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Pursuing graduate studies is one of the most efficient ways of achieving your personal and professional goals. While a bachelor’s degree is a good start to securing a job in private firms or government agencies, having an advanced degree in your field can significantly improve your career in the long run.
For political science degree holders, pursuing a graduate program will further improve your knowledge of government structures not only in the US but also across the world. A graduate political science program is a combination of doing advanced research methods and studying political theory. It writes and discusses political analysis and involves understanding public administration and policy skills.
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The Bureau of Labor Statistics made a forecast of a 6% growth in employment for political scientists between 2020 and 2030. With this positive career outlook, enrolling in a political science master’s degree can significantly widen your employment potential in various fields.
Since many of these political science programs strongly focus on writing and analysis, the online master’s degree is a good choice for political scientists who plan to move to a supervisory position.
Specialized knowledge and skills about government structures are an asset to many industries. For students interested in securing their online master’s in political science, we listed the country’s best graduate schools offering an Online Master of Political Science.
Our top picks stand out because of these program features that prove high academic standards:
- Fully online or blended classes offer Online Master of Political Science students a flexible way to set their schedules and attend their classes conveniently,
- Emphasis on the in-depth principles of Political Science at the graduate level to equip graduates with broadened knowledge and enhanced skills for career advancement,
- A top-rated Learning Management System featuring easy-to-access online study resources, tools, and technologies, coupled with 24/7 technical support to ensure an excellent learning experience,
- Student support programs to assist students and graduates in their degree specialization options and career decisions,
- Federal financial aid and graduate program discount options,
- Generous credit transfers for students,
- Accreditation from academic agencies,
- Positive reviews from educational resources, and exceptional student reviews.
To learn more, see our Methodology page.
Best Online Political Science Master’s Graduate Schools
The University of Illinois at Springfield
For full-time students or working professionals, this program gives you the chance to get the full experience of being a graduate student. This online degree can be tailored to your specific field of study to achieve your professional goals and research interests.
- The program is offered 100%, although it also has an on-campus setting.
- The online program provides students with the training to become experts in international relations, American politics, political philosophy, empirical analysis, political campaigns, and public administration.
- Areas of emphasis in Comparative Politics, Political Theory, American National and State Politics, or Public Law.
With only 20 students in each class, the online master’s program is relatively small, so students and faculty can have interactive learning. Internship and research opportunities are allowed for online and on-campus students to practice their graduate degree programs in real-world experience.
Did you know?
The University of Illinois offers graduate assistantships to qualified students–the Graduate Public Service Internship Program. This program provides a monthly stipend, financial aid, and even tuition waivers for those students who are also working in a state agency.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Both the online and on-campus master’s in political science workload are identical in requirements and course content. This online master’s in political science is designed for placed-bound students who cannot enroll at Virginia Tech’s main campus but want to pursue a graduate degree.
- The online master’s is completed entirely over the internet via online courses conducted asynchronously.
- The course focuses on social science research methodologies to prepare graduate students for various careers in public administration, government agencies, and academia.
- Elective subjects in public policy analysis, international political economy, American politics in the American government, global conflicts, human rights, political institutions, political systems, and international politics.
One popular course for online students in this political science online master’s is electronic governance. This studies how the government uses information technology in relation to political science. Many students today consider how technology affects people in terms of privacy, security, and access to digital information.
Did you know?
Since 2015, Virginia Tech Online has been a participant in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (NC-SARA), an agreement between member states and districts that establishes a national standard of education for interstate post-secondary online education.
Sam Houston State University
This program is ideal for recent bachelor’s degree graduates and working professionals who want to advance their college education and academic or professional careers. Through this master’s program, online students are prepared for law school or doctoral studies, high school teachers are expected to boost their professional standing, and other professionals are taught how to advance their careers in their respective organizations.
- This program has two degree plans: a 30-credit hour thesis track, or the 36-credit hour non-thesis track.
- Students in any field are qualified to enroll in the 18-credit hour certificate program to secure credits for graduate-level courses in political science needed to meet credentialing requirements.
