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Political Theory

POLITICAL SCIENCE programs offer insight into how leaders acquire and maintain power, how social movements start and gain momentum and how governments and other institutions can be run with efficiency and transparency. Political science programs can also elucidate why voters might favor one political candidate over another and enable students to make informed predictions about the outcomes of democratic elections. Earning a degree in this discipline often involves learning highly marketable quantitative skills related to data analysis and statistics.

Josh Meddaugh, an associate professor of political science and associate chair of the department of social sciences at Clayton State University in Georgia, says that prospective political science students and their parents often ask him about the careers that can be pursued with a degree in political science. Meddaugh says he usually responds to these inquiries by explaining that a political science degree is a versatile credential that can be used in many types of jobs besides those in politics or law. He notes that an education in political science cultivates analytical and rhetorical skills, which are valuable in nearly any industry.

Meddaugh says employers seek workers with strong people skills and soft skills, which political science grads have in abundance. “They’re looking for people they can rely on to communicate effectively, and we teach that. … You’re getting skills that are marketable.”

He says one common misconception about the field is that it is only a good fit for a career in politics. “You don’t have to love politics to be involved in political science,” he says. “Political science is the study of power and institutions and behavior.”