Political science is a social science that studies the systems of governance, as well as the analysis of political activities, political thoughts and political behaviour. You will also explore the theory and practice of politics, as well as understanding the inner workings of political parties and powers.
Political science is a popular degree choice for pre-law courses, making it a great option for those interested in pursuing law school.
Highlighted courses and degrees in Political Science
An undergraduate degree will look at all elements of government and politics. You will gain knowledge in a multitude of areas, from the political economy, to campaign strategies. Your course will cover research skills, as well as how political and economic decisions affect the general public.
Your degree will mainly be taught through lectures and seminars. Some courses may require you to undertake a placement during your course, but this depends on your institution. If a placement is something you wish to participate in, check with your institution whether they provide this opportunity or not.
Depending on where you choose to study, you may be able to specialise towards the end of your degree. This will allow you to gain increased knowledge in your chosen area, potentially helping you to gain employment. Common specialisations include:
If you are required to write a dissertation for your degree, this will give you a further chance to specialise in a favoured area.
The accreditation gained from a degree in political science will depend on where you choose to study and the specific course you choose. A stand alone political science degree will award you a bachelor of science degree. If you study for a joint honours degree, or choose to combine political science with something else, you may be awarded a different degree title. Degree awards will differ depending on the country, as there are different award systems worldwide.
If your career aspirations require a specific degree award, you should check that this is one your institution provides.
Generally, an undergraduate degree will take three to four years. This can depend on where you choose to study, as standard completion time for a degree can differ from country to country. Foundation degrees, diplomas and certificates can last up to two years when studied full-time.
When you have completed your undergraduate degree, you can either seek employment in your chosen field, or further your studies. Continuation of your studies could be in the form of a postgraduate degree, such as a masters or PhD, or a graduate diploma or certificate.
The entry requirements for a political science degree will depend on where you choose to study. Entry requirements will vary from institution to institution. Some universities will ask you to sit an entrance exam, and others may rely on your previous exam results. Some universities may prefer you to have studied certain subjects, and others may consider previous relevant work experience.
You should check each institution to see what entry requirements they have for their political science programmes.
If you do not meet the entry requirements you may want to consider a pathway course.
Visit our scholarships and funding section to read more about funding your studies.
Graduates of political science programs who are interested in pursuing jobs directly related to their degree can be employed by politicians or political parties, government agencies, and international agencies in various positions such as campaign worker, executive assistant, foreign service worker, public relations officer or consultant, and social researcher. Alternatively, some political science graduates are present in jobs in human resources, commercial businesses, marketing and finance.
Political science graduates will find that transferable skills gained throughout the degree program can be applied in pursuing their career paths. These include decision-making, problem solving, analytical thinking, research skills and oral and written communication.
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