online political science masters degree programsA Masters degree in Political Science will prepare students for dynamic careers that can create positive change for populations on local and global levels. Your masters degree program will provide you with an academic understanding of subjects such as resource logistics, national dependency and development, and systems theory, among many others. After establishing a theoretical background, your program will put your knowledge to use in a practicum, or other real-world experience, preparing you for a number of different career paths in the field of political science.

If you are interested in pursuing a Masters degree in political science but are worried about the time and money that you will have to invest, an online program might be a good solution for you. Online programs allow students to complete their exams and assignments wherever and whenever it is most convenient for them.

online degree, political science degree, online political science masters degreeOnline degree programs are designed to accommodate working professionals who have a full-time schedule so that they can maintain their current responsibilities while working towards a degree that will allow them to advance in their field. There are additional benefits to the online format, including the amount of one on one time you will receive with your professors. Instead of large classes with other students who may create distractions in class, online programs allow students to interface with professors in a different setting that can maximize focus and efficiency.

Masters programs in Political Science generally require the completion of 30 to 60 academic credits, as well as an internship or practicum, and a dissertation. These different experiences will help you build skills such as:

  • Statistical Analysis: Being able to spot patterns and trends in data sets, and using them to back up an argument on policy or trade agreements, is a staple of political science education.
  • politics, political science, online masters degree, government and politicsGlobal Dynamics: The 21st century has seen our world become more globalized than ever before, and understanding the nuanced dynamics that are at play in cross-cultural correspondences is crucial for political science students.
  • Communication: One of the most indispensable skills for politicians is to be able to communicate their ideas clearly in a way that motivates and inspires the public.
  • Leadership: Political science majors will learn how to organize large groups of people to cooperate on a singular task.

These skills that you will learn in your degree program can be utilized beyond your professional life. Political Science degree programs help create model citizens who are informed of world affairs and can share their knowledge with the rest of society, making them be respected members of their community. Before selecting the schools that you will apply to, you should be sure to consider your own professional and academic priorities, as different programs will emphasize different skills and professional applications.

The methodology for the ranking of the best online Political Science Masters degrees is:

  • Price (33.3%): We took the cost per credit hour into account to ensure that students are receiving great value for their money.
  • Research Rank (33.3%): Takes into account a school’s resources such as endowment, grant funding, and academic support.
  • Admissions Score (33.3%): Combines statistics that measure academic quality such as acceptance rate, freshman retention rate, and graduation rate.

The prices for each school listed below are the most recent tuition & fees as stated on the National Center for Education Statistics website. In-state and graduate options were chosen when a choice was presented.

The Best Online Masters Degree Programs in Political Science

  1. MERIT: 197
    View Profile Average Cost: $50,420

    Master’s in Government Degree

    Harvard UniversityHarvard University is a private Ivy League research university that was founded in 1636 and is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is considered one of the top colleges in the United States by a number of different metrics.

    Harvard has a student enrollment of 22,000, most of whom are postgraduate students. The student-to-faculty ratio is 7 to 1, and 72% of students receive some form of financial aid. The Harvard Crimson athletic teams compete in 42 different Division I sports, the most of any other Division I NCAA school in the United States.

    Harvard’s Extension School offers a Master’s in Government Degree for students who are looking to earn a diploma with a globally recognized pedigree. Students who are accepted will enter into a network of motivated peers who will support each other throughout their respective careers. The desirability of a Harvard degree makes it one of the more difficult online Political Science programs to get into.

    The degree requires the completion of 12 courses, three of which are taken on campus. There is a wide range of focus areas available for students, so all students should be able to find a program that emphasizes their particular area of interest. The program culminates in a thesis or capstone, where students will work closely with a faculty member to apply their knowledge to a practical purpose.

    More Information
  2. MERIT: 196.8
    View Profile Average Cost: $53,740

    Master of Arts in Government

    Johns Hopkins UniversityJohns Hopkins University is a nationally renowned University for a wide range of academic research. The university was founded in 1876 and is located in Baltimore, Maryland. The school was named after the abolitionist Johns Hopkins.

