Let’s face it. Politics is everywhere. It’s what keeps the wheels of government and industry turning, and permeates every aspect of our lives, from the headlines on our social media feeds to lunch or dinner conversations with friends and debates at family gatherings.
It decides policy and public order (or disorder); teaches unity and threatens disunity; and determines the success, failure and survival of nations, its institutions and its people. It’s the unseen hand that rocks the cradle and, therefore, that rules the world.
In fact, for as long as man lives, politics will continue to dominate the public (and private) sphere.
Greek philosopher Aristotle explained it best in his theory on political naturalism: that the city-state and political rule are “natural” occurrences. This doctrine is explained further in an oft-used quote where he describes man as a “political animal”.
Therefore, a degree in political science will never go out of style. Students in this discipline don’t just study governments and political systems, they learn the science of power and the perennial battle for more of it, and gain invaluable training on critical and analytical thought.
The political science degree also opens doors to a plethora of career opportunities, including work in the government or the industries closely related to it.
The political science student’s versatile set of skills can be applied across many industries, including in academic disciplines, law, business, international organisations, non-profit organisations, survey research, journalism and teaching.
Meaning graduates need not go on to lead political campaigns or stand for elections (you don’t need to study politics to win a presidential election, after all) but can become a thought leader in other fields that involve public opinion or public service.
Below are 5 schools that are the world’s next generation of thought leaders:
The Department’s Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) program is specifically-designed to prepare students for a career in public service. Here, you will learn the essential components of professionalism – excellence in technique, ethics and leadership – to grant you a clear head start in the world of public service.
Carefully created to provide a comprehensive and holistic understanding of the field, students in the MPA program explore the most fundamental aspects of public administration; from planning to financial budgeting, political analysis to personnel administration, contemporary issues in ethics, digital governance, NGOs, global governments, and everything in between.
Faculty at the University of Miami rank highly in terms of scholarly productivity, higher than the national median for both article and book publications. Lecturers at the Department frequently appear in top journals and presses in the fields of political science and public administration.
This internationally-applicable program is also available as an online degree option, catering to working professionals who are looking to gain new or refine existing expertise. The best thing about the UOnline MPA is its promise of access to the very same networking opportunities received in its on-campus form. This notable distance learning program offers a range of in-person networking activities where students can forge invaluable connections with classmates, members of faculty, and key industry players.
The Department has an exceptional record of placing graduates, who are pre-prepared for the world of work with the analytical skills and managerial competencies required for designing and implementing public policy at all levels.
The Department of Political Science at Ohio State University offers three distinct majors – Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Bachelor of Science in Political Science, and Bachelor of Arts in World Politics – with 11 specializations. The curriculum has been designed to suit every need, with students encouraged to choose subjects based on personal interests and goals.
Studying in Columbus places students at the centre of a regional and national hub for politics, providing them with an insight into the political landscape, as well as a plethora of internship and employment opportunities.
“OSU is great because students can get a taste of the real world before we have to face it in full force. Because we are so close to the downtown area, students can get internship experience working for firms and organizations that allow them to gain industry experience,” as student Hyeji Kim is quoted on the School website.
Students at OSU also have the opportunity to study abroad through several prestigious exchange programs around the globe, including France, Germany, the Netherlands and Poland. The School also offers a summer studying at Oxford University or working in the Canadian government.
The Department of Politics at the University of Virginia strives to critically understand the nature of national and international politics, supporting faculty and students alike in their research studies. The Department explores the strengths and weaknesses of different methodologies, enabling students to evaluate the approaches best suited to exploring the research questions that they are interested in.
Issues of democratization; race, gender and ethnicity; political economy; and the role of human rights in international affairs form the basis of study across five subfields: American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Political Methodology and Political Theory.
Students here have access to a vast array of research material and support, as the School has close affiliations with a number of renowned centers and institutions, including the Miller Center of Public Affairs, the Center for Politics, the Center for South Asian Studies, and the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies, to name just a few.
Programs are specifically-designed to prepare students for careers in teaching and research, as well as public service at all levels of government. Students will acquire a critical understanding of the political landscape, both in America and across the world.
The Department of Political Science at Texas State University encourages students to look beyond their career goals and reflect on the type of person that they want to become in future life, and their rights and duties as citizens.
A wide-ranging and challenging curriculum teaches students to read and think critically, building on the bodies of knowledge of political discipline, public administration and legal studies. The Department probes contemporary development with careful attention to the ideas, institutions and history that animates politics in the United States and the world today.
Texas offers Bachelor degrees in Political Science and Public Administration, and minors in Political Science, Public Administration, and Political Communication. There is also the option for pre-law advising, for those who are considering law school after graduation.
Students can also earn up to six credit hours in an internship program, where they gain valuable practical experience working for various federal, state, local or non-profit community agencies. Such experience provides participants with a deeper understanding of the political system, enabling them to establish relationships with potential employers and further their career ambitions.
Recognised for its contributions to the study of politics, the Department of Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has a long history of pursuing excellence in teaching and public service.
At the undergraduate level, students are exposed to a broad range of political courses, from the basics to the specialized. At graduate level, the School boasts some of the nation’s most promising scholars, with many already making their mark on the political field through research projects and publishing endeavours.
The Department of Political Science at UNC consistently ranks as one of the top 15 political science departments in the country, with internationally-renowned faculty dedicated to imparting their knowledge on cutting-edge political science research and scholarship onto their students. In recent years, UNC Political Science majors have won national and international honors, including the Rhodes, Luce, and Gates Cambridge Scholarships.
Many of the classes here have fewer than 30 students, where they are taught a curriculum committed to creating interesting and relevant classroom environments. The graduate program, which is currently ranked 13th for US graduate programs in Political Science, is designed to train students for professional careers in political science. The program emphasizes the acquisition of substantive knowledge, methodological skills and communication tools.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International