Penn State Harrisburg’s Political Science program major offers a flexible learning opportunity that students can tailor to their own interests and career goals while acquiring broadly employable skills for careers is a variety of fields. The program prepares students to exercise responsibilities of citizenship and leadership in a pluralistic democratic society, and as global citizens. Faculty teaching in the program have an international background and bring a variety of academic and practical perspectives to the program.
Foundational courses provide an opportunity to understand not only U.S. federal, state, and local governments, but also the political systems of other nations and the philosophies that underlie them; further, students learn about political theory, comparative and international politics, and methodology for policy analysis. Through the course of the program, students are able to build their own individual focus area of study, and can choose from one of the following recommended concentrations:
- U.S. Political Institutions and Processes
- International Studies
- Security Studies
The major in Political Science is also a comprehensive learning experience, integrated with the Harrisburg Semester internship program, Pi Sigma Alpha (Political Science Honor Society), Penn State Harrisburg Model United Nations, and Penn State’s Security Center for Research and Education
Career Outlook/ Job Opportunities
Bureau of Labor Statistics data indicate a projected growth of 2% in jobs for political scientists between 2016 and 2026. The ability of our students to follow specific concentrations, including security and emergency management, further improves this job outlook as those areas also have growth rates in the dimension of 10%.
Candidates who have specialized knowledge or experience in their field of interest will also have better job opportunities. Internships or volunteer work also may be helpful. Our program contributes to both.
More than half of all political scientists are employed by the federal government. Political scientists will continue to be needed in government to assess the impact of government policies, such as the efficiencies of public services, effects of departmental cuts, and advantages of proposed improvements. Political organizations, lobbying firms, and many nonprofit, labor, and social organizations rely on the knowledge of political scientists to manage complicated legal and regulatory issues and policies. Political scientists will be needed at research and policy organizations to focus specifically on politics and political theory. Organizations that research or advocate for specific causes, such as immigration, healthcare, or the environment, also need political scientists to analyze policies relating to their field.
The major in political science provides a particularly strong foundation for further studies in law school or graduate school. Upon successfully completing the program, students may qualify for admission to one of our graduate programs and seamlessly continue their academic journey with us in residential, hybrid, or fully online programs. Those include:
- Master of Arts in Criminal Justice
- Master of Health Administration
- Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security
- Master of Public Administration and Doctor of Philosophy in Public Administration