    The student population of JHU is 26,402, the majority of whom are postgraduates. The university is comprised of nine academic divisions on four different campuses: Baltimore, Washington D.C., Montgomery County, Maryland, as well as facilities in China and Italy.

    Johns Hopkins University offers a Master of Arts in Government which provides students with a curriculum that combines theory and practice of government, politics, and policy-making. Johns Hopkins is located in and around the Washington D.C. area, so it graduates a number of students who will go on to work in the White House or Pentagon.

    The degree requires the completion of 12 different courses, all of which can be completed online. The program offers three different specializations: Democracy Studies and Governance, Political Communication, and Security Studies.

    More Information
  3. MERIT: 195.8
    View Profile Average Cost: $22,584

    Master of Science in Political Science

    Liberty University, Online Masters Degree, Online PhD, Online DegreeLiberty University is a private evangelical Christian university that was founded in 1971 and is located in Lynchburg, Virginia. The university enrolls more than 15,000 students who study on campus and over 94,000 students who are taking online courses. The school places an emphasis on Christian values in their courses, requiring undergraduate students to take three Bible-study classes.

    The school is made up of 17 different colleges, including the Liberty University School of Law, whose Center for Law and Government offers programs and resources for political science majors. The school is represented in Division I NCAA by the Liberty Flames, whose men’s basketball team won their first March Madness game this year in 2019. The student-to-teacher ratio at Liberty is 18 to 1.

    Liberty offers a Master of Science in Political Science which can be completed entirely online in under two years. They also offer similar degree programs such as Master of Arts in Public Administration and Master of Arts in Public Policy for prospective students to consider.

    The degree requires the completion of 36 credit hours, which are offered 100% online in 8-week courses. The program is also highly flexible with transfer credits, allowing students to transfer a maximum of 18 credit hours from other institutions, allowing them to cut their expected degree completion time in half.

    More Information
  4. MERIT: 195.2
    View Profile Average Cost: $40,014

    Master of Arts in Diplomacy

    Norwich UniversityNorwich University is a private university known as The Military College of Vermont and was founded in 1819 in Norwich, Vermont. It is recognized by the United States Department of Defense as the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).

    Over 3,400 students are enrolled at Norwich University, about a third of whom are postgraduate students. The student-to-faculty ratio at Norwich is 13 to 1, and 100% of students receive some form of financial aid. The Norwich Cadets compete in 18 different sports in the NCAA Division III.

    Norwich University offers a Master of Arts in Diplomacy which is designed to help countries cooperate and promote peaceful resolution throughout the globe. As a military school, Norwich offers a practical perspective on international relations with a deep understanding of why conflict resolution is an essential skill for our next generation.

    They offer concentrations in Cyber Diplomacy, International Terrorism, International Commerce, and International Conflict Management. These programs require students to attend campus for 1 week in order to acquaint yourself with peers and professors, but the rest of the program can be completed online.

    More Information
  5. MERIT: 195.1
    View Profile Average Cost: $17,050

    MPA in Government and Policy

    Grand Canyon University Online DBAGrand Canyon University is a private, non-profit, Christian university that was founded in 1949, and is located in Phoenix, Arizona. The university enrolls about 20,500 students who take on-campus courses, as well as over 70,000 students who take online courses, and the student-to-faculty ratio is 19 to 1.

    The university is made up of nine different colleges, including their College of Humanities and Social Sciences which offers degree programs in the political science field. The Grand Canyon Antelopes compete in NCAA Division I athletic contests.

    Grand Canyon University offers an MPA in Government and Policy that prepares students to address modern problems with domestic and foreign policy by focusing on leadership, communication, and capital development skills. As a Master’s of Public Administration degree, you will earn a degree that prepares you for managerial roles in a governmental institution.

    The program requires the completion of 38 credits which are divided between 4 and 2 credit courses. The degree program accommodates working professionals by offering classes both online and in the evening.

    More Information
  6. The George Washington University
    MERIT: 194.8
    Average Cost: $55,230

    Online Master’s in Political Management

    George Washington UniversityGeorge Washington University is a private university that was founded in 1821 and is located in Washington D.C. The university is divided into 14 different schools, and their Graduate School of Political Management offers online programs in the field of political science. The university’s close proximity to Washington D.C. allows politics students access to some of the most important people and events in the American political system.

