Political science is an area of study that focuses on government and politics at various levels. When you study political science, you look at the factors that drive decisions and actions as well as their consequences. You can observe national, state, or local politics and examine how they work, and you can focus on international politics. Political scientists study theories about political systems and compare different types of governments and how they work. They also look at the history of political movements and how those movements have affected today's political climate. Interactions between nations and other international actors also drive the study of political science.
Learning about political science can help you better understand how society works in the world around you. When you build a base of knowledge of how government and its systems work, you'll understand the news better and you'll have a better grasp of how various policy decisions will affect you and others. The historical context of political science also gives you insight into how past events have affected and driven current trends. An understanding of political science can help you not only find a career in politics, but it also allows you to make more informed decisions as a voter and make your voice heard as a citizen.
People who study political science often work in governmental or non-governmental organizations, for campaigns, or as lobbyists. Once you've completed your studies in political science, you can find jobs as a policy analyst or consultant at a think tank that helps comment on and shape public policy. You may be able to write about politics as a journalist or columnist as well. There are often job opportunities for people with backgrounds in political science in the fields of law and business, and universities hire political science professors too.
Online courses on Coursera can give you a broad foundation of the concepts behind political science, as well as its practical applications. You can begin with courses that explain the basics then move on to more specialized topics like the American Constitution, politics in urban environments, and the moral foundations of political science. Whether you want to better engage as a citizen or look for a new career in the political science field, online courses on Coursera can help.