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University Teaching and Research

American universities serve, among other things, as repositories for international expertise. Faculty work within departments, usually organized around the major disciplines such as economics, political science, and history. Their job consists of teaching (communicating skills and knowledge to students) and research (creating new knowledge and communicating it to others). University faculty usually have a great deal of freedom in selecting what they will research and teach, enabling them to develop specialized knowledge in a wide variety of areas.

For the past fifteen years or so, university teaching jobs have been quite scarce, making it hard to encourage undergraduates to aim toward such careers; however, there may be increased demand for college teachers as the next baby boom reaches college age and a large number of current college faculty retire. (Some recent research suggests that there will be less change in political science than in other disciplines.) Therefore, college teaching has become a more reasonable career choice for current undergraduates. The only relevant degree for college teaching is the Ph.D.  In this case, students should attend the best university they can get accepted to.