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Political Science & Government Major

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Political Science & Government

1,984 Master's Degrees Annually
783 Doctor's Degrees Annually
#71 in Popularity (Master's)
$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
Master’s Degree 1,984
Doctor’s Degree 783
Graduate Certificate 129

What Political Science & Government Majors Need to Know

People with careers related to political science were asked what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. They weighted these areas on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest.

Knowledge Areas for Political Science Majors

This major prepares you for careers in which these 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

Political Science majors often go into careers where the following abilities are vital:

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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 Master’s Degree in Political Science & Government?

1,984 Master's Degrees Annually
44% Percent Women
24% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
This major tends to be male dominated. About 56% of recent graduates 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 Master's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 75
Black or African American 136
Hispanic or Latino 190
White 1,075
International Students 338
Other Races/Ethnicities 170

Geographic Diversity

Political Science appeals to people across the globe. About 17.0% 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?

Master’s Degree Starting Salary

The median early-career salary of political science and government students with a master’s degree is $51,750 a year according to 2017-2018 data from the U.S. Department of Education. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $43,000 (25th percentile) and $64,425 (75th percentile).

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One thing to note here is that not all of these people may be working in careers 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 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, 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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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

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 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 5,699
International Relations & National Security 5,214
Geography & Cartography 2,299
Sociology 2,092
Anthropology 1,657
Criminology 941
General Social Sciences 813
Other Social Sciences 544
Urban Studies 518
Demography & Population Studies 72
Archeology 68
Sociology & Anthropology 4

References

*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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