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Why Study Political Science? The Discipline of Political Science & Career Oppurtunities

About Political Science
Political science is a broad and inclusive discipline. Some political scientists want to understand the political behavior of individuals - why they act the way that they do. Others study institutions such as legislatures, courts, and bureaucracies. Still others examine the causes of war (and peace), foreign political systems, and how the public sector really works. This list does not exhaust the specialties and areas of interest included in this diverse discipline.

Amid this diversity lies a common concern with anything "political" - issues, institutions, behavior, power, and public goods. The different pursuits and the varied methodologies of all political scientists are directed in one way or another toward promoting the goal of understanding politics.

Political science is the only major where you can obtain practical knowledge and at the same time gain insights into the great issues of our age. What, for example, are the causes and institutional forces behind a conflict between the President and leaders of congress? If nations are threatening armed confrontation, what lies behind the conflict? What is the individual's place in the political system?

With a degree in political science you will be able to answer these and many other politically oriented questions. The knowledge and critical skills gained from the study of politics will enable you to be a more rational citizen, a more constructive participant in public affairs, and a better professional.

Political science is actually one of the more popular majors for university students, as can be seen in the chart below:

What About Career Opportunities & Earning Potential?
With a degree in political science your career prospects are incredibly bright. A student who majors in political science acquires skills in writing, communications, and analysis that are critical to a liberal arts education.

The most obvious career paths for someone with a political science degree are in law, government, political consultancy, and lobbying. In addition, political science helps with many private sector careers, because government affects so many activities, and the analytical and communication skills acquired with a political science degree are highly valued by virtually all employers. A degree in political science is also essential for journalists and others in communication.

Below are data showing the wide variety of career tracks that political science majors have taken over the years.

Finally, as a political science major you can expect a reasonably bright future with regard to earning potential. While not at the top of the list of highest earning majors, political science ranks above the median in this regard. See the chart below.

Need More Help Deciding?
This may help: Frequently Asked Questions About a Political Science Major. If not, PLEASE email us at politicalscience@ecu.edu if you would like to discuss a possible future in political science.

In addition, the ECU Career Center provides help in career exploration, planning, and decision making for students and alumni. It has both online and one-on-one counseling and other services (help with resumes, cover letters, job searches, and applying to graduate school) to promote your success. For more information visit www.ecu.edu/career


Dept. of Political Science, Brewster A-124, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858-4353
Phone (252) 328-6189
Fax (252) 328-4134
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