr. Michael Lipscomb serves as the Graduate School advisor to our majors interested in pursuing an advanced degree. We host a large amount of information on various grad school programs in the department office, Political Science reading room and the third floor hallway bulletin board. For an example of possible programs, please check http://www.apsanet.org/opps/grad, http://www.naspaa.org or http://www.apsia.org. Many people who earn a Ph.D. in political science work as professors in colleges and universities - teaching and writing about politics. These positions often lead to important service in schools, communities and the nation. All of our full-time faculty possess Ph.D.s in political science. For the best resource on this career option, they would be the ones to question. We have a few graduates each year that go on to Ph.D. programs all over the world. Our most recent May graduate was accepted to the Ph.D. program at Ohio State University with full funding. Another one of our students recently completed her MA at Appalachian State University and was accepted at the University of South Carolina for a Ph.D. One place to explore this possible career path is QuickLinks for Students | APSA.
Navigating Education and Career Choices
Choosing a college/university or finding a job in any discipline, including political science, requires a significant amount of research, planning and preparation. APSA sponsors a number of programs that help students navigate these choices.
*The American Political Science Association (APSA) is our national professional association. Its websites contain a wealth of information, which can also be obtained, by request, in printed format. Almost all of the information on this webpage comes from the APSA's publication, "Careers and the Study of Political Science", 6th edition.