Political Scientist

Job Description:

Political scientists are experts in how policies and laws affect government, organisations, and citizens.

Job Category:
Professional Services

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.


You’ll need:

  • 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
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

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.