Potential Career Sectors

Business & Finance 

Undergraduate political science training offers a good preparation for careers or graduate programs in business. Undergraduate courses in political economy and development can be useful preparation for working in business development, financial consulting, or public finance. Students who have focused on area studies and international relations may find opportunities in international business or trade.  

If you are interested in attending business school, review the appropriate guides and catalogues to identify graduate business programs. Contact the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business for more information. If you have a business school at your own institution,  speak with the admissions director about the program of study.

Public Administration & International Affairs
Undergraduate studies in any area of political science can be useful for a career in public administration. Knowledge of the political process, strong writing skills, and familiarity with research methods are all useful preparation for these careers. While many careers in public service require only a bachelor's degree, graduate programs in public administration, public policy, and international affairs provide specialized training for positions in a variety of government and public service careers.

The National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration and the American Society for Public Administration provide more information on graduate study in public administration. If you have a particular interest in international affairs, the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs may be of interest.  If you have a public administration or public policy degree at your own institution, speak with the admissions director about the program of study. Student Training & Education in Public Service also provides information on a variety of careers with a political science degree.

Non-governmental Organizations & Non-profits
If you are thinking about a career in public service, consider non-profits, foundations, or non-governmental organizations. These organizations operate at the local, national, and international policy level, working on virtually all issue areas all over the globe. The missions of these organizations range from local neighborhood housing to state environmental policy to global human rights. Non-profits, foundations, and non-governmental organizations offer opportunities for political science graduates at all degree levels.  

Journalism & Media
If you are interested in a career in journalism or media, political science training can give you the substantive and analytical background you need. Typically political science courses place heavy emphasis on developing fluid and clear writing and speaking skills, which are beneficial for positions in print or broadcast journalism, publishing, social media, communications, and public relations.  

Many people enter these positions with a bachelor's degree or after completing a graduate program in journalism, communications, or media studies. The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications or the Broadcast Education Association have more information on pursuing a graduate degree in media and journalism.  

Academic Research and Teaching
With a PhD in political science, you will have gained key methodological skills that will prepare you for a career as a college or university professor conducting cutting-edge research in a variety of political science subfields, including American politics, comparative politics, political theory, and international relations.  

Political science research appears in a variety of journals, textbooks, and academic books. Research conducted by political scientists throughout the discipline—including race and ethnic studies, bioethics, electoral reform, environmental policy, political economy, gender studies, conflict resolution, and disability studies—contributes to wider public discussions and policy development. Political scientists often present their research findings at academic conferences like the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting and a variety of other meetings in the profession . 

Political science PhDs who work at colleges and universities often split their time between research, teaching, and service-orientated duties such as committee or advising responsibilities. For an up-to-date listing of academic positions available in the political science discipline, visit the APSA eJobs portal.

Some political science PhDs use their skills in careers outside of academia. They work in government, research organizations, non-profits, university administration, business, and technology companies. The research and analytical skills of political science PhDs are valuable in a variety of fields.