Political Science and Liberal Arts Education in Maryland

A political science degree is the first step towards a career in politics and government in Maryland. Request information from Maryland colleges and universities that offer either a Bachelor of Science in Political Science or a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Some of these programs are available in traditional brick-and –mortar fashion, while others are strictly online programs. If you have an interest in a special concentration in Political Science, make sure the school you choose offers that emphasis. Examples could include Strategic Intelligence, Civic Leadership, and International Relations. Depending upon the school you choose, your major may be called Political Science, Government and Politics, Public Administration, or a derivative of these. Make sure you have fulfilled any necessary prerequisite courses (such as basic math or English) before enrolling in any courses. Most schools require a minimum of 45 credit hours in political science.

Select a school that is accredited by the Maryland Higher Education Commission. A database of accredited colleges, universities and programs is here. If you opt to earn a graduate degree in political science, make sure that the school you choose is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). An updated list of accredited schools may be found here.

Maryland Political Science

Political Science Careers in Maryland

Government employment in Maryland ranks one of the lowest in the nation, according to the Maryland Department of Planning. There were 614 state and local government employees for every 10,000 Maryland residents in 2008. In 2009, a total of 557,160 Maryland residents worked in government and government enterprises (including federal, civilian, military, state and local government entities) per the Department of Planning. Projections indicate that these numbers will increase to 584,900 by 2020, representing a total increase of 4.7 percent during that period.

Political science degree holders have a wide variety of career options in Maryland. Colleges typically employ graduate degree holders as instructors or professors. Legislators may employ undergraduate degree holders as legislative assistants. The federal government employs political science degree holders in a variety of capacities, including statistician, consultant, security professional, research analyst and managing director.

National government entities in Maryland that employ political science degree holders include the Army Intelligence and Security Command in Anne Arundel County, the Internal Revenue Service in Lanham, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg. State government employers of political science graduates include the Maryland Department of Transportation in Baltimore and the Office of the Governor in Annapolis. Local government agencies that employ political science graduates include St. Mary's County Government in Leonardtown and the Montgomery County Government in Rockville.

How to Become a Politician in Maryland

Once you've earned your Political Science degree, you can continue along the path to entering Maryland politics. Your first step should be to volunteer in your local community, perhaps even assisting in a campaign of a candidate you support. Next, if you want to enter local government, check the requirements with your county's Board of Elections. A complete list of County Board of Elections is here. Your local board can provide you with a list of available offices and the requirements necessary within that jurisdiction to run for office. If you would like to run for an office in state government, check the requirements with the Maryland State Board of Elections.

Basic requirements for running for office, according to Maryland election law, include:

  • You must be a registered voter within the jurisdiction in which you seek office
  • You must have a party affiliation (except for judicial and county Board of Election candidates)
  • You may not run for more than one public office at a time, or more than one political party office at a time
  • You may run for a party office and a public office simultaneously
  • You must file a Campaign Finance Report with your state or local election board, including all campaign contributions received and expenditures made
  • You must file a Certificate of Candidacy for the office you seek, listing your name as it should appear on the ballot, with your state or local Board of Election. This filing may be done in person, by certified mail, or by messenger, and must be accompanied by a filing fee and evidence that you have filed a Campaign Finance Report

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