Chart of the Month: Political Science in the 2020s

What was the past decade like for political science undergraduate completions? Political science undergraduate degree completions were in decline from 2012-2016. 2016 to 2018 saw slight positive growth, propelled by the number of women completing political science bachelor’s programs. Comparatively, Economics completions grew from 2013 to 2018, History completions have seen sustained decline since 2013, and Sociology saw a slight decline in completions from 2013 to 2018. In 2017, Economics surpassed Political Science in degree completions.

What will political science look like in the 2020s? Using Tableau’s “Automatic Forecast” tool, we predict that undergraduate completions in political science will decline slightly in the coming decade. In comparison, Economics expects to continue growth in completions, History expects its decline to continue, and Sociology expects little change in completions. While political science may expect a decline, it still expects an increase in the number of women completing undergraduate degrees. By 2030, it is expected that there will be more women than men completing degrees in political science.

Other changes in the coming decade: Changes in degree growth may be variable by different factors. There are expected increases in high school graduates in the South and the West, creating more college bound students in those regions. Variables such as geography, institution type, and institution size may be worthy of further examination when looking at completion growth in the future.