Online Political Science Degrees
Students of an online political science degree program will study the history, development, and operation of policies and systems. The degrees on this page offer a wide variety of degree focuses, including international relations, military studies, and public affairs. Online political science degrees are available at the associate, bachelor's, master's, and certificate levels. Aspiring political scientists will find 8 strong choices on our list of the best online master's degrees in political science. Schools are ranked based on tuition and alumni salaries provided by PayScale.
There is no specific programmatic accreditation agency focused on political science degrees. However, as with all subjects, it is important for prospective students to verify the institutional accreditation status of any school they are considering attending in order to ensure their degree meets national standards.
Most Popular Accredited Online Schools for Political Science Bachelor's Degrees
|Rank||School||Annual Tuition||Recommend Rate|
|# 1||Arizona State University||$24,413||64% (112 reviews)|
|# 2||Southern New Hampshire University Online||$9,600||63% (443 reviews)|
|# 3||Grand Canyon University||$17,800||50% (541 reviews)|
|# 4||Liberty University||$11,700||58% (326 reviews)|
|# 5||The University of Arizona Global Campus||Not Provided||67% (686 reviews)|
|# 6||Regent University Online||$18,620||38% (24 reviews)|
|# 7||University of Arizona||$11,800||75% (4 reviews)|
|# 8||University of Virginia||$50,900||Add Review|
|# 9||University of Illinois at Springfield||$21,338||100% (6 reviews)|
|# 10||Spring Hill College||$40,648||Add Review|
|# 11||William Paterson University of New Jersey||$21,768||Add Review|
|# 12||Eastern Kentucky University||$19,948||25% (4 reviews)|
|# 13||Bellevue University||$7,851||68% (69 reviews)|
|# 14||Arkansas State University||$15,860||75% (4 reviews)|
|# 15||Northern Illinois University||$14,610||100% (1 review)|
|# 16||University of North Dakota||$15,895||67% (3 reviews)|
|# 17||Austin Peay State University||$13,847||50% (2 reviews)|
|# 18||Eastern Oregon University||$21,729||80% (5 reviews)|
|# 19||Ohio Christian University||$21,390||53% (17 reviews)|
|# 20||Texas Woman's University||$18,055||100% (2 reviews)|
|# 21||University of Houston - Victoria||$16,909||100% (1 review)|
|# 22||University of Louisiana - Monroe||$21,074||67% (3 reviews)|
|# 23||The University of Texas Permian Basin||$7,506||67% (3 reviews)|
|# 24||Virginia Wesleyan University||$36,860||Add Review|
|# 25||Johnson & Wales University - Online||$13,365||25% (4 reviews)|
What Is a Political Science Degree?
Political science is the study of political systems and behaviors. This area of study draws from fields including history, economics, law, and more. Online degrees in political science are available at the associate, bachelor's, master's, and certificate levels. A bachelor's in political science is generally an entry-level requirement for many positions in this field. Graduates may pursue employment as policy analysts, research assistants, or administrators in public, private, and nonprofit organizations.
A bachelor's in political science is generally an entry-level requirement for many positions in this field.
During the degree program, students spend four years studying subjects that include macroeconomics, microeconomics, American history, American government, comparative politics, foreign policy, and legal writing. In order to be accepted into a program in political science, students must typically have obtained a high school diploma. Some schools may also require entrance exams, like the SAT or ACT. A degree in political science can be expensive, but scholarships may be available for exceptional students.
Is Political Science a Good Major for Politics?
Studying political science is one way that students can prepare for a career in politics. Political science majors can go on to pursue occupations in government agencies, political campaigns, consulting, polling, and more. For students setting their sights on a career in politics, a degree in political science is one way to prepare for work in this field. However, a political science degree can also prepare individuals for careers in a wide variety of disciplines, including business, sales, marketing, and more.
Can You Get a Political Science Degree Online?
It’s possible to get an online degree in political science, but you should make sure to obtain a degree from an accredited university.
All of the degrees we recommend are accredited.
Accreditation is a designation awarded to a school on the condition that the school meets certain academic and proprietary standards. This process holds schools accountable. Accredited schools undergo regular auditing processes that are designed to protect students from fraud or substandard education. Only accredited schools may offer federal financial aid, which helps many students with educational costs.
Students can check the accreditation status of the schools they are considering through the database maintained by the U.S. Department of Education.
Common Courses for a Political Science Major
Courses in political science are designed to educate students about government structures, the history of different political systems, and more. Courses offered by political science departments may also overlap with other subjects including history, sociology, philosophy, economics, and psychology.
American Government and Politics
This foundational course exposes students to the history and structure of U.S. government and political systems. This may include the constitution and constitutional law, the role of different branches of government, and the history and development of American government institutions and political parties. Students will gain a better understanding of how politics operates in North America.
