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2023 Political Science & Government Degree Guide

Political Science is an ancient discipline that has evolved and adapted to current societal needs. A major in Political Science and Government will teach you about political and government principles and how they affect our educational system, workplaces, and communities. This is a diverse major that covers a lot of information using scientific and humanistic perspectives. Issues will range from voting behavior to revolutions to public policy. You may also look at politics outside the United States and explore issues from different regions around the world.

Some of the classes you can expect to come across are comparative government, United States foreign policy, contemporary political ideologies, gender and politics, legislative process, public policy analysis, political theory, and judicial processes.

Concentrations in this major include: American Government and Politics (United States); Canadian Government and Politics; and Political Economy.

An Increase in Political Science & Government Degrees

#20 Most Popular Major
49.3k Degrees Awarded
1.4% Increase in Graduates

Political Science & Government was the 20th most popular major in the 2020-2021 school year. Colleges in the United States reported awarding 49,282 degrees in this year alone. This represents a 1.4% increase in political science degrees awarded over the prior year's total of 48,597.

Our 2023 Best Political Science & Government Schools ranking analyzes 607 of these schools to determine the best overall colleges for political science and government students. Explore this or one of our many other custom political science rankings further below.

2023 Best Colleges for Political Science & Government
2023 Overall Best Political Science & Government Colleges >

Best Political Science & Government Schools by Degree

Associate Degrees in Political Science & Government
Bachelor's Degrees in Political Science & Government
Master's Degrees in Political Science & Government
Doctorate Degrees in Political Science & Government

Requirements for Getting a Degree in Political Science & Government

Your studies will involve a lot of research papers and group projects mean to teach you strong writing and oral communication skills, as well as the ability to cooperate with others. Class discussions and presentations will also be part of your work. Be prepared to analyze an issue from multiple points of view, as well as defend your own opinions. You should be confident and ready to provide data and examples to back up a point.

Students will also need to be flexible and work under pressure to meet deadlines or participate in heated debates. You should be comfortable utilizing different research methods to find and analyze data and come to conclusions. Research will include everything from ancient philosophy to current ideas on homeland security.

Prior Education for a Political Science Program

New students will need to have completed high school or a GED program and each school will have their own minimum GPA and SAT/ACT test requirements. In addition to these basic political science and government program qualifications, to serve in some political science careers, special certification may be required outside of your degree.

Political Science & Government Degree Types

There are various different levels of political science degrees. Political Science & Government programs offered by schools range from a to a , which is the highest political science degree you can get. Different political science and government degrees vary in how long they take.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A doctor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to political science, with approximately 41.0% of workers getting one. People currently working in careers related to political science tend obtained the following education levels.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Doctoral Degree 44.4%
Bachelor’s Degree 25.8%
Master’s Degree 20.5%
Post-Master’s Certificate 3.0%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 2.2%

About 67.1% of workers in careers related to political science obtain at least master's degrees. See the chart below for the most common degree level workers in political science and government have received.


This of course varies depending on which political science career you choose.

Career Opportunities for A Degree In Political Science Graduate

Average Number of Jobs
$34.4k Average Starting Salary
8% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

Political Science and Government is a broad major that prepares graduates for a number of different occupations. The most obvious choice is working for the government or becoming a politician. However, you can also become a political consultant, diplomat, or lobbyist. Working in congressional research is another option. This degree also prepares you to go into graduate studies in business or law.

Growth Projected for Political Science Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your political science degree? Political Science & Government careers are expected to grow 8.0% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to political science and government.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Managers 1,071,700 8.0%
Political Science Professors 23,400 10.4%
Economists 22,600 6.1%
Economics Professors 18,300 10.9%
Political Scientists 7,500 2.7%

How Much Money Do People With a Political Science Degree Make?

Political Science & Government graduates between 2017-2019 reported earning an average of $34,394 in the 2019-2020 timeframe. Earnings can range from as low as $17,876 to as high as $82,667. As you might expect, salaries for political science graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


Highest Paid Political Science Careers

Salaries for political science and government graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top highest paying careers political science grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Economics Professors $117,180
Economists $116,020
Managers $115,590
Political Scientists $115,300
Political Science Professors $99,480

Getting Your Political Science & Government Degree

With over 2,479 different political science degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased political science school rankings to help you with this.

Political Science & Government is one of 12 different types of Social Sciences programs to choose from.

Political Science Focus Areas

Major Annual Graduates
Political Science 47,549
Other Political Science & Government 1,010
American Government & Politics (United States) 365
Political Economy 358

View All Political Science Focus Areas >

Related Major Annual Graduates
Economics 49,055
Sociology 38,475
General Social Sciences 18,997
International Relations & National Security 14,306
Anthropology 11,415

View All Political Science Related Majors >


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