How to Become a Political Scientist

How to Become a Political Scientist

If you have always been interested in politics and want to make a career out of it, becoming a political scientist might be the right path for you. Political science is a subject that involves analyzing the theory and practice of politics, as well as the systems and structures that shape political behavior. Political scientists study the origin, development, and operation of political systems, and they use their expertise to help others understand the complexities of politics.

To become a political scientist, you will need to have a strong academic background. Most entry-level positions require at least a bachelor’s degree in political science or a related field. Some universities also offer specialized programs in political science, which can provide you with a more in-depth understanding of the subject. If you want to further enhance your knowledge and skills, you can pursue a master’s or a doctoral degree in political science.



When it comes to developing your expertise, it is important to stay informed about the latest research findings and theories in the field of political science. This can be done by reading academic journals, attending conferences and seminars, and participating in discussions with other political scientists. You can also join professional associations, such as the National Conference of Black Political Scientists (NCOBPS), which publishes journals and organizes events to help political scientists stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the field.

While a strong educational background is important, it is not the only thing you need to become a successful political scientist. Practical experience is also crucial, and one way to gain this experience is through internships. Many political science students and recent graduates take on internships with government agencies, non-profit organizations, or political campaigns to get hands-on experience in the field. Internships can provide you with valuable skills and connections that can help you find job openings in the future.

Political scientists work in a variety of settings, including government offices, research institutions, and universities. Some political scientists also work for political parties or fundraising organizations. The job outlook for political scientists is generally positive, although the scope of available positions may be smaller compared to other careers. However, with the right qualifications and expertise, you can find fulfilling and meaningful work in this field.

Political Scientists Salary, Career Path, Job Outlook, Education, and More

When it comes to studying political science, there is much more to it than just having a bachelor’s degree. Political scientists are experts in analyzing political systems, making informed decisions, and studying the impact of policies on society. If you’re interested in this field, here’s what you need to know about the salary, career path, job outlook, education, and more.



Education and Career Path

To become a political scientist, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree in political science or a related field. However, having a master’s degree or even a Ph.D. can open up more opportunities and lead to higher-paying positions. Many political scientists also have a background in law, economics, or international relations.

During your undergraduate studies, you’ll learn about political theory, international relations, comparative politics, and research methods. You’ll also have the opportunity to specialize in a particular area of political science, such as public policy or political philosophy.

After completing your undergraduate degree, you can choose to pursue a master’s degree in political science or a related field. This will provide you with more in-depth knowledge and research skills. Some universities also offer joint programs where you can earn both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in political science.

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If you’re interested in conducting research or teaching at the university level, a Ph.D. in political science is usually required. This involves several years of coursework, comprehensive exams, and the completion of a dissertation based on original research.

Job Outlook and Salary

The job outlook for political scientists is relatively stable. According to surveys and data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for political scientists is expected to grow at a rate of 6% from 2019 to 2029, which is faster than the average for all occupations.

As for the salary, the median annual wage for political scientists was $122,220 in May 2020. However, the salary can vary depending on factors such as experience, level of education, and the type of employer. Political scientists working for the federal government tend to earn higher salaries compared to those working for state or local governments.

Quality of Life

Working as a political scientist can be intellectually stimulating and rewarding. You’ll have the opportunity to contribute to important policy decisions and help shape the future of your country. However, the job can also be demanding, with long hours and tight deadlines.

Political scientists often work in office settings, conducting research, analyzing data, and writing reports. They may also travel to attend conferences, present their findings, or meet with government officials. Some political scientists work for think tanks, research organizations, or consulting firms, while others work for universities or government agencies.

Skills and Expertise

Proficiency in computer software and statistical analysis tools is also important for analyzing data and conducting research. Familiarity with polling methods, surveys, and data collection techniques can also be helpful in gathering and interpreting information.

Internship opportunities and involvement in professional associations can also be beneficial for gaining practical experience and networking with other political scientists. Many political science organizations publish journals and provide resources for researchers and professionals in the field.

EducationCareer PathJob OutlookSalary
Bachelor’s degree in political science or a related fieldEntry-level positions in research, analysis, or governmentExpected to grow 6% from 2019 to 2029Median annual wage of $122,220 in May 2020
Master’s or Ph.D. in political science or a related fieldHigher-level positions in research, teaching, or consultingSalary can vary based on experience and education

Quality of Life

When it comes to the quality of life for political scientists, there are several factors to consider. First and foremost, the nature of the work itself can be intellectually stimulating and fulfilling for those who have a passion for politics and international relations. Political scientists have the opportunity to delve deep into complex issues, analyze data, and develop theories that can help inform policy decisions.

