Political Scientist

A political scientist studies different aspects of political behaviour, such as the origin, development, operations and interrelationships of political institutions. This knowledge is applied to formulating and developing political theory.

Political scientists need to maintain current knowledge of government policy decisions.  They interpret and analyse policies, public issues, legislation, and/or the operations of governments, businesses and organisations.  They develop and test theories, using information from interviews, newspapers, periodicals, case law, historical papers, polls, and/or statistical sources, identify issues for research and analysis and disseminate research results through academic publications, written reports or public presentations.

They write drafts of legislative proposals, and prepare speeches, correspondence and policy papers for government use.  Other tasks are to consult with and advise government officials, civic bodies, research agencies, the media, political parties, and others concerned with political issues.  They also provide media commentary and/or criticism related to public policy and political issues and events, and forecast political, economic and social trends.

Using information available on governments, laws, political parties and international law, political scientists conduct research into political philosophy and theories of political systems. The results of these studies are analysed, interpreted, and then compiled into reports setting out the findings.

Conducting public opinion surveys and interpreting the results is another task that political scientists may be called upon to perform, and some of them teach political science at tertiary institutions.


  • research units attached to universities

  • HSRC

  • market research companies

  • government departments

Getting Started

  • try to obtain vacation or part-time work in a research organisation

  • arrange to speak to political scientists about this type of career


Africa University, Alliance International University, Bindura University of Science Education, Catholic University of Eastern African, Cornerstone Institute, Daystar University, Dedan Kimathi University of Technology, Ghana Christian University College, Greenlight University, Institute of Applied Sciences, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenneth Kaunda Metropolitan University, Kenyatta University, Kigali Independent University, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology, Kyambogo University, Livingstone International University, Machakos University College, Makerere University, Mega Size College, Moi University, Monash South Africa, Mount Kenya University, Mulungushi University, Mzumbe University, National University of Lesotho, Nelson Mandela University, North-West University, Open University of Tanzania, Pearson Institute of Higher Education, Riara University, Rongo University College, Sol Plaatjies University, Solusi University, South African College of Applied Psychology, St Paul's University, St. Augustine College of South Africa, Strathmore University, The Eastern University, Umma University, United States International University, University for Development Studies, University of Cape Coast, University of Cape Town, University of Fort Hare, University of Ghana, University of Johannesburg, University of Kigali, University of KwaZulu-Natal, University of Lusaka, University of Malawi (Chancellor College), University of Nairobi, University of Namibia, University of Pretoria, University of Rwanda, University of South Africa, University of Stellenbosch, University of Swaziland, Victoria University