Get Your Voice Out There: The Path to a Career in Political Science

If you have ideas that need to be shared, or if you come from a community that doesn’t have much of a voice, a career in political science might be the right choice for you.

It’s no secret that black professionals involved in law and politics are steadily underrepresented in their field. We’ve made progress, no doubt, but the upward trend toward diversity has been slow and inconsistent. In 1965, not a single U.S. senator or governor was black and there were only six black members in the U.S. House of Representatives. As of 2019, 52 House members are black, but there are only three black senators and, currently, no black governors. And with this underrepresentation of black politicians comes an underrepresentation of ideas and experiences in public discourse.

If you have ideas that need to be shared, or if you come from a community that doesn’t have much of a voice, a career in political science might be the right choice for you. It helps to be an excellent communicator—both in speaking and in writing—and to be interested not only in the politics of today, but also in the governments and policies of decades past. Taking advanced classes in politics and in history will equip you with crucial skills and knowledge, and difficult English classes will teach you how to communicate your ideas clearly and effectively. Whether you’re in high school or college, there are plenty of opportunities outside of class to get involved, such as by joining the debate team or volunteering for a political campaign that you care about. This way, you don’t have to wait to get a degree before making your voice heard.

As broad a field as political science can be, it’s important to choose a college that allows you to focus on your specific areas of interest. You may choose to teach political science to high school students, or pursue graduate studies to teach at the college level. If you’re a faithful reader of political news and op-eds, you might consider a career in journalism. With a law degree, you can pursue a future as a lawyer or judge. Or, you may decide that a governmental career is how you’d best make an impact. 

Dillard University’s political science degree prepares students pursuing careers in a wide variety of fields, including law, politics, journalism, government and more. Fisk University breaks down its political science degree into two divisions: Plan I, the general political science component, emphasizes law and graduate school preparation; Plan II, the public administration component, emphasizes preparation for work in both the public and private sectors of society. Similarly, Huston-Tillotson University’s political science degree caters to students pursuing four different paths: entrance into graduate school, entrance into law school, a career in public service, or teaching government, civics or another related social science in K-12 schools. 

Want to learn more about this possible career path and college major? Have questions about which UNCF colleges and universities offer this program? Looking for help with financing this degree?

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When it comes to funding your education, you can’t go wrong with applying for UNCF (United Negro College Fund) General Scholarship Awards. If you plan to use your political science degree to teach at local K-12 schools, the UNCF K-12 Education Fellowship Program is an excellent opportunity. And since many political science majors choose to get involved in their communities, you may be an excellent candidate for The Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Scholarship Program, which is awarded to rising college seniors who have demonstrated a commitment to community service.

Of course, as you progress from high school to university, new opportunities to earn scholarships and get involved will become available. One of the easiest ways to make sure you get important updates is to follow UNCF on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Take advantage of opportunities as they come up, and you’ll be well on your way to achieving your goals and benefitting your community in a meaningful way.