    There are approximately 11,000 undergraduate students, and 15,000 postgraduate students enrolled at George Washington, and there is a student-to-teacher ratio of 13 to 1. The George Washington Colonials compete in the NCAA Division I’s Atlantic 10 Conference.

    George Washington University offers an Online Master’s in Political Management that gives students knowledge of the mechanics behind the American political system. Students will gain an in-depth understanding of topics such as campaign management, lobbying, polling and strategic research techniques, and political fundraising.

    The degree can be specialized in three separate “clusters”: Electoral Politics, Advocacy Politics, and Applied Proficiencies. The program embraces all political ideologies in order to offer a bi-partisan education, and encourage students of all different backgrounds. The program requires the completion of 36 credit hours, all of which can be completed in an online format.

    More Information
  7. MERIT: 194.3
    View Profile Average Cost: $11,813

    Online Political Science Master’s Degree

    UIS, Illinois, online college, online degrees, online masters, online bachelorsThe University of Illinois at Springfield is a public university that was founded in 1969 and is located in Springfield, Illinois.

    There are 5,431 students enrolled at UIS, about 2,000 of whom are postgraduate students, and the school maintains a 13 to 1 student-to-faculty ratio. The school offers 27 undergraduate degree programs and 21 postgraduate programs for students to choose from.

    The school is well known for its library, the Brookens Library, which has a collection of almost 800,000 books and periodicals.

    The school’s athletic teams are known as the Prairie Stars, and they compete in NCAA Division II.

    The University of Illinois offers an Online Political Science Master’s Degree which allows students to complete 100% of their coursework online. The program is designed for students who want to go on to pursue a career in politics or education or go on to earn a doctoral degree in a related field.

    The program offers four different areas of emphasis which are American National and State Politics, Comparative Politics/International Relations, Political Theory, and Public Law.

    More Information
  8. MERIT: 194.1
    View Profile Average Cost: $18,380

    Masters in Government

    Regent UniversityRegent University is a private Christian research university that was established in 1977 in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Regent has been recognized by the US News & World Report, as well as other outlets, as providing some of the best online educational experiences in the nation. The university offers over 70 different degree programs at all levels of academia.

    There are 9,488 students enrolled at Regent, about half of whom are undergraduates, and the University has a 42 to 1 student-to-faculty ratio. Their athletic teams, the Regent Royals, compete in the NCCAA Division I South Region.

    Regent University saw more than 150 of its graduates hired by the federal government during the George W. Bush presidency, many of whom served in the Bush administration. The university continues to graduate students who find employment in politics and government.

    Regent University’s Robertson School of Government offers a Masters in Government which can be completed entirely online. The program requires the completion of 30-33 credit hours, which are completed through 8-week course sessions.

    Online students should be aware that regardless of whether they are in-state or out-of-state, they will receive the same affordable tuition rate for their degree.

    Perhaps the greatest benefit to earning your Masters in Government from Regent University is their alumni associations, as many Regent graduates have gone on to have successful careers in government.

    More Information
  9. MERIT: 193.7
    View Profile Average Cost: $6,347

    Master of Science in International Policy Management

    KSU, online degree, online degree programs, online masters degreeKennesaw State University is a public university that was established in 1963 and has two main campuses located in Kennesaw and Marietta, Georgia. Kennesaw State is part of the University System of Georgia, which offers great tuition rates for in-state students. The university is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution. The Kennesaw Owls compete in the Big South Conference of the NCAA Division I.

    Kennesaw State is one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country, with more than 35,000 students, though the university maintains a 21 to 1 student-to-faculty ratio. With great in-state tuition rates and 91% of students receiving financial aid, Kennesaw is a great value choice for your Masters in the field of Political Science.

    Kennesaw State University’s School of Government and International Affairs offers an online Master of Science in International Policy Management. The program is designed to prepare students for leading roles in international affairs, with an understanding of the regulatory environment in which corporations function, and the nuances of international negotiations.

    The program is a 33 semester-hour course of study, which utilizes a cohort-based online style of course delivery, where students will interact with their peers in an online format. Courses are usually offered in a predetermined sequence, and students can finish the program in under 2 years.

