Is a Political Science Degree Right for You?

An online bachelors degree in political science is designed to give students a strong foundation in the governmental policies that regulate the United States and other countries. The best online degrees in political science will cover all aspects of government, ranging from local politics to international policies. Students will learn how to analyze the economic and social forces that influence laws and political decisions, while also honing their communication skills. In addition, they will conduct research and use what they have learned to develop an understanding of public policy, the media, and international disputes.

Earning a degree in political science opens up a variety of career paths for students. Upon graduating, they can establish careers within their local, state, or federal government. They use what they have learned to help influence policy and make political decisions. They also have the option of running for office. For students who wish to continue their education, earning a graduate degree can lead to a career in academia, which will give them the opportunity to teach future political scientists.

Advice for Earning Your Political Science Degree Online

When searching for online degrees, you should check into schools’ accreditation statuses. Colleges and universities that are accredited by an agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation are more respected than unaccredited institutions. Another factor to consider is whether the program requires an internship. If so, you should see if you can complete those requirements in your area. Otherwise, you may need to find a different online program.

Before enrolling, consider taking a time management class. While online classes tend to be flexible and easily fit into a busy schedule, students still need to adhere to deadlines. Those who struggle with prioritizing and completing assignments without the structure of face-to-face instruction will benefit from learning time management skills. For students who struggle with self-motivation but still need the flexibility of online classes, there are hybrid degree programs that combine tradition instruction with distance education.

Required Courses

Once enrolled, students will take a series of classes in local, national, and foreign politics. They will also study economics, history, and law. Specifically, students will take classes like politics and the media, international relations, world politics, United States foreign policy, and national defense. Some programs also include classes on climate control, natural resource regulations, and the role of technology in politics. Most online programs will require students to complete courses in social research and statistics as well. In addition, as with most bachelor’s degree programs, students will also take general classes in math, science, English, and history.

Common Career Paths

The skills that students acquire from political science classes can prepare them for future careers in politics. They can also help influence policy and promote political change. In addition, students have the opportunity to take graduate political science classes, which can lead to a career in academia. Some specific examples of careers for political science majors are outlined below.

  • Political Scientist

    Political scientists are responsible for conducting research on the government’s laws and policies. They collect data to examine trends and make predictions about future developments. They write about what they find in articles and reports, and also seek to educate citizens by giving presentations. .

    The first step toward becoming a political scientist is to earn a bachelor’s degree. After graduating, students should then go on to graduate school, as most political scientist positions require at least a master’s degree in the field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the position earns around $107,420 annually, although that figure can vary according to experience and location.

  • Economist

    Political science majors can use what they know about conducting research, analyzing trends, and forecasting political shifts to become economists. Economists are researchers who study the way resources and services are used and replenished. They address the flaws that exist within economies and write articles on their findings. They also help governments make decisions about the allocation of resources.

    Though candidates only need to have a bachelor’s degree before they can qualify for an economist position, advanced education is a good way to improve job prospects. The BLS reports that economists earn around $89,450 annually, but that figure can change depending upon the candidate’s experience, education, and location. Job prospects are good, but the field is growing at a slow rate. Candidates with graduate degrees will have the best opportunities.

  • Survey Researcher

    Part of the political science curriculum teaches students how to conduct research and gather data. Students can therefore use what they have learned to establish careers as survey researchers. Survey researchers can conduct studies for the government to determine trends, employment information, and even political opinions.

    To qualify for a position, potential survey researchers only need to have a bachelor’s degree. The position earns around $36,050 annually, the BLS reports, however that figure can vary. The field is growing rapidly, with growth projected at 24% by 2020.


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