Career Corner: Options for political science majors
Published: Monday, October 17, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 17:10
Political science is usually associated with ideas of government, news and charismatic leaders.
Majors in political science supposedly aspire to go to law school or hope to become politicians. However, that presumption should be considered a far cry from the truth.
According to the American Political Science Association, political science is the study of governments, public policies, political processes, systems and behavior.
Political science is offered as a major in the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences.
The basic course requirement to become a political science major is American Government: Practices and Values.
Electives for the major include: Political Psychology, Politics of the Third World, The United Nations in World Politics, International Relations in Selected Areas of the World, Modern Political Theory, Politics and Government of New York City, and Political Economy, among others.
The skills learned as a political science major provide the foundation for any job. Political science majors develop communication skills, both written and verbal. They also learn to develop research designs and models, interpret issues and data, organize people and ideas and conceptualize and implement projects.
According to CollegeBoard, with these skills, career options include government lawyers, government executives and legislators.
Government lawyers work for state attorney generals, public defenders, district attorneys and the courts.
At the federal level, they investigate cases for the U.S. Department of Justice and other agencies.
Government executives and legislators, work at the federal, state and local levels to direct government activities and pass laws.
These officials include the president and vice president of the United States, members of Congress, governors and city council members.
Besides government careers, the "U.S. Government's Occupational Outlook Handbook" notes that political science majors are recruited into the following jobs: news analyst, operations research analysts, budget analysts, public relations, marketing analysts, policy analysts, city planners, campaign managers, social workers and teachers.
Maciej L., a June 2011 Baruch graduate who majored in political science, advises students who have a desire to make a difference in the world and have an interest in international affairs to pursue a major in political science.
He also advises students not to be intimidated while pursuing a liberal arts degree, despite the majority of business majors at Baruch.
For those who are already political science majors, he recommends taking classes with Professors Koenig, Waxman and Golob.
He suggests applying for the Colin Powell Fellowship, a program awarded to two high-achieving juniors or seniors; winners are given a summer internship at either the United Nations or State Department in Washington.
Students should also apply to the Thomas R. Pickering Undergraduate Foreign Affairs Fellowship. This is a scholarship for tuition, room, travel and books awarded to sophomores who demonstrate an interest in international affairs.
Participants must commit to pursuing a master's degree in international studies.
He credits Baruch's Department of Political Science for the opportunities that helped him get into a prestigious two-year program to obtain a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy at The Fletcher School at Tufts University.
To learn more about careers where you can use a degree in Political Science, visit the political science department in the fifth floor, room 280.
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