Furthermore, the scope of work for political scientists is broad and diverse. They can work in academia, think tanks, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and private sector firms. This variety of career options means that political scientists have the flexibility to pursue their interests and find a job that aligns with their values and goals.

In terms of education, becoming a political scientist typically requires a bachelor’s degree, although having a master’s or doctoral degree can open up more opportunities for advanced research and teaching positions. Many political scientists also choose to pursue certifications or additional training in specific areas of interest, such as data analysis or policy development.

When it comes to job openings, the future looks promising for political scientists. According to surveys and data, there is a steady demand for specialists in political science, and the field is expected to grow in the coming years. This means that there will be ample opportunities for those who are interested in becoming political scientists and are willing to put in the necessary work and education.

Overall, the quality of life for political scientists can be fulfilling and rewarding. The work is intellectually stimulating, and there are opportunities to make a meaningful impact on society. With the right education, skills, and dedication, becoming a political scientist can lead to a successful and satisfying career.

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Skills a Political Scientist Needs

When it comes to becoming a political scientist, there are certain skills that are essential for success in this field. Political scientists need a combination of analytical, research, and communication skills to effectively study and analyze political systems and behaviors. Here are some of the key skills that a political scientist needs:

Analytical Skills

Research Skills

Research is a fundamental aspect of the work of a political scientist. They need to be skilled in conducting research, gathering data, and analyzing information from various sources. Political scientists often use surveys, interviews, and other research methods to collect data and gain insights into political phenomena.

Communication Skills

Knowledge of Political Systems

Educational Expertise

To become a political scientist, it is important to have a solid educational background in political science or a related field. Most positions in this field require at least a bachelor’s degree, while advanced research or teaching positions may require a master’s or doctoral degree. A strong educational foundation provides the necessary theoretical knowledge and research skills to succeed in this field.

Stay Current with Political Research

Political scientists need to stay up-to-date with the latest research and developments in the field. They should regularly read academic journals, attend conferences, and engage with other researchers to stay informed about new theories, methodologies, and findings. This continuous learning helps political scientists stay relevant and maintain their expertise in the ever-evolving field of political science.

Publishes Research

Political scientists often publish their research in academic journals, books, and other publications. Publishing research is important for sharing new knowledge and contributing to the academic community. It also helps political scientists establish their credibility and reputation in the field.

Having Specialized Expertise

While political science is a broad field, having specialized expertise in a particular area can be beneficial for career advancement. Political scientists can choose to specialize in areas such as international relations, public policy, comparative politics, or political theory. Specialized expertise allows political scientists to delve deeper into a specific subject and become recognized as experts in their chosen field.

Paying Your Dues

In order to become a political scientist, it is important to pay your dues and gain the necessary experience and expertise in the field. This often starts with obtaining an undergraduate education in political science or a related field.

During your undergraduate studies, it is helpful to take courses that focus on political theory, policy analysis, and research methods. These courses will provide you with the necessary foundation to understand the complexities of political science and develop the skills needed to analyze and interpret data.

After completing your undergraduate degree, you may choose to pursue a graduate education in political science or a related field. This can further enhance your knowledge and expertise in the field and open up opportunities for more advanced positions and research.

In addition to formal education, gaining practical experience through internships and research projects is crucial for aspiring political scientists. These experiences allow you to apply your knowledge in real-world settings and develop practical skills that are highly valued in the field.

Internships with government agencies, political organizations, or research institutions can provide valuable insights into the inner workings of politics and policy-making. They can also help you build a network of contacts and establish professional relationships that can be beneficial for future career opportunities.

Furthermore, engaging in research projects and publishing your findings in academic journals or presenting them at conferences can demonstrate your expertise and commitment to the field. This can also help you establish yourself as a knowledgeable and informed political scientist.

Overall, paying your dues in the field of political science involves a combination of education, practical experience, and ongoing professional development. By continuously expanding your knowledge, honing your skills, and staying informed about current political issues, you can position yourself as an expert in the field and increase your chances of success as a political scientist.

What Does a Political Scientist Do?

