What are the Different Types of Political Science Degrees?
There are two main types of political science degrees: a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. The bachelor’s is a four-year degree that teaches students the fundamentals of political science. There are two main types of political science bachelor’s degrees. The first is the BAPS, or Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. The second is the BSPS, or Bachelor of Science in Political Science. While they both offer concentrations in political science, they differ when it comes to the core classes.
A Master’s of Political Science is the second most common degree. With a qualifying bachelor’s degree, it only takes two years of study to get a Master’s in Political Science. Like the bachelor’s degree, the master’s degree can also be a Master of Arts in Political Science or a Master of Science in Political Science. There are even online options for students who need flexibility in their schedule.
Finally, there are doctorate-level degrees in political science known as a PhD in Political Science or a Doctorate in Political Science. These programs often offer specialties such as government, politics, and more. With a qualifying bachelor’s degree, the PhD in Political Science usually takes four years to complete. Those with a qualifying master’s degree can complete a PhD in two years.
What degrees are common in Political Science?
While there are several programs for political science specifically, students can also consider majoring in other related subjects that deal with the public sector. Subjects range anywhere from military studies to public policy or administration:
How do I Choose a School for a Political Science Degree?
Before applying to a school, it is important to know if they are accredited. The most common place to search for accredited schools is the Database of Postsecondary Institutions and Programs. It is run by the U.S. Department of Education and allows users to search for accredited schools by name or in your area at no charge.
In addition to the above, there are agencies that look specifically at schools for political science. One of the best known is the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration. They list dozens of accredited programs across the nation. They even list which degree has been approved in departments of political science, the most common of which is the Masters of Public Administration.
Those interested in getting a political science degree that focuses on sociology should check out the American Sociological Association. They have resources just for students, including how to major in sociology, tips for careers in the field, and even information on graduate school.
Where Can I find Political Science Degree Rankings?
If looking to go beyond accreditation to find rankings for political science degrees and schools, there are options. One of the most widely recognized names in ranking colleges is US News and World Report. They have rankings for schools in just about every field, including political science.
While rankings are important, they should not be the only deciding factor when selecting a school. Factors such as cost, location, graduation rate, available financial aid, and more should all be considered before settling on a school.
How Do I Graduate with a Political Science Degree?
Once you get into school, there are loads of classes to take and studying to do. Common courses for an undergraduate degree in political science include anthropology, history, comparative politics, sociology, government, and many others.
Those who are going for a graduate degree in political science, such as a master’s or PhD, will have to complete more advanced coursework. This can include governance, political institutions, foreign policy analysis, the U.S. Constitution, urban politics, law, and many others. Another important part of getting a graduate degree is the completion of a thesis.
What Are My Career Options with a Political Science Degree?
Although being a politician is a common career pursuit for political science majors, there are many other careers options worth considering. A few include advocate/organizer, city planner, government analyst, labor relations, pollster, legislator, and many other positions within the government that can lead to public office. However, in order to hold a position in public office, candidates often need to be elected by their communities. There are government positions, such as city planner, that are appointed by those who have successfully run for office.
There are also careers with a political science degree that do not involve working for the government. A few include foreign-service agent, justice specialist, lobbyist, policy analyst, and many others.
A bachelor’s degree in political science is also a popular choice for those interested in graduate school. Many who enter law school to be an attorney often pursue an undergraduate degree in political science. The same is true for those seeking a graduate degree in public health, public administration, sociology, public affairs, and more.
Where Can I Find Political Science Resources?
- National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration – The NASPAA is dedicated to those studying for a career in political science on the administration side. They list loads of schools that have been accredited on their site and have a section just for students. You can also find their latest updates on the homepage and even an FAQ sheet.
- American Sociological Association - The ASA is also a good stop for those going into the sociological side of political science. There are tips for studying and assistance with educational and professional development. You can also check out their journals and publications for more information about current events in the field.
- The American Political Science Association - Their tagline is “networking a world of scholars.” Visit here to see the latest in political science information for both students and teachers. They have a journal specifically on the topic, as well as the latest news on their homepage. Clicking on the section for students gives you more information on studying political science, the discipline, and sections on special issues such as civic engagement and terrorism.
- Political Science Library - This online library is part of Vanderbilt University. Visit to learn more about topics on political science including U.S. politics, public policy issues, world regions, international relations, and more. You can also use their search engine to find more on what you’re looking for.
- International Association for Political Science Students - The IAPSS is a platform for political science students and students interested in political science issues. They have over 75 association members and about 10,000 individuals in 50 countries who are members. Stop by to learn more about who they are, what they are up to, and how you can join.