Careers for Political Science Majors/Minors
A degree or extensive college-level coursework in political science offers a wide
variety of career opportunities. Those opportunities can be divided into two main
categories: government and non-government jobs. Within the category of government
jobs, there are three subcategories: elected office, staff for elected leaders, and
agency staff. Within the category of non-government jobs, there are three subcategories:
advocacy/lobbying, government relations, and education.
If you are a citizen of the United States, you are eligible to run for a number of
elected positions at the local, state and federal level. Some of these positions come
with additional requirements such as age and length of residency.
Local Level Positions Include:
School Board, City Council, County Board of Supervisors, Sheriff
State Level Positions Include:
California State Assembly and Senate, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Insurance Commissioner,
Attorney General and Superintendent of Public Instruction
Federal Level Positions Include
US House of Representatives and US Senate, US President and Vice President
Staff for Elected Leaders
At all of these levels, elected leaders hire staff members to provide assistance and
direction with everything from legislative/issue analysis, public and media relations,
constituent representation and, separately, campaign management.
In addition to the offices of elected leadership, there is a great variety of jobs
available at local, state, and federal government agencies. These agencies range from
local services such as animal shelters and water districts to state agencies such
as the California Department of Fish and Game to federal agencies such as the Environmental
Protection Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency.
Other Government Jobs
There are many other government jobs that relate to political science. Many of them
are in law, such as district attorneys and public defenders.
Outside of government, a political science major can put his or her skills to work
with an organization or industry that inspires or interests them. Virtually all segments
of business, industry, and labor have “trade associations” or lobby groups that advocate
for them with government leaders at all levels. This includes everything from the
pharmaceutical industry to labor unions. In addition, there are many nonprofit interest
groups working to influence policy on a wide range of issues: the environment, education,
children’s welfare, animal rights, gun rights/laws, the justice system, worker’s rights,
Corporate Government Relations
Another option for a political science major is to work within a corporate environment
representing that specific company’s political and policy interests. Most major corporations
have government relations departments with staff members working at the local, state,
and federal level on issues relating to the company.
Last, but certainly not least, a political science degree can be great preparation
for a career in education at all levels and types of work, from K-12 to community
colleges and four-year universities. Job opportunities exist not just for teaching,
but also in program direction, public affairs, and educational administration.
For some additional information on careers using a political science degree:
Top of Page