Political ScientistJob Description:
Political scientists are experts in how policies and laws affect government, organisations, and citizens.Job Category:
What you will do:
Your day-to-day will include tasks such as:
- Interpret and analyze policies, public issues, legislation, or the operations of governments, businesses, and organizations.
- Maintain current knowledge of government policy decisions.
- Evaluate programs and policies, and make related recommendations to institutions and organizations.
- Develop and test theories, using information from interviews, newspapers, periodicals, case law, historical papers, polls, or statistical sources.
- Collect, analyze, and interpret data such as election results and public opinion surveys, reporting on findings, recommendations, and conclusions.
- Write drafts of legislative proposals, and prepare speeches, correspondence, and policy papers for governmental use.
- Forecast political, economic, and social trends.
- Consult with and advise government officials, civic bodies, research agencies, the media, political parties, and others concerned with political issues.
- Disseminate research results through academic publications, written reports, or public presentations.
- knowledge of English language
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
As well as:
- administration & organisational skills
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
- to be flexible and open to change (adaptable)
- sensitivity and understanding
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- excellent verbal communication skills
To become a Political Scientist, you should focus on building a strong educational background and relevant skills that prepare you for a career in political science, which is the systematic study of political systems, government policies, and political behavior. While there are no specific subjects required to become a Political Scientist, certain subjects and skills can be beneficial for pursuing this career. Here are some subjects and skills to consider:
- English: Strong written and verbal communication skills are essential for political scientists. You’ll need to write research papers, reports, and articles, as well as present your findings and ideas effectively.
- Mathematics: While not always required, a good understanding of mathematics can be helpful for analysing and interpreting political data and statistics.
- Social Sciences: Subjects like History, Geography, Sociology, and Government & Politics can provide a foundation in understanding political systems, historical context, and social dynamics.
- Economics: Economics is relevant for political scientists who focus on economic policy, public finance, or international political economy.
Most employers will expect you to have the minimum of a good degree (2:1 or higher) in Politics.
Some of the large research agencies run graduate training schemes and you may need a 2:1 or above to be considered for a place.
If you want to work in the higher education sector, a PhD may be particularly useful as an advanced understanding of subject-specific academic methodology is often appreciated.
Working Hours and Environment:
You could work in an office or be based overseas working sometimes more than 40 hours a week.
Career Path & Progression:
There are opportunities available in many types of organisation, including:
- central government – political researchers work in the main
- government departments (see government social research officer), as well as for the Scottish government
- local government departments – particularly social services, housing, education and chief executive
- large and small research agencies
- higher education institutions.
If you’re working in higher education, you’ll either be employed in a large research centre, which employs both permanent and fixed-term research staff, or a university teaching department, where researchers are often employed on fixed-term contracts of one or two years.