    More Information
  10. MERIT: 193.2
    View Profile Average Cost: $6,360

    Master of Arts in Political Science

    uwf-university-of-west-florida-logoThe University of West Florida is a public, space grant university that was founded in 1963 and is located in Pensacola, Florida. The university is a comprehensive research university that is a member of the State University System of Florida.

    There are approximately 13,000 students enrolled at West Florida, about 10,000 of whom are undergraduates, and the university maintains a student-to-faculty ratio of 21 to 1. The University of West Florida Argonauts compete in the Gulf South Conference of NCAA Division II.

    West Florida offers highly competitive tuition rates for in-state students, regardless of whether they take classes online or on campus, and with 90% of students receiving financial aid, the university is an affordable option for a Master’s degree in the field of political science.

    The University of West Florida’s Reubin O’D. Askew Department of Government offers an online Master of Arts in Political Science which has a curriculum designed around international relations, comparative politics, and public policy. Students can choose to specialize in Political Science or Security and Diplomacy.

    The program requires the completion of 33 credit hours, 18 of which will come from the core curriculum, and 6 of which can come from electives outside political science. Students can choose between a thesis or a non-thesis option which involves passing a written and oral exam.

    The online format is offered in a synchronous course delivery program, which means that students must attend live lectures at the scheduled course time on the University’s online video conferencing system for courses. This program is therefore designed for students with flexible schedules, though their physical location does not matter.

    More Information
  11. MERIT: 192.1
    View Profile Average Cost: $8,296

    Master of Arts in Political Science

    SHSU, Sam Houston State University, online degree, online program, online masters, online collegeSam Houston State University (SHSU) is a public university that was founded in 1879 and is located in Huntsville, Texas. SHSU is a member of the Texas State University system and offers great tuition rates for students located in Texas, regardless of whether they take their classes online or on campus.

    The university has an enrollment of over 20,000, and still maintains a student-to-faculty ratio of 21 to 1. Comprised of eight different colleges, SHSU offers a wide range of degree programs, with over 80 undergraduate degrees, 59 master’s degrees, 8 doctoral degrees, and more than 20 online degree programs. Their athletic teams are called the Bearkats and they play in the NCAA Division I.

    SHSU offers a Master of Arts in Political Science that is designed for individuals who are looking to advance their professional or academic career. Students choose from two different degree plans, a thesis and a non-thesis option.

    The thesis option requires the completion of 30 hours of coursework and defense of a written thesis that is overseen by an advisor. The non-thesis option requires the completion of 36 credit hours and comprehensive written exams.

    Their department also offers an 18-hour certificate program for students with other master’s degrees who want to earn the professional credentialing requirements for a related professional position.

    More Information
  12. MERIT: 191.9
    View Profile Average Cost: $13,620

    Master of Arts in Political Science

    Virginia Tech, online college, online college degrees, online masters, online bachelorsVirginia Tech is a public, land grant university that was founded in 1872 and is located in Blacksburg, Virginia. The university is renowned for its research facilities and is consistently ranked among top research universities with a research portfolio of $522 million.

    VT currently has 34,440 students enrolled, 27,193 of whom are undergraduates, though the school still maintains a 14 to 1 faculty-to-teacher ratio. Virginia Tech also offers an ROTC program and is designated as one of six senior military colleges in the United States. The Virginia Tech Hokies compete in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) of NCAA Division I.

    Virginia Tech offers a Master of Arts in Political Science that was first offered in 1969 and is available in both online and on-campus formats. The online degree is identical in curriculum, requirements, and workload to the on-campus program. Virginia Tech’s virtual campus is called VTOnline and gives students access to all of the university’s support services.

    The degree requires the completion of 30 credit hours, as well as the completion of a written thesis and thesis defense. Online courses are offered in an asynchronous format where students can attend lectures and complete classwork wherever and whenever it is most convenient for them.

    More Information
  13. MERIT: 190.8
    View Profile Average Cost: $7,790

    Political Science Master’s Degree

    University of Nebraska Omaha, Online College, online college degrees, online mastersThe University of Nebraska Omaha is a public research university that was founded in 1908 and is located in Omaha, Nebraska. The school was founded by the Omaha Presbyterian Theological Seminary. The university is broken up into 6 different colleges, with over 60 facilities spread over 3 campuses.

