What Can I Do with My Government Major?

Students majoring in government will engage in the systematic study of government and of political structures, processes, institutions and policies. Government majors utilize quantitative, historical, and philosophical approaches. This diverse field encompasses American government, political theory, international relations, and comparative government. Students who major in government will be armed with additional tools that help them to better evaluate, advance, and refute political arguments. These tools involve logical analysis, causal inference, research skills, and effective communication of ideas

Through the development of writing, analytical and critical thinking skills, the government major will be prepared for jobs in and out of government. Government jobs exist at the federal, state and local levels. Relevant positions are also available in nonprofit organizations and the business sector. A major in government is a strong background for advanced study in a variety of fields, including law, political science, history, and public policy.

The information in the graphic below was sourced from a variety of information. It is NOT an exhaustive list. These options are just to serve as a jumping off point to exploration into career possibilities.

The study of government allows for the development of a core set of skills sought after by employers in a wide range of occupational settings. Throughout your experience in the program, you will obtain the following skills:

Critical Thinking Skills

Synthesizing themes from diverse source

Ability to interpret social and political data

Integrating of theory and practice

Effective Communication Skills

Public speaking

Presenting written information clearly and concisely

Ability to express multiple viewpoints

Research Skills

Research design, implementation and evaluation

Examination of theory

Ability to utilize various online research resources

You can use the examples above, and experiences from classes or research projects to enhance your resume. Try plugging in some of your experiences or skills gained into this formula: Accomplished (X) as measured by (Y) by doing (Z).

Sample Resume Class 1, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

Member of Class, taught by Prof. _____

  • Utilized R to conducted applied empirical research on (insert research topic) to determine (insert research findings) in Analysis of Political Data course
  • Analyzed the Supreme Court’s evolving interpretation of how governmental power is distributed and checked based on the principles of separation of powers, federalism, and individual rights by (insert course projects/assignments) in Constitutional Law course 

Explored the organization of elementary and secondary education, the nature of the interest groups and constituencies in education, and the current major approaches to education reform by (insert course projects/assignments) in Education/Politics/Policy Making course

Georgetown Alumni have taken their government degree across multiple different industries and have applied the skills they learned in government across multiple disciplines. 

Additional information about these outcomes can be found in Cawley’s Post Graduation Outcome Report

Post-Graduation Outcomes of Government Majors, 2010-2019

“[Studying government at Georgetown] allows you the flexibility to shape your courses around what you find most interesting. For example, I focused mostly on International Relations, Political Economy and justice and peace related courses that also counted towards my JUPS certificate… [Majoring in Government] also gives you a solid understanding of global affairs that helps connect you to diverse communities in a professional or personal capacity. I work in business development catering to policy professionals and can quickly connect to their varied experiences and build solid connections.” – 2015 Georgetown College Graduate, Government 

“An underrated benefit of being a Government major is that the requirements for the major are relatively straightforward and simple. This meant I had enough room in my schedule to explore many other subjects, too, and so I was able to minor in History, and continue to take elective classes every semester. While I certainly would have enjoyed more Government classes had that been required, one of the things I loved most about Georgetown was the ability to learn so many different things and study in a wide range of disciplines.” -2013 Georgetown College Graduate, Government

“As a Government major, I was part of the Government Honors program and wrote my Honors Thesis about presidential polling. That thesis made me interested in polling/research, and was an important part of my interview and application for my first job at KRC Research, a market research firm in downtown DC. More broadly, a Government major is writing and critical thinking intensive, which are incredibly valuable skills that transfer to any workplace.” -2013 Georgetown College Graduate, Government

“Studying Government at Georgetown gives you exposure to an international community of culturally diverse students. It opens your perspective to a world outside of your home country, ethnicity, and core values.” – 2015 Georgetown College Graduate, Government

“I enjoyed the freedom to take a variety of classes across Government disciplines, and to study with renowned professors. I enjoyed all of my Government classes, and found them among the most interesting and informative classes I took at Georgetown. In particular, the Honors program, which consists of a variety of mandatory classes plus a senior Honors Thesis, was a particularly meaningful experience, and pushed me more than any other classes at Georgetown had.” -2013 Georgetown College Graduate, Government

Helpful Keywords to Improve Searches

There are lots of ways to find good keywords to help your job or internship search process, or even just to learn more about the types of jobs you can do within a specific major. One way to explore this is by checking out the job search tool on Google. 

