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How Do I Become a Political Science Professor?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 23 November 2016
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If you have an interest in various levels of government and politics, you may be interested in pursuing a path to become a political science professor. Such professionals generally teach at the college or university level while performing research into various political science topics. The steps you will need to take to become a political science professor will start early, usually in high school. You will need to graduate, or earn an equivalent qualification, and then you will need to move onto a college degree program in political science or a related field.

While in high school, it is a good idea to spend a fair amount of time developing your writing and research skills. If your school offers psychology and sociology courses, it would be wise to take those as well. You will need to apply for admittance to a college program, which should be done while you are a senior in high school. Apply to more than one program to ensure you have a few options should your first choice fall through. A degree in political science is of course the best choice if you want to become a political science professor, though a degree in English, history, sociology, or psychology may also help you reach your goals.

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As you work toward your bachelor's degree, it is a good idea to seek out internships in government so you can get valuable work experience and a solid understanding of how governments work. You may even want to volunteer your services in a local, state, or federal election to get an idea of how the political process works. This will give you invaluable knowledge and experience that will help you once you become a political science professor. After you earn your bachelor's degree, you should be prepared to further your education with a master's degree and PhD program.

Your master's degree studies should focus on specific political science topics. When choosing such topics, think in relation to what topics you want to pursue once you begin your PhD work. You will usually need to earn a PhD in order to become a political science professor at the college or university level, but if you simply want to become a lecturer or instructor, a master's degree may be specific. Another way to become a political science professor without a PhD is to gain specific experience in the political science field. Your body of work as well as your education will need to show that you are considered an expert in the field.

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Logicfest
Post 2

@Markerrag - Another approach that has worked over the years is to avoid getting a master's or doctorate in political science at all. Sound nuts? Hold on there.

Grab a bachelor's degree in political science and do well. Then, head on to law school and earn your law degree (which is a doctorate, by the way). You could then be qualified to teach constitutional law, civil procedure and other government classes that political science students take in college.

Want to stand out from the pack? A law degree backed with a bachelor's in political science and some teaching skills can make you an attractive candidate for the professorship.

Markerrag
Post 1

The thing about wanting to be a political science professor is that there are a heck of a lot of people wanting to do the exact, same thing. In other words, get ready to compete with other applicants if that is what you decide you want to do for a career.

Perhaps the best way to get prepared is to go to the most prestigious colleges you possibly can (we're talking about undergraduate, masters and doctorate level institutions here). And grades do matter when we're talking about a political science professorship. Keep that GPA up, volunteer for as many political campaigns and such as you can and you will start building a resume that can help you stand out from the pack.

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