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sanTho27
10-18-2004, 01:30 AM
Hey guys,

I'm a Political Science major at the University at Buffalo. I chose the major because I had been thinking about law school (not really sure yet), and I am interested in ethics, law, psychology, government, etc (all in the major).

HOWEVER, I am constantly being told by my peers that my major=no job. :D
Are they right? If I don't go to graduate school, or law school am I toast?

I'm really not sure what I want to do, so any realistic jobs that a Polysci major can apply for would be cool.

I have nothing against going to graduate school, but I'm just not sure what I want to do yet. (AND IM A JUNIOR AHHHH!) :)

Ace309
10-18-2004, 01:44 AM
Hey, Sean. UB 2004 grad here, with a dual in PoliSci and Philosophy. (Try to get something in with Eagles, Lamb and Campbell. They're gold. If you can grab Yu for one of his ethics courses over in the PHI dept, run, don't walk, to register for it.)

I'm in law school now, so you can see where I went with it. To be honest, I'm not sure what I'd be doing if I didn't go on for some sort of further schooling. Most of the jobs that PoliSci applies directly to - consulting, eg - really do require a higher-level degree, or at least that's the impression that I get.

Of course, that assumes you want your degree to apply directly to your job. You can really take any job and spin a strong undergrad performance into an appropriate hazing for the real world.

I'm no expert, but I'd say to ask yourself this: If you're not going to finish a PoliSci degree, do you really have a burning desire to get into a different field? Do you envision yourself doing a job that strongly involves the concepts taught in another major? If not, finish doing what excites you mentally and take it from there.

dalej42
10-18-2004, 07:23 AM
I doubled majored in Political Science and Economics. I have noticed that some interviewers have the "Poli Sci=Why Try?" attitude. Political Science, along with some other social sciences, is considered a "joke" major at SOME schools. Unfortunately, some interviewers will assume since it was a joke at their school, you spent 4 years partying at your school.

I don't regret majoring in Political Science and Economics. I dedided not to go to law school after I graduated. I do wish I would have gotten my teaching certificate back then, however.

UrbanChic
10-18-2004, 07:38 AM
I majored in Political Science because I'd planned to go to law school. I didn't. While I make a very nice living now in the IT field, I certainly don't need a degree in Political Science to do it.

China Guy
10-18-2004, 08:27 AM
The thing about Polysci or international relations is IMHO basically common sense. I started out that way and switched to economics (and Chinese). I could have easily coasted through undergrad with a high GPA if I had done PolySci. To me it was so simple and obvious, why spend 4 years studying it. So, I opted for something more challenging.

If I could do it over again, I probably would have been an accounting major.

Sunspace
10-18-2004, 08:31 AM
What makes it "Political Science", exactly? Are there falsifiable hypotheses?

Khadaji
10-18-2004, 09:24 AM
Of course there are jobs - Walmart always needs managers. :D

I don't know, I just came in to bust your stones a little. Good luck though.

ruadh
10-18-2004, 09:36 AM
I have a Political Science degree and I'm working in the Irish Parliament.

sanTho27
10-18-2004, 10:54 AM
Hey, Sean. UB 2004 grad here, with a dual in PoliSci and Philosophy. (Try to get something in with Eagles, Lamb and Campbell. They're gold. If you can grab Yu for one of his ethics courses over in the PHI dept, run, don't walk, to register for it.)

I'm in law school now, so you can see where I went with it. To be honest, I'm not sure what I'd be doing if I didn't go on for some sort of further schooling. Most of the jobs that PoliSci applies directly to - consulting, eg - really do require a higher-level degree, or at least that's the impression that I get.

Of course, that assumes you want your degree to apply directly to your job. You can really take any job and spin a strong undergrad performance into an appropriate hazing for the real world.

I'm no expert, but I'd say to ask yourself this: If you're not going to finish a PoliSci degree, do you really have a burning desire to get into a different field? Do you envision yourself doing a job that strongly involves the concepts taught in another major? If not, finish doing what excites you mentally and take it from there.

Where did you end up going to law school? I will check those professors out.

Thanks for the comments guys, It sounds like you're telling me that PSC isn't that useful haha...oh well..

msmith537
10-18-2004, 11:25 AM
I have a Political Science degree and I'm working in the Irish Parliament.


Irish Parliment being some kind of pub or sports bar? :D

ruadh
10-18-2004, 11:33 AM
No, you're confusing Political Science majors with Physics majors.

