Political Science and Liberal Arts Education in Virginia

Politics, political science, foreign affairs and government are all popular undergraduate majors in Virginia's colleges and universities. A political science degree in Virginia can be a stepping-stone to a lucrative career in politics, international relations, journalism, government, education, law or business. Graduates will have a better understanding of world politics, American government, and the political process. They will also learn skills important to communication, comprehension and analysis of key political issues.

Course titles in political science programs in Virginia vary from school to school but topics remain uniform. Students in Virginia college political science programs customarily study urban affairs and planning, U.S. government and politics, world government and politics, the judicial process, constitutional law and political theory. Some undergraduate political science degree holders choose to enroll in law school immediately following graduation, as the political science background lends itself well to further study of law and the judicial process. Graduate degree holders in political science may go on to become attorneys or judges.

Virginia Political Science

Political Science Careers in Virginia

According to the Empire Center for New York State Policy, as of March 2007, Virginia state senators earned an annual salary of $18,000, while Virginia house delegates earned $17,640 yearly. These annual salaries translate to $135 per day of the legislative session for delegates and $140 per day for senators. Legislative careers are not the only option for those seeking political science careers in Virginia, however. Bachelor degree holders may be eligible for positions including political analyst, political editor, intelligence analyst and political action committee manager. Graduate degree holders may become employed as college instructors, intelligence research analysts, director of legislative affairs, attorneys and warfare analysts.

Virginia is a prime state for political science careers. Many political science program graduates work not only within the state, but also in the nearby District of Columbia area, which houses many federal government programs, agencies and entities. The Fairfax/Manassas area is home to many federal government agencies that employ political science majors, such as the Department of Homeland Security Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Social Security Administration. Many private industries in Virginia that work closely with government are also major employers of workers with political science careers. Some of these include Northrop Grumman in Fort Eustis, Lockheed Martin in Alexandria, Raytheon in Arlington, Harris Corporation in Dulles and Varen Technologies in Reston.

How to Become a Politician in Virginia

The Virginia State Board of Elections notes that all who seek public office in the state must be a resident of the state for at least one year prior to election and must be registered to vote in the state. Candidate bulletins for national, state and local offices that are currently available are published on the board of elections website. These bulletins list qualifications for specific offices and filing requirements to run for that office.

Documents that must be filed in order to run for state or local office in Virginia include a Certificate of Candidate Qualification, Campaign Finance reporting forms, Declaration of Candidacy, Petition of Qualified Voters (to get one's name on the election ballot), Statement of Economic Interests (if running for Virginia's General Assembly), and Statement of Organization. Those running for national offices (such as Senator, Representative, Vice-President or President) must file all of the above documents as well as a Public Finance Disclosure Report and the Federal Election Commission Campaign Finance Report. Consult the Virginia Board of Elections website for requirements specific to the office you are seeking.

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