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Political Science & Government Major

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Political Science & Government

41,807 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
1,984 Master's Degrees Annually
#13 in Popularity
$115,590 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Political Science & Government Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many political science and government graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 41,811
Associate’s Degree 2,020
Master’s Degree 1,984
Doctor’s Degree 783
Basic Certificate 225
Graduate Certificate 129
Undergraduate Certificate 83

What Political Science & Government Majors Need to Know

O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to political science and asked them what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. The responses were 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:

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  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Economics and Accounting - Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking and the analysis and reporting of financial data.

Skills for Political Science Majors

The following list of skills has been highlighted as some of the most essential for careers related to political science:

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  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Abilities for Political Science Majors

Some of the most crucial abilities to master while a political science student include the following:

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  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

What Can You Do With a Political Science & Government Major?

People with a political science degree often go into the following careers:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Compliance Managers 8.0% $107,480
Economics Professors 10.9% $101,480
Economists 6.1% $104,340
Environmental Economists 6.1% $104,340
Investment Fund Managers 8.0% $107,480
Political Science Professors 10.4% $83,370
Political Scientists 2.7% $117,570
Regulatory Affairs Managers 8.0% $107,480
Security Managers 8.0% $107,480

Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science & Government?

41,811 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
49% Percent Women
36% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
This is one of the most frequently chosen undergraduate majors. It is the 13th most popular in the country with 41,807 students graduating with a bachelor’s in political science in 2019. According to recent stats this major attracts about equal numbers of men and women. Roughly 49% of the graduates are women, and 51% are men.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

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

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Political Science Students with Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 2,339
Black or African American 3,794
Hispanic or Latino 6,949
White 24,222
International Students 1,505
Other Races/Ethnicities 3,002

Geographic Diversity

Students from other countries are interested in Political Science, too. About 3.6% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • China
  • South Korea
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Canada
  • India

How Much Do Political Science & Government Majors Make?

Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary

The median early-career salary of political science and government students with a bachelor’s degree is $32,850 a year according to 2017-2018 data from the U.S. Department of Education. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $29,100 (25th percentile) and $36,800 (75th percentile).

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It is possible that some of these people may have taken positions that were not related to political science.

Salaries According to BLS

Political Science majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $115,300 to $116,020 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a Political Science & Government Major  ( 115300 to 116020 )
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Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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Some degrees associated with political science may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

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

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 0.9%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 1.1%
Some College Courses 0.1%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 2.2%
Bachelor’s Degree 25.8%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 0.4%
Master’s Degree 20.5%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 3.0%
First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession. 1.1%
Doctoral Degree 44.4%
Post-Doctoral Training 0.8%

Online Political Science & Government Programs

In the 2018-2019 academic year, 1,312 schools offered some type of political science and government program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 34 2
Certificate (1-2 years) 8 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 1 0
Associate’s Degree 179 15
Bachelor’s Degree 33 8
Post-Baccalaureate 34 2
Master’s Degree 242 16
Post-Master’s 4 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 127 0
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 1 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Political Science & Government Worth It?

The median salary for a political science grad is $115,590 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 190% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,513,800 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to political science.

Major Number of Grads
Economics 48,297
Sociology 37,611
General Social Sciences 19,694
International Relations & National Security 15,207
Anthropology 11,703
Criminology 9,783
Geography & Cartography 8,673
Other Social Sciences 2,729
Urban Studies 1,647
Sociology & Anthropology 543
Archeology 364
Demography & Population Studies 77
Rural Sociology 36

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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