Political Communications Degree

Created by Henry Steele

By Henry Steele - July 30, 2018
Reading Time: 4 minutes
Reading Time: 4 minutes

In a political communications degree program, you will study the flow of information through complex political processes, and also study how people use information to make political goals a reality. Students not only learn the practice and theory of contemporary political communication; they also learn skills such as social science research, journalistic methods, electronic media production and political debating.

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What Is Political Communication?

Political communication is focused on how political leaders, news organizations and citizens exchange and interpret political messages that concern public policy and governance. Research in political communication typically examine the factors that have an influence on communication, and the effect the communication has on other people.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment of political scientists will grow by 3% through 2026, which is slower than average. It is estimated that more than half of political scientists work for the federal government. Political scientists will continue to be needed in the federal government to study how government policies affect people and institutions.

Also, political organizations, lobbying firms and labor unions will continue to rely upon political scientist knowledge to manage complex regulatory and legal matters. They will be needed in policy institutes and research organizations to focus on politics and political theory.

Career Paths

One of the most common career paths for those with a political communication degree is political scientist. Political scientists study the development, origin, and operation of many types of political systems. They are responsible for researching political ideas and studying different types of governments, policies, and political trends.

BLS reports that political scientists held 7300 jobs in 2016, with the largest employers being:

  • Federal government: 48%
  • Professional, scientific and technical services: 27%
  • Educational services: 7%
  • Religious, grantmaking, civic and professional services: 7%
  • Self employed: 7%


BLS states the median salary for political scientists was $115,000 in May 2017. The lowest 10% earned less than $56,000 and the top 10% earned more than $161,800. The median wages for political scientists in various industries were as follows:

  • Federal government: $123,000
  • Professional, scientific and technical services: $118,300
  • Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional and similar organizations: $76,700
  • Educational services: $58,900

Online Degree Programs

Students and professionals who want to earn their degree in political communications have the option of earning it without leaving their home. Today you can get a political communication degree by studying online without visiting a college campus. This allows you to keep working if you choose and earn your degree on your own time.

A good potential choice is the online Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Arizona State University. This four year, online degree will provide you with the knowledge and skills to lead within a system of government in democracy and to work within the rapid globalization of large political institutions. Students are trained to link theory with real world ideas and problems. You also will learn from some of the best political communication faculty in the world, as you benefit from a classic but contemporary education in the liberal arts.

The curriculum in this program is wide ranging and rigorous, and it reflects the realities of modern geopolitics, events and economics. The courses prepare students for the interconnected, sophisticated and competitive marketplace, as well as give you the ability to think in an analytical fashion and to communicate clearly and persuasively.

Required courses include:

  • Government and Politics
  • Comparative Government
  • Global Politics
  • Political Ideologies
  • Empirical Political Inquiry

Bachelor’s Degree

To get your foot in the door in political communications and political science fields, consider getting your Bachelor of Science in Political Communication from Emerson College. The core curriculum of this four year program balances the practical skills and theory that is needed for ethical and effective communication in a complex and changing media environment. Some of the required courses are:

  • Public Discourse in the US
  • Global Political Communication
  • Argument and Advocacy
  • Conflict and Negotiation
  • Public Opinion Research
  • Crisis Communication
  • Communication Informatics
  • Social Media and Politics
  • Rhetoric of Social Movements
  • Public Affairs
  • Campaign Management
  • Management and Communication

Master’s Degree

Students who desire to be a leader in political communication may want to earn their master’s in political communication. American University offers a Master of Arts in Political Communication that combines the scholarship and expertise from American University’s School of Public Affairs and the School of Communication to provide you with a complete grounding in strategic communication, political science, media and research. Students are prepared for the ever changing landscape of communication and politics, and they gain the skills and knowledge to become successful political advocates, policymakers, communication professionals and campaign executives.

Students who want to build an excellent background in research and political issues, and understand how political processes and the media work, as well as the expertise to shape, create and manage diverse political communication, will find this master’s program to be a good choice.

Admission Requirements

To be admitted into a master’s program in political communication, you can expect these types of requirements:

  • 0 GPA
  • GRE scores may be required
  • References
  • Transcripts
  • Writing samples
  • Resume


Each program whether it is a master’s or bachelor’s program will have its own curriculum in political communication. For example, at American University, this is the curriculum for the master’s program:

  • Political Communication
  • Principles of Strategic Communication
  • Communication Theory
  • Politics and the Media
  • Speechwriting
  • Political Advertising
  • Foreign Policy and the Press
  • Research Strategic Communication
  • Applied Politics and American Public Policy
  • Proseminar in Political Communication
  • Applied Political Writing

Financial Assistance

Paying for college is expensive, and if you want financial assistance to make it easier, consider the following grants and scholarships:

  • APSA Minority Fellowship Scholarship: $4000
  • Charles G. Koch Foundation Dissertation Grant: $5000
  • Davidson Fellows Scholarship: $50,000
  • Michael P. Murphy Public Service Graduate Scholarship: $1000
  • NFRW Betty Rendel Scholarship: $1000
  • Vincent M Eggers Scholarship: $1000
  • Dolce Valvo Scholarship: $1250
  • Jim and Anna Hyonjoo Lint Scholarship: $1500
  • Byron Hanke Fellowship: $5000
  • Social Science Academic Scholarship: $1000
  • Meramec Business Administration Achievement Scholarship: $5000


Students who are studying political communication may benefit from earning one of these communication certifications. These certifications are applicable to the political science and communication field:

  • Communication Management Professional: This certification is designed for the experienced communication professional who is established in their career as a manager and wants to show their excellence in communications skills.
  • Strategic Communication Management Professional: For the highly skilled communications professional who is focused on giving strategic communication advice and counseling to the leadership of an organization.


Students and professionals in political communication who want to expand their opportunities and education in political science and political communication may want to join these associations and groups:

  • American Political Science Association
  • International Political Science Association
  • National Communication Association
  • International Communication Association
  • The Association for Women in Communications
  • International Association of Business Communicators

Students who want to have an exciting career in the political world may want to earn their bachelor’s or master’s degree in political communication.


Henry Steele
Managing Editor
Henry is Managing Editor of BusinessStudent.com. He is a seasoned business professional who regularly consults with local business's throughout Southern California. Henry pursued his undergrad in Business and Economics at the University of San Diego and gained valuable life changing experience through a unique internship upon graduation.

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