Job prospects in political science may be brightening.
That's according to figures compiled by the American Political Science Association, which held its annual meeting and job-placement fair this month in Boston. "It's an improving job market," says Sheilah Mann, director of education and professional development of the A.P.S.A. "Ninety-eight certainly looks good, and better than '97."
A total of 100 new faculty positions are advertised in the September issue of the association's Personnel Service Newsletter. That's down slightly from 1997, when 104 positions were listed in the September issue, but it's up dramatically from 1996, when there were only 73. The August 1998 issue, meanwhile, had 141 ads, up from 128 in 1997 and 93 in 1996.
The overall placement rate of those with political-science Ph.D's has varied each year by a few percentage points, says Ms. Mann. Departments reported that 70 per cent of their 1997 graduates were placed in jobs, compared with 65 per cent in 1996 and 72 per cent in 1995.
"One of the confounding things about trying to track these trends is that the overall aggregate figures don't change much," says Ms. Mann.
The association plans to release information at the meeting about a survey it did of students who received doctorates in 1996. Seventy-one per cent of those who responded said they were employed in academic positions, and 49 per cent reported that they were in full-time permanent positions.
For those with jobs, the median time spent in the job search was nine months. Sixty-three per cent said that the job search was more difficult than they expected.
Another gauge of the political-science job market is the advertisements in The Chronicle. The first issue of September is usually the second largest of the year, in terms of job advertising. This year in the September 4 issue, there are a 22 faculty positions advertised in political science, government and politics, and political geography. That's compared with 14 positions in the September 5 issue of 1997.