DIRECTOR'S CUT // APAN Application Tips
DIRECTOR'S CUT // Your Questions: Part I
DIRECTOR'S CUT // Your Questions: Part II
What is "Political Analytics"?
Political analytics is what you find at the intersection of political behavior and quantitative methodology. This kind of empirical analysis in political science is entering a new era in which a broad range of data sources have become available to researchers – from political campaigns, social media, campaign contributions, lobbying expenditures, international trade flows, and so many more. Political analytics takes advantage of these increasingly available data to improve our understanding of how politics operate locally, nationally, domestically, or internationally.
What are my career prospects as a Political Data Analyst?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that employment in mathematical science occupations will grow 27.9% between 2016 and 2026, much faster than the average for all other occupations. This equates to about 50,400 new jobs in the data analysis field. Additionally, three of the four occupations that comprise this broader BLS category are expected to be among the top 30 fastest-growing occupations through 2026.
BLS classifies data scientists as "statisticians" and estimates that the demand for "statisticians" will grow by 34% in 2016-2026. With the explosion of data across all industries, it is not surprising that data scientists topped the list of best jobs in America for four consecutive years, with a median base salary of $108,000 and more than 6,500 job openings (according to Glassdoor's 2019 50 Best Jobs in America report).
APAN's first cohort will graduate in Spring 2023. However, even during their studies, our students actively pursue political data science careers. Their jobs and internships cover a range of organizations and political specialties, such as:
U.S. Representatives and Senators
Maryland State Delegates and Senators
Federal Political Campaigns
Defense & Military Contractors
Self-Employed Data Consulting
How do I get into the political data analysis industry?
There are many paths to a career in data analysis – computer science, political science, business, psychology, necessity – and any of them can produce quality analysts.
What we are sure of is that the desire to tackle statistical principles and programming in the noble pursuit of truly understanding the desires of voters, the needs of at-risk populations, the success of certain diplomatic efforts, make quality ingredients for an impactful career in political data analysis.
That is why we have a holistic approach to applications – do not require a political science degree, or even any previous work in the field of data science. We expect you to enroll in the program because you want to learn these skills, not because you already have them. And just as there is a great diversity of data that can contribute to our ever-evolving understanding of our political world, there is much to gain from the diversity of backgrounds that might lead each of you here to APAN.
I'm an undergraduate student at the University of Maryland. What courses will prepare me to enter the APAN program?
**What follows does not constitute official advising. Students should consult with their academic advisor (in any and all departments in which they are majoring or minoring) to understand all their undergraduate program requirements.
GVPT320 – Advanced Empirical Research (requires GVPT201; both courses required for 4+1 applicants to APAN)
Depending on each student's focus, a selection of other relevant courses within GVPT might include some of the following:
GVPT390 – Game Theory
GVPT406 – International Organizations
GVPT420 – The Logic and Practice of Measuring Political Behavior (requires GVPT201)
GVPT423 – Elections and Electoral Behavior (requires GVPT241 and GVPT170)
GVPT429 – Problems in Political Behavior (requires GVPT201)
GVPT456 – The Politics of Terrorism (requires GVPT200)
GVPT460 – State Politics and Government (requires GVPT241 and GVPT170)
GVPT461 – Local Politics and Government (requires GVPT170)
GVPT473 – The U.S. Congress (requires GVPT241 and GVPT170)
GVPT474 – Political Parties
GVPT475 – The Presidency and the Executive Branch
GVPT Internship Program
How can I learn more about data and APAN?
We are always posting information about applying to our program, the political data science field more generally, and photos of cute turtles -- follow us!
We also routinely host information sessions about the program, which are posted on our Upcoming Events page.