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Map out your career pathway from the start of your academic journey!

Get the information you need for academic planning and connect with experiences to develop the knowledge, skills and attributes that employers are seeking.

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POLITICAL STUDIES
at the U of M

 

Political Studies (also known as Political Science) examines the dynamics of human interaction in which individuals and groups compete to achieve their goals. The study of politics involves a consideration of the interactions between the individual, the state, government, public affairs and public policy.

As a political studies student in the Faculty of Arts, you will explore the dynamics of these interactions in the context of competing visions, values and interests, particularly in the pursuit of varying public goals, including the quest for political power and the control of government. The department of political studies has many opportunities for you to explore, with the ability to specialize in one of the following areas: political theory, Canadian politics, international relations, comparative politics or public administration.

Skills you will gain by studying POLITICAL STUDIES

  • An enhanced awareness of the political process, a greater sense of personal involvement and an increased willingness to accept the responsibilities of democratic citizenship
  • The ability to collect, analyze and interpret data using statistical analysis and make reasoned judgments on the basis of the available data
  • The ability to think critically and understand political problems and systems according to concepts of political theory
  • The ability to communicate effectively and express your ideas both verbally and in writing

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This resource is meant as a guide to provide suggestions throughout your time at university. Develop a plan and timeline that suits you best. Make intentional choices for your courses and work experiences.

* Refer to the Academic Calendar for a complete list of program requirements.

Year 1 - 30 credit hours

 

ACADEMIC SUCCESS


Course requirements:
6 credit hours in political studies courses numbered at or above the 1000 level

To do this year:

  1. Know the requirements for your degree. Meet with an academic advisor in the Faculty of Arts to help you plan your program.
  2. If you need academic support, visit the Academic Learning Centre for workshops or to meet with a learning skills instructor.

CAREER TIPS


Start planning your career:

  1. Meet with a career consultant to generate career ideas based on your interests, values, personality and skills.
  2. Research occupations that match your skills and interests.
  3. Set up a careerCONNECT account to view job postings and register for workshops and events.
  4. Register for the Co-Curricular Record (CCR), an official record of university-approved activities.

VOLUNTEER & WORK EXPERIENCE


Link experiences to your career interests. Options include:

  1. Student groups including Undergraduate Political Studies Students’ Association, Model United Nations, Arts Student Body Council and UMSU.
  2. Join the University of Manitoba Volunteer Program or Student Leadership Development Program.
  3. Student work opportunities including Work-Study, STEP Services or Federal Student Work Experience Program.
  4. Experiential education opportunities such as Alternative Reading Week Winnipeg.

CULTURAL OPPORTUNITIES


Considering international opportunities?
Attend World Opportunities Week in November for information about opportunities around the world.

Explore communities and cultures you want to work with: Visit the Manitoba Institute for Policy Research, the International Centre, Migizii Agamik or learn about local agencies via the Manitoba Contact Guide.

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Year 2 - 60 credit hours

 

ACADEMIC SUCCESS


Course requirements:
Honours: POLS 2000, POLS 2040, POLS 2070 and POLS 2510

Advanced: 6 credit hours POLS at the 2000 level, plus additional required courses at or above the 2000 level*

General: 18 credit hours POLS at or above the 2000 level

To do this year:

  1. Should you follow a 3-or 4- year plan? Meet with an academic advisor and career consultant to map out your options.
  2. Consider choosing a second language for your minor to enhance your employability prospects upon graduation.

CAREER TIPS


Make professional connections:

  1. Join the Career Mentor Program to learn from professionals.
  2. Attend career fairs to connect with employers.
  3. Become a student affiliate with the American or Canadian Political Science Association.
  4. Attend the annual Political Studies Students’ Conference.

Market your skills: Develop your resumé and cover letter and refine your interview skills.

VOLUNTEER & WORK EXPERIENCE


Explore student research opportunities: Apply for an Undergraduate Research Award.

Gain practical experience by volunteering: Check out the Volunteers in Public Service (VIPS) program, Manitoba Legislative or volunteer abroad through the AIESEC Global Citizenship program.

Find opportunities to market yourself: Become a Faculty of Arts Student Ambassador.

CULTURAL OPPORTUNITIES


Develop global career skills and expand intercultural learning: Consider an international student exchange or Travel Study program, Alternative Reading Week Belize, Students Without Borders internship, My World Abroad or SWAP for a "working holiday".

Staying local? Check out the World W.I.S.E. Ambassador Program or Praxis: Service-Learning for Social Change. Consider learning a new language and about a new culture through the Volunteer Language Exchange Program.

