Why study political science? Because degrees in political science open doors to a host of exciting and challenging careers. Our classes teach students useful analytic skills, giving students a deeper of understanding of important political issues and policies. UH Political Science graduates find countless employment opportunities in the private-sector — including in journalism, law, business, campaigns, and nonprofits — as well as positions at every level of government. They also teach at the high school and college level, and work as researchers for think tanks and public opinion firms.
We encourage you to explore this page and our alumni profiles to learn more about areas in which UH Political Science alumni have found professional success and are making a difference in their communities.
Want to serve your country?
Almost all agencies and branches in the United States government employ political science majors in a variety of capacities. The majority of federal jobs are located outside Washington D.C.--throughout the nation and world. Positions abound within the judicial, legislative, and executive branches of government. Students interested in legislative work may find employment opportunities working for elected representatives in Washington, or as Congressional committee staff. For those with an eye for the executive branch, there are many possibilities for service within federal agencies, including the EPA, DHHS, Homeland Security, and working for the U.S. State Department.
State & Local Government
Want to make a difference to your local community?While the federal government has a significant effect on policy and politics, citizens are more likely to come into consistent contact with state and local governments. Students with degrees in political science often find employment within state and local government, working on politics and policies generally, or in positions with a more specific policy focus. Important issues tackled at these levels of government include education policy, environmental regulation, policy implementation, public pension provision, transportation policy, and child welfare. Notable UH Political Science alumni currently work as elected state representatives and city councilors, policy planners, city managers, and legislative staffers, as well as other related careers.
Non-Profit & Citizen Action Groups
Want to change the world?Many not-for-profit organizations try to influence government policies and practices by providing information for elected officials about policy impacts and alternatives, and by trying to influence public opinion. Many of these organizations rely heavily on volunteers, but they also need employees who understand political processes and policies, and who know how to influence them both. Salaries at not-for-profits tend to be lower than salaries in the private sector, but jobs at these types of organizations can offer great professional satisfaction.
Are you passionate about justice?Many political science majors obtain law degrees and pursue legal careers. They find employment in a wide range of positions, working in the public sector as district attorneys, judges and public defenders, or in the private sector in large and small law firms, or as corporate lawyers.
Want to apply your analytic skills in the private sector?A large number of political science undergraduates have found successful and challenging employment in the business sector. When these organizations interact with government through contracts or regulations, they often need employees or consultants who understand the complexities and nuances of economic and regulatory policies, as well as public administration and the policymaking process. Prospective employees can expect to work in a variety settings¾from small, family-owned operations to large, international corporations.
Want to see the world?Students who enjoy traveling or speaking other languages are well suited for positions in international relations. Many social and economic problems cross borders, and can only be solved by cross-national cooperation. As a result, there are growing international employment opportunities for persons trained in political science because they can best grapple with complex, multi-national issues. Alumni working in this area have found jobs in the U.S. State Department, the Peace Corps, US AID, and the World Bank, along with a variety of international non-governmental organizations (INGOs).
How about a fast-paced career in politics, with a potentially huge payoff?
In order to win an election, candidates need a team of energetic, creative, and intelligent campaign staff, which is where students with degrees in political science come in! Campaign workers can expect to gain experience in a variety of fields, including fundraising, speech writing, polling, media relations, campaign strategy, and communications and press relations, to mention a few. While these positions are not always well compensated during the campaign, they often lead to high-level positions in government and non-profits due to campaign management’s broad skill set.
Opinion Polling & Market Research
Want to know what makes people tick?Students with quantitative skills and an interest in public opinion may be interested in opportunities to work in the area of market research. Polling firms hire graduates to design and administer surveys, format polls, and analyze data. There are also thousands of marketing research firms and media companies that value opinion polling, in which methodological and analytical skills may be put to good use. Students interested in pursuing careers in this area may need to get advanced training in data analysis and survey design.
Want to write hard-hitting journalism?Interviewing anyone, from public officials to reality stars, requires a broad base of knowledge and quick critical thinking. Seasoned journalists state that employers value a liberal arts education, specifically a political science degree, because it prepares journalists to cover and connect a variety of topics¾public affairs, politics, political institutions, and more.
Want to teach the next generation?If you like to command a classroom or enjoy teaching others, consider teaching government or history in secondary school. Because most high schools require students to take courses in these areas, there are many employment opportunities in education for graduates with a degree in political science. (For many public school jobs, students will also need a teaching degree or other certification.) UH alumni who find positions as teachers enjoy the challenges and rewards of doing what they love every day.
Want to learn more?For some, a bachelor’s degree in political science isn’t enough. A graduate education in political science can be extremely rewarding for those who are interested. Earning a master’s or PhD typically entails a full course load and ultimately a dissertation, along with paid teaching and research assignments. Not only can a graduate education slake your intellectual thirst, but it can also be lucrative. Recent UH political science majors have received good fellowships to pursue masters and doctoral degrees at prestigious university around the country. Students with a political science PhD from UH are teaching at colleges and universities across Texas and the U.S., as well as around the world. If you are considering applying for graduate schools, start talking with your political science professors about this as early as possible¾at least by your junior year¾so that they can alert you to opportunities in this area.