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Political Science & Government Major

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Political Science & Government

39,802 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
1,877 Master's Degrees Annually
#14 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 2017-2018 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 39,816
Master’s Degree 1,877
Associate’s Degree 1,869
Doctor’s Degree 800
Basic Certificate 175
Graduate Certificate 72
Undergraduate Certificate 42

What Political Science & Government Majors Need to Know

In an O*NET survey, political science majors were asked to rate what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important in their occupations. These answers were weighted on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the 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

A major in political science prepares you for careers in which the following skill-sets are crucial:

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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

A major in political science will prepare for your careers in which the following abilities are important:

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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?

39,816 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
48% Percent Women
35% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
This is one of the most frequently chosen undergraduate majors. It is the 14th most popular in the country with 39,802 students graduating with a bachelor’s in political science in 2018. Roughly 48% of the graduates are women, and 52% 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 2,121
Black or African American 3,784
Hispanic or Latino 6,303
White 23,203
International Students 1,568
Other Races/Ethnicities 2,837

Geographic Diversity

Students from other countries are interested in Political Science, too. About 3.9% 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

Data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that political science and government students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a bachelor’s degree made a median starting salary of $32,850 per year. 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

Average salaries range from $115,300 to $116,020 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to political science. 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 careers associated with political science require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. 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 2017-2018 academic year, 1,290 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) 21 0
Certificate (1-2 years) 7 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 1 0
Associate’s Degree 169 13
Bachelor’s Degree 31 5
Post-Baccalaureate 21 0
Master’s Degree 241 16
Post-Master’s 4 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 127 0
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 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 47,528
Sociology 37,615
General Social Sciences 19,123
International Relations & National Security 14,908
Anthropology 12,008
Criminology 9,624
Geography & Cartography 8,717
Other Social Sciences 2,935
Urban Studies 1,524
Sociology & Anthropology 499
Archeology 335
Demography & Population Studies 76
Rural Sociology 33

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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