How Can You Specialize a Master’s of Political Science?

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Updated August 4, 2020

For those who are interested in studying government, politics and public policy and are interested in pursuing a Master's of Political Science, it is definitely possible to specialize a Master's of Political Science. The field of political science is a very diverse field that gives students the opportunities to pursue a variety of concentrations. Most major political science graduate departments are segmented into fields or concentrations such as American Politics, International Relations, Political Theory and Comparative Political Systems, according to the American Political Science Association. Here is a quick overview of how students can specialize in a political science program.

American Politics (Government)

Students who specialize in American Politics or American Government will learn the ins and outs of the American political system and its different bodies of governance. Students have the opportunity to pursue sub-concentrations like Federal Government, Legislative Politics, State Government and American Electoral History. Students will learn about different presidential administrations and their role in public policy, the role of US congress in domestic affairs and the role of gubernatorial administrations in statewide policy. Students who also want to learn about different elections and its impact on the US will also find favor in this concentration. Those who typically study American politics usually end up working for politicians and other elected officials as campaign advisers, election experts, etc.

International Relations

The International Relations concentration in most Master's of Political Science programs usually are geared towards those who want to understand the role of different international institutions and governing bodies in creating and managing large-scale global political, military and economic policies. This includes studying institutions like the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, European Union, OPEC, etc. Students who choose this concentration are often expected to study a foreign language like French, German, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese or Russian in order to take advantage of different job opportunities in the international relations scene. Those who obtain a concentration in International Relations end up working for international bodies such as the UN, CIA, Department of State and other government agencies that work in foreign relations. Students can also work for advocacy groups and nongovernmental organizations.

Political Theory and Philosophy

Students who are interested in learning more about different political and government theories and philosophies like democratic governance, liberalism, conservatism, marxism, socialism, fascism, etc. Students will study a variety of political philosophers, theorists and others who have contributed to the field. Students who take up political theory usually go on to obtain a Ph.D in Political Science and will do extensive research on different political and government ideologies.

Comparative Political Systems

Students who are interested in studying the similarities and differences between the US political system and the other countries would specialize in comparative political systems. This will give students a comprehensive understanding of how public policy decisions are made in different countries and how these decision making processes are very similar or different to the legislative decision making processes in the United States. Students typically concentrate on studying a few strategic countries such as Russia, China, the European Union and India.

Related Resource: Ph.D in Education

The Political Science field is field with an abundance of opportunities for students to specialize in a variet of fields. Find what you are most passionate about and choose a concentration that is closest to your career goals. It is definitely possible for a student to specialize a master's in political science.

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