5 Great Professional Organizations for Political Scientists

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Professional Organizations for Political Scientists

  • American Political Science Association
  • Association for Political Theory
  • International Political Science Association
  • Regional Political Science Associations
  • The American Sociological Association

Here are five great professional organizations for political scientists in the United States to join, and participate in. Attend meetings, write articles for the news letter, take advantage of seminars and other professional development and networking opportunities. Anyone who works in political science or political theory could join, at a rate of $20 to $200 or more for an individual. Students tend to get the cheapest rates.

1. American Political Science Association

This should be a given, as it is the nation's largest membership organization for political scientists. The APSA offers professional development opportunities, publications, jobs reports, and more. Members can join a few of more than 50 interest groups. As with many professional associations, the APSA offers a cheaper student membership rate. For Americans, this is probably the most important of the five great professional organizations for political sciences. The networking and professional development opportunities alone are probably worth much more than the membership fee.

2. Association for Political Theory

If your interests like more in the theory as opposed to empirical research, this association is worth a serious look. They publish a journal and host annual meetings, as well as posting information on their site in the form of blog posts. This is the one to join if some aspect of political theory or political sociology (social movement theory for example) is critical to your professional work. This organization is for graduate students and working political scientists. The host an annual conference, but do not otherwise offer much networking help.

3. International Political Science Association

If your political science interests run to international affairs, this organization might be worth the time and money. General membership brings similar benefits to the IPSA. Also, like the IPSA, there are special interest groups called Research Committees that host their own meetings sometimes. There are almost 50 of them in 2017, covering diverse topics like human rights, armed forces and society, European unification, and geopolitics. The IPSA publishes four journals and maintains an online literature database called IPSAPortal.

4. Regional Political Science Associations

The United States has at least three regional associations for political scientists. The Southern Political Science Association, the Midwest Political Science Association, and the Northeastern Political Science Association serve those who work in or study those parts of the United States. General membership comes with the usual benefits – news, meetings, access to journals and networking. These organizations offer individual memberships to working professionals and may have discounted student rates.

5. The American Sociological Association

The American Sociological Association deserves an honorable mention in this list. You can learn about social research and social theory that bear on political questions. Whether your focus is theory or methodology, there will be a special interest group within the ASA that is worth joining. The ASA publishes 10 journals. Five ASA sections publish their own journals. including City $ Community and the Journal of World Systems Research.

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If you are at the beginning of your career, don't ignore the networking resources that the organizations offer. This is the best way to choose the best of these five great professional organizations for political scientists.