Political Science and Liberal Arts Education in Pennsylvania

Whether you plan to become a politician in Pennsylvania or not, a political science degree can help you immensely in your career. Pennsylvania politicians who hold political science degrees are often regarded by the public as more intelligent than non-degreed challengers for office. The popularity of a political science major in Pennsylvania is increasing among students, as the solid background they receive in government, international relations, politics and human rights can benefit a host of careers, both in and out of the political science realm.

Colleges and universities that offer both undergraduate and graduate political science programs are plentiful in Pennsylvania, and may be taught in in-person settings or online. Standard fields found in most undergraduate political science programs include classes in comparative politics, American politics, political theory and international relations. Students learn about international security, the history of American government and politics, the political economy, and comparative analysis of the political systems in various countries. In addition, some schools offer concentrations in fields of interest, such as political communication, the politics of world regions, and political economy.

Depending on the undergraduate political science program you choose in Pennsylvania, you might have the option of a one or two semester- long internship. This is usually within a government entity and may take place in the state capitol in Harrisburg or in our nation's capital, Washington, D.C. Skills learned in these valuable internships can help you in your political science career post-graduation.

Pennsylvania Political Science

Political Science Careers in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania boasts the oldest political science association in the nation, the Pennsylvania Political Science Association (PPSA), founded in 1939. This fact emphasizes the importance of political science careers in Pennsylvania. Members of the PPSA are drawn from universities, as well as local, state and federal government.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry Center for Workforce Information & Analysis, there were 380,310 Pennsylvanians working for the government in 2008. This includes workers in federal, state and local government. The center projects that by 2018, that number will increase by almost 1500. Employers in Pennsylvania who routinely hire political science graduates are many. On the federal level, the Office of Homeland Security in Philadelphia employs candidates with political science backgrounds. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's many offices across the state employ political science degree holders as well. The state's 67 counties each have local governments that hire employees with political science degrees.

How to Become a Politician in Pennsylvania

If you are a Pennsylvania resident and would like to run for elected office, the Pennsylvania Department of State's Department of Elections can help you along the way. They have spelled out the exact requirements for judicial, state and federal offices. To become a representative in Pennsylvania's General Assembly, for example, you must be at least 21, have lived in Pennsylvania for four or more years, have been a U.S. citizen for four or more years, and have resided in your local district for one or more years. Candidates for state senator must be at least 25, with the same residency requirements as representative. If you aspire to a higher office, such as attorney general, you must be a member of the Bar of the Supreme Court of PA, at least 30 years of age, a U.S. citizen, and have lived in Pennsylvania for 7 or more years. Candidates for Lieutenant Governor and Governor have the same requirements as those of Attorney General.

If the office you seek is a local one, your county's board of elections can help. Contact information for all county board of elections in Pennsylvania can be found here.

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