Dear aska, I recently saw a post where a student stated that his/her degree in poli sci was “useless” and they were looking for alternatives. Being a 2nd year Political Science student at U of T myself, I was wondering if I could get Aska’s opinion on this; being the knowledgeable person that you are. Why do you think such a stereotype exists? And what are the employment prospects for students holding a degree similar to mine?
knowledgeable??? nah, you must have me confused with someone else. they only hired me because i could juggle three watermelons while singing ‘the maple leaf forever.’
poli sci. is a humanities program through and through, and as such, it does not give graduates a suit and a job along with their degree. as a poli. sci. student, you are not being trained for any specific job – except, maybe, the job of a political science professor.
you’re getting a liberal arts education, which means that you have to be CRAFTY about how you present yourself to employers. some people may say that because of that, your degree being ‘useless,’ but i would disagree. all it means is that you have to be a little more involved in your job search.
why does the ‘useless’ stereotype exist? because of a utilitarian outlook on education driven by capitalism and neo-liberals whose vision is so obscured by the free market that they can’t fathom the idea that there might be something worthwhile in learning for itself. also because of mike harris, probably. BUT i digress.
i would argue that just because your degree doesn’t fashion you into a pre-made corporate automaton, doesn’t mean it’s useless – even in a utilitarian sense.
political science degrees are great preparation for law school, graduate studies in political science, all kinds of political journalism, public relations or communications work, public policy work, and lots of obscure government jobs.
that said, the degree alone usually isn’t enough to get you a job right out of your undergrad. try to get some experience, if you can, in some of the areas you’re interested in, either by volunteering or interning or working.