How can the government shut down? Who’s my congressman? Does my vote even count? Without an extensive knowledge of politics, it’s nearly impossible to understand anything that goes on in Washington. But the most important decisions that affect our lives are made in little rooms in the capital. If you’re intrigued by the political process and want to understand how the system actually works, consider taking up a degree in political science.
What You’ll be Doing
Politics affect everything around us. Don’t worry; you won’t just be learning policy and process through dusty textbooks. Political science professors constantly analyze current events to keep classes interesting and give you an idea of the controversies plaguing the country. Be ready to hone in on your communications skills (politicians love to talk). If speeches and research papers aren’t your forte, politics might not be for you.
1. “The thing I appreciated most about my political science courses was their applicability in my everyday life. While they weren’t always the most fascinating classes, they taught me to think critically about real-world topics – a skill I’ve taken with me outside the classroom and into the working world.” – Daniel Wasserman, University of Michigan, Class of 2014
2. “I now work for a government relations firm in Washington, DC, and my political science degree continues to serve me. While my understanding of political ideologies and the U.S. political process is advantageous, I am more reliant on the critical thinking, research, and analytical writing skills that the political science department’s dedicated professors required.” – Maura Fitzsimons, University of Michigan, Class of 2014
3. “I [want] to help close the achievement gap and ensure all students have access to a quality education. Ultimately, I hope to work in education policy, making changes to the educational system on a wider scale, so I think the political science background will be of more use to me then.” – Lindsay Melworm, University of Michigan, Class of 2011
4. “I really enjoyed my college major and I felt that I learned a lot of valuable everyday things within it. I do not work in political science or social policy, I work in the entertainment field. However, I do believe that my major has helped me greatly in being able to understand and fully absorb everyday political and social issues that are going on around us and discussed everyday.” – Brooke Fine, Michigan State University, Class of 2011
1. “There were some classes that were a bit dull at times (similar to classes in other departments). However, I did appreciate how many classes were cross-referenced with other departments. It allowed me to taste a number of new topics, and it brought in a multidisciplinary perspective.” – Maura Fitzsimons
2. “I do remember thinking that I was able to float through my classes in political science more easily than in other disciplines. As a result, I don’t think I was as well prepared for political science-related ventures post-college.” – Lindsay Melworm
3. “Some of the classes were a little dry but for the most part I had great professors that tried to make the material as interesting as possible.” – Brooke Fine
Not every political science student finds him or herself arguing before a judge. While having a political science background is definitely a plus for law school, there are hundreds of possibilities with this major.