Participating in the Political Process/Poly Sci major at UPenn



I am very interested in getting a job with the federal government or a political campaign. I am a current student at the University of Pennsylvania and am a Political Science major.In addition to doing research and internships, will a degree from the University of Pennsylvania look impressive to employers in the field of politics and government? Will most of them know it is an ivy league school and that the classes are difficult?


Dear Devin,

This is more a question about higher ed than about politics -- but yes, Penn is a highly respected school, and everyone knows that.

That said, if you want to get hired on a political campaign, pretty much the only way is to start volunteering on campaigns now and build a track record. In that particular world, proven ability is pretty much the only thing that counts.

In the federal government, jobs are supposedly filled by competitive examinations, but there are ways to influence the process in your favor, and an Ivy League background may help. However, it can also be resented, if you try to make too big a thing of it, so be careful there.

Of course, where it really helps is through alumni networking. I'm sure Penn's alumni office will have a program to help you make contact with alums in the agencies you want to work in.

Good luck with your job search!


Participating in the Political Process

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


John C. Berg


How to run for office and win, how to lobby, how to promote your political cause effectively, how to get involved in electoral and issue campaigns, how to get a job in politics.


I have been a professor of political science since 1974, and direct a graduate program in professional politics. I have worked on many campaigns in various capacities.

American Association of Political Consultants, American Political Science Association, Caucus for a New Political Science, National Society for Experiential Education, International Political Science Association.

Polity, New Political Science, Policy Studies Journal. Author of Unequal Struggle: Class, Gender, Race, and Power in the US Congress.

PhD, Harvard University, 1975
MA, Harvard University, 1973
BA with Honors, University of Wisconsin, 1964

©2017 All rights reserved.