Careers by Major - Political Science

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Careers for graduates

There are many different career options available for graduates of Political Science. Your degree provides you with a variety of intellectual and applied skills that are valuable in a range of careers. The wide variety of careers that graduates have moved on to is a reflection of the diversity of skills gained through an undergraduate program. Involvement in extracurricular, volunteer and work experiences will also supplement your skills and focus them to a particular industry. Below is a sample of the types of positions graduates have gone on to.

Note: This is not an exhaustive list as there are many other careers available. Many positions require additional education or experience.

Government:

  • Public Policy Analyst *
  • Financial/Economic Analyst *
  • Social Policy Program Officer
  • Foreign Service Officer *
  • Immigration and Revenue Officer *
  • Legislative Analyst
  • Political Aide *
  • Politician *
  • Lobbyist *
  • Diplomat
  • Customs Officer
  • Economic Development Officer *

Journalism:

  • Editor *
  • Press Officer
  • Print Journalist *
  • Publisher *
  • Public Relations Specialist
  • Television and Radio Journalist *

Private Sector:

  • Budget Analyst
  • Communications Officer
  • Financial/Business Consultant
  • Financial Planner *
  • Human Resources Specialist *
  • Market Analyst
  • Researcher *
  • Sales Manager
  • Public Opinion Analyst
  • Public Relations Specialist *
  • Lawyer *

Note: career profiles for many of the above jobs are available in the Career Centre. Those marked with an asterisk(*) can be viewed using Career Cruising, a Cdn. electronic career guide available in the Centre

Who employs political science graduates?

  • Government Agencies
  • International Agencies
  • Law Firms (following extensive post-graduate studies)
  • Universities and Colleges
  • Consulting Firms
  • Newspapers/Media
  • Private Firms/Business
  • Banks
  • Lobbying Firms
  • Research Organizations
  • ...and many more

Extern Program: Extern is a career exploration program that offers you the opportunity to meet with people working in your preferred career area for placements of 1-5 days.

Samples of previous Extern placements include: Member of Parliament; Senior Legal Research Lawyer; Editor, Toronto Sun; Trade Commissioner; Human Resource Manager; Criminal Lawyer; Corporate Lawyer; Elementary School Teacher and more.

Skills developed by political science students

Communication:

  • Presenting ideas and data clearly
  • Influencing and persuading people/groups
  • Mediating/negotiating conflicts
  • Public speaking
  • Listening critically

Research and Quantitative Methods:

  • Interpreting data
  • Developing research designs and models
  • Programming and systems analysis
  • Utilizing survey research methods
  • Comparing/contrasting ideas and information

Analysis:

  • Interpreting issues and data
  • Understanding components of complex problems
  • Offering relevant perspectives
  • Synthesizing themes from complex issues

Planning and development:

  • Making projections
  • Organizing people/equipment/ideas
  • Logistical thinking
  • Conceptualizing and implementing projects
  • Decision making

Sample job listings for graduating students/recent graduates

Below is a sample of the types of positions that have recently been posted with the Career Centre for graduating students or recent graduates. Some of these job opportunities are taken out from Employer Directories which can also be found at the Career Centre.

  • Policy Advisor, Management board secretariat
  • Client Services Advisor, Ministry of Consumer and Business services
  • Intern, Canadian Consulate in New York
  • Parliamentary and Information & Research Assistant, Library of Parliament
  • Legal Assistant, Abrams & Krochak Immigration Law Firm
  • Information and Education Officer, Legislative Assembly of Ontario
  • Librarian, Canadian War Museum
  • Research Support, COMPAS research
  • Transcriber, Legislative Assembly of Ontario
  • Foreign Language Intelligence Analyst, Communications and Security Establishment
  • Policy Analyst, Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons
  • Internship, Aga Khan Foundation
  • Resource Development Manager, Junior Achievement of Halton
  • Executive Assistant to MPP, Peter Fonseca, MPP Mississauga East
  • Business Analyst, Telus
  • Market Research Analyst, Millennium Research Group

Employment Services - To access full-time opportunities (for up to two years after graduation), you must first attend the “Now that I’m Graduating What’s Next” orientation. Drop by or call us at 905-828-5451 for more information.

Don't forget about U of T Mississauga alumni!

Check out our Alumni Profiles page, to read profiles of UTM alumni who have studied in this area, find out about their career path and how their experiences have affected their career direction.

Information Interviewing Contacts Binder: Speak with professionals, many of whom are U of T graduates, willing to talk to students about their careers and eager to share their experiences and their advice. Networking contacts available include: Human Resources Assistant, CSIS; Manager, Enterprise Services; Executive Director, Environmental Probe; In-Charge Flight attendant, Air Canada; Regional HR director, Edelman; and many more. For more information, please visit the Career Centre.

How to get experience

Start early by seeking relevant summer, part-time and volunteer opportunities that will help you gain experience and develop the skills that employers want. Below is a sample of the types of temporary positions that have recently been posted with the Career Centre. To access the summer, part-time, temporary and volunteer postings, register with the Career Centre Online.