Introduction to Political Philosophy
This class exposes students to the theoretical underpinnings of political concepts. Students will learn about the philosophical analysis of cities, states, democracies, and other forms of government. They may be exposed to authors throughout the Western philosophical canon, including Plato, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and more. Studying the philosophical basis for various political ideologies can help students to gain a better understanding of why and how varied political systems work.
Modern Political Thought
Courses in modern political thought expose students to the major political movements in modern history, such as democracy, socialism, communism, and fascism. Other topics may include free speech, secularism, colonialism, and more. Students will learn about the history, advantages, and drawbacks to different political systems in the modern world.
Students who take an International Relations course will learn about politics on a global scale. Some topics in international relations may include economics, culture, global security, human rights, and more. Students may be exposed to current events and analyses of different geopolitical forces.
Religion and World Politics
This course explores the relationship between religion and politics across the world. Students learn about how religion and politics have influenced one another throughout different historical time periods and in different countries, and will gain exposure to major world religions and political systems.
As the name suggests, courses in political economy combine the study of political science with the study of economics. Students are often exposed to economic development, inequality, globalization, economic policy, and more. Taking classes in political economy is especially helpful for students who plan to pursue a career at the intersection of politics and the economy.
What Can You Do With a Political Science Degree?
While many people who pursue a degree in political science go on to pursue careers in politics, this is far from the only career path available to those who study political science. Students studying this major learn important skills when it comes to written and verbal communication, critical thinking skills, and analysis. Graduates are well-suited to a wide variety of career paths, including work with political campaigns and government agencies as well as nonprofits and businesses in the private sector.
Below are a few typical career paths that graduates of political science degrees pursue:
Political scientists study the origin and development of political systems. They also look for solutions to contemporary problems in politics. Many political scientists are employed by institutions of higher education, and may also be asked to consult for political campaigns or organizations.
A degree in political science is one way that individuals can prepare for a career as a lawyer. In addition to a bachelor’s degree in political science or another similar field, students will also have to obtain a law degree from an accredited institution.
Political science majors are well-equipped to pursue careers as journalists, especially if they’re interested in covering politics or current events. Career tracks include print journalism, broadcast journalism, digital media, and more.
The studies of political science and economics have a good degree of overlap, which makes an undergraduate degree in political science good preparation for pursuing a career as an economist. Economists study, analyze, and predict economic trends and issues.
Urban and Regional Planner
If you’re interested in the practical application of political goals and ideas, then a career in urban and regional planning might be worth considering. Urban and regional planners help to plan and revitalize communities and structures. In order to secure a position as an urban planner, you may need to obtain a master’s degree.
Is a Degree in Political Science Worth It?
Depending on what career you plan to pursue, a degree in political science could help you achieve your goals. Studying political science is excellent preparation for careers in diverse areas, such as government agencies, nonprofits, business, and more.
However, a degree in political science may not be strictly necessary. While studying political science provides students with valuable practical and theoretical knowledge, students who know exactly what career path they plan on taking may benefit from a more targeted and applied course of study. Degrees in political science can also be expensive, and may not benefit your long-term financial situation.
Consider the following pros and cons of an online political science degree:
Versatile, in-demand skill-set: Like other liberal arts degrees, political science teaches multi-purpose skills, like written and verbal communication, analysis, and critical thinking. Students can apply these skills broadly in fields like sales, marketing, and entrepreneurship. Students also gain a broad understanding of political history and current events, which can be useful in careers like journalism, law, and more.
Broadens your understanding of the world: The study of political science is especially well-suited to students who want to learn more about how societies function and why. From current events to age-old questions about human behavior, political science can expose students to a wide variety of concepts and ideas that have immediate relevance in their lives.
High potential earnings: A degree in political science can help facilitate several well-paying careers, including political scientists, economists, and more. This can help students to pay off student loans more quickly and set themselves up for financial success.
Stepping stone to graduate degrees: A bachelor’s degree in political science makes for an excellent stepping stone for students looking to pursue graduate studies in political science, or in related fields like law, journalism, economics, or philosophy.
Less hands-on learning and experience: Since political science courses are often focused on academic concepts, history, and philosophy, students may not gain as much hands-on career experience as some other majors, like business or marketing. Additionally, an online degree may further inhibit in-person experiences, especially networking among peers and professors.
No clear-cut answers: Unlike some other majors, there aren’t many clear-cut answers when it comes to the field of political science. This means that students who appreciate having to think critically and make up their own minds may be well-suited for this degree, but students who prefer hard-and-fast rules may become frustrated.
Average job growth: Most common career paths for political science majors have only average or slightly above average projected job growth over the next ten years.This isn't necessarily a con, but if you are looking for a career with an above-average, booming job outlook over the next decade, this may not be the best fit.
A degree in political science is worth pursuing if you’re interested in a political/government career or if you’re simply interested in the history of political development. Not only does studying political science provide you with experience that’s directly relevant to politics-related careers, but it also gives students valuable, versatile soft skills.
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