FAQ Interest in studying Political Science

What exactly is Political Science?

Political Science examines the formation of political consensus, questions of governmental practice, relations between governmental, economic and social players, relations between states as well as the activities of international organizations. Studying Political Science offers students the opportunity to acquire the necessary competence and knowledge to deal critically with political topics and questions.

How many students are enrolled at the Department of Political Science?

In spring 2011 the Department of Political Science counted about 1900 students, who studied Political Science either in form of a major or a minor.

How many students take up studies of Political Science every year?

Approximately 200 new students p.a. take up Political Science.

If I graduate from the University of Zurich with a major in Political Science, what occupational area can I work in?

The Studienordnung Teil B für das Fach Politikwissenschaft (German only) states that the occupational field of Political Science only exists in research and its implication, more precisely in political consulting work. It further informs the reader about the fact that studies of Political Science at the University of Zurich seem to enable the graduates to stand their ground in a quite large occupational field. To summarize it, a major in Political Science does not qualify a student for a single occupation. All the more it is important for students to further qualify during their studies. This may be done through the choice of specific minors or a certain specialization within the major. Another opportunity for acquiring additional qualifications, for relating more to practical experience and for gaining more professional experience lies within doing internships or taking on a certain job during the semester. Acquiring knowledge in the fields of methods / statistics or computer science or even acquiring foreign language competences represent another sort of additional qualifications, which might turn out useful.

Please find listed below a number of occupational fields you might be able to find work in, after graduating from UZH with a major in Political Science:

  • political consulting
  • administration (confederation, cantons)
  • banks, insurance companies, or large corporations
  • media (e.g. journalism, marketing, or PR)
  • international organizations
  • academic teaching
  • academic research
  • evaluation (e.g. of political party programs)
  • market or social research
  • FDFA (Federal Department of Foreign Affairs) / diplomacy
  • politics, parliamentary service

Please pay attention to the fact that most of those occupational fields are open not only to political scientists, but also to other social scientists or humanists or even to jurists and economists.

If you are interested in reading three short portraits about political scientists, may we refer you to the German website of the Swiss Career Services?

How about the situation of graduates of the Department of Political Science?

In 2005 a survey was made in regard to the situation of graduates from our department. All of the persons questioned had completed their Licentiate studies at the IPZ between 2000 and 2004.

The following results were found:

  • 75% of the graduates are pleased with having studied Political Science in retrospective.
  • About 66% of the former students consider their studies as useful in regard to their present occupation.
  • 92% of the graduates were employed at the time the survey was conducted. The rest of the persons surveyed were either in training or looking for a job.
  • Whereas 12% accepted a PhD position, two thirds were employed outside the university sector. 14%, however, were still looking for a job suiting their educational level at the time of the survey.
  • 19% of all graduates worked for a university or technical college, 17% were employed in public administration and 12% jobbed in the financial and insurance sector.
  • The average yearly income was around 73’000 Swiss francs for their first employment (between 2000 and 2005).
  • The yearly income of graduates was around 92’000 Swiss francs at the time of the survey in 2005.