Careers in History, Political Science, and Philosophy

Every citizen should be knowledgeable of politics and history. The ancient Greeks used the word "idiot" for anyone who had no interest in the affairs of government. Aristotle called politics the "queen of the sciences." This is well and good, but how can you earn a living and put bread on the table?

People with liberal arts degrees in fields like history or political science find a wide variety of professional careers. Unlike people with degrees in medicine or accounting, they do not have a set career path. Although they may have a harder time finding that first job, they will not be stereotyped into a given set of jobs. In the long run, they certainly have more career options because the people skills, writing skills, and research skills they learn in school readies them for a variety of careers. Those careers include work at all levels of government, law, business and industry that deal with government (nationally and internationally), private associations that lobby government, education, journalism, and international organizations.

The federal government has been downsizing in recent years. However, it still hires 100,000 people annually to cover attrition and retirements. Many USC-A history and political science grads have found careers at the federal level, for example, working as congressional staff, for the CIA, the FBI, the Department of Energy, and the General Accounting Office (which does research on almost anything for Congress). With the shifting of many responsibilities to the state and local levels of government, state and local governments have grown much more than the federal government in recent years and have been hiring more and more professionals. USC Aiken grads have found a variety of careers in such agencies as the S.C. Legislative Audit Council, which does investigations for the General Assembly, the Department of Social Services, city and county management, planning departments, public utility departments, law enforcement, and secondary education. Many of our graduates have gone on to law school and legal careers. Others have pursued master's degrees in public administration before going into government service or teaching. Others have gone into political consulting. One of our recent grads was credited for Clinton's narrow win in Georgia in 1992 and managed a Tennessee Senate campaign in 1994. Other grads have gone into journalism, including electronic journalism. A few have gone on to earn Ph.D.'s and now teach college.