majority of all lawyers engage in private practice, alone or in law firms
of various sizes. But many others are employees of corporations, labor
unions, trade associations, interest groups, and, of course, government.
Political science is one of the fields of concentration most frequently
chosen by those who plan to go to law school, but it is far from the only
appropriate choice. Fields such as History, Economics, English, Journalism,
and Sociology are examples of other good choices that the pre-law student
should investigate further for an appropriate major or minor. Certain goals
must be kept in mind as the student prepares for a career in law. First,
a lawyer must be able to communicate effectively in both written and oral
expression. Second, a law student needs a critical understanding
of human institutions and values. Third, a law student must develop
creative critical thinking. Those interested should use the services of
the Pre-Law Advisor in
the Academic Advising Center
(call 392-1521 for further information or an appointment). Students may
pick up a copy of the official Pre-Law Handbook (which includes applications
for the LSAT and the LSDAS) there. Or write to Law School Admissions
Council/Law School Admissions Services; P.O. Box 40; Newtown, PA 18940
(215-968-1001 or LawPath voice response line 215-968-1300).
Government Jobs: The
political science graduate may find a public service job in nearly any
agency or branch of the U.S. government. Jobs in state and local government
are also available, especially in such fast-growing states as Florida.
Examples of possible jobs include a junior intelligence specialist in the
CIA; a program analyst for the EPA; a state case worker for HRS; a second
lieutenant in the Air Force; or an aide on the staff of a Congressional
Committee or in the office of a member of the State Legislature. The government-bound
political science major is encouraged to master skills in mathematics,
statistics and computer applications. The need for a mastery of written
and oral communication is also essential. Many students may be interested
in obtaining an advanced degree before seeking a government job. A Masters
degree in public policy or public administration is most helpful. The Federal
Office of Personnel Management is the agency to contact about jobs in the
Civil Service. Interested students are encouraged to contact Professor
Scicchitano (304 Anderson Hall, 392-0262 x284) with regard to the Public
Political science graduates who are interested in working in political
campaigns will find a multitude of participation opportunities during election
season, but will also find stiff competition for steady employment in this
area. There are now several graduate programs around the country, including
one at the University of Florida, which train students in various aspects
of campaigns, including political advertising and polling. Students who
wish to prepare for a graduate program in this area should familiarize
themselves with the electoral process (through courses such as Political
Parties, Political Behavior, Public Opinion, and Legislative Politics).
For more information on the University of Florida’s Political
Campaigning Program, students are encouraged to contact Dr.
Stephen Craig (209 Anderson, 392-0262 x285).
Interest Groups and Associations:
educational and experiential background of the professional governmental
affairs staffs of interest groups varies greatly. Social science and liberal
arts backgrounds are common, especially among education, health, and other
human- service related associations. Since most of the persons who are
employed collect and analyze data before it is relayed to governmental
agents and agencies, students wishing to be considered for jobs in this
sector should be able to demonstrate knowledge of the policy process. Information
about employment can be obtained by writing directly to the organization.
A listing of public interest groups and their addresses can be obtained
from Common Cause, 2030 M Street NW, Washington, D.C., 20036. Students
may also refer to the Washington Information Directory.
A liberal arts education is still the single best preparation for many
international jobs. Most jobs in this highly competitive market, however,
go to candidates with graduate degrees. Graduate degrees are particularly
useful in international studies with specializations in such subjects as
economic development, comparative governments, regional studies, and political
analysis. Knowledge of a foreign language is usually a “must” for most
overseas jobs and an advantage for obtaining a U.S.-based job with international
organizations A Guide to Careers in World Affairs, published by
the Foreign Policy Association, 205 Lexington Ave., New York, N.Y., 10016,
contains a useful list of these organizations and agencies, their addresses,
and general descriptions of the types of job openings in each.
Business: A political
science graduate seeking a career in business must realize that he or she
will be competing with a very large number of college graduates with diversified
undergraduate educations. Those with graduate degrees (MBAs) in Management,
for example, are nearly always in demand. An undergraduate degree in political
science, particularly when bolstered by minors or concentrations in economics,
and by courses in calculus, accounting, statistics, and/or computer science,
is quite acceptable to professional business schools or to the business
community. Those interested in pursuing careers in Business are especially
encouraged to speak with Becky Ross in the Career
Resource Center (JWRU, 392-7191).
undergraduate interested in pursuing a career in political science teaching
at the pre-collegiate level would do well to take courses in several disciplines.
Political science and American, or world, history would be useful areas
of concentration because most social studies programs emphasize these particular
subject areas. Most “government” courses at the secondary level focus on
American government; federal, state and local. Teaching at the pre-collegiate
level usually requires certification. This means that several basic education
courses must be taken. Contact the College
of Education at 134 Norman Hall for more information regarding the
Pro-Teach program. Those students interested in teaching at the college
level are required to have a Ph.D. in Political Science.
on career opportunities for political science majors can be obtained from
the following sources:
Political Science Association 1527 New Hampshire Ave., N.W. Washington,
D.C., 20036 [NOTE: Ask for a copy of the Careers and the Study of Political
Science: A Guide for Undergraduates.] Access the APSA's web site for the
Counseling Center at 392-1575 or in person at P301 Peabody Hall. In
addition to career counseling, the Center offers vocational interest testing,
career workshops, and a career library. The Center also provides referral
information to students seeking specific career information.
Resource Center at 392-7191 or in person at the J. Wayne Reitz Union.
This is the central agency for career planning, job placement, and cooperative
education on the University of Florida campus. Contact Becky Ross.
of Health and Legal Pre-Professional Advising (OHLPA) at 392-1521 or
in person at the Academic Advising
Center. This is the office which students planning to attend law school,
medical school, dental school, and veterinary school can use for advice,
information about testing and admissions, and for maintaining confidential
recommendation letter files. All preprofessional students are strongly
urged to use this service for handling their recommendation letters from
faculty necessary for professional school admissions applications. OHLPA’s
letter forms will substitute for any law school’s recommendation forms.
Contact OHLPA for details.