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Political Science

Earnings Potential

  • Political Scientists typically earn on average about $86,750 per year (BLS). 

Facts at a glance

  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a job growth of no more than 8% for political science jobs through 2014. 
  • Social scientists including those in political science held about 18,000 jobs in 2004.
  • Many worked as researchers, administrators, and counselors.  About half worked for Federal, State, and local governments, mostly in the Federal Government (BLS). 

Summary of what this career entails

Political science belongs to the field of social science and concerns the theory and practice of politics as well as the analysis of political systems and political behavior ( 

Political scientists study the origin, development, and operation of political systems and public policy. They conduct research US international relations, foreign policy, the political structure of foreign nations as well as the politics at the State and local government levels.  They follow the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court, track public opinion polls, political ideologies, and public policy.  They may conduct public-opinion surveys, analyze election results or public documents, and interview public officials (BLS).


Examples and or details of work

On August 24, 2006 the New York Times reported that the political debate over stem cell research could become even more intensified as biologists have now developed a new technique to extract human stem cells without destroying the human embryo.  Writer Nicholas Wade reports that this new extraction method could invalidate the principal objection to the research.  “It could also redirect and intensify the emotional political debate over current limits on federal financing for research on human embryonic stem cells, which give rise to the cells and tissues of the body and which scientists and patient advocate groups see as a potential source for treatments for diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and diabetes” (Wade).

In an MIT article published online on October 20, 2006 reporter Stephanie Schorow discusses the US -India nuclear pact in an interview with MIT research associate Subrata Ghoshroy.  Ghoshroy had been in his native India discussing nuclear proliferation with India’s top atomic scientist when North Korea announced it had exploded a nuclear bomb.  “The Indian government had bluntly criticized North Korea, and Ghoshroy, an engineer turned defense analyst, noted the irony of the situation. India had refused to sign the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), decrying it as a double standard foisted upon developing nations by superpowers. However, in condemning North Korea, India now "benefits from this double standard," Ghoshroy said (Schorow).


Degrees that lead to this career

A Ph.D. or equivalent degree is a minimum requirement for most political science-related positions in colleges and universities, as well as many top-level nonacademic research and administrative posts.  Training in statistics and mathematical and quantitative research methods are increasingly being used in political science, and other fields.  A bachelor’s degree is good starting point for most entry-level positions and internships (BLS).


Specific Career openings in this field


Schorow, Stephanie.  “MIT expert discusses U.S.-India nuclear pact”.  20 Oct. 2006. 

5 November 2006.  


U.S. Department of Labor.  Bureau of Labor Statistics.  “Social Scientists”.  4 Aug. 2006.  5 November 2006.


Wade, Nicholas “Stem Cell News Could Intensify Political Debate”. 24 Aug. 2006.

5 November 2006.  <>. Path: Nicholas Wade; Stem Cell News Could Intensify Political Debate.

Wikipedia.  “Political Science”  31Oct. 2006.  5November 2006.