Once you are in, type in something generic like your major and the world internship afterward. Once you hit enter, it will give you lots of options to explore, but if you want to explore titles, possible career paths, or keywords, hover your mouse over the ‘Title’ tab on the top of the page. This will give you a ton of ideas and options to explore possible keywords. You can then utilize Vault Career Insider, a resource offered to you for free with your NETID and password, to explore what some of these titles or career paths are all about.

Sample Internship Opportunities

Communications/Media (e.g., Public Strategies Inc.)

Congressional Offices (e.g., Local and national offices of U.S. Senators or Congressmen/women)

Education (e.g., Curatorial, Research, Historical, Public Affairs, Naval Historical Center)

Government Consulting Firm (e.g., KPMG, Deloitte and Touche)

Nonprofit/NGO (e.g., Pathways for Mutual Respect, Oregon Bus Project, Partners for Livable Communities)

Lobbying Firms (e.g., Downey McGrath Group, Inc., Carmen Group, Cassidy and Associates)

State/Local Government (e.g., State congressmen or senators/ local councilmen)

Political Action Committee (e.g., American Israel Public Affairs Committee)

Think Tanks (e.g., American Enterprise Institute, Center for Strategic and International Studies)

The Georgetown Government Department Website is rich with additional information on studying Government.

GU Government Department 

Professional Associations are a great place to go to dive deeper into the field of government and learn more about what post grad life might look like. 

American Political Science Association 

American Society for Public Administration

International City/County Management Association

International Political Science Association  

Vault is a fantastic resource to learn more about specific career fields in government. Vault has information such as salary information, work environment, education and training requirements, outlooks, and specific tips for entering into the field. 

Vault Industry Guides

Vault Career Exploration Guides

Professors & Academic Deans

Georgetown professors and faculty members can be a wonderful resource for Georgetown students. If you are still curious to learn more about the disciplines of a specific major, we’d encourage you to connect with your professors! Outside of office hours, Georgetown has an online interface called GU360 where students can explore and connect with faculty members that are eager to mentor and support students. You can use this interface to learn more about specific department research, specialties, and areas of study within a major.  

You can also connect with your academic dean or counselor to further discuss opportunities within a given major. 

Lastly, each department has a dedicated Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS). This is the individual in charge of coordinating the major program or department as a whole. You can find the Director of Undergraduate Studies by exploring the faculty and staff pages of individual departments websites.

Alumni 

Connecting with alumni is a fantastic way to explore a day in the life of any given major student. There are several different ways to connect with Georgetown Alums. Hoya Gateway is Georgetown’s premier networking platform which connects alumni and students to have meaningful conversations and build a strong network of support. This is a platform alumni opt into with the sole purpose of supporting current students, which means there is an extremely high response rate. 

You can also utilize LinkedIn to connect with Georgetown Alum. A simple alumni search on Georgetown’s LinkedIn profile will help you get connected to approximately 130 thousand alumni, which you can then filter to meet the location, major, industry, or skills that you are interested in exploring.

You can also check out our Post Graduation Outcomes to learn more about what Georgetown alumni in specific majors are up to after graduation. We survey our seniors at the end of each year and into the following year to learn about jobs they secured, service opportunities they committed to, or graduate schools they decided to attend. You can filter by first major to get an idea of what life after Georgetown looks like. You’ll see in many cases that alums are using majors in a wide variety of ways, and your major doesn’t always equal your career path. 

Career Center Staff

You can also connect with career center staff to talk through the possible outcomes of one major over another. In short, there are endless opportunities no matter what major you choose. However, connecting with someone might help you navigate your decision making process a little bit easier. 
At the career center, you have the opportunity to meet with either a Career Exploration Counselor or an Industry Advisor. Career Exploration Counselors can help you talk through concerns, goals, the big picture, and strategies to move forward. You can think of them as generalists and a great place to get started. Industry Advisors can help you think through specific questions about a given career path and provide specific industry information and trends. You can think of them as specialists for once you start to narrow down your possible path. If you think an appointment with one of these individuals would benefit you, you can make an appointment on Handshake.

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