Political Scientists

Last updated December 31, 2014

How does the government decide how much pollution industry can release into the air and water? What’s the best way for local mayors to convince voters to reelect them? Why do some people vote and not others? How does democracy differ in countries across the globe?

Political scientists study political systems from every angle, looking into their birth, growth, and operation. While most strive to discover the trends that shape our identity, their interests and jobs vary greatly. For example, some survey the public about their political opinions; others use math to analyze election results.

Political scientists study the way people organize their societies, whether neighborhoods, nations, or the world community.

Did You Know?

As a political scientist, you could work for a government, a think tank (research organization), a not-for-profit organization, a political lobby group, a university, or even a business.

Are You Ready To...?

  • Study how recent decisions by the Supreme Court have affected health care
  • Conduct a public-opinion survey on a political candidate
  • Interview the people of a changing neighborhood about their relations with neighbors
  • Look into the election results for small towns in the American South
  • Monitor the elections of a newly formed government
  • Predict the growth of the European Union

It Helps To Be...

Able to make connections. As a political scientist, you’ll often have to interpret numbers and make comparisons.

Make High School Count

  • Take challenging courses in world and U.S. history, as well as in government and politics.
  • Study a foreign language. You may use it to do research or to work in other countries.
  • Flex your writing muscle in English.
  • Study statistics to get a head start on a key tool of social science.
  • Build solid computer skills.
  • Pay attention to current events and read political analysis.
  • Run for student government or write news articles for the school newspaper.
  • Intern or volunteer with a not-for-profit institution or political campaign.

Did You Know?

As rumor has it, Albert Einstein once said that politics is more difficult than physics.