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La Politique publique contre la Science Politique – Dont le Degré est bon Pour Moi?

Auteur Invité: Jack Gallagher-Bohn
Auteur Invité: Jack Gallagher-Bohn

It almost goes without saying – there are many similarities between political science and public policy degrees. However, while these areas of study are similar in several ways, there are also some fundamental differences between the two disciplines.

The variance between the two largely comes down to the specific academic focus of each type of degree – with one being more focused on learning how to implement social laws and conduct effective political decision-making, and the other more about analysing the government and its functions.

It’s also important to note that the career outcomes for graduates of each academic discipline also vary. While most public policy students commonly aspire to pursue a career in politics or governance, students of political science are usually more inclined to pursue roles as political analysts or commentators.

So, which degree is right for you? Let’s discuss.

de la politique publique

What is Involved in the Study of Public Policy?

If you’re interested in pursuing studies in public policy, there are a few types of tertiary degrees you can choose to enrol in at your preferred university. You may decide to undertake a Master’s of Public Policy, for example. To do this, however, you will need to have completed the requisite undergraduate studies before being able to enrol in the master’s degree. 

Regardless of the study level of the public policy degree you intend to complete, the course themes and learning outcomes covered will be consistent, and, for the most part, very much the same. That is to say, studying public policy at virtually any level will teach you the theoretical foundations and ideologies that drive and influence the social laws governing bodies put into place. 

Public policy studies will also teach you the processes, protocols, and methodologies of how societal laws are managed and enforced by the government. In addition to this, you are also likely to study the practical techniques that are used to evaluate, assess, and review the effectiveness of public policies moving forward. 

It’s important to note here that while there are some similarities between the two disciplines, studying public policy differs somewhat from completing a degree in political science. Stay with us as we explore this in further depth.  

What Does a Degree in Political Science Involve?

The study of political science is quite different compared to studying public policy. Rather than studying the processes involved in implementing and enforcing societal laws, political science focuses on the study of political structures, as well as the internal processes and factors that influence how a government works. 

In this sense, undertaking a degree in political science enables students to learn how to analyse politics practically, while also evaluating the actions that governing bodies will commonly perform. This particular area of study also enables political science students to learn how to think critically about their governing body, its functions, and how it operates in today’s society. 

So, what is political science? Essentially, political science involves looking at the elements that make up a political body, and analysing how each of these works together to influence the governance of its people. For this reason, students who graduate with a formal qualification in political science are usually quite well-prepared for career pathways as political analysts, commentators, or political journalists. This differs from the career prospects available to public policy graduates. For the latter, pursuing a career in political governance or as a member of parliament may be better suited.

Should I Choose to Study Political Science or Public Policy?

Choosing between these two quite similar areas of study will ultimately come down to each student’s specific interests. The decision of which type of degree to enrol in will also depend on the career outcomes the student wishes to pursue upon completing their studies.

For students aspiring to become politicians, political decision-makers, and members of the government, for instance, completing a degree in public policy could be the best choice. 

Alternatively, if the end goal is to analyse the government, provide political commentary, or even, follow the path to becoming a journalist specialising in political coverage and commentary, a political science degree could be for you.





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