Major Profile: Political Science
Katie Clarke, Features Editor
May 14, 2010
Filed under Uncategorized
Social studies teacher Brian Powell always had a knack for politics, even in high school. Powell was looking for an easy transition to law school after his undergraduate studies at Penn State. He dreamed of becoming a lawyer working for congressional representatives on Capitol Hill and arguing constitutional cases.
While his political science path eventually led him to the educational sector, Powell has always been involved in politics, working on the campaign trail for candidates and teaching AP U.S. Government.
If you’re interested in politics, social studies, current events, and debating as Powell was, College Board suggests that Political Science might be the college major choice for you.
Director of Guidance Carol Heflin-Shupe sees proactive students as candidates for this major. “If you’re one of those people who likes to watch the news and keep up on the daily situations of the world, political science might be the major for you,” Heflin-Shupe said.
In order to prepare for a career like this, political science majors can expect to take classes in judicial processes, foreign policy, political theory, American political campaigns and elections, and global issues.
To specialize in one of these areas, political science majors usually select a path or track at the school they attend. These concentrations can include international relations, comparative politics, U.S. politics, and political theory.
Heflin-Shupe suggests majoring in political science because of the opportunities for growth that the program provides. “Political science acts as a door opener and a gateway to a lot of things like law school, history, and international relations,” she said.
Majoring in political science also helps lead to a more globally aware perspective. “I see the power of government increasing and the government having more control over more areas of our lives, so to not be informed is to not care about the one big power that has a lot of control right now,” Powell said.
With more minority parties forming today, being politically active has become more popular. “There are different ideologies about how powerful the government should be, especially with the Tea Party right now, and [the Tea Party is] really starting to challenge that power that the government holds. People are starting to pay attention [to politics and the direction of the country] more now either because they agree with the Tea Party or they hate it, but it’s much better that people actually pay attention,” Powell said.
Students share similar perspectives on the importance of being politically aware today. “Politics is more important than ever. In this globalized world, events that are occurring in Europe are affecting events in Africa, and things happening in China are affecting the economy here in America. The world is so much more interconnected with the advancement of technology. Because of this, people need to be more aware of what elected officials are doing in every level of government, whether it be national, state, or local. I think a lot of youth think that politics is for old people, or it doesn’t affect them, and the most inaccurate thing I hear is ‘My vote doesn’t count.’ All of these statements are false,” junior Chris Bruneau said, who is planning on majoring in political science.
Students can take several steps to becoming more involved in the political process as Bruneau is this year. Bruneau recently began an internship with U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski. “I am learning so much while interning with Senator Mikulski. I have always seen politics looking from the outside in. Working at her office, allows me to really know what my legislators are doing,” Bruneau said.
Other options include working with the page program in Annapolis or participating in student government. Bruneau said, “I have been getting involved in political campaigns. Networking is really important in politics.” Good advice for students is to pay close attention in their sophomore U.S. government class and try to take AP U.S. Government during senior year.
According to College Board, a degree in political science can lead to careers in journalism, business, nongovernmental organizations, government service, law, teaching, and foreign service.
Katie Clarke can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org