Why Choose Us?
Political Science and Public Administration are in the College of Liberal Studies at UW-L, emphasizing a broad based liberal arts education. In addition, students of political science and public administration acquire skills and backgrounds essential to a broad variety of careers and occupations.
To be more specific:
- Political science and public administration provide knowledge and training essential to careers in government, business, media, law, education, diplomacy, international organization, recreation, and health care. Virtually all occupations require persons familiar with government, the political process, and public policy.
- Political science and public administration are essential for "informed" citizens. It is important that every citizen in a democracy be informed on the political system and political process. Public policy concerns everyone and democracy is dependent upon an informed and involved public. To have a government of, by, and for the people requires that people become part of the government.
- The study of political science and public administration develops skills important to all occupations and careers. These include data gathering and analysis, research, computer literacy, oral and written communication.
Careers in Political Science and Public Administration
There are many opportunities for those with a political science or public administration major or minor. Here are some of the occupational possibilities:
The Legal Profession
The political science major or minor is a good option for those considering law school and a career as a lawyer. Within the political science department we find the UW-L pre-law advisers and a curriculum consisting of a number of legal studies courses to serve as a foundation. A law background is valuable in many occupations. Many elected officials are lawyers. Businesses and governments alike employ thousands of lawyers. There has also been a dramatic growth in the number of people employed as paralegals or legal assistants. They must also have a background in legal studies and legal research.
Obviously, one primary occupational option is a career in government. Government is a major employer and within government there are vast numbers of jobs. The federal government currently employs approximately 3 million, state governments employ approximately 4.5 million, and local governments an addition 3.5 million. Some government jobs require people with specialized training, but many are open to students with a liberal arts background or education. The political science major or minor is designed to provide students with the educational background important to a large variety of government jobs in all areas of society--law, education, business, recreation, diplomacy, international organization, etc. The public administration major and minor are specifically designed to prepare students for careers as government executives or city managers.
Diplomacy and International Affairs
The political science major or minor is also designed to prepare students seeking careers in diplomacy and international affairs. This can include diplomats and consuls, intelligence, the military, governmental and non-governmental international organizations. There are now some 8,000 non-governmental international organizations embracing all kinds of occupations and careers. Besides the United Nations itself, we find a host of specialized agencies. Within the U.S. government, we find international jobs in most cabinet departments including Justice, Treasury, Commerce, and Agriculture in addition to the Departments of State and Defense. Even state and local governments have an international dimension in the form of sister communities and trade missions abroad.
Many, if not most, political science graduates become employed in the private as opposed to the public sector. While some business occupations require specialized training, many do not. A political science degree is of considerable value to business employers seeking good students. Many employers seek to hire liberal studies students with a broad education and then train them for specific jobs. The political science major or minor is valuable as business needs people knowledgeable about government, law, public policy, and the political process. In addition, the public administration major and minor include specialized courses in economics, accounting and upper division electives in the college of business administration.
Public and private schools at all levels need teachers with backgrounds in political science. Elementary and secondary schools need social studies teachers and many states now require elementary and secondary teachers to have courses in American government and politics. Two and four year colleges and universities need teachers to teach political science and public administration. The UW-L Political Science/Public Administration Department offers a political science major and minor for students in elementary and secondary education. Students seeking promotion to principal often include the public administration major. In addition, the Department offers the course work necessary for students seeking to go on to graduate school to become college professors and researchers at research institutes.
Journalism and Mass Media
Many careers in print and broadcast media require backgrounds in political science and public administration. Reporters covering politics and government, broadcasters of news and news specials, and experts on laws regulating the broadcast media are a few examples of careers in journalism and mass media where political science majors and minors can find jobs. News departments are among the largest departments at radio and TV stations. News services such as Reuters, UPI (United Press International), and AP (Associated Press) need people knowledgeable in government and politics, both domestic and international.
A political science and/or public administration major is valuable for those seeking political careers. These include running for elective office whether it be a city council, local school board, the state legislature, governor, the U.S. Congress, or President. But we can also include a large number of other political careers. For example: legislative aides, lobbyists for interest groups, campaign workers and organizers.
Research and Consulting
Political scientists possess the kind of skills and background necessary for research and consulting work. There are now many firms that provide research and consulting expertise on a contract basis to business and governments. A background in government and public policy is a significant plus and those in public administration can find opportunities to provide consulting expertise to local governments.
Interest Groups, Professional Associations, and Non-Profit Organizations
There are now some 14,000 interest groups and associations. Virtually all have a government affairs department or staff whose job is to represent the group before the government (to lobby), gather data and do research, and influence public policy. Some interest groups and associations are tied to business, others to labor, environment, education, and medicine. In addition, the role of non-profit organizations (from the Red Cross to the Girl or Boy Scouts to the United Way) has greatly increased in recent years with over one million non-profit organizations in the United States alone.
Overall, there are many different kinds of job opportunities and occupations open to political science and public administration majors and minors. What counts most is the liberal studies background and training of the political science and/or public administration major and minor. Political science and public administration majors and minors compete very favorably with other liberal studies majors and minors and the political science/public administration major/minor is great preparation for law and graduate school programs.