    UNO’s student population is 15,731, about 12,500 of which are undergraduate students, and the student-to-faculty ratio is 17 to 1. The school offers great tuition rates to Nebraska residents, regardless of whether they take their classes online or on campus. The University of Nebraska Omaha’s College of Arts and Sciences offers degrees in the field of political science.

    The University of Nebraska Omaha offers a Political Science Master’s Degree in both on campus and online formats. The online program offers the same faculty and courses as its on-campus counterpart and is meant to provide students with a holistic understanding of political science with interdisciplinary curricula.

    Students can choose to specialize their degree in International Affairs or can add a graduate certificate in Intelligence and National Security or Global Information Operations to augment their master’s diploma. Students can also choose from a thesis or non-thesis track, though most students select the non-thesis track for greater schedule flexibility.

    More Information
  14. MERIT: 190.3
    View Profile Average Cost: $6,816

    Master of Arts in Political Science

    sul ross state university, online college degree, online college, online degreesSul Ross State University is a public university that was founded in 1917 and is located in Alpine, Texas. The university is comprised of one main campus and four branch campuses. The university is broken down into four colleges: Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, Arts and Sciences, Graduate Studies, and Education and Professional Studies.

    There are 2,946 students enrolled at Sul Ross State, about 2,300 of whom are undergraduates. Their athletics teams are called the Lobos, and they compete in the American Southwest Conference of NCAA Division III.

    Sul Ross State offers a Master of Arts in Political Science that is designed for students who are looking to go on to careers in education or government, or who will go on to earn a PhD in a related area. The online program is designed to accommodate working professionals who would like to earn a master’s degree to advance in their field.

    The courses can be taken entirely online, though students will have the option of taking some courses on evenings and weekends if they choose. The program takes an interdisciplinary approach, with students required to take 9 to 18 credit hours outside in a related discipline.

    More Information
  15. MERIT: 190.1
    View Profile Average Cost: $31,136

    Master of Arts in Public History

    Southern New Hampshire UniversitySouthern New Hampshire University is a private university that was founded in 1932 and is located between Manchester and Hooksett, New Hampshire. Southern New Hampshire University is one of the fastest growing universities in the United States, due to their investment into their online offerings.

    There are currently 3,913 students who take classes on campus, and 87,042 students who take classes online. The university is broken down into six different colleges and schools. Their College of Online and Continuing Education offers master’s degree programs in fields related to political science.

    Southern New Hampshire offers a Master of Arts in Public History degree which is offered in an online format. Students will engage with political science concepts through the lens of historical texts and events. The program is designed to offer ultimate flexibility, as it does not require applicants to take the GMAT or GRE, has asynchronous class scheduling, and has affordable tuition rates.

    The degree requires students to complete 33 credit hours. Students generally take two courses per 10-week term and can complete the program in as few as 15 months.

    More Information

Frequently Asked Questions And Answers About Political Science Degrees

online masters degree, political science, government job, online college, best political science degree, political science major

Should I Major in Political Science?

Do you find yourself reading the latest political news stories and looking for stimulating conversation about current events? If you are interested in how governments function and the history of nations, majoring in political science might be a good choice for you. Some of the courses that you will take as a political science major include:

  • Government: Political science courses will cover the foundation and function of the United States government, as well as the governments of other nations around the world.
  • History: As a political science major, you will take history classes that will give you an understanding of how governments have been successful, and how they have failed in the past.
  • Ethics: Political scientists have to have a strong understanding of ethics in order to make decisions that will be beneficial for all of humanity.

As an undergraduate, choosing a major can feel daunting, though the best choice is usually picking the subject that you are most interested in, as you will get the most out of your classes if you are engaged in the subject matter. Choosing a specialization is more important for a graduate degree, as job prospects and career options will be based on your area of expertise.

Is a BA or BS in Political Science Better?

Choosing between a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS) in political science should depend on what you hope to do with your degree after graduating.

online political science degree, online masters, political science degree, degree to work in government, online collegeIf you are looking to do research or continue your career in academia with a graduate degree, then a BS might be right for you.

