University Career Center

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All academic programs offered at the UM help students develop valuable transferable skills. Political science is the systematic study of political structures, processes, and policies, utilizing institutional, quantitative, and philosophical approaches. This diverse field encompasses political theory, international relations, American and comparative government, public policy, and research methodology. Students in political science will develop a broad range of skills to prepare them for careers in areas such as government, business, and nonprofit organizations.

Related fields include Philosophy, Classical Studies, History, Economics, American Culture, Latino/a Studies, Survey Methodology, Statistics, Public Policy, Urban Planning, International Studies, and Russian and Eastern European Studies.


Planning and Development Skills

Making projections
Organizing people / ideas
Thinking logically
Conceptualizing and implementing projects

Research and Quantitative Skills

Developing research designs and models
Programming and systems analysis
Utilizing survey research methods
Developing data
Comparing / contrasting ideas and information

Analytical Skills

Understanding components of complex problems
Interpreting data
Offering relevant perspectives
Synthesizing themes from complex issues

Communication Skills

Presenting ideas and data clearly
Influencing and persuading people / groups
Mediating / negotiating conflicts
Public speaking
Critical listening


Employers seek out individuals who can demonstrate excellent verbal and written communication skills, teamwork and interpersonal skills, initiative, and a strong work ethic. Student organizations and campus employment offer valuable opportunities to add to the skills you are developing in your classes. Other options include study abroad, off-campus employment, or volunteering in the community. Finally, an internship may be the best way of all to test out a career field and develop marketable skills. The Political Science Department sponsors Michigan in Washington DC Program, which offers a fall or winter internship along with coursework. The Career Center’s Public Service Intern Program (PSIP) assists undergraduates in securing summer internships in Washington D.C.


Political Science concentrators develop both general and technical skills applicable to a wide range of careers. For example, research and communication skills may be equally useful whether working as an international lawyer, a political lobbyist, or a freelance journalist.

Many concentrators go on to graduate or professional school. The list below is a sample of careers undertaken by Political Science graduates.

Planning and Development Skills

City manager open book icon
Urban policy planner open book icon
Public health administrator open book icon
Development director
Event coordinator / activity planner
Peace Corps volunteer coordinator

Research / Quantitative Skills

Staff assistant, political office
Legislative aide
Legal investigator open book icon
Canvass director
Direct mail specialist
Advertising account manager
Systems analyst open book icon

Analytical Skills

International lawyer open book icon
Environmental lawyer open book icon green leaf icon
Geographer open book icon green leaf icon
Public opinion analyst
News analyst
Regulatory analyst
Public affairs officer
Foreign service officer
Multinational marketing research analyst open book icon

Communication Skills

Corrections / parole officer
Publications director
Issues director
Teacher, K-12
College instructor open book icon
Press agent
Editorial assistant
Public relations specialist
Public affairs reporter

green leaf icon = Green Jobs
open book icon = Further Study Required

For more career information, see O*Net at


The Department offers courses in Political Theory, Comparative Government and Politics, World Politics, American Government and Politics, Public Policy, and Research Methods. To major in political science, two prerequisites are required. In addition, the concentration requires at least 24 hours in political science, including two advanced senior-level courses, along with two courses in a cognate department.

Department of Political Science
5700 Haven Hall
505 South State Street

Newnan Advising Center
1255 Angell Hall


To begin connecting to professionals in fields that interest you, create your own LinkedIn account:

To identify internships or job opportunities, visit Handshake:

For more information about PSIP, please visit:

To learn more about the Michigan in Washington Program, see:

Maize Pages list hundreds of organizations for students to get involved in:

On-campus jobs (work-study and non work-study jobs) are listed at:

The Career Center
3200 Student Activities Building

The Career Guide series was developed by the University of Michigan Career Center, Division of Student Affairs, in cooperation with the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. ©2011 Regents of the University of Michigan