A political scientist is a professional who studies various aspects of politics, government, and public policy. They analyze political systems, conduct research, and provide insights and recommendations to inform policy decisions.

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Political scientists use a variety of methods to gather information and analyze data. They may conduct surveys, interviews, or focus groups to gather opinions and perspectives on political issues. They also analyze existing data and research findings to develop theories and understand the origins and impacts of political phenomena.

Political scientists often work in academic institutions, think tanks, government agencies, or research organizations. They may also work in the private sector, providing consulting services to businesses and organizations that need expertise in political and policy matters.

To become a political scientist, you typically need a strong educational background in political science or a related field. Many political scientists hold a bachelor’s degree in political science, but a master’s or doctoral degree is often required for more advanced positions or research roles.

Political scientists also need to stay informed about current events, political developments, and policy debates. They often read academic journals, attend conferences, and participate in professional associations to stay up-to-date with the latest research and trends in the field.

Political scientists may specialize in a particular area of politics, such as international relations, comparative politics, or public policy. They may also focus on specific topics, such as elections, political behavior, or political theory.

In their day-to-day work, political scientists may conduct research, analyze data, write reports, and make presentations. They may also collaborate with other researchers or work as part of a team on larger research projects.

Overall, the work of a political scientist is crucial for informing policy decisions, understanding political dynamics, and contributing to the development of efficient and effective political systems. By conducting research and providing insights, political scientists help policymakers and organizations make informed decisions that can shape the future of politics and society.

What Does a Political Scientist Do

Political scientists are experts in the study of politics and government. They analyze political systems, policies, and behavior to understand how governments function and how they impact society. Political scientists use their expertise to provide insights and recommendations for policymakers, organizations, and the general public.

Political scientists work in a variety of settings, including government agencies, research organizations, think tanks, and universities. They may also work for political campaigns, non-profit organizations, or consulting firms. Their work can involve conducting research, analyzing data, writing reports, and presenting findings to a wide range of audiences.

In addition to collecting and analyzing data, political scientists also stay informed about current events and policy debates. They read academic journals, attend conferences, and participate in professional associations to stay up-to-date with the latest research and trends in their field.

Political scientists often specialize in a particular area of study, such as international relations, comparative politics, or public policy. This allows them to develop expertise in a specific area and contribute to the broader understanding of political science.

Political scientists may also publish their research in academic journals or present their findings at conferences. This helps to advance knowledge in the field and allows other researchers to build on their work.

FAQ

What does a political scientist do?

A political scientist studies political systems, government policies, and political behavior. They conduct research, analyze data, and use their findings to understand and explain political phenomena.

How do you become a political scientist?

To become a political scientist, you typically need to earn a bachelor’s degree in political science or a related field. Many political scientists also pursue a master’s or doctoral degree. It is important to gain research experience and develop strong analytical and communication skills.

What skills does a political scientist need?

A political scientist needs strong analytical and critical thinking skills to analyze complex political issues. They also need research skills to gather and analyze data, as well as communication skills to present their findings effectively. Additionally, political scientists should have a good understanding of political systems and policies.

What is the job outlook and salary of a political scientist?

The job outlook for political scientists is relatively stable, with a projected growth rate of 6% from 2019 to 2029. The median annual wage for political scientists was $122,220 in May 2020. However, job opportunities may vary depending on factors such as location and level of education.

How can I become a political scientist?

To become a political scientist, you should start by earning a bachelor’s degree in political science or a related field. After completing your undergraduate studies, you may choose to pursue a master’s or doctoral degree in political science. It is also beneficial to gain research experience and develop strong analytical and communication skills.

What does a political scientist do?

A political scientist studies political systems, government policies, and political behavior. They research and analyze political trends, conduct surveys and interviews, and write reports and articles on their findings.

Dave Pennells

By Dave Pennells

Dave Pennells, MS, has contributed his expertise as a career consultant and training specialist across various fields for over 15 years. At City University of Seattle, he offers personal career counseling and conducts workshops focused on practical job search techniques, resume creation, and interview skills. With a Master of Science in Counseling, Pennells specializes in career consulting, conducting career assessments, guiding career transitions, and providing outplacement services. Her professional experience spans multiple sectors, including banking, retail, airlines, non-profit organizations, and the aerospace industry. Additionally, since 2001, he has been actively involved with the Career Development Association of Australia.