Career Opportunities Go Way Beyond Politics

Political Science Professor in Classroom with StudentsWhat can you do with a degree in Political Science? The answer may surprise you. While many of our graduates find their perfect fit working for election campaigns or state legislatures, others use their Political Science degree to go into law, forestry service, the Federal Reserve Bank, the military, and child services departments.

“Our students learn how to read critically, how to make and analyze arguments, how to write, speak, and do research,” says Dr. Brian Frederking, Professor of Political Science. “In our Methods class, students learn how to analyze date. In Senior Seminar, they complete a significant research project. They can take those skills and go in many different directions.”

McKendree’s Political Science students typically follow one of four paths after graduation:

  • Graduate school: Our students have gone on to attend such universities as Carnegie Mellon, Indiana State, Washington University, UC-San Diego, Syracuse, DePaul, UC-Palo Alto, as well as local schools like SIU-Carbondale, SIU-Edwardsville, Webster, and University of Illinois Springfield

  • Law School: Many of our Political Science alums are now prosecutors and public defenders, as well as corporate and union lawyers. McKendree recently formed a 3+2 partnership with St. Louis University School of Law, in which you earn your undergraduate degree and law degree in only five years, saving you time and money.

  • “In the field” employment: With your McKendree degree, you can enter directly into careers in government, interest groups, and think tanks. Our students find jobs in State Departments, the Illinois State legislature, lobby groups, the Center for European Policy Studies, the Federal Reserve, and many more.

  • “Outside the field” employment: Even if you’re not interested in a career in politics or government work, you can still use your Political Science skills in other career paths. Our graduates are employed in banks, hospitals, investment firms, headhunter companies, and some have started their own businesses.

Collaborate with Faculty on Research

McKendree’s close-knit campus community allows you to not only get to know your professors, but also conduct research with them. If you’re planning to go onto to graduate school, publishing scholarly papers and presenting at academic conferences are two important skills to start honing now. Even if you’re undecided on a career, collaborating with Political Science faculty on research projects is an excellent resume builder and unique opportunity to delve deeper into a topic you’re interested in.

“I have presented papers with students at professional conferences 14 times, and have published research with students five times,” says Dr. Frederking. “The most recent publication was a book chapter with a student on transitional justice and human rights. (That student won a Pickering Award and is now a diplomat in the State Department.) I am also working with three students on a paper analyzing the changing nature of United Nations peacekeeping missions over time and how that may be changing international law in important ways.”

Working alongside a professor on such outside-the-classroom projects gives you firsthand insight and guidance into publishing your own scholarly work. In addition, our students regularly present their individual research at an undergraduate political science conference at Illinois State University.

Our Award-Winning Speech and Debate Team and Model United Nations Program

McKendree’s Model UN Club and nationally-ranked Speech and Debate Team give Political Science majors even more opportunities to grow their skills and make connections with their peers. Last year, our student debaters were named #1 Debate Team in the country, achieving high honors in competitions across the nation. Scholarship opportunities for members are available.

Students in our Model UN Club not only plan and lead Model UN conferences that draw hundreds of high school students to campus, but they also have the opportunity to compete in collegiate-level conferences themselves. Every fall, our Model UN students attend the American Model United Nations Conference in Chicago, and each spring, we participate in the Midwest Model United Nations Conference in St. Louis. More than 100 delegations from universities around the country attend to act as representatives from around the world and discuss important global issues going on today. Our students receive academic credit for the research and preparation needed to compete in these conferences, and scholarships are available.