The program covers several elective courses like women in politics, political attitudes and behaviors, the federal government, political behavior, contemporary political theory, and the US presidency. There is also a class that explores the evolution of the present-day Republican and Democratic parties in the US.
Did you know?
One of the best parts of this online degree is the small class sizes handled by credentialed and talented professors. It also offers round-the-clock support so that all degree candidates enrolled in the program get the support they need.
University of West Florida
This online political science master’s degree is focused on studying political science research methods, international affairs, current events, and public administration. Through these experiences, students are prepared to serve as policy analysts in political parties, strategic advisors, political scientists, government officials, and nonprofit management advisors.
- Required courses for this political science master’s degree include American politics, comparative politics, political theory, and research methods.
- Students have the option to go for a thesis option (nine credits of elective courses and a faculty-advised thesis paper) or a non-thesis option (15 elective credits).
- The program is delivered synchronously. Students should attend the class in real time through the school’s online video conferencing system.
While the courses are delivered synchronously, most of the classes are scheduled at night (once a week, or during lunch hour twice each week). This makes it still accessible especially for working professionals.
Did you know?
While there is no financial aid option available, students who are non-Florida residents can secure a tuition waiver of up to 90%.
Eastern Illinois University
Earning an MA in Political Science from EUI grants you an exceptional master’s degree to give you better employment opportunities and advanced educational goals.
- In this master’s degree, students can focus on public policy or public administration.
- The program prepares graduate students for various careers in regional, local, or state government agencies, government relations, public policy research, human resource management, and nonprofit management.
- A capstone project is required after completion of the program.
Graduate students are qualified for graduate assistantships that grant a tuition waiver and a 9-month stipend for 2 semesters and 1 summer. However, as a graduate assistant, you are required to go on campus during weekdays and sometimes on weekends.
Did you know?
The school offers international student scholarships to qualified international students from all over the world. This scholarship provides tuition assistance.
Citadel Military College of South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina
This online master’s degree prepares a student for careers in the U.S. military, large corporations, nongovernmental organizations, and other government and private sectors. This political science master’s degree takes an intensive view of different social issues affecting nation-states, and other economic and political issues.
- This master’s degree builds a student’s skills in critical thinking, communication, problem-solving, and analysis.
- Electives in the program include the American government and US foreign policy, South Asian affairs, international law, and conflict studies.
- There is also a class on international political systems where both military students and working professionals learn to look at how every economic issue can influence the political behaviors of every country.
Most traditional political science programs focus on concepts and theories to prepare students for academic research. At Citadel, the program is more focused on teaching practical skills required to pursue careers like being political scientists, military officers, international civil servants, and business leaders.
Did you know?
Citadel has a very competitive process for this master’s program. Admission is very limited to a certain number. Therefore, it’s best to start planning your post-graduate degree right after you complete your bachelor’s degree. Prepare for a comprehensive exam as well to go with your application process.
Students begin this online political science master’s degree by understanding the fundamental skills needed to become effective political scientists in civil society. This program challenges students to open their minds to their preconceived beliefs on politics– from political power to environmental politics to political organizations and collaborative governance.
- This political science program can be completed in 18 months (36 credits).
- Students will learn about the different factors used in influencing politics and government in the US and across the globe.
- Courses include political philosophy, political psychology, economics, and public policy research.
Liberty University is only one of the few schools that has a course in international diplomacy, and geopolitics. It takes a Judeo-Christian standpoint on foreign policy, international relations, international leadership, and the different roles the US plays in politics on a global scale.
Did you know?
Liberty University is recognized by different institutions for its affordability, accessibility, and academic quality. Niche.com even ranked the school as one of the top 5 best online schools in America. The school also has an amazing and well-qualified teaching staff– from the faculty advisor to the political science professors, everybody is an expert in their respective field.
Virginia Beach, Virginia
With so many political science programs, those with a passion for politics should enroll in this online master’s to effectively run a campaign. The program teaches you how to practice a winning election strategy and earn ballot box victories.
- This online political science master’s is delivered from a government perspective and emphasizes the federal government system.
- Students will learn first liberal arts, administrative ethics, strategic marketing, campaign management, finance and compliance issues, and political parties.
Although the financial aid is limited, all students (online and on-campus) pay the same tuition, regardless of the state where they reside.
