Political Science and Liberal Arts Education in Vermont

There are more than 24 public and private colleges and universities throughout Vermont, and most offer a political science degree, be it undergraduate or graduate. While the name of the degree may vary from one college to the next, the ideas and courses contained within the curriculum are similar. For example, some schools offer degrees in Political Science, Public Action, Public Administration, Government, Politics, Pre-Law, Criminal Justice, Legal Studies, International Relations, or Diplomacy.

In addition to majors with different names, Vermont colleges and universities that offer political science degrees may also offer students concentrations within those degree programs. Some students may desire a pre-law concentration, for example, while others may wish to study gender politics. Other interdisciplinary concentrations offered by Vermont schools within the political science curriculum include education, media activism, integral psychology, diplomacy, international affairs, and paralegal certificate. Courses from sibling disciplines that are usually required in any basic political science degree program in Vermont include economics, history, geography, psychology, anthropology and sociology. These course requirements are usually in addition to the basic political science courses required in a major, such as American government, comparative politics, research methods, international relations, and political thought/theory courses.

Vermont Political Science

Political Science Careers in Vermont

According to information provided by CareerOneStop.org (based on data taken from the Vermont Department of Labor Wage Information), some careers attainable with a political science degree in Vermont are ranked among the highest-paying careers in the state as of 2010. These include marketing managers, with average annual wages of $100,100; postsecondary (college and university) law teachers, who earned an average annual salary of $90,300; human resources managers, at an average yearly salary of $92,200; economists, earning approximately $85,300 annually; lawyers, averaging $79,600 per year; and public relations and fundraising managers, who earned about $77,100 annually.

Many successful global companies are based in Vermont and employ graduates with political science backgrounds in various occupations. These companies include GE Healthcare in Burlington and Rutland, Goodrich Defense Systems in Vergennes, image-archiving company Mach7 Technologies in Burlington and Colchester, microplate instrumentation and software company BioTek Instruments Inc. in Winooski, and industrial composite company Plasan North America in Bennington. Other companies that have employed political science graduates in Vermont include World Learning in Brattleboro, the Vermont League of Cities & Towns in Montpelier, Vermont Public Interest Research Group in Montpelier, and the American Heart Association in Williston. Government entities that commonly employ political science majors include the U.S. Army in South Burlington, the State of Vermont offices in Windsor, and the Veterans Health Administration in White River Junction.

How to Become a Politician in Vermont

With 237 towns and nine cities, opportunities to run for local public office in Vermont abound. Running for office in your local government is often the best way to break into Vermont politics. Contact your local municipal clerk for information about elected public offices that are open during the next election and how to proceed in filing for candidacy for an office.

The Vermont Secretary of State's Elections Division publishes information on how to become a candidate for public office on its website. Only candidates from major parties (which currently include Democrat, Republican and Progressive) may run in the state's primary election. Those candidates who are members of minor parties (such as Libertarian, Working Families and Liberty Union) meet in their party committees to nominate candidates, who may then run in Vermont's general election. Independent candidates may also run for office in Vermont. In order to be placed on the primary election ballot, independent candidates must obtain a certain number of signatures, depending upon the office they seek. This information is listed on the Elections Division website.

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