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Political Science & Government

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Political Science & Government Major

44,362 yearly degrees
#26 in popularity
$116,000 median salary

Political science and government is a major that typically falls into the Social Sciences category.

There are 169 programs available throughout the country that offer an associate’s degree in political science, 1,187 that offer a bachelor’s degree, and 241 that offer a master’s degree. There are also at least 127 schools in the nation where you can get your doctorate degree in the field.

Who Is Getting a Political Science Degree?

In 2017, roughly 38,800 political science majors graduated with a bachelor’s degree, making it the 14th most popular major in the country. According to recent stats this major attracts about equal numbers of men and women. Roughly 48.3% of the graduates are women, and 51.7% are men.

Racial Distribution

At the countrywide level, the racial distribution of political science majors is as follows:

  • Asian: 5.3%
  • Black or African American: 9.5%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 15.8%
  • White: 58.3%
  • Non-Resident Alien: 3.9%
  • Other Races: 7.1%
Political Science & Government Majors Ethnic Diversity Statistics

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in political science. About 3.9% of those graduating in 2017 were international students. The most popular countries sending political science majors to the U.S. are China, South Korea and Saudi Arabia.

What Will You Learn as a Political Science & Government Major?

An O*NET survey asked people with careers related to political science to rate how important certain subject areas were to their job. The following are some of the results of that survey. Importance was rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for Political Science Majors

Political science majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:

Important Knowledge Areas for Political Science & Government Majors

Skills for Political Science Majors

Political science majors are found most commonly in careers in which the following skills are important:

Important Skills for Political Science & Government Majors

Abilities for Political Science Majors

As a political science major, you will find yourself needing the following abilities:

Important Abilities for political science Majors

What Can You Do With a Political Science Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with political science:

Careers Related to Political Science & Government
Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary

Political Scientists



Compliance Managers



Economics Professors



Regulatory Affairs Managers



Security Managers



Environmental Economists



Political Science Professors



Investment Fund Managers






Political Science & Government Major Salary

Average salaries range from $115,000 to $116,000 for careers related to political science. This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

To put that into context, the typical high school graduate makes between $29,000 and $57,000 a year. The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $44,000 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,000 and $120,000.

Average Salary for a Political Science Major  ( 115000 to 116000 )
Average Salary for High School Graduate  ( 29000 to 57000 )
Average Salary with Bachelor's Degree  ( 44000 to 99000 )
Average Salary with Advanced Degree  ( 55000 to 120000 )

Your salary will be largely dependent on the career path you follow and what area of the country (or world) you work. Getting a graduate degree may open up more options with higher salary potential.

Amount of Education Required for Political Science & Government Major Jobs

Some careers associated with political science require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

Find out what the typical degree level is for political science careers below.

Education Levels for Careers Associated With Political Science & Government
Level of Education Percentage of Workers

Less Than a High School Diploma


High School Diploma or Equivalent


Post-Secondary Certificate


Some College Courses


Associate's Degree or Equivalent


Bachelor's Degree


Post-Baccalaureate Certificate


Master's Degree


Post-Master's Certificate


First Professional Degree


Doctoral Degree


Post-Doctoral Training


Online Political Science & Government Programs

There are 1,187 colleges that offer a bachelor’s degree in political science and government, with 48 of them offering at least some courses online.

Online learners must listen or watch video lectures, participate in group chats or forums, submit papers and assignments electronically, take tests, and meet deadlines.

Online learners benefit from being able to watch lectures remotely and complete coursework on their schedule, but they also take longer to graduate than average and are more likely to dropout.

Is a Political Science & Government Major Worth It?

The median salary for a political science grad is $116,000 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 197% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,533,800 after 20 years!

political science and government salary compared to typical high school and college graduates over a 20 year period


Bureau of Labor Statistics
National Center for Education Statistics
O*NET Online
Image Credit: UKWiki at English Wikipedia via License

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