Erudera's Complete Guide to Studying Politics in The US
Politics is a common career choice among students nowadays. This social science degree path will allow you to explore subjects like political theory, international relations, and government in theory and practice. A politics degree in the United States will create numerous career pathways in the US and abroad. Studying politics in the United States has many advantages and benefits. Three of the main reasons why studying politics in the US is a good idea are elaborated below. However, you should also consider that the US is a multicultural country with over a million international students. Thus, you will have the opportunity to grow in areas other than academic - you will learn about different cultures, create global connections, and broaden your horizons.
Here’s everything you need to know about studying politics in the United States:
Reasons to Study Politics in The US
Countless Opportunities to Advance
The United States is where ambitious students go to advance their careers, regardless of their career paths. As one of the largest economies in the world, the US gives students the chance of a lifetime when it comes to career development. Students get to be part of an outstanding, world-class higher education system that emphasizes the importance of practical work, internships, and employment prospects. As a politics student in the United States, you may even benefit from study abroad opportunities in Europe and other parts of the world. You can expect to find internship opportunities in city and state governments, law firms, businesses, and non-profit organizations. Overall, you should make use of the countless opportunities to advance in the United States, whether they come in the form of internships, volunteer work, or study abroad opportunities.
The Chance to Create a Rewarding Career
It is quite possible to create a rewarding career in the United States in terms of finances and employment opportunities. As a political scientist in the US, you can expect to earn an annual median salary of $125,350, according to BLS 2020 estimations. But, a degree in politics will allow you to undertake a wide array of career paths, which is to say the skills you earn during your political education in the United States will be transferable and valuable across several industries and job titles. In fact, political scientist jobs are expected to grow 5% by 2028, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. This is excellent news because, of course, every prospective politics student wishes to know that their employment prospects are on the rise and not the contrary.
Comprehensive Political Science Programs
As a prospective politics student in the United States, you will be glad to know that US universities are home to countless exciting and comprehensive programs. Undergraduate politics programs usually include courses in political theory, American politics, comparative politics, and international relations, to mention a few. Higher education institutions in the US will also give you the chance to take advanced undergraduate courses to further your political knowledge. You can choose anything related to your preferences, including courses related to specific institutions, nations, aspects, or policies. You will also have the chance to learn about concepts covered by other majors due to the comprehensive nature of political science programs in the United States.
Requirements to study politics in the United States highly depend on the university to which you apply. Some universities require students to have studied specific subjects during their earlier education, such as humanities and social sciences (the subjects that correspond to each area of study). Universities might also base their admissions based on your GPA. Other requirements also include providing proof of English proficiency (for non-native English speakers). If you’re applying for a master’s degree in politics, you must have a bachelor’s degree (in politics or related fields). SAT/ACT test scores may also be part of the requirements.
Prospective politics students typically submit their university applications online. Many universities/programs are using the Common App to receive applications. The Common App is an undergraduate college admission application comprising 900 member colleges and universities. You will be required to submit several application documents and fulfill a few requirements.
Some of the application requirements you will have to submit are:
- Academic transcripts. Such as high school or college transcripts.
- SAT/ACT test scores. Depending on the university.
- IELTS/TOEFL test scores.
- Letters of recommendation. Two to three letters of recommendation.
- Personal statement.
- Application fee payment.
Degree Duration: How Long Does It Take to Study Politics in United States?
It takes around three to four years to complete an undergraduate degree in politics in the US. During this time, you will learn anything from American politics, political theory, research methods, etc. Upper-level classes will focus on subjects such as civil war and international law, to name a few. On the other hand, if you wish to pursue a master’s program in politics at US universities, you will go through a 1-2 year study period. You can find a multitude of master’s programs in politics, such as MA in Political Science, MA in Diplomacy and International Relations, MA in Conflict Resolution, or MA in Peace and Justice, among others.
Tuition Fees: How Much Does It Cost to Study Politics in United States?
Tuition fees in the United States can be higher than in other countries; however, students often opt for scholarships, grants, or financial aid to cover their expenses. The average cost of tuition and fees in politics in the United States is around $8,000 for in-state students and $28,000 for out-of-state students. Graduate programs charge an average of $20,600 in tuition and fees. Of course, the exact cost of tuition depends on factors such as the university type. For example, the cost of tuition and fees at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) can be as high as $53,790 for a graduate program. Interested students should also consider costs related to housing, meals, as well as books, and personal expenses.
Politics Career Prospects in United States
The skills you will learn during your political education are easily transferable in a wide variety of employment areas. Apart from the obvious areas of study in such a program, you will also gain strong critical thinking and communication skills. Career prospects for politics majors are quite satisfactory in the United States. If you enjoy research, you may further your education to a doctoral degree and start a career in academia. Moreover, you may work in various sectors, such as the private sector, nonprofits, or the government.
Potential job titles for politics majors and their annual median salaries in the United States are:
|Job Title||Annual Median Salary|
|Public Relations Manager||$107,320|
Politics majors may also work as journalists, diplomats, political consultants, research analysts, foreign services officers, campaign workers, etc. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, political scientist jobs are expected to grow 5% by 2028, while economist jobs are expected to grow 8% during the same time frame.