Average Salary of a Political Science Major

Jan 02, 2020

A political science salary may vary by factors like the type of political science degree and the specific job title that one pursues. Explore some of the different political science jobs and potential salaries here.

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Political Science Salary

Political science is a field in the liberal arts that explores political institutions and political behavior. This broad field helps equip students with critical-thinking, communication, and research skills that can be applied to a wide range of careers. Salary for those with a background in political science will vary greatly depending on which career path is chosen, but in general, a degree in political science can help graduates make an average salary greater than $50,000, per PayScale.com.

PayScale.com reported that graduates with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Political Science (PolySci) made an average annual salary of $65,000 in 2019, while those with a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Political Science (PolySci) made an average of $64,472 the same year. In 2019, those who pursued a master's degree in the field made an average salary of $61,248 with a Master of Arts (MA) in Political Science, while those with a Master of Science (MS) in Political Science made an average salary of $59,000. Below, we explore some of the different career options and salaries for graduates of political science programs.

Entry-Level Political Science Jobs

Graduates interested in pursuing a political science-related career straight out of college may look for an entry-level position that only requires a bachelor's degree and no prior work experience. These careers may be available across many different fields, including business, government, law, and communications. For example, students may pursue careers as legislative aides, political consultants, community relations coordinators, and congressional aides. Compare some of these entry-level careers for those with a background in political science and their salaries in the table below.

Job Title Median Annual Salary (2018)*
Writers $62,170
Reporters, Correspondents, and Broadcast News Analysts $43,490
Paralegals and Legal Assistants $50,940
Social Science Research Assistants $46,640
Budget Analysts $76,220
Market Research Analysts $63,120
Secretaries and Administrative Assistants $38,880

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Advanced Political Science Jobs

Many graduates with a political science degree may wish to become a political scientist to study and research political systems and issues. In 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that political scientists made a median annual salary of $117,570. However, these professionals typically need to have at least a master's degree in the field. Other advanced job options for those with a background in political science that may require additional training at the graduate level include:

  • Professor
  • Survey researcher
  • Historian
  • Economist
  • Attorney

Is a Political Science Degree Worth It?

Determining if a degree in political science is worth it really comes down to personal goals, preferences, and interests. As we have seen, one of the great benefits to a political science degree is its flexibility to help prepare students for a wide range of careers. However, students should consider any additional training or education requirements for these positions, even entry-level positions. For example, although it may not be required, it may be beneficial for budget analysts to pursue budget analyst certification programs or aspiring legal assistants to take online legal assistant courses.

We have also seen that many political science-related positions (including entry-level positions) lead to higher salaries (average or median salaries greater than $50,000). Students considering a career in political science may wish to pursue advanced education at the graduate level to even further expand their career options and salary potential.

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