What Are the Best Degrees for Politicians and Political Careers?

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best degrees for politicians

Have you ever heard you’d make a great politician. You have charisma and love public speaking. You led your debate team to victory and acted as president of your high school class.

Preparing for a career in politics takes careful planning and a splash of luck. You can control the planning by getting the right education. But what do you have to study to become a politician? Some degrees prepare you better than others.

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If you want to know the best degrees for politicians or what do most politicians major in, this article will help. Read on to find out how to make your dream of becoming a politician a reality.

Best Degrees for Politics

Some undergraduate degrees prepare you better than others for careers in politics. But what are the best majors for politics? If you’re interested in politics, look at degrees that prepare you for a political career. This list of majors for politicians will help you choose the best degree to get into politics. Some degrees might be obvious, but others might surprise you.

American History

Earning a degree in American history can be helpful to you as a future politician. Your American history classes help you understand how the American government works. You learn how government policies affect the American people. You study these effects throughout history.

You also learn how elected leaders get their powers and influence people. Though you study the past, this history program helps you understand what is happening in the world today

What Does an American History Degree Teach You?

  • How the framers of the Constitution drafted the Bill of Rights
  • How the Civil War changed the country
  • How the three branches of government worked and how they served Americans in the past
  • How the United States government works today

When you learn about American history, you prepare yourself for politics. You learn how our political system works. You also learn how to protect individual rights. If your heart is for the people, consider a degree in history. It will show you how the system upholds freedoms that the U.S. Constitution safeguards. It will also show you where the system fails.

In politics, you need to be a strong communicator. This degree helps you learn to communicate, research, and write better. Some consider it a best degree for politics careers.

Business Administration

Politics is more than getting into office. Once you are there, you must take care of your constituency. But what degrees do most politicians have? It may come as a surprise to learn some politicians have business degrees.

You can start your political career with a business administration degree. This undergraduate degree gives you financial knowledge. You also learn how to manage your community and keep it running.

What Does a Business Administration Degree Teach You?

When you study business administration, you learn how to:

  • Analyze potential deals and contracts
  • Balance a budget
  • Lead teams
  • Manage employees

Business administration programs emphasize group projects. As a result, you get early experience working with others. You learn leadership skills that will come in handy for your career in politics. You can also go to graduate school and earn an MBA or enter law school. This degree can lead to a successful political career path.

best politician degree


A politician is in the public’s eye. As a politician, you make speeches and conduct town hall meetings. Your public engagements take place in front of hundreds or thousands of people. To do this job, you need excellent communication skills. You need to be able to debate and present your ideas to your constituents.

A degree in communications won’t teach you the political process, but it has its benefits.

What Does a Communications Degree Teach You?

You gain insight into how to better communicate. You learn to gather, process, and distribute information. You take this information and use it to communicate in speech and writing.

Public speaking is part of the communications major. Because of this, you get a lot of practice delivering speeches. When you graduate, you have skills that help you hold a press conference. You also have skills for conducting public speaking events.

If you want a background in the American political system, you can take classes in other social sciences. These classes give you vital skills for a career in politics. You can study:

  • Interpersonal and mass communications
  • Mass media and advertising
  • Problem-solving and conflict resolution
  • Public relations and marketing
  • Technical communications and press releases

If you want a political career, a communications degree can help you become an elected official who is up to the task of handling political campaigns.

Criminal Justice

Politicians need to have a strong understanding of the law. Why? Because the foundation of the American political system is constitutional law. Many prominent elected officials have a law degree. Some have worked as practicing attorneys. But at the foundation is a degree in criminal justice.

What Does a Criminal Justice Degree Teach You?

Since politics is about creating and interpreting laws, you can see why a criminal justice degree helps. It gives you the background needed to understand how laws get created and enforced.

Some of the topics you cover in a criminal justice degree program include:

  • Computer security
  • Homeland security
  • Juvenile justice
  • Law enforcement

While you may not address local governments in a criminal justice program, you will see how laws impact people and policy. You will also learn how the legal system in America affects different communities of people. And as you understand these aspects, you can help propose changes to the legal systems during your career in politics.


You cannot talk about politics without talking about the economy. People often make their voting decisions based on the state of the nation’s economy. Discussions on economic issues can bring people together or tear them apart. Often, discussions on the economy fall into arguments in the form of:

  • Big business versus “the little guy”
  • Main Street versus Wall Street
  • Rich versus poor
  • Us versus them

Because economics is a sensitive topic, a politician should command discourse about it. Getting a degree in economics gives you the foundation you need to tackle this sensitive subject

What Does an Economics Degree Teach You?

Economics degrees teach you about:

  • Inflation
  • Interest rates
  • Taxes

Unlike business administration majors, you learn how these issues affect various entities, from families to multinational corporations. You also learn about different sectors of the economy and how they affect the nation’s politics. In an economics undergraduate program, you learn about the following sectors:

  • Banking and finance
  • Energy
  • Health care
  • Manufacturing
  • Real estate
  • Retail

Not all undergraduates pursuing degrees in economics consider a career in politics. But those who do get an advantage over other elected officials. This degree can make you the go-to person on economic issues. For this reason, it’s no wonder why economics is one of the best degrees for politicians.

best politician degrees

Health Sciences or Public Health

The healthcare industry makes up around 20% of the U.S. economy. State and federal government agencies play a role in the nation’s healthcare decisions. Now more than ever, we need politicians who understand public health.

A public health degree helps you understand issues in the healthcare industry. As a politician, you can use this knowledge to create healthcare policies. You can look into ways to provide affordable healthcare coverage for everyone.