If you are hoping to work for a political campaign or become a journalist, then a BA could be the better choice. Consider some of the differences between a BA and a BS:

  • BS degrees generally require more credits within the major, while BA degrees are more interdisciplinary.
  • BA degrees are geared towards a liberal arts education, while a BS is based more on data and research.
  • Often when BA and BS degrees are offered in the same subject at the same school, the difference comes down to just a few classes that you will have to pass to graduate.

When selecting a degree program, it is most important that the curriculum and program meet your personal academic expectations. You should be sure to check out the course catalog for the schools that you are considering applying to or attending, since finding a program of study that interests you will be more important than whether your diploma says arts or sciences when you graduate.

For more information, you can check out our article BA vs BS Degree Explained.

What Jobs Can I Get With a Politics Degree?

online masters in political science degree, political scientist, politician, online masters degree, online master's, online bachelor's degreeA politics degree will build skills in a number of different areas that translate to productive careers. While job opportunities can differ depending on the type of degree and program of study, there is a wide range of lucrative job opportunities with stable employment for graduates with a politics degree, including:

  • Political Scientist: Political scientists study the evolution and operation of the political system, by analyzing governments, resource logistics, and policy in order to inform and improve a political system. They make an average annual salary of $117,570, and there are currently 7,300 positions employed in the United States, with that number expected to increase by 3% over the next decade.
  • Economist: Economists study market trends, resource distribution, and goods and services by collecting and analyzing data. They earn an average salary of $104,340, and there are currently 21,300 economists employed in the United States, with that number expected to increase by 6% over the next decade.
  • Sociologist: Sociologists study the behaviors and culture of different populations throughout the world, in order for people of different backgrounds to understand each other. They make an average annual salary of $82,050, and there are currently 3,500 positions employed in the United States, with that number expected to increase by 1% over the next decade.

Can You Get a Political Science Degree Online?

online student, online college, online degree program, online masters, online master's, online bachelor's, online bachelor degree program, online degree

More political science degrees are being offered online than ever before. Colleges and universities are understanding the needs of students who have other priorities in their schedule, and are accommodating them by offering online degrees that are the equivalent of their on-campus degrees. These degree programs are meant to help working professionals earn their degree so that they can advance in their career field.

Students in online courses often have more one on one time with the professor, and can’t go unnoticed among a large noisy class of students in a room. Enrolling in an online degree program has a number of other benefits as well, including:

  • Schedule Flexibility: Many online programs offer asynchronous class schedules, meaning you can attend class and complete exams and homework whenever you have free time.
  • online political science master degree program, online school, online college, online degree, online politics educationCost: Many online programs cut down on the cost of the degree by allowing students to forgo fees from commuting and room and board.
  • Location: Online classes can be taken from wherever a student has a reliable internet connection.

If you are still unsure about whether you should enroll in an online or on-campus political science degree program, you should check out our article that goes into details about the Pros and Cons of Online College.

How Much does a Political Science Degree Cost?

Doctorate Salary, how much money can I makePostsecondary degree programs require a large investment of time and money, so prospective students should be sure to get the best deal on their degree program, which will allow them to earn a quick return on their investment. The price of a degree depends on a number of factors, including:

  • Class Format: Enrolling in an online degree program can save students a lot of money on their degree, as they do not have to commute or pay for room and board.
  • Tuition: Colleges and universities offer degrees at vastly different tuition rates depending on the institution. For great deals, you should check out online schools or public schools within your state of residence.
  • Credit Hours: Degrees are awarded upon completion of a certain amount of credit hours, which vary based on the institution and type of degree. Most programs are paid for in terms of credit hours.
  • online master degree, online master's degree, political science degree, master of political science, master of science, master of arts, MA in Political Science, MS in Political Science, MS in GovernmentFinancial Aid: Many colleges offer a lot of financial aid to incoming students, so you should be sure to fill out a FAFSA form and contact your school’s admissions office to see what kind of financial aid package you qualify for.
  • Scholarships: There is a wide range of scholarships available for all types of postsecondary students. Scholarships are offered both by colleges and universities, and private companies. To check out some scholarships that are offered by companies, have a look at our list of Quick College Scholarships.