Receiving an M.A. degree in Political Science or International Affairs opens up a large number of opportunities. Graduates of our M.A. programs have followed diverse career paths. These students fall into one of four categories. The first group is seeking scholarly training and preparation prior to applying to leading law schools or top Ph.D. programs. Many such students are uncertain if they are ready to make the commitment to a Political Science Ph.D. program. For them, our M.A. programs provide a sense of what they can expect from a Ph.D. program. Others may feel that their academic record (or standardized test scores) would prevent them from being accepted into a top Ph.D. program. For these students, our M.A. programs offer an opportunity to prove themselves in the classroom in a respected and high-ranking graduate program. Some of our recent M.A. degree recipients have gone on to law school or to Political Science Ph.D. programs at Chicago, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, McGill, MIT, New Mexico, Notre Dame, North Carolina, Texas, UCLA, UC-San Diego, Wisconsin, and Yale.
A second group of students seeks employment in government service. Some of these M.A. graduates have been offered jobs in national government. The federal government is large and varied. A federal government job can be almost anything: a teacher of government in an overseas school for military or diplomatic dependents; a budget analyst in the Department of Transportation; an intelligence specialist in the CIA; a program analyst in the Environmental Protection Agency; a staff aide in a Congressional committee or a Congress member’s office. Our M.A. students have also pursued careers in state and local government or have become active in electoral politics. Still others have successfully pursued work for international organizations.
The third group of our M.A. students desires to work as analysts or policy advocates in the private sector, in jobs where an advanced understanding of politics and policy-making is beneficial. Such jobs include -- but are not limited to -- analysts for research institutes and “think tanks” and advocates for particular causes or interest groups. In the United States there are hundreds of public and private interest groups which work to influence governmental policy decisions. These interest groups function to transmit the demands of organized persons into the decision-making centers of the political system and to monitor governmental activities of potential concern to the groups. Many of the people employed by these interest groups collect and analyze data before these data are relayed to governmental agents and agencies. The training in conducting and assessing research that our M.A. students receive provides a solid foundation for such work.
Those in the final group of our M.A. students have gone on to find employment in the business sector, in the media, or as teachers at private and/or preparatory schools. Many private schools do not require their teachers to have completed a school of education degree program, but they value higher education degrees in the field in which the teacher will teach. Many community colleges hire instructors with M.A. rather than Ph.D. degrees. Recent graduates have taught at private and/or preparatory schools from Texas to Virginia.
Return to Graduate home.