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Why Study Political Science?

When you study Political Science, you’ll learn about how political power is distributed, how different governments operate and interact, how rules are made and enforced. You will explore both the "who" of politics (such as politicians, international organizations, and the public) and the "how" (such as elections, political institutions, and public administration). Politics affects virtually every aspect of our lives, including the the availability of education, jobs, housing and healthcare. Whether countries are at war or at peace depends both on what governments do and who supports them.

What is Political Science?
Political science is the study a range of political ideas, events, actions, and institutions. It includes both understanding and explaining the world of politics that is all around us. We all participate in politics, though most of the time we do so unknowingly. Politics is much more than simply voting in an election or working in government. Reading or listening to news, making donations to aid groups, or talking with friends and family about social issues and values are a few of the many examples of political activity in our every day lives.

Political Science is concerned with the many institutions, organizations and norms that determine how people perceive society, and in turn, how they interact within it. In Political Science, we discuss basic concepts, such as “power”, “government” or “democracy”, in order to get us thinking about the world around us, and our place in it. Once that we understand the many concepts, we study the connections between them in order to better explain political outcomes, such as: why people vote for one political party as opposed to another, why governments and policies differ in different countries, or why armed conflicts happen in some cases while they are avoided in other cases.

Citizen participation and engagement occurs because of the nature of the institutions that structure society: we work and live within them, and sometimes we rebel against them. If you study Political Science, you will look at how and why.

Where Does Political Science Lead You?
Studying political science can open up a wide range of job opportunities in both the public, private, and not-for-profit private sectors. Students interested in careers in business, education, law, journalism, communications, government, or politics more generally will obtain vital knowledge and skills. Students can also get practical skills by doing co-ops with government or organizations as part of their education experience.

You will gain expertise and proficiency in the following:
• experience working with others and interacting in a diverse community;
• greater command of reading, writing and critical thinking;
• research and analysis skills that are valuable in a range of employment areas
• an ability arrive at decisions based on the analysis and synthesis of information and data
• an ability to engage with political events and a greater understanding of the processes involved in different political systems around the world;

These are all useful and important skills necessary for a successful career in any field.

Career Options
If you're considering a career in the government, as a lawyer, as a social advocate, or perhaps with an international organization like the United Nations, then studying Political Science is an obvious choice. If you’re interested in journalism and the media, or perhaps public relations, then this might be the place to begin. Perhaps you're intrigued by Newfoundland and Labrador politics and think that you might like to work with a political party and/or in elections. Or possibly you're interested in learning how to analyze complex policies as you prepare for graduate studies.

Even if you are unsure about your career plans, studying Political Science can be a great path. Many of our graduates go into business or other practices and professions. Employers often look for the critical thinking, analysis, and communications skills that political scientists develop -- not to mention the valuable knowledge that you will gain about government and international politics.

Departmental Resource

Be sure to review our Political Science handbook, prepared by and for undergraduate students.