Part-Time/Summer

  • Media Analyst, Cabinet Office, Queen's Park
  • Research Assistant, Centre for Research in Women's Health
  • Indexing assistant, Mediacorp Canada Inc.
  • Legislative Student Usher, Legislative Assembly of Ontario
  • Summer Interpretive Officer, Legislative Assembly of Ontario
  • Bilingual Parliamentary Research Interns, Library of Parliament
  • Intern, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
  • Policy & Legislation Implementation Assistant, Ministry of Labour
  • Coding Clerk, Camelford Graham Research Group
  • Summer Intern, Enterprise Rent-A-Car

Work-Study Program

The Work-Study program provides eligible U of T students with an opportunity to work on campus during the academic year and gain academic/career related experience. Previous postings have included:

  • Assistant Coordinator, Downtown Legal Services
  • Research Assistant, Department of Political Science
  • Resource Centre Coordinator, Ontario Public Interest Research Group
  • Assistant Editor to Newsletter, Aboriginal Student Services
  • Academic Project Archivist, U of T – Munk Centre for International Relations
  • Legal Reference Assistant, Bora Laskin Law Library
  • Researcher, Centre for Russian and East European Studies

Volunteer

  • Political, Economic & Consular Intern,
  • U.S. Consulate General Ontario
  • Office Intern, Counsillor Norm Kelly
  • Legal Student, Dicarlo & Wong
  • Campaign Volunteer, MP Candidate Mario Silva
  • Editor/Proofreader, Air Pollution Coalition of Ontario
  • Creative Writer, University of Toronto Blue Sky Racing
  • Research Assistant, OISE

Extern Job Shadowing Program - previous placements:

  • Lawyer, Federal Prosecution
  • Assistant Crown Attorney, Ministry of the Attorney General
  • Translator, Allspeed Translations and Consultants, Inc.
  • Junior Program Analyst, Ministry of Children and Youth Services
  • Member of Parliament, Government, Liberal Party

Internships

Ontario Internship Program
The Ontario Internship Program is not like other internship or co-op programs. As an intern with the Ontario Public Service, you’ll be paid a competitive salary to complete challenging and rewarding job assignments in areas including: Policy Development; Human Resources; Communications; Project Management; among others.

The Ontario Legislature Internship Programme
The Programme is designed to provide backbench Members of the Legislative Assembly with highly qualified assistants. At the same time, by giving Interns practical experience in the day to day work of the Legislature, it provides them with the opportunity to supplement their academic training through regular academic discussions and the writing of an academic paper on a topic of their choice. Interns also have the opportunity to visit other legislatures to ensure a comprehensive knowledge of the legislative process. The Programme is administered by the Canadian Political Science Association and is supported by a substantial grant from the Legislative Assembly. The Programme is not associated with the Government of Ontario nor with any political party.

Interns/Trade Assistants - U.S. Commercial Service
Interns receive on-the-job training, working on a variety of projects relating to U.S./Canada trade development: e.g. recruiting and promoting U.S. exhibitor companies for trade events; assisting with logistical preparations for U.S. Department of Commerce/Agriculture trade delegations and missions being hosted in Toronto; scheduling one-on-one appointments with U.S. and Canadian firms; gaining entrepreneurial experience in creating and developing revenue generating projects; drafting replies to correspondence on related assignments; and conducting market research and preparing reports.

United Nations Association in Canada
The Junior Professional Consultant programme is financed by Foreign Affairs Canada's Young Professionals International and the Canadian International Development Agency's International Youth Internship Program. UNA-Canada has provided 271 young Canadians, collectively known as Junior Professional Consultants, with international and domestic placements over the past nine years.

Join a Professional Association

Canadian Political Science Association (www.cpsa-acsp.ca)

Other Ideas

If you are interested in breaking into a career in government, numerous MPs and MP hopefuls take on interns or volunteers for their office or election campaigns. If you’re interested in law, some legal offices take on interns, especially during the summer.

If you are a journalist at heart, try to get experience by volunteering for student newspapers, like U of T Mississauga’s Medium (www.mediumutm.ca) or the Varsity (www.thevarsity.ca).

Resources

Career Centre Library Resources:

  • Great Jobs for Political Science Majors
  • Great Jobs for Liberal Arts Majors
  • Career Cruising, a Canadian electronic career guide
  • Career Information binders – various career areas including: Foreign Service Officer, Public Policy Analyst/Planner, Teacher/professor, Lobbyist, Immigration/Customs Officer, Legal Assistant, Human Resources, Journalist and many others.
  • “Careers in the Foreign Service” Video
  • ...and much more!

Library Panel Packages:

Web Links:

Extern Job Shadowing Program - previous placements:

  • Archivist, Canadian Opera Company
  • Curator/Director, Hart House, Justina M. Barnicke Gallery

The Career Centre Resource Library is located in DV 3094. For more information please visit us, call 905-828-5451 or e-mail: careers.utm@utoronto.ca

What's your next step? Take a look at our Sample Career Plan to see suggested steps that you can take towards developing your career-work search plan. Check our Events Calendar regularly for upcoming career related events (we offer several networking events and panels throughout the year). Watch for our Get Experience Fair (held annually in September), the Graduate and Professional School Fair (held annually in late September or early October), and the Summer Job Fair (held annually in January).