Majoring in political science may not prepare you for a specific profession the way that majoring in nursing or accounting would. What it does do is ground you in basic concepts of politics and governance, while providing the tools for critical thinking and writing that are necessary for a broad range of professional careers. The political science major is a traditional pathway to law school, and UVM’s Political Science Department does an excellent job in preparing its students for the study of law. We have a range of courses on the American legal system, a large concentration of faculty in the area and an active pre-law advising program.

But majoring in political science gives students many more options as well. Graduates of the UVM Political Science Department have gone on to graduate studies in political science, international affairs, and other fields.  Our majors have taken jobs in Federal, state and local governments, journalism, advocacy groups, non-governmental organizations, high school teaching, business, financial services and many other fields. In fact, because of the broad interdisciplinary focus of the College of Arts and Sciences undergraduate program, political science majors are equipped with a broad range of transferable skills that prepare them for success in any profession.

From UVM to Supreme Court Fellow

Alumna Caryn Devins '10, a law clerk to the Honorable Peter W. Hall of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, is among four individuals nationwide to be chosen as a 2016-2017 Supreme Court Fellow.

Devins, who graduated with bachelor degrees in political science and Spanish, was selected as a fellow by a commission composed of nine members chosen by the chief justice of the United States. She has been assigned to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, where she will work with top officials in the judicial branch of the federal government and engage in projects examining the federal judicial process and identifying solutions to problems faced by the administration of justice.

“Being a Supreme Court Fellow will provide me with an invaluable opportunity to gain a deeper knowledge of the U.S. Court system and judicial policy making,” says Devins. “I am grateful to my UVM political science professors for fostering my interest in the judiciary and preparing me for an enriching legal career."

Devins graduated magna cum laude from Duke Law School in 2013 where she served on the editorial board of the Duke Law Journal. Prior to her current clerkship with Judge Hall, she clerked with the Honorable James P. Jones of the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Virginia and for Chief Justice Paul Reiber of the Vermont Supreme Court.

Recent Graduate Wins Fulbright

Sammie Ibrahim, a class of 2016 triple major in geography, political science and Russian, recently won a Fulbright research grant. The award allows her to spend a year conducting field-based, participatory research on migration, nationalism, and post-Soviet urban development in Kazakhstan. These initial interests, and resulting Fulbright proposal, grew out of strong mentorship and support from Prof. Pablo Bose, Prof. Ingrid Nelson of geography, and Prof. Michele Commercio of political science.

"I studied abroad my junior year in neighboring Kyrgyzstan for eight months. There are a lot of similarities between my study abroad experience and my current Fulbright experience in the sense that both countries have a lot in common culturally, historically, and linguistically. However, I didn’t have the same struggles with culture shock or communication like the first time I traveled to Central Asia."

Read more about Ibrahim's experiences

Jobs in Business

Business Analyst; Environmental/Regulatory Affairs Manager/Analyst; Health Care/Benefits Administrator; Information Systems Management; Investment Banking; Advertising Executive; Corporate Planning Specialist. 

Jobs in Government

The Federal government is so large and varied that it is impossible to do more than briefly mention types of opportunities available, i.e., public affairs officer; political action committee policy analyst; legislative issues management; issues analyst; national security advisor; Federal legislative assistant; Senator/Representative; or campaign manager. A political science graduate might find a job in nearly any agency or branch of the federal government and the majority of them are located outside of Washington, D.C., providing plenty of job openings throughout the United States and globally.

State and local governments function in almost every area that has an impact on the lives of citizens and have assumed ever increasing responsibility for equal employment compliance, consumer protection, highway safety, pollution and soil conservation, human services (education, welfare, manpower training) among many others. The need for professionally trained and educated individuals in these and other areas has grown tremendously to fill positions such as county treasurer, town/city/county counselor, town clerk, city planner, labor relations specialist, criminologist, and housing administrator, to name a few.

Jobs in Non-Governmental Organizations/Nonprofits

Beginning in the early 1960's there has been an explosion in the number and variety of voluntary associations taking an active role at every level of government. These groups hold thousands of potential jobs for political science graduates. The vast expansion of possible positions include: Federal/state government relationship manager; political affairs specialist; field officer; regulatory affairs manager; human rights campaign staffer; union political director; or political action consultant.

Jobs in Teaching

Educational researcher; school administrator; government/politics teacher; K-12 curriculum development/supervision. MA/Ph.D: college/university professor, research analyst; higher education administrator.

Jobs in Journalism

Writer/reporter/editor/producer; on-line political journalist; press officer; public affairs research analyst; association publications editor.

Jobs in the Legal Profession

Attorney; District Attorney; Judge; Law Enforcement; Public Interest/Consumer Advocate; Corporate Legal Counsel; Government Attorney; Law Professor.