Careers with Political Science and International Relations Degrees

Depending on the career path you choose, working in this field can be quite rewarding. It may give you the chance to bring about positive change in the lives of many. Political Scientists can find opportunities to do so in:

  • Local, Provincial or National Government ( e.g. Department of International Relations and Cooperation, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Justice and Constitutional Development)
  • Research Institutions (e.g. Institute for Security Studies)
  • Governmental International Organisations (e.g. the United Nations)
  • Non Governmental Organisations (e.g. Oxfam, Red Cross)

One could also find employment at some of the foreign embassies in South Africa since they recruit Political Scientists to work as Locally Recruited Personnel. If you prefer the corporate or private sector, some Multi National Corporations (MNCs) offer employment to Political Scientists as well. For instance, a Political Scientist could work as a consultant or negotiator in the Foreign Affairs section or International Relations division of a MNC.

Political Science graduates can also consider specializing in one of the following fields after additional training, or the relevant post graduate degree/qualification:

  • Journalism
  • Business Entrepreneurship
  • Public Relations
  • Law
  • Import-Export Industry
  • Transport and Logistics
  • Peace Keeping
  • Diplomacy

 Building Work Experience While Studying

One of the most frustrating things that graduates may experience when job hunting, is that most employers are looking for people who have both tertiary education and sufficient work experience.

Therefore, students are encouraged to do internships or job shadowing during some of their holidays. Students might not get a full year’s worth of experience, but they would get exposure to the practical environment. The experience could be helpful when applying for a job, and answering questions during an interview on matters such as strengths or skills in the workplace. The following institutions and organisations offer internship opportunities:

Local internships are usually advertised in the newspapers and on the websites of the relevant organisation/institution. Although, most of the time, students get the internships by creating opportunities for themselves. For instance, one could take the initiative to contact government departments,humanitarian organisations or newspapers and enquire about learnership programmes, internships and job shadowing.

The Job Hunt

The following websites  may be useful during the job hunting process.

You could register your CV on these websites:

Browse these websites regularly to check if there are any vacancies that you are eligible for or that may interest you:

 Graduate Programmes

Graduate or Cadet training programmes are ideal for graduates with no working experience. Below are some links of companies, organisations and institutions offering graduate and training programmes: