Careers in Political Science
Political Science is an excellent major for those who are fascinated by interactions in the public world. The issues in the public sector are broad as the world around us, as almost any issue has a public sector component. Political Science studies the institutions and processes that people use to influence these issues. International Studies is an excellent major for students wishing to work with the great variety of international issues, such as development and globalization. This interdisciplinary degree recognizes that understanding global affairs today requires experience abroad, developing foreign language skills, and drawing perspectives from a variety of disciplines beyond political science, including history and economics. Faculty in the department focus on working with students to develop the skills needed in public sector and public issue areas.
Political Science and International Studies programs prepare students with skills that are excellent training for the wide range of careers that available in public and international affairs sectors. We are unique in our approach of purposely designing our curricula to prepare students for public and international affairs professions. Students acquire knowledge of facts and history that is necessary to understand the background of their issues, and they also learn to work with theories that seek to explain why events happened as they did, or why a particular program was created. They develop the analytical skills needed to gather evidence to test these theories, and the higher level critical thinking skills needed to evaluate and refine new explanation. They are liberal arts degrees that are excellent preparation for professional graduate programs.
Our graduates are well positioned to work in the public sector precisely because they understand the structure of the political world. They understand how the different institutions, offices, agencies, and activists interact. They understand that there are often many stakeholders on any given issue, each with different points of leverage and understanding. These interactions are very different from a top-down corporate structure. Majors become immersed in both the large picture and specialized details of the particular issues they choose to study. They develop analytic tools to better understand and explain the sources of change in this world.
There are public affairs positions in every geographical area of the country. They include managers for towns, villages, and counties. Positions are also available in city, state, and the Federal government, as well as non-profit advocacy, and consulting firms. Some students choose to go into politics proper, working on political campaigns with the idea of making this a profession.
Fredonia Politics and International Affairs alumni are pursuing careers in law, journalism, the U.S. foreign service, public administration, personnel work in the private sector, Congressional and Presidential staff positions, sales, law enforcement (including the F.B.I.), the ministry, marketing, radio and TV broadcasting, consulting, secondary education and partisan politics.
We often recommend students explore graduate degrees in public affairs, public administration, and international affairs. These are all professional graduate degrees, often with pipelines to excellent starting positions. The Masters in Public Administration (MPA) prepares students to manage public offices and agencies. It is analogous to an MBA for the public sector. Masters of Public Policy (MPP) prepares students to engage in policy analysis. It often requires advance analytics and statistical methods. Masters of International Relations (MIR) or International Affairs (MIA) prepares students for careers in international relations, development, and aid.
Some students are committed to the study of law. We have been successful at placing students in very good law schools in recent years, including Buffalo, Syracuse, Duquesne University, and Case Western Reserve University, among others. We encourage students interested in this track to think about the specific areas of law that they are most interested in, and to take the law-oriented courses within the department, as these provide an initial indication as to whether the student likes and is adept at law-oriented material.
Internships and Career Planning
A good internship can be a step towards a professional career. We encourage students to plan for this early on during their time at Fredonia. Please see our Internship page, or contact ProfessorsChausovsky or Rankin for more information.
We have established a new BA/MPA program in partnership agreement with the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy where outstanding undergraduates have the opportunity to join Rockefeller's national ranked MPA program prior to graduation. Selected students can count up to 12 credits of graduate work towards their undergraduate degree at Fredonia, and waive the GRE requirement.
The Career Development Office on campus offers a vast amount of resources, including career planning, job search and graduate school information.
The American Political Science Association has extensive resources on careers for majors in Political Science