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The Value of a B.A. Degree in History and Political Science

"Politics without history has no roots; history without politics bears no fruits," said historian and professor Dirk Lange in his article, "Between Political History and Historical Politics: Fundamental Forms of Historical and Political Literacy."

History and politics go hand in hand, and one cannot be understood without the other. While experts, researchers, historians and politicians have debated the perfect definition and distinction between the two, one report presents people as foundational to the relationship: "Politics is the art of managing state affairs. History is a science that examines the political and social relations of human groups in the past with each other. The common feature of these two concepts is humans."

An undergraduate degree that combines history and political science prepares students to embark on many career paths, advanced degree programs and professional directions. Students in the University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI) Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science online program can specialize in either history or political science. Still, all program graduates will gain a diverse set of skills that honors both areas of study.

Debunking Myths

There is a widespread belief that undergraduate degrees in the humanities cannot prepare individuals to have fulfilling, well-paying careers. Humanities graduates beg to differ, however. A Washington Post article highlights Erika Hagberg, director of global sales for Google, who credits her "wide-ranging liberal arts education with preparing her for a demanding business career."

Harvard Business Review offers additional insight in an article titled Yes, Employers Do Value Liberal Arts Degrees: Findings by the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) as part of AAC&U's Liberal Education and America's Promise initiative signaled that "employers overwhelmingly endorse broad learning and cross-cutting skills as the best preparation for long-term career success. The college learning outcomes they rate as most important are oral communication, critical thinking, ethical judgment, working effectively in teams, written communication, and the real-world application of skills and knowledge." Most of these skills are developed in a liberal arts education which fosters the broad learning that employers value.

History and Political Science Skills Go Hand in Hand

UMPI's B.A. in History and Political Science online program prepares graduates for legal studies or law careers, teaching opportunities, public service and more. Studies of history and political science are interconnected given that both examine relations among communities and populations and governmental structures. This program's coursework allows students to specialize in one area with elective courses depending on students' interests.

Coursework in history emphasizes students' ability to examine past and present events and identify bias in historical narratives. Political science courses help students develop skills in research, analysis and critical thinking. Together, the history and political science courses in this degree program give students well-rounded aptitudes in communication, critical reasoning and analysis.

What Jobs Can I Get With a B.A. in History and Political Science?

While a bachelor's in history and political science equips you with crucial skills for the workforce, the degree is particularly helpful in preparing you for advanced study in any number of disciplines, such as law, public policy and service, education, journalism, communications and more.

Many jobs value skills gained in a program that focuses on both history and political science, and students who specialize in one area over the other can pursue a career that caters to their niche interests and skills.

For example, graduates of UMPI's online program with a focus on history might become one of the following:

  • Researcher or higher education educator
  • Public relations professional
  • Communications manager
  • Business manager

Graduates of UMPI's online program with a focus in political science might become one of the following:

  • Government affairs official
  • Legislative aide or legal assistant
  • Reporter or journalist
  • Political campaign staff member
  • Intelligence analyst

Many of these jobs require further education and certification. However, the versatility of a B.A. in history and political science, with a specialization in either sector, prepares graduates to go any number of professional directions.

An undergraduate degree in the humanities and the liberal arts sets students up for success in the working world, given the soft and hard skills learned. For those interested in understanding the relationship between historical events and structures of government and policy, a degree in both history and political science might be a great fit.

Learn more about the University of Maine at Presque Isle's online Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science program.

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