Department of Political Science

Professional Opportunities

Careers in Government and Public Administration

Students interested in government service or non-profit organizations should consider courses in Group VI Public Policy and Administration. Students with these career interests may pursue master's degrees in public administration (M.P.A.) in order to learn how public agencies (local, state, and federal) and private organizations operate.

Careers in Law

Arguably, a political science major provides the best background for applying to law school and becoming an attorney, but it is not mandatory. Over the years, political science has been the most popular major of choice for applicants to the most select law schools. Nevertheless, law schools value a wide range of skills, educational backgrounds, and life experiences when considering applicants.

Too often, the legal profession is understood only in narrow terms. A majority of all lawyers engage in private practice, either alone or associated with firms of two to several hundred lawyers. Many lawyers, however, are not in private practice. Rather, they are salaried employees of corporations, labor unions, trade associations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and governments. Equally important are the numerous law-schooled individuals who apply their skills to nontraditional law practices, many of which are in corporate management, public administration, non-profit associations, or politics. Although a law degree is not required for most of the occupations listed above, many attorneys have chosen to enter those careers and many have a hiring advantage. Political science graduates may find that they may pursue law-related careers without a law school diploma.

The political science major should be supplemented by courses in English (writing courses), philosophy, economics, and mathematics. The abilities to read and analyze complex material carefully and critically, to form and support independent judgments, and to communicate ideas in writing in a precise and cogent fashion are essential to success in law school. Pre-law students should carefully consider the courses listed in Group V and courses in other departments such as PHI 229, 234, and 359; ENW 201 and 317; ECO 166 and 167; and PSY 331.

Teaching and Other Careers

The Political Science Department also prepares students for careers in business, public service (local, national, and international), social research, practical politics, journalism, and college teaching. Students interested in secondary or elementary school teaching would also find political science an appropriate field of study. Please contact the Department of Middle and High School Education or the office of the Dean of Education for information on programs leading to New York State teacher certification.

Internships

Internship opportunities are available to students in federal, state, and city government. The Department offers a summer internship in Washington, D.C., that involves work with legislators and other public officials. Lehman College credit is given for approved programs. Students may also spend one semester in Albany on a paid internship organized by the New York State Legislature. Students receive credit for a full-time program during the spring semester and attend courses at the campus of the State University of New York at Albany. In addition, a New York City Internship Program is offered by all senior colleges of The City University of New York (see POL 470 and 471). Consult the Department for more information on any of these internships.

Last modified: Oct 13, 2011

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