It is the study of politics which has been formally defined in the discipline as "who gets what, when and how." (Harold Laswell's definition, if memory serves me right.) It is the study of "power" which comes in the following forms: formal (authority) as well as informal (influence). Now, it used to be that Government was the main object of political scientists' inquiry, but these days, non-formal sources of power have entered the equation, such as, corporations, non-profit organizations, "interest groups", etc. It has several areas, namely: public administration, political dynamics, comparative politics, international relations and political theory (my favorite).
The traditional path for a polsci student is to get a law degree, but I think political science equips one with the tools necessary to become any of the following:
1) A political analyst/researcher. You can work with think thanks, political consultancy firms, etc. You can pursue graduate studies and write a groundbreaking paper or dissertation and leave a theoretical legacy for future political scientists to affirm or tear down.:) If you're really, really good, your name could be emblazoned in gold along with those of Plato, Aristotle, Niccolo Machiavelli, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Karl Marx, etc. Or even Harold Lasswell, Hannah Arendt, etc.
2) A journalist. The discipline helps you develop a "nose" for the news, as well as the ability to write and analyze events. You can write news, feature or op-ed columns for a living.
3) A public administrator. You can specialize in the area of public administration and be a Government manager. Public Ad's curriculum is similar to business administration.
4) A diplomat. You can specialize in international relations and work for your government's embassy.
5) A technical staff for non-profits, foundations, private funding agencies (such as Ford, Toyota Foundations, etc.) or Government AID agencies (such as USAID, AusAid, etc.) You can work for the UN, rise from the ranks and become the UN Sec Gen
6) You can get a PhD and become a university professor.
Good luck to you. :)
Answered By: The Maiden w/ Wrought Iron Soul - 10/19/2008