What Can I Do With My Political Science Degree?

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1 What Can I Do With My Political Science Degree? In answer to this nerve-wracking question, Political Science majors are often told anything. In fact, our degree builds the critical thinking needed to succeed in careers ranging from politics and education to business and law. But anything is a hard place to start a career search. Review this chart to discover common fields Political Science majors have pursued and then visit your career and internship coach or academic adviser. FIELDS SAMPLE EMPLOYERS SOME STRATEGIES GOVERNMENT Public policy Legislative, executive, or judicial staff Research and analysis Regional planning City management Law enforcement Program management Lobbyist/advocate/ affairs Foreign service Intelligence aid or development Private contractors and nonprofits doing business with agencies nonal Trade associations, lobbyists and other advocating for policy change within 1 Take courses on political institutions and the policy issues that interest you with professors who are experts in relevant fields Complete internships in politics,,, and related Apply for the DC Summer Internship Program Develop skills in computers and statistics (consider the Political Analysis and Research Track) Become involved in the Associated Students of Madison and/or Model UN Join UW political clubs such as the College Republicans or Democrats Write for campus publications Participate in political campaigns Consider graduate education such as a JD, MPA, MPP, or MPH Research professionals (acquaintances, alumni, and cold contacts) working in relevant fields and conduct many informational

2 POLITICS Legislative of executive agency staff Elected or appointed leadership Campaign management Special interest advocacy Pollster or survey analyst Grassroots/social media organizer INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS Foreign service and other relevant federal employment Intelligence and national security aid, development or trade Language translator business/ commerce Nonal organization management Legislative, executive, or judicial officials National, state, or local Political action committees Special interest groups and Political parties Political campaigns (national, state, or local) Campaign consulting firms nonal such as the United Nations, The World Health Organization, and many others corporations Trade associations focused on international issues Private research groups 2 Take courses on political institutions, campaigns, elections, and the policy and political issues that interest you Take courses in statistics and computer science with professors in relevant fields such as a region or social problem Volunteer for national, state or local campaigns Intern in or related and apply for the DC Summer Internship Program Obtain leadership roles in campus Be prepared to begin a political career as a volunteer before moving to a paid position this field and conduct many informational Take courses on international relations, comparative politics, and the regions that interest you with professors in international relations and specific regions Research professionals working internationally and conduct many informational Develop foreign language skills Study or intern abroad and develop personal/professional connections that can turn into future careers Apply for the DC Summer Internship Program or the Fall Semester in Public Affairs Meet with advisers at the University s Office of International Internships

3 LAW Some specific categories of law include: bankruptcy, business/ corporate, civil rights, legal aid, criminal defense/ prosecution, employment/ employee s rights, estate, tax, family and divorce Legal training can also provide a background to work in many of the other fields listed on this handout NONPROFITS Administration and management Public relations and Fundraising/development Foundation program officer Advocacy (and even lobbying!) Law firms Corporations Private practice Special interest groups, advocacy groups and Independent practice Many of the other employers listed on this handout Nonprofit Foundations Special interests and Research the rising costs of law school and trends in future job prospects Meet with the university s pre-law adviser Consider whether you want to transition directly into law school or gain work experience first as many lawyers advise Obtain specialized certification for a paralegal position Intern with lawyers and law firms to understand the field law and conduct many informational Study for the LSAT to gain acceptance into top law schools Volunteer and intern for local nonprofit Connect to volunteer opportunities through the Morgridge Center for Public Service Supplement curriculum with courses in business, psychology, sociology, or social work Obtain leadership roles in campus Develop and demonstrate expertise in areas of specialty such as public health, the environment, job training, and so on Acquire skills in organizational management and fundraising Research lawyers (acquaintances, alumni, and cold contacts) and conduct many informational 3

4 BUSINESS Advertising Banking analyst Human resources commerce Management Marketing Market research Public relations Sales K-12 EDUCATION Teacher Administrator/counselor UNIVERSITY EDUCATION AND ADMINISTRATION University professor Academic adviser or academic staff Traditional business firms Government contractors Product and service Retail stores Hotels Restaurants Manufacturers Financial companies Insurance companies Print and electronic media corporations Public and private schools and school districts Government, for-profits, and nonprofits Universities and colleges Consider a business or economics degree as a first or second major Supplement the curriculum with business courses Intern with for-profit Develop language skills and regional knowledge for international opportunities Develop skills in computers and statistics Research professional contacts and conduct many informational Consider obtaining an MBA Obtain appropriate state teacher certification for public school Gain certification in more than one subject for greater marketability Volunteer at schools or with community youth programs Become involved in student (debate, publications,, and athletics) Visit the School of Education s Office of Academic Advising Assist university professors and graduate students in their research to better understand the field with professors in relevant fields Write academically-oriented publications and present papers and posters at conferences Study for the GRE to gain acceptance into a top tier university for graduate school Work in department/program offices to understand careers as academic staff or advisers/ counselors 4

5 JOURNALISM & PUBLIC RELATIONS Reporting (traditional and social media) Public relations and Editing Publishing Advertising Circulation Sales Newspapers and magazines Internet sites and social media Political, campaigns, and parties Special interests and Research changes in the field and understand implications for job prospects Write for university publications Intern with newspapers, magazines and online publications Maintain your own blog and online presence Master social media tools Supplement the curriculum with classes in journalism and Focus on writing-intensive courses Create a portfolio of published writing samples journalism and and conduct many informational You may have noticed that many of the employers and strategies in this chart overlap across occupational fields. This is great news! Your skills are transferable, and you do not have to decide on one career track. Instead, you are free to change your mind or pursue multiple careers during your lifetime. You can also jump around and pick strategies from different rows as you sample various career possibilities. Are you thinking of a field or occupation not listed? No worries. Many of the strategies described here will no doubt apply. Please visit our career/internship coach or academic advisers to develop a course plan and professional strategy that will work for you. Office hours and contact information are available at Got no clue what you might want to do? Again, don t worry. Visit the Political Science Department s career/internship coach, meet with counselors at the L&S Career Services Office, or schedule an appointment with the university s Exploration Center. There are a whole bunch of folks just waiting to help you figure this out. Lastly, don t forget to take classes and jump into activities outside of these boxes. Nothing prepares one for life and career better than a class on Shakespeare or learning to captain a boat on beautiful Lake Mendota! 5

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