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Home >  Academics >  Political Science >  Political Science Department >  Government


Government Building

The Federal Government

The federal government is so large and varied that it is impossible to catalog briefly the types of job opportunities available. A federal government job can be almost anything: a teacher of government in an overseas school for military or diplomatic dependents; a budget analyst in the Department of Transportation; an intelligence specialist in the CIA; a program analyst in the Environmental Protection Agency; a staff aide in a Congressional committee or a Congress member's office, and, of course, much more.

Educational Preparation for Federal Employment: The political science major aspiring to federal government employment should be aware that substantial skills in statistics and data analysis provide a boost in his or her employability.

Undergraduate education is more than preparation for obtaining a job, however. It is also background preparation for performing the job in a way that is satisfying both to the employer and employee, and enhancement of qualifications for advancement to higher decision making levels. In this regard, an undergraduate major in political science can prove most useful to a federal government employee; it is invaluable both in terms of the acquisition of specific skills, and in terms of the insight it enables into the over-all political structure and environment in which he or she must operate.

State and Local Government

One American worker in six is on the public payroll. State and local government is a promising employment area which political science majors might wish to consider in their search for potential careers.

State and local governments are hiring more persons because they are being asked to deal with a wider range of problems. The states are taking increased responsibility in such areas as equal opportunity, consumer protection, highway safety, water pollution, soil conservation, strip mining, the rehabilitation of addicts, industrial development, and manpower training. The attempt to deal with these problems has led to a large expansion of both the executive and legislative branches of state government. In turn, this expansion has opened new job opportunities for political science students.

Educational Preparation for a Career in State and Local Government: It is difficult to generalize about the relationship of specific courses to specific jobs in state and local government. No one interested in a career in state and local government could fail to benefit from courses in American politics, public policy, and urban politics. Beyond this, various courses enhance a student's background for various specific jobs.

Undergraduates planning to seek careers in state and local government should also seriously consider seeking a master's degree in a policy-studies area. These master's programs, usually interdepartmental in nature, train students in specific fields of public administration. A master¡¯s degree is extremely valuable in the state and local government marketplace.

Professional Organizations
A few of the major professional organizations include:

American Political Science Association

American Society for Public Administration

National Conference of State Legislators

To find other professional associations, go to:

ASAE Gateway to Associations Online - Search a database of over 6500 links to professional associations. Directory by the American Society of Association Executives.

Careers in Government - Metasite with links to many specific governmental professional associations.

Career Paths/Occupational Information & Resources


Federal Government, Excluding the Postal Service - Information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics describing the nature of the industry, related occupations, as well as working conditions and oulook information.

Federal Jobs by College Major - Federal jobs that are often filled by college graduates with appropriate academic majors.

Making the Difference - Includes internships and employment within the government and resources outlining the nature of public service careers and the benefits they provide.

Red, White and Blue Jobs - Federal Careers in higher education and the Private Sector.

Students.gov - Website with centralized information regarding the federal government's student related opportunities including internship and fellowship information, armed forces information, and volunteer opportunities.

US Department of State - Provides information on careers and internships in foreign affairs - and introduces you to Cal's Diplomat-in-Residence, who is available on campus to help you explore your opportunities.

Resources for Applying to Federal Jobs

Federal Salaries and Wages - United States Office of Personnel Management information including 2007 salary tables, including general schedule and the locality pay tables.

USAJobs Information Center - USAJobs is the official job listings site of the federal government. Contains thousands of job listings, federal job application tips, employment initiatives and information of special interest to students.

State and Local (City/County)

California State Government - Information on entry level jobs by education level/major.

California State Personnel Board, Jobs & Employment Information Page - CSPB provides information on state job classifications, pay/benefits, how to apply, forms, jobs and internships for students.

Careers for Women in Public Service

Decision Makers (PDF file) - Directory of Bay Area regional agencies, California State agencies and legislators, US Government Agencies and members of Congress for the Bay Area.

Politics, Political Parties, Legislative Branch (Federal and State)

The following sites provide links to homepages for current senators and representatives. These homepages often provide information on the legislation, campaigns and issues the elected official has worked on.

California House of Representatives

California State Senate

US House of Representatives

US Senate

Military/Armed Forces and Defense

DefenseLink - Opportunities for civilian careers within the Department of Defense.

Job Opportunities in the Armed Forces from the Occupational Outlook Handbook - Information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics describing the nature of the occupation, training and other qualifications, as well as advancement, outlook and earnings information. Also includes links to related occupations.

Military Career Guide Online - provides "military occupational, training, and career information and is designed for use by students desiring to explore the military world of work." The Military Occupations section contains descriptions of over 150 enlisted and officer occupations and can be searched by keyword.

Security/Intelligence (Federal)

Federal security agencies career pages:

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

Department of Homeland Security

Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)