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Career Spotlight: Political Scientist

Posted on November 6th, 2012 by Jenny Frankel

Most undergraduate students study Political Science to prepare for various careers in law, journalism, Government, PR… The list goes on and on, and for a good reason. The Political Science degree prepares students to think practically and analytically, and the skills taken away from the study of Political Science are applicable to an array of fields.

However, did you know that you could study Political Science to become a Political Scientist? A Political Scientist is, in short, someone who studies political institutions and governmental behavior. Essentially, they continue the study of government structure and political philosophy introduced at the college level, but apply that study to finding solutions to current political problems.

For example, in a us Presidential election year such as this one, political scientists are paramount. Their models, factoring in the big issues such as the unemployment rate, immigration reform, healthcare, and education, along with the effects of third party organizations, such as the Tea Party, can practically forecast the election before the American public casts a single vote.

So, who employs these problem solving, election-result foreseeing Political Scientists? Campaigns hire Political Scientists to help ensure a successful run, and many stay on as political aids for those elected legislators. Broadcast news organizations and newspapers bring on special political science correspondents during elections. Many, though, continue to research and contribute to journals while teaching Political Science at the university level.

If becoming a political scientist is intriguing to you, hopefully so is spending a lot of time in school! The most successful political scientists have graduate degrees in the field. Most Political Scientist jobs require a Master’s Degree, and if you aspire to teach at the college level, it’s imperative to gain your Ph.D. to be competitive. As with most career fields, becoming a venerable Political Scientist is no easy feat, but if you love politics, research, and can stand a healthy dose of math, it will be worth!

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