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How to Become a Political Scientist

Master's degree

Work Experience

Those who have obtained their bachelor's degree can benefit greatly from volunteer work or internships when seeking entry-level jobs in a related field such as political science. They provide students with a chance to apply their academic knowledge within a professional setting in order to develop the necessary skill set required for the field.

Education & Training

Those with a bachelor's degree in political science will be able to apply for a variety of entry-level jobs including: political campaigns, research assistants for organizations, government agencies and nonprofit organizations. Many individuals move into fields outside of policy-making and politics and may specialize in law or business.

The majority of political scientists finish their master's degree or go on to earn their Ph.D. To gain entrance into a graduate program, applicants must finish undergraduate courses in statistics, writing and political science. Any internship experience or related work experience is beneficial. Applicants will obtain experience in analyzing data, researching, dealing with policy issues and writing by working on as a congressional staff member or partaking in an internship program.

Commonly, political scientists finish their MPA or master of public administration, master of public affairs degree or MPP, master of public policy. Typically, these programs cover numerous disciplines so that students can focus on a specific area that interests them. The majority offer core courses in the following: policy formation, statistics, program evaluation and research methods. Certain universities and colleges offer a master's degree in international relations, political science or similar political science specialties.

Political scientists can finish a Ph.D. program by completing numerous years of coursework, independent research and providing a dissertation. The majority of candidates focus on one of the primary subfields for political science: political theory, international relations, comparative politics and American politics.

Individuals who wish to teach at college or university must obtain their Ph.D. Graduates who obtain their master's degree in political science may go on to teach high school.

Skills and Qualities that will Help

Analytical skills: Commonly, political scientists rely on quantitative research methods and use qualitative research to conduct their work. They rely on their analytical skills when they evaluate, interpret and collect data.

Critical-thinking skills: It is necessary for political scientists to process and examine the available information in order to determine logical conclusions and accurate results.

Intellectual curiosity: Political scientists need to constantly consider new information and ideas in order to produce original research and papers. They must stay abreast of political subjects in order to think about fresh ways to address issues.

Writing skills: Writing skills are necessary for individuals who want to write papers regarding political issues. It is vital that their research and results can be clearly conveyed.