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Year 3 - 90 credit hours

 

ACADEMIC SUCCESS


Course requirements:
Honours: POLS 3950 plus 21 credit hours POLS at the 3000 level

Advanced: 6 credit hours POLS at the 3000 level, plus additional required courses at or above the 2000 level*

General: 6 credit hours in POLS at or above the 3000 level

To do this year:

  1. Meet with a political studies advisor for honours program approval.
  2. Confirm eligibility to graduate with an academic advisor and declare intent to graduate in Aurora (3-year option).

Investigate your career options:

  1. Look at sample job postings to ensure you have the qualifications upon graduation.
  2. Develop employability and essential skills sought by employers.
  3. Create a LinkedIn profile to network with professionals.
  4. Explore supports available to entrepreneurs for business planning such as Business Start Program.

Consider continuing your studies: Check out the Faculty of Graduate Studies, Extended Education or other academic institutions.

VOLUNTEER & WORK EXPERIENCE


Continue or start research: Participate in the Undergraduate Research Poster Competition and/or submit a paper to the Manitoba Policy Perspectives Journal.

Check out student job opportunities with: Canadian Border Services Agency, Global Affairs Canada or UMSU elections.

Search for job opportunities online: Check out Devex, Job Bank, Find My Job, Indeed or other search engines.

Use your networks and connections: Inquire about unadvertised job openings (the "hidden job market").

CULTURAL OPPORTUNITIES


Did you travel abroad? Write an article about your experience for World W.I.S.E magazine.

Participate in the multicultural opportunities on campus: Attend International Week, participate in the Intercultural Development and Leadership Program, volunteer for the International Student Mentorship Program or take part in Graduation Pow Wow.

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Year 4 - 120 credit hours

 

ACADEMIC SUCCESS


Course requirements:
Honours: 18 credit hours in POLS at the 4000 level

Advanced: 6 credit hours POLS at the 4000 level, plus additional required courses at or above the 2000 level*

To do this year:

  1. Meet with a political studies advisor for honours program approval.
  2. Confirm eligibility to graduate with an academic advisor and declare intent to graduate in Aurora (3-year option).

CAREER TIPS


Start job search 9 months in advance:
Contact Career Services to refine your job search and self-marketing strategies. You can visit the office up to 6 months after graduation.

If you are continuing on to graduate school:
Finalize your application materials and required tests. Use the awards database to search for funding and awards to help finance your continuing education. Contact your department to find out how their awards deadlines are advertised.

VOLUNTEER & WORK EXPERIENCE


Ensure you have references in place: Ask your professor for a reference or a letter of recommendation if you're applying for graduate school.

Assess your resumé: Identify any gaps in experience and fill them through volunteering, work placements or internships such as the Manitoba Legislative Internship Program, Mission Internship Program or UN Young Professionals Programme.

CULTURAL OPPORTUNITIES


Prepare to work in a multicultural environment:
Visit Canada's National Research Centre for Truth and Reconciliation on campus or register for a Workplace Cultural Competence Workshop through Extended Education.

Check out new graduate programs such as the UN Young Professionals Program.

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Sample Careers

 

Sample careers with an undergraduate degree and related experience

  • Assistant Deputy Minister
  • Border Services Officer
  • Campaign Manager
  • Citizenship / Immigration Officer
  • Communications Analyst
  • Community Organizer
  • Community Relations Officer
  • Development Officer
  • Elections Officer
  • Foreign Service Officer
  • Government Relations Advisor
  • Grant Writer
  • Human Rights Worker
  • Intelligence Officer
  • Legislative Assistant
  • Market Research Analyst
  • Military (civilian, regular and reserves)
  • NGO Program Officer
  • Political Lobbyist
  • Program Analyst
  • Political Aide
  • Politician

Options requiring other education

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What Do Employers Want?

 

Industries such as education, government, law and politics would value a political studies degree in combination with the employability skills that are highly sought after by employers. These include:*

  • Oral and written communication
  • Analytical skills
  • Numeracy and data use
  • Problem solving
  • Teamwork
  • Digital technology
  • Information management
  • Continuous learning

Attain skills through your classroom education by taking advantage of experiential education opportunities.

*Information has been adapted from Employability Skills 2000+ and Workplace Education Manitoba – Essential Skills.

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Faculty of Arts

532 Fletcher Argue Building
15 Chancellors Circle
(204) 474-9733, Political.Studies@umanitoba.ca
umanitoba.ca/political_studies

Faculties, Departments and Schools

Experiential Education

Recommended Annual Checklist

On Campus Resources


Student Spotlight

Meagan Cloutier

“Work hard, do the readings, and speak your mind. There tend to be domineering voices in every political studies course, but don’t let that keep you from engaging in discussion. Make sure you enjoy what you study.” Meagan Cloutier, political studies student


Information for Career Counsellors (PDF)

Political Studies Compass (PDF)

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