Political science majors have several career paths to consider once they finish an undergraduate or graduate program. With policy making knowledge, you can pursue leadership roles within nonprofit organizations, businesses, academia or legal institutions. Graduate programs tend to direct political science students into specializations like public administration or philosophy.
Professional Political Science Organizations
The following organizations can be used by students to secure academic funding; professionals can use them to find job listings, continuing education opportunities and networking events. Some political science societies have extremely strong historical ties, with some networks existing for over a century.
- Pi Sigma Alpha (PSA) – This is a national honors society for students exploring political science and government studies. PSA was established by faculty at the University of Texas in 1920, and it has grown to encompass 740 chapters across the United States and Canada. Students can apply for funding opportunities through the PSA website including the Washington Internship Scholarship and the Howard Penniman Scholarship.
- American Political Science Association (APSA) – This professional and academic organization is over a century old, forming in 1903 to further the study of political science internationally. APSA has expanded across 80 countries, gaining over 15,000 members. Members gain access to exclusive mentoring experiences, job listings, APSA journals, meetings and third-party discounts. Membership rates are priced on a sliding scale, depending on your annual income.
- Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) – This multidisciplinary professional society was founded in 1978 after a public policy conference at Duke University. The APPAM offers memberships to students, professionals and institutions, and offers access to discounted conference registration fees and the APPAM research journal, as well as the use of a member database to connect with other professionals. Like the APSA, this organization also uses a sliding scale for membership dues, based on an applicant’s income levels.
- International Political Science Association (IPSA) – The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) played a significant role in the creation of the IPSA in 1949. Students can apply for several funding opportunities, including the Karl Deutsch Award, the Francesco Kjellberg Award and the Global South Award.
Open Political Science Courseware
These free courses have been uploaded by prestigious academic institutions for personal and professional enrichment purposes. However, they do not provide participants with academic credits or professional credentials upon completion. These courses run the spectrum between introductory undergraduate courses and advanced graduate-level political theory.
- Introduction to Political Thought – This undergraduate course is hosted by Professor Sarah Song. It covers general movements within the history of political science theory. Students can download the lecture notes and assignments from Professor Song’s 2004 class sessions, and follow along through explorations of Locke, Rousseau, Aristotle and Machiavelli.
- Political Science and International Studies – This course is made available by the University of Queensland on iTunes University, a free platform that can be accessed on any computer with iTunes or through any iOS device. This multimedia course is comprised of 78 videos and podcasts that cover topics like emotions in world politics, art as political weapons, global peace, and crisis management across borders.
- Capitalism: Success, Crisis, and Reform – This course is hosted by Yale and is led by Professor and Guggenheim fellow, Douglas Rae, an expert on management and political science. Video and audio can be accessed through iTunes University or Youtube. Rae discusses ways to use capitalism as a tool to solve national, social and financial issues.
- Citizenship and Pluralism – This is a graduate level course hosted by MIT and instructed by Professor Sarah Song. Students will examine the interactions and tensions between multicultural communities, including ethnic groups, native peoples, gender and sexuality minorities and women. Her course will explore how effective group-based legislation and policies are when efforts are made to ensure equal representation.
Open Access Political Science Journals
The following free publications are great resources for students who wish to keep up with the newest research developments and professional practices in the field of political science. Journals typically contain material of an academic and advanced nature.
- Open Journal of Political Science – The first issue of this quarterly publication appeared in 2011, highlighting articles, book reviews and research reports that contribute to the advancement of political science in the academic and professional spheres. Submissions focus on topics such as political theory and public law. This publication does charge authors processing fees, which start at $500 for a 10 page submission.
- Journal of Political Sciences and Public Affairs – This is a multidisciplinary journal that focuses on public policy, media and political theory. Authors are encouraged to submit research articles, book reviews and opinion pieces. The processing fee is similar to the OJPS – $500 per article. The editorial panel consists of university faculty members based in the United States and Canada. New issues are released three times a year.
- The Open Political Science Journal – The first issue of OPSJ was released in 2008. It is dedicated to all facets of political science and includes topics like public law, race, sexuality and political methodology. Recent articles provide commentary on global issues such as the Zimbabwe 2008 Political Crisis. New issues are released on an annual basis.
- Science and Public Policy – This Oxford journal was founded in January 1974, with the purpose of bringing visibility to current developments in global public policy. The SPP is a member of the Committee on Publications Ethics, which ensures that the editorial board adheres to a code of conduct and high ethical standards in the handling and publication of the journal.
Political Science Books
These books form some of the cornerstones of modern political science theory and professional practices. Since so much of this field relies on theory and rhetoric, it is crucial for students to be aware of canonical authors as they complete their studies and explore careers within political science. Many of these publications leverage multimedia in the form of podcasts and filmed interviews.
- A People’s History of the United States – This critically acclaimed national timeline by Howard Zinn packs a punch; it does not shy away from many of the controversial events that have failed to make it into traditional history textbooks. Zinn has conducted exhaustive research to piece together minority narratives of the history of the United States, highlighting suppressed tales of oppression, activism and injustice.
- Practical Guide for Policy Analysis: The Eightfold Path to More Effective Problem Solving – Many political science and government studies classrooms rely on this practical guidebook to understanding many of the conundrums and obstacles policymakers face. Author Eugene Bardach explores processes such as defining problems, predicting policy outcomes and coping with compromise.
- The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism – Naomi Klein describes in horrifying direct language how politicians take advantage of national events, tragedies and distractions to slip through policies that are morally questionable and financially unsound. Her narrative trains a critical eye on shocking CIA scientific experiments and homeland security practices.
- On Liberty: Harriman House Economics Classics – This is a reprinting of John Stuart Mill’s pivotal philosophical essay “On Liberty.” Nearly a century and a half after its publication, Mill’s work informs students on the ethics and principles of social liberalism and political thought. Mills covers topics such as the limits of social authorities and the rights of individuals.
Online Political Science Magazines
The following publications are great casual reading sources, giving students insight into current political developments and debates. The visual nature of this medium allows you to explore various conflicts and social issues with video and audio media.
- The Week – This is a print and digital publication that is circulated in the U.S. and the U.K. Political science students can check in on global and national news, political features and current debates. Follow correspondents like Taegan Goddard, Peter Weber and Damon Linker as they cover multiple views of our current political climate.
- Slate – This is a liberal news magazine based in the United States and France. In addition to regular features and columns, Slate produces a number of podcasts, including the Political Gabfest, DoubleX, Manners for the Digital Age, and The Root, geared toward African American political issues.
- Time – Since its 1923 inception in print, this Time Warner publication has been extremely well known. Time is available in both print and digital formats, posting breaking news on US and World politics. Check in with this magazine regularly to keep up on developments in foreign policy, the White House, upcoming elections and domestic policy.
- The Nation – This publication holds the record for being the oldest weekly periodical to be published without interruption. Founded in 1865, this magazine is dedicated to promoting political discussion while trying to avoid partisan bias.
Political Science Blogs
Pundits, journalists and foreign correspondents love to jump into the political analysis fray online. Students can learn a lot from these discussions, which are continually reshaping our approach to domestic and international policies.
- Little Green Footballs (LGF) – The Washington Post awarded this website the distinction of “Best International” blog. LGF uses a Reddit-style voting system to elevate popular posts, which are submitted by a network of contributors. Posts typically include multimedia content such as interview videos and audio clips.
- ScrappleFace – If you are a fan of political satire, then check out Scott Ott’s satirical news blog, ScrappleFace. Scott tackles multiple topics, including current entertainment news, foreign and domestic politics, tech updates and economic developments with a tongue-in-cheek spin.
- The Monkey Cage – This blog was once an independent project led by five political scientists who wanted to bring their observations and commentary to a wider audience. This publication was recognized as the blog of the year by The Week in 2010, and it was distinguished as a 2012 Best Blog by Time. This widely read blog has since moved over to The Washington Post, where it maintains the same mission and contributors.
- Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) – WIPP is dedicated to political advocacy for women-run businesses and organizations. This non-profit makes efforts to post news that cater to audiences with diverse political backgrounds and party systems. Blog topics include domestic business, international trade and policies that impact women.
Who to Follow on Twitter
Get in touch with lawmakers, political commentators and government agencies via Twitter. These accounts create potential communication channels and are also excellent sources of breaking news, student opportunities and professional advice.
- @WhiteHouse – Keep track of the newest presidential announcements, State of the Union events and national news by adding The White House to your “following” list. This is also a great way to keep up with federal policy developments.
- @ezraklein – Ezra Klein is an extremely prominent political commentator who writes for The Washington Post, Bloomberg News, and MSNBC. Klein has won several journalism distinctions including the Carey McWilliams Award. Klein frequently tweets commentary on media, economics and health care.
- @APSAtweets – This is the official Twitter account for the American Political Science Association, one of the oldest professional and academic societies in the U.S. It regularly features posts about application forms and reminders about upcoming academic opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. Writers also frequently post links to domestic political news articles.