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Online Political Science Degrees

By Margaret Wack | Updated 8/22/2022
Quick Facts
Accreditation: Institutional
Average Tuition: $24,097
Alumni Salary: $35,860

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.

Find an Online Degree:

Most Popular Accredited Online Schools for Political Science Bachelor's Degrees

Visitors to our site are most interested in these schools
Rank School Annual Tuition Recommend Rate
# 1 #1 Southern New Hampshire University Online $9,600 63% (436 reviews)
290 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Political Science (view all)
290 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Political Science
  • BA Political Science
# 2 #2 Arizona State University $24,413 65% (111 reviews)
334 Programs, 3 Bachelor's in Political Science (view all)
334 Programs, 3 Bachelor's in Political Science
  • BA in Political Science
  • BS in Political Science
  • BA in Philosophy (Morality, Politics and Law)
# 3 #3 Grand Canyon University $17,800 51% (519 reviews)
298 Programs, 2 Bachelor's in Political Science (view all)
298 Programs, 2 Bachelor's in Political Science
  • BA in Government - Legal Studies
  • BA in Government - State and Local Public Policy
# 4 #4 Liberty University $11,700 57% (322 reviews)
761 Programs, 5 Bachelor's in Political Science (view all)
761 Programs, 5 Bachelor's in Political Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Government
  • BS: Government: Politics & Policy
  • BS: Political Science
  • BS: Government: National Security
# 5 #5 The University of Arizona Global Campus Not Provided 67% (680 reviews)
144 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Political Science (view all)
144 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Political Science
  • BA/Liberal Arts
# 6 #6 Regent University Online $18,620 39% (23 reviews)
398 Programs, 4 Bachelor's in Political Science (view all)
398 Programs, 4 Bachelor's in Political Science
  • B.A. in Government
  • B.A. in Government - American Government and Politics
  • B.A. in Government - International Relations and Foreign ...
  • B.A. in Government - Pre-Law
# 7 #7 University of Arizona $11,800 100% (3 reviews)
240 Programs, 3 Bachelor's in Political Science (view all)
240 Programs, 3 Bachelor's in Political Science
  • Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
  • Political Science - Bachelors
  • Government & Public Service - Bachelors
# 8 #8 University of Virginia $50,900 Add Review
87 Programs, 2 Bachelor's in Political Science (view all)
87 Programs, 2 Bachelor's in Political Science
  • Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies - History and Politics
  • Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies
# 9 #9 University of Illinois at Springfield $21,338 100% (6 reviews)
78 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Political Science (view all)
78 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Political Science
  • Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
# 10 #10 Spring Hill College $40,648 Add Review
45 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Political Science (view all)
45 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Political Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Philosophy, Politics & Economics
# 11 #11 William Paterson University of New Jersey $21,768 Add Review
20 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Political Science (view all)
20 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Political Science
  • BA in Liberal Studies - Political Science
# 12 #12 Eastern Kentucky University $19,948 25% (4 reviews)
163 Programs, 4 Bachelor's in Political Science (view all)
163 Programs, 4 Bachelor's in Political Science
  • Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
  • Bachelor of Arts in Political Science - Emphasis in Ameri...
  • Bachelor of Arts in Political Science - Emphasis in Inter...
  • Bachelor of Arts in Political Science - Emphasis in Publi...
# 13 #13 Bellevue University $7,851 68% (69 reviews)
183 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Political Science (view all)
183 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Political Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Intelligence and Security Studies ...
# 14 #14 Arkansas State University $15,860 75% (4 reviews)
107 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Political Science (view all)
107 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Political Science
  • BA in Political Science
# 15 #15 Northern Illinois University $14,610 Add Review
41 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Political Science (view all)
41 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Political Science
  • Bachelor of Arts in Political Science - Politics
# 16 #16 University of North Dakota $15,895 67% (3 reviews)
329 Programs, 2 Bachelor's in Political Science (view all)
329 Programs, 2 Bachelor's in Political Science
  • Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
  • Bachelor of Arts in Social Science - Focus in Economic an...
# 17 #17 Austin Peay State University $13,847 50% (2 reviews)
80 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Political Science (view all)
80 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Political Science
  • Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science in Political Science
# 18 #18 Eastern Oregon University $21,729 80% (5 reviews)
54 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Political Science (view all)
54 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Political Science
  • Bachelors in Politics, Policy and Public Administration
# 19 #19 Ohio Christian University $21,390 53% (17 reviews)
80 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Political Science (view all)
80 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Political Science
  • Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
# 20 #20 Texas Woman's University $18,055 100% (2 reviews)
82 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Political Science (view all)
82 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Political Science
  • Bachelor of General Studies in Political Science
# 21 #21 University of Houston - Victoria $16,909 100% (1 review)
69 Programs, 2 Bachelor's in Political Science (