5 Careers for a Master’s in Political Science Graduate

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Updated April 15, 2021

Master's in Political Science Careers

  • Political Scientist
  • Government
  • Lobbyist
  • Business
  • Journalism

Political science is the study and analysis of systems of government and political ideas,
thoughts, and behaviors. In a typical program, students analyze the details of how government operates, and the processes required to develop policy, conduct research, and analyze data. Due to the value of these general skills, a graduate degree will prepare students for a wide range of professions.

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1) Political Scientist

The most obvious career option for a graduate is to become a political scientist. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the majority of political scientists are employed by the federal government.

Political scientists continue to dedicate themselves to the study of political and governmental behavior, directly applying all of the skills learned while working towards their degree. Some of the many possible duties include analyzing voting patterns, advising politician's campaigns during elections, creating models for predicting political and social trends, and evaluating the effects of policy on the government, businesses, and people.

2) Government

Government employment opportunities range from working in the legislature to CIA intelligence. In the legislature, elected officials at all levels of government hire assistants and policy analysts to assist in their daily responsibilities. Legislature assistants are often the direct line of communication between an elected official and their constituents and vice versa, while policy analysts utilize strong critical thinking, writing, and research skills to create persuasive arguments for or against a specific policy.

The CIA and NSA hire political scientists majors to work as intelligence analysts, applying their understanding of politics and government to foreign and domestic security threats. Intelligence analysts research and write reports about the patterns of leadership and support within foreign threats, allowing intelligence agencies to better understand the threat.

3) Lobbyist

Lobbyists communicate with the government on behalf of organizations, interest groups, and private individuals. Direct lobbyists communicate directly with politicians, while indirect lobbyists work to drive communities to take action and launch grassroots movements.

An in-depth knowledge of politics and the political process is a key skill required as a lobbyist. Lobbyists must also possess great communication skills, as persuasion of politicians and communication with the people or organization that they represent are two central elements of the job.

4) Business

Business is another possible field, with advertising, personnel, public relations, and banking all being viable career options. Jobs in business typically require well-rounded written and verbal skills. For certain positions, knowledge of mathematics and economics may also be required.

Political science majors are often hired to work in non-government roles such as public relations, social media, and marketing because of their ability to analyze the thoughts and responses of consumers and decide on the correct actions. For all of these occupations, the primary responsibility is to shape the public perception of the organization or individual you are representing.

5) Journalism

Journalism is a highly competitive, high-pressure profession. However, it can be deeply rewarding for those with degrees in political science. Their expertise in government and politics makes them perfect as writers or political correspondents focusing on domestic or international policy. Television, radio, newspapers, and news websites or blogs are all viable options. Previous experience with writing, broadcasting, or public speaking is an advantage.

A graduate degree in political opens the door to wide range of career options. As you can see, each profession requires a distinct skill set, some requiring skills mathematics, analytics, and statistical models, while others stress written and verbal communication skills. No matter what your strengths are, your degree will allow you to find an occupation in a field that suits your interests.

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