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Political Science major

Why study a political science major?

Study tips
Published 13 Oct, 2022  ·  3-minute read

Politics is often in the spotlight for the wrong reasons. But with the right intentions and skills, pursuing a political science career can give you opportunities to create real change in the world around you.

A political science degree will help you understand political decision-making and all the theories, ideas and ideologies that influence this process. And when you study a Political Science major as part of your UQ Bachelor of Arts, you’ll also learn how to address and approach all kinds of issues – from local conflicts to global challenges.

This may all sound a little vague, though. So, let’s explore the specific skills you’ll acquire when you study political science and discover exactly what you can do with a Political Science major.

Is Political Science a good major?

What makes this such a valuable major is the diverse selection of skills and knowledge you’ll pick up. These will serve you well if you do indeed pursue a job in politics, public policy or any number of public or private organisations. However, they can also be transferred to any other career path you might take.

The things you’ll learn from the Political Science major will also make you savvier about the politics taking place every day, both in your community and on the world stage. You’ll graduate with knowledge of:

  • what politics is all about and theories about how it works
  • the causes and consequences of political issues and crises
  • who wins and loses political contests (and why)
  • how politics operates differently at local, national and global levels
  • the impact and influence that institutions and ideas can have on politics
  • the contrast between democratic and authoritarian regimes
  • how to conduct research in politics and public policy.
Dr Stephen Bell quote

A Political Science major will help you better understand the complex, contested and often ambiguous world in which we live.

Dr Stephen Bell
Professor of Political Economy

Skills you get when you study political science

Political science graduates aren’t just the most confident people at the voting booths. They also carry a diverse range of skills and abilities into any professional position they take on.

The skills you’ll learn from this major include:

  • critical thinking and textual analysis
  • reviewing arguments and problems from different – and often competing – perspectives (i.e. understanding both sides of the story and finding the best possible solution/compromise)
  • high-level written and oral communication
  • constructing plausible arguments using evidence, analysis, and assessment of other people’s arguments
  • identifying core assumptions and values in policies and political arguments
  • recognising problems and proposing solutions
  • understanding the role that power and authority have in shaping politics, as well as the interactions that occur between governments, interest groups and citizens.

Throughout the courses in this major, you’ll gain experience in reviewing research, designing and conducting your own research, presenting arguments, brainstorming with others, reflecting on your worldviews, and engaging with public policy solutions.

Many of these skills can be applied universally, making them helpful in all kinds of workplaces, professions, and even social situations. You’ll also have the opportunity to put your learnings into practice via internships with industry and/or government.

Political science careers

A major in Political Science can prepare you for a wide array of career options. These could range from entrepreneurial roles that require thinking out of the box and regular self-reflection, to jobs in large organisations where you’ll deal with competing agendas, ambiguity and negotiations.

Alumni spotlight: Zoe McDonald

  • Communications Advisor at Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • Bachelor of Arts (Political Science, International Relations, Economics) / Bachelor of Journalism
Zoe McDonald political science

Zoe is working at the heart of the Australian Government in a field that she loves – strategic communications.

"My BA helped me get here by teaching me how to think critically, how to ask important questions, and how to effectively communicate – core skills I use every day in my job," she says.

"My studies exposed me to a huge amount of the world, from understanding the global geopolitical environment to learning about macroeconomic policy."

"I’ve built so many universal skills that any graduate would benefit from, so to someone considering an arts degree, I say do it!"

Jobs for Political Science majors

So, what can you do with a Political Science major? While your skills could open any number of doors across industries, graduates with a keen interest in politics often become:

  • ministerial officers
  • diplomats
  • policy advisers
  • politicians
  • foreign affairs specialists
  • political analysts
  • advocacy coordinators
  • political campaign managers
  • lobbyists
  • local government legislators
  • political consultants
  • political scientists.

Alumni spotlight: Lauren Lee

  • K-Beauty Expert and Founder of Jelly Ko and Style Story
  • Bachelor of Arts (Political Science, Ancient History) / Bachelor of Laws (Honours)
Lauren Lee political science

"I am currently based out of Seoul, South Korea and run my own business manufacturing, consulting, distributing and exporting Korean cosmetics to Australia and the US. I have my own skincare brand, Jelly Ko, am a guest K-Beauty expert on a local Korean radio station and have my own podcast, the Korean Beauty Show.

"My BA taught me many useful skills that I have been able to transfer to my current job, including critical analysis, clear communication and the ability to problem solve and work in a team. As I meet with brand founders and those in the beauty industry looking to manufacture and distribute beauty products all over the world, these skills are key."

"Unlike other degrees, with arts there is a lot of flexibility for you to follow subjects and courses that you’re actually interested in; so I tailored my degree to study what I wanted to learn."

Study political science at UQ

When you choose the Political Science major, you’ll get to choose from courses such as:

Learn more about UQ’s Political Science major Explore other options in the UQ Bachelor of Arts

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