Ravenman
10-18-2004, 11:54 AM
Depends what you want to do. I was an international relations major in college, which is usually a part of most poli sci departments. I have a great job working in foreign policy.

But a poli sci degree, like a history degree, or an English degree, or the vast majority of other liberal arts-type degrees, don't naturally lead into a single career track. However, most good white collar jobs you come across, with the exception of those involving hard sciences or engineering, simply expect their applicants to have a college degree in a relevant field -- which is a pretty flexible requirement. My view is that poli sci is, for the most part, as good as any other degree one might choose to pursue, depending on one's goal.

I firmly believe that success with one's studies is more important than what field one chooses to pursue. The obvious exceptions are fields which require intensive study in sciences, like if you plan to pursue a medical degree or work in high energy physics. If law school really is in your range of thinking, you'll find an abundance of poli sci majors there, too.

Oh, and don't forget this hard and real fact: not a single employer in the world will care what field your BA was in seven years after you graduate.

LibrarySpy
10-18-2004, 12:36 PM
I have a political science and I value it. Just me. My employers could care less. I knew when I was getting it that I was going on to library school, so I did something fun with my undergrad. You can go to law school on any degree, so there's no reason to tie yourself to political science only for that reason.

As Ravenman says, a liberal arts degree serves the same function as a high school diploma, on a slightly higher scale. It represents that you know enough about life, science, culture, and critical thinking to be a functional adult at a white collar job. If you know what you want to do, the degree is immaterial. If you don't know what you want to do, the degree won't help you decide. :D

Ace309
10-18-2004, 01:06 PM
Where did you end up going to law school? I will check those professors out.

I'm at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York City. It's a branch of the Yeshiva University system, and I'll try not to gush too much about it although I'm loving it so far. I just wrote my first law school exam today, so pending the grade I can't really tell you how much the political science helped me. ;)


What makes it "Political Science", exactly? Are there falsifiable hypotheses?

Absolutely, although you'll find comparably weak journal articles and papers like you'll find anywhere. Often, political science articles will use conditions to conduct a "natural experiment" and have to retrofit the methodology to work with it by, say, evaluating the relative liberalism versus conservatism in legislation passed by a given legislature; in other cases, they work off of survey data. Articles are often accompanied by graphs and tables representing numerical translations of the data; some teachers even subject their students to it. ;) There are quite rigorous methodological standards, assuming you want your article to be published without being torn to shreds. If you're interested, hit a local library and look at some of the Political Science journals for some examples.

Chefguy
10-18-2004, 01:20 PM
Political Science/Economics/International Affairs degrees = career in the Foreign Service. It's most definitely NOT a useless degree.

PunditLisa
10-18-2004, 06:13 PM
Poli Sci major here. My first job was as the City Clerk of a small municipality. Then I went to law school, dropped out, got married and became a mom. Now I'm an administrative assistant in Marketing for a Fortune 50 company.

Did my degree help me? Not directly. But when I compete against other people, I have an edge over people who don't have a degree or who have crappy g.p.a.'s. And my starting salary is adjusted because I have that piece of paper.

Don't regret getting a Poli Sci degree.

Really Not All That Bright
10-19-2004, 01:39 AM
Depends what you want to do. I was an international relations major in college, which is usually a part of most poli sci departments. I have a great job working in foreign policy.
What do you do if you have an international relations degree (ie. a BA in poli. sci.) but aren't a citizen? I'm not eligible for a State Department job, as far as I can tell... :(

Ravenman
10-19-2004, 08:59 AM
I'm not the best career counselor, but international consulting is a large and expanding business. For example, company A wants to move into Country X, but doesn't know a lot about local laws, customs, and safety. It hired consultants that establish contacts in that country to gather this sort of information. The Economist Intelligence Unit (eiu.com) is a well-known source of some of this kind of information. Also, there is Stratfor, (stratfor.com) which is as close to a private intelligence agency as there is anywhere around. Both are pretty exciting careers that are somewhat comparable to a career in the foreign service.

There's also thinktanks, magazines, newspapers, banks, insurance companies, manufacturers, and others who look for people with international experience for various positions. Of course, you could always work for the foeign service of your home country, too.

But, again, they do not hire people because they have an IR degree. What you've done in college is ten times more important than the words on your diploma. If you, with extensive coursework in international relations, are competing with a philosophy major who did a year abroad and can speak Chinese, you're not getting the job.

I assume you are studying a language, right? A hard one?