What Does a Health Sciences Degree Teach You?

In public health and health sciences, you learn how healthcare policies impact people. You learn why healthcare coverage is an important issue that Americans have to deal with. You also learn how insurance coverage impacts people’s financial well-being.
A degree in health sciences can help your career in politics. You learn how to deal with public health policies and how to change them. You also learn how these policies impact different political systems. A degree in public health can give you insight that most politicians don’t have.

International Relations

Elected politicians at the national level specialize in international relations and foreign policy. So you can see that a related degree can help your political career. Your choices might include an:

  • International business degree
  • International politics degree
  • International public administration degree

While earning a degree in international relations, you learn about the country’s relationships with other countries. This includes military relationships. Degrees in international relations can benefit a career in politics. Why? Because you learn how world leaders interact.

What Does an International Relations Degree Teach You?

Whether you’re studying international relations or an international business major, the degree teaches you modern political discourse. It also helps you understand issues around the globe. You learn how world leaders relate to global issues. You also learn how international business works.

You can specialize in the politics of a particular area, such as Latin America or the Middle East. You can also focus on different subjects taught in international business programs or other areas. International business majors study:

  • Disaster relief
  • International economic development
  • Military defense issues
  • Political campaigns in other countries
  • The global economy (management and budgeting courses)

An international relations or international business degree also help you understand immigration issues. You gain insight on why people want to leave their family and homeland for America. The degree prepares you for public administration roles. It also prepares you for a particular political calling in international business. You can also pursue post graduate degrees. Because international relations directly prepares you for law school and other areas.

Political Science

What degree do most politicians have? A political science degree. This should come as no surprise since many political leaders study political systems. In fact, political science degrees are the most common choice for political leaders.

What Does a Politics Degree Teach You?

Political science majors investigate how political leaders used power throughout the centuries. You also research current political topics and find out what it means to be a politician. Many political science graduates go to law school like President Barack Obama did. You can also choose to enter a career in public service.

But one of the most interesting aspects of this degree is what you get to do outside the classroom. You get to take part in:

  • Local campaigns
  • Model United Nations teams
  • Student governance

You may find yourself working for a local politician. You may travel to Washington, D.C. with your classmates. You might even manage an experienced politician’s campaign for election. With this degree, you can gain valuable skills for a future political career.

Public Administration

What degree do you need to be a politician? A degree in public administration prepares you for different positions in government. It also helps you land a role in an elected office. Public administration is another popular program for politicians.

As an elected politician, you will have interactions with public administrators. You will also put in place policies you and your colleagues create. This degree helps you understand the role that public administrators have in government.

What Does a Public Administration Degree Teach You?

Undergraduate degrees in public administration teach you different responsibilities an administrator has in a government agency. You learn public administration tasks that will help you as a candidate for public office and as a politician. These include:

  • Budgeting and managing resources
  • Dealing with ethical issues and various other issues facing the public sector
  • Implementing policies and learning about legal issues
  • Working as a team and developing good communication skills

Public administrators handle day-to-day operations of a government agency. They keep it running. A degree in public administration is important for you as a future politician. It help you develop leadership qualities needed for success.


best degrees for politicians


You may be asking yourself what theater has to do with being a politician. But as a politician, you need to:

  • Present a positive attitude
  • Speak in public
  • Understand how to conduct yourself on a stage

You need to know how to grab your audience’s attention. You must take part in public debates while managing stress and anxiety. You have to be a good show-person. You learn these things and more with a theatre program.

What Does a Theatre Degree Teach You?

A degree in theatre helps you to be more comfortable in front of an audience. When you present on an issue, you’ll do so with the experience and knowledge you learned in college.

You take classes in:

  • Acting
  • Directing
  • Participation
  • Voice and movement for actors

You won’t be the first politician to study theatre. Former actor Ronald Regan became the President of the United States.

Degrees of Current Politicians

What degrees do politicians have? Find out which degrees some of the top politicians hold.

  • Joe Biden – 46th President of the United States – History and Political Science Degree – University of Delaware
  • Kamala Harris – 49th Vice President of the United States – Political Science and Economics – Howard University
  • Nancy Pelosi – Speaker of the House of Representatives – Political Science – Trinity College
  • Kevin McCarthy – House Minority Leader – Marketing – California State University, Bakersfield
  • Chuck Schumer – Senate Majority Leader – Social Studies – Harvard College
  • Mitch McConnell – Senate Minority Leader – Politics – University of Louisville
  • Ron DeSantis – Governor of Florida – History – Yale University
  • Gavin Newsom – Governor of California – Politics – Santa Clara University
  • Greg Abbott – Governor of Texas – Business Administration – the University of Texas at Austin

The most common degree among all politicians is “polisci.” But politicians also have degrees in other fields. Governors in office have undergraduate degrees in many different subjects. These include:

  • Accounting
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Liberal Arts
  • Psychology
  • Women’s Studies

As you can see, you can have a degree in any subject and become an elected public official. You can complete business administration undergraduate programs or a public administration undergraduate program. Many politicians also have J.D.s, M.D.s, or MBAs.

When choosing which degree to pursue, consider your strengths. Are you a policy buff who starts to tremble at the mere thought of being in front of a crowd? Then you can study theatre or complete a communications degree program to build up your public-speaking skills. If you are a natural entertainer, you can take courses in business or politics. These will complement your charismatic demeanor.

No matter what degree you choose, it is your innate talent that can make you a superstar in the political arena.

BDP Staff
June 2022

This concludes our article on the best degrees for becoming a politician.

Brenda Rufener

Julie McCaulley

Carrie Sealey-Morris