Did you know?
This online master’s is a 33-credit program that takes a Christian approach to finance, campaign management, administration, and compliance. In a US World Report, Regent University was named one of the top-performing national universities in 2019, 2020, and 2022.
Sul Ross State University
For those who want to prepare for an administrative or political career, those who are interested in research and teaching in college, or even ordinary citizens who simply wish to learn more about public and international affairs, this is a great program.
- This online master’s features classes in comparative politics, public policy and administration, intergovernmental relations, public budgeting and finance, and public management.
- The local government administration course provides students with a thorough understanding of how cities, counties, metro areas, and the school systems, as well as international governments, work.
- Through this online master’s students can seamlessly complete the program completely online, thus giving them maximum flexibility to complete the course around family, work, and other duties.
This program has a non-thesis and thesis option so students can take full control of their schooling. However, students are required to pass the program’s comprehensive oral test before graduation.
Did you know?
The Master’s in Political Science degree of Sul Ross State University is one of the top 10 most affordable online political science master’s programs in a 2020 ranking by Online U. In 2021, Intelligent.com also included the school in its list in the top 10 programs for flexibility.
The University of Nebraska at Omaha
This online master’s in political science is packed with so many opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration and learning. You can choose to concentrate on American politics and government or international affairs.
- Students can enroll in courses in international leadership, political theory, comparative politics, and public opinion.
- The LGPTQ+ Politics course focuses on how LGBTQ members can exercise their political power to achieve their civil rights victories.
This online master’s program is a good choice for mid-career professionals who want to try their luck in public policy, politics, education, and public service careers. This program is also an excellent stepping stone for those who seek to get a Ph.D. after they graduate.
Did you know?
The program strongly requires applicants to have a good command of written and oral English. Aside from the required courses and degrees, those who cannot meet the required language standing should meet the standard language proficiency score required of 80 (with no sub-score under 15) for TOEFL. PTE and EILTS are also accepted.
The Types of Political Science Graduate Degrees
- MA (Master of Arts in Political Science) – This two-year degree balances political science and general humanities courses. This course is a good point of entrance for master’s students who are interested in the theory of political science and is a valuable option for those who want to go on into a Ph.D. program.
- MS (Master of Science in Political Science) – This is a 30-credit degree that focuses more on the technical aspects of political science like data analysis, data collection, or research. This helps students in preparing for practical jobs as a consultant or policy analysts.
- Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science) – This is a 5-7 year course that revolves around research questions, and the defense and production of a dissertation.
Popular Specializations in Political Science
- American Politics
- Comparative Political Systems
- International Relations
- Political Economy
- Political Theory
Things You Can Do If You Hold a Master’s in Political Science
- Political Scientist
- Urban and Regional Planner
- Policy Analyst
- News Correspondent
Frequently Asked Questions
What can graduates of a Master’s in Political Science Degree expect career-wise?
A political scientist holding a master’s degree has a lot of career opportunities– from doing public policy to teaching, criminal justice, and sharing your expertise with private businesses.
In an online master’s, graduates can work in different settings, including policy-driven nonprofits, governmental organizations, and media companies. Because of the different roles, you can get as a master’s degree holder, your earning potential can increase dramatically.
How much can an online Master’s in Political Science degree holder expect to earn?
Master’s degree holders in political science have so many lucrative careers ahead of them. Because of the many opportunities available, the salary can widely vary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, post-secondary teachers have a median annual salary of roughly $80,840, while lawyers have a median wage of $135,740 per year.
Is an online Master’s in Political Science worth it?
Students who hold an online master’s in politics in any subject need a huge investment of money and time. However, this can lead to so many career opportunities. During the master’s program, students can hone their research, analytical, and writing skills which are highly valuable in any field or career.
A master’s in political science is a gateway towards securing a versatile career in the future; careers within the government, in nonprofit organizations, and in private businesses. Some careers also qualify you to analyze public opinions, study political science topics, and forecast trends in society and politics.
Because of the promising career growth that goes with getting a master’s in political science, not to mention high earning potential, earning a master’s in this field is indeed a strategic path that you need to consider.