Really Not All That Bright
10-20-2004, 12:52 AM
Actually, I'm done. I speak French, and with a few days of intense coaching I could handle conversational Hindi..

Renob
10-20-2004, 01:54 PM
I received a degree with a double major in political science and history -- two majors that would seem to have little relevance in the job world. However, I've never had a problem getting a job. In fact, I had a job waiting for me when I graduated. Of course, it's not as if I got that job based on my degree. Hell, I would have had that job if I'd majored in biology, English, physics, etc. As someone stated above, for most jobs it doesn't really matter what your degree is in. Employers simply want a college graduate. In some instances this isn't true, like if you want to be an accountant or a NASA engineer, but for most jobs I think it is.

Don't let your friends BS you. If they are saying you can't get a job with a poli-sci degree, then they are simply showing their ignorance. You really shouldn't take advice from ignorant people.

msmith537
10-21-2004, 10:40 AM
Don't let your friends BS you. If they are saying you can't get a job with a poli-sci degree, then they are simply showing their ignorance. You really shouldn't take advice from ignorant people.


Oh you'll get a job. No one graduates college and never works again. The question is will you get a career with a future doing something you like or will you be struggling to land any j-o-b that will pay the bills. The problem is that too many college students spend 4 years studying whatever strikes their fancy and THEN worry about what kind of job they will land. They will be competing against kids who know what they wanted to do freshman year and have summer internships in that field.

I was the same way. I graduated with a degree in civil engineer but by the time I graduated, I knew I hated it. Now an engineering degree helps getting into jobs in computers or finance because its quantitative. I think it hurts a little if I want a job in sales or marketing because it paints me as a "numbers guy".

Don't listen to people who tell you that college grades and major don't matter. They do. The only jobs where this doesn't matter are dead end jobs that someone with any degree can do. Maybe it won't matter in seven years if you are a star performer at your company, but the days of just strolling out of your dorm with any degree and into some tech job paying $45000 out of college are over.

My thoughts on the matter are you either need:
1) A degree close enough to a field that's hot so that the rest doesn't matter
2) Excellent grades in a respectible major
3) Great work experience/internships
4) Really great connections

Ravenman
10-21-2004, 12:12 PM
Don't listen to people who tell you that college grades and major don't matter. They do. The only jobs where this doesn't matter are dead end jobs that someone with any degree can do. Maybe it won't matter in seven years if you are a star performer at your company, but the days of just strolling out of your dorm with any degree and into some tech job paying $45000 out of college are over.Wow. Judgmental much?

In my office, which has an exceptional record for people moving into positions of great responsibility and good pay, there are folks who studied international relations (like me), English, journalism, psychology, economics, environmental studies, poli sci, history, and probably a bunch of other liberal arts fields that I don't know of. My professional acquantances are pretty much all in similar positions. The only thing that mattered is that we had college (or advanced) degrees.

Again, I repeat what I said earlier: majors don't matter very much unless you are going into fields that relate to science, engineering, technology, medicine, and the like. Hell, I know one accountant who majored in American studies (but I wouldn't recommend that course of study if you're serious about that profession!).

Plus, I took it from the OP that he wasn't really interested in a tech job, anyways, because he said that he was most interested in politics, ethics, psychology, and related fields. If that's true, there's no reason to worry about his major. But I do completely agree with the importance of being a good student with accomplishments, and interships are also a great use of a student's time.

msmith537
10-21-2004, 09:55 PM
In my office, which has an exceptional record for people moving into positions of great responsibility and good pay, there are folks who studied international relations (like me), English, journalism, psychology, economics, environmental studies, poli sci, history, and probably a bunch of other liberal arts fields that I don't know of. My professional acquantances are pretty much all in similar positions. The only thing that mattered is that we had college (or advanced) degrees.



I'm just speaking from experience. My undergrad grades weren't the greatest and that immediately excluded me from certain jobs that I managed to land interviews for due to connections of one kind or another - investment banks, Fortune 500 management programs, top management consulting firms. These companies tend to require very high academic performance. In many ways, it might have been better for me to study something like poly sci or marketing instead of engineering which I hated.

I'm not saying liberal arts is a bad major. It just seems that quite often, people I know who studied liberal arts find themselves having to explain it to an interviewer. You want to hear "wow..that's a tough major" or like I heard in an interview the other day "well..as an MBA with an engineering degree, I'm sure you are well versed in convexity of bond durations" :confused: (uh..if there are no follow up questions..yes I am). you don't want to hear "hmm..we don't have too many of them here".

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