Graduate departments in political science have as their primary goal the training of scholars and teachers in the field of political science. Hence, while they offer Master's degrees in political science, their principal degree is the Ph.D. Those with Ph.D.s in political science undertake many careers, although graduate programs focus on preparing their doctoral students to go on to university careers. Many of those who earn doctorates in political science go on to work in political and public policy consulting or in government and politics at the national and the state levels.
Because the academic job market is very tight now, we urge students to consider graduate study in political science most carefully. Attending the best graduate programs is highly recommended. To get one assessment of the ranking of doctoral programs in political science, one might consult U.S. News and World Report. We do not endorse this particular ranking, but it is not significantly different from other rankings (such as that of the National Research Council) and it provides WWW links to the graduate departments that it ranks.
Many Kenyon political science majors go on to law school and legal careers. While many liberal arts majors are fine preparations for law school, we think political science is especially well suited to pre-legal study because it provides an excellent background to the social context of the law. Those interested in law school are welcome to consult with political science faculty. Kenyon's pre-law advisors are Maureen Tobin in Academic Advising and Kyle Henderson in Development.
Again, U.S. News and World Report has compiled a ranking of law schools. This ranking has been disputed by the Association of American Law Schools. See both sites to learn more about law school rankings. Both also have links to American law schools.
For those interested in government and in public policy making, a professional degree in public affairs, public administration, or public policy may be an appropriate next step after majoring in political science. Public administration programs are primarily designed to train public officials. Public policy programs are more oriented to the evaluation and the analysis of public policy. Most students in public administration and public policy programs do not enter those courses of study until after gaining some work experience.
The National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration represents graduate programs in public affairs, public administration, and public policy. NASPAA's web site has links to member institutions. U.S. News has also ranked different programs in public policy and public administration with links to ranked institutions.
Many political science majors have strong interests in international affairs and foreign policy. There are a variety of ways to continue the study of international affairs, but many choose to take a professional degree in international studies, international affairs, or diplomacy. These programs are typically two years in length, and the graduate programs frequently prefer that those applying for admission have job experience.
The Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs maintains a web site that has links to the member institutions.