The study of political science develops reasoning and analytical skills, and also communication skills, both oral and written. Furthermore, North Carolina Central University political science majors acquire skills in data analysis and computer usage. Thus, the study of political science prepares a student to pursue many different careers. The following highlights some of the frequently chosen careers for which political science has been most useful. In addition, you should check the web page of the American Political Science Association: www.apsanet.org
Law has been a very popular choice of political science majors. Each year, a large number of NCCU political science majors are admitted into prominent law schools within North Carolina and around the country. Many choose to enter our own NCCU Law School, one of the most popular programs in America. The careers paths after law school have been extremely varied with some entering other professions, but most find positions within the legal profession. Our Theory & Prelaw concentration prepares students to enter private practice, serve as legal counsel of private organizations or public agencies, as well as service on the bench. Areas of law include criminal, corporate, civil rights, sports and entertainment, and environmental justice. Our prelaw program emphasizes advocating for victims of injustice and empowering people to make our democracy more fair for vulnerable populations.
After law, one of the most frequently selected careers has been governmental service--both appointed and elected---at the local, state, and national levels. While all majors receive the same education about government, they have taken many different routes to their positions in government. Some have used the internship program as a springboard to launch their careers. Others have established contacts by being active in electoral campaigns. Still others have used their subsequent masters degrees in public administration or public policy analysis to qualify for positions such as city manager. Our Civic Engagement and Public Policy concentration provides students with the quantitative and management skills that can promote careers in public administration as well as with organizations that serve community needs including careers in health, domestic violence, community policing, immigration, adolescent and elderly programs, and advocates for social justice.
Many are surprised to learn that a large number of political science majors are employed in business. Majors have found employment in a variety of fields, including marketing, personnel, advertising, public relations, banking and finance. Exact positions attained are varied, but include positions in management, research, and as governmental liaisons such as lobbyists. Social science majors are attractive to business because their liberal arts education and skills in analysis and communication mean they can not only initially perform several functions, but also adapt to future changes. Political science majors bring to business organizations a level of decision-making skills often missing from business curriculums. Political science majors seeking a career in business can enhance their prospects by having a sound background in statistical analysis and in basic business concepts. Beyond this you should consider business administration as an additional major or minor.
The 21th century has seen an explosion in the number of international organizations, both public and private. This has accompanied a similar increase, especially after 1960, in the number of domestic interest groups. Whether it is an environmental group lobbying the US Congress or the United Nations Environmental Program, all of these organizations need individuals for management, research, and interaction with other public and private entities. If you are interested in working for an international organization, foreign language skills may be a fundamental requirement. You may also want to develop some substantive expertise in a particular area. If you are concerned with and want to work for one of the environmental groups, then courses in environmental science would be particularly useful. Our Global Politics concentration prepares majors to enter global careers that are related to human rights, women’s issues, health, immigration and migration concerns, environmental management, and in related areas of international law.
Political science majors have long found employment in some aspect of communications, especially in the analysis and forecasting of political events. Newspapers and electronic and digital media need individuals capable of understanding and communicating the significance of political events. Today more and more global citizens obtain their news from blogs and non-corporate sources, and with this vast array of sources the need for expert insight has become more strategic than ever. Students considering such a career would be well advised to consider a joint major. English or mass communications would be particularly appropriate as a potential double major at NCCU. Also, it would be a wise strategy to take advantage of the numerous local opportunities for hands-on experience. Local newspapers, radio stations, and television stations all provide opportunities for internships or paid positions.
Most of the job opportunities in political science itself require an advanced degree. This includes careers in teaching at the collegiate level and doing scholarly research on various political and policy related issues. Approximately 75% of political scientists are employed by educational institutions where a Ph.D. is a prerequisite for employment. Opportunities outside of academia---public affairs organizations, research organizations, consulting firms, Congressional staffs, etc.---are less likely to require a Ph.D., but you may be at a competitive disadvantage without it or a specialized degree such as Masters in Public Policy. We have designed our political science requirements so that each student is exposed to each of the major subfields of the discipline while simultaneously obtaining a concentration in a particular area of political science that can prepare them for an academic career. We have had great success in placing our graduates in some of the top graduate schools in the country.
The NCCU Political Science program has a special interest in attracting international students who are committed to political careers in their home countries. Our curriculum trains students in theories of democratization, and analyzes the successes and failures of reform movements both in America and abroad. As an HBCU, we have always attracted a large number of students from the Black diaspora; our facilities provide a place where students can gather and share ideas and develop collaborative relationships with each other.
North Carolina Central University
1801 Fayetteville St.
Durham, NC 27707