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Careers in Political Science
Published on: Monday, December 19, 2022
By: K Krishnan
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WE HAVE just witnessed the Elections in Malaysia. You would have noticed the whole town decorated with banners, bantings and posters. Over the mass media you would have seen the election commission requesting everyone to register as voters. For the first time youths who are 18 and above were allowed to vote. 

You would have seen political rallies in public places. Hundreds of people gather to watch politicians giving their speeches. You would have seen politicians attacking each other from different political parties. Some of you would have been curious to know what was going on.  

You would have heard the word politics wherever you went. Not all politicians have qualifications in politics. However, if you are interested in politics, you can study political science.  

What is political science?

Political science focuses on the theory and practice of government and politics at the local, state, national, and international levels. You will be dedicated to developing understanding of institutions, practices, and relations that constitute public life and modes of inquiry that promote citizenship.

What sub-fields are there in the field of political science? 

Some of the sub-fields are listed below. When you study political science, you will be studying many of these sub-fields.

(1) Political Theory

Political theory is concerned mainly with the foundations of political community and institutions. It focuses on human nature and the moral purposes of political association. Political theory also focuses on empirical research into the way political institutions function in practice. Here political theorists subject beliefs about political life found in important political writings to re-examination in the light of ongoing human behaviour. In either case, political theory seeks to ultimately deepen political thinking and to spur citizens to responsible and creative political action.

(2) Comparative Politics

Comparative politics is a broad field with a variety of approaches and goals. Some scholars and researchers compare contemporary political systems in order to judge which types best provide particular values: order, equality, freedom, or economic security and well-being for their citizens. Others suggest that the main purpose of comparative politics is to provide an understanding of how and why different societies develop different kinds of political institutions. Still others use comparative politics as a way of discovering general laws and theories that will explain human political behaviour and its variability.

Comparative politics courses are of two basic types. One offers comparisons of a particular set of problems or institutions in a number of different countries. The second type offers in-depth analyses of the basic political institutions and processes of a single country or group of countries in a world region.

(3) International Relations

The field of international relations is concerned with developing an understanding of why states and non-state international actors, like the United Nations and multinational corporations, interact as they do. International relations is a diverse field both in terms of what kinds of behaviour are studied and how they are studied. International conflict, particularly war, continues to be an important focus of the field. Why do wars start? Who wins and why? How can wars be prevented? What is the role of international law and organisations? As the world has become more interdependent, scholars have become more aware of the importance of international economic activity. As a result, scholars are analysing world trade, communications, development, foreign investment, and international finance. How states make foreign policy decisions is another important area of study. National security policy, nuclear deterrence, arms control and defence spending decisions are typical examples of foreign policy decisions.

(4) Political Methodology

The subfield of political methodology is concerned with the philosophical bases of political science, social science, empirical research design and analysis, and practical field research experience.

Courses in the political methodology field cover philosophical issues regarding the possibility of a science of politics, the similarities and differences between political science and other social sciences, alternative modes of explanation, and the truth of knowledge claims. They also examine the formulation of experimental and non-experimental research designs for making causal inferences about political processes and behaviour and explore the. use of statistics, mathematics and computers for the analysis of political data generated by such research designs. Students are also provided an opportunity to conduct individual and group research projects through seminars. The political methodology faculty have current research and teaching interests in such diverse topics as mass media, feminist theory, language politics, political economy, rational choice theory, and public policy.

Who employs political science graduates?

Colleges & Universities, Media Organizations, Research Organizations, Polling Organizations, Think Tanks, Special Interest Groups, Consulting Firms, Embassies, Environmental Organizations, CIA, FBI, State & Local Government Agencies, International Agencies, Campaign Organizations, Labour Unions, Law Firms, Magazine Publishing Companies, Network/Cable/Public Broadcasting Stations, Corporations, Courts, Non-profit Organizations, Political Interest Groups, Radio Stations and Lobbying Firms, etc.

What careers are there for political science graduates?

Politics, Campaign Manager, Special Interest Advocacy, Lobbyist, Press Secretary, Speech Writer, Legislative or Congressional Aide, Activist, Public Opinion Analyst, Pollster, Law, Judicial Clerk, Paralegal, Civil Rights Advocate, Consumer Advocate, Corporate Legal Counsel, Juvenile Justice Specialist, Government, Public Policy Specialist, Urban Policy Planner, Healthcare Policy, Foreign Service Officer, FBI/CIA Analyst or Agent, Law Enforcement Officer, Foreign Intelligence, Customs/Immigration Officer, Legislative/ Executive/ Judicial Services, Peace Corps Officer, International Research Specialist, Adviser for Governmental Relations, Labour Relations Specialist, Public Affairs Adviser, Archives/Records Management, Public Relations Specialist, Research, Fund Raising, Media, Journalist/Author, Communications Director, Political Commentator, Editor of Political Journal, Health Care Administrator, Corporate Analyst, Governmental Liaison, Research Specialist, Survey Analyst, Banking Executive, Financial Consultant, Entrepreneur, Education, University Professor, etc

Where can I study Political Science in Malaysia?

There are many public and private universities that offer courses in political science in Malaysia.  Browse on-line to find out more about the courses they offer, duration, qualification, cost, entry qualification, etc. Some of the universities offering Political Science are listed below:-

International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM)

Open University Malaysia (OUM)

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)

Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) (Minden)

Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM)

University of Malaya

Mara University of Technology

What qualities do you need? You should be able to communicate :
  • Present ideas clearly, both in writing and verbal communication
  • Turn data into useable information
  • Argue and debate effectively
  • Negotiate and mediate conflicts
  • Listen critically
  • Interpret data
  • Understand components of complex problems
  • See problems from a variety of perspectives
  • Synthesize themes from complex issues
  • Think “outside the box”
  • Think internationally
  • Assess policy and propose options
  • Analyze and solve problems systematically and logically

Most of all, you must be interested in Political Affairs.

Q and A

If you have a question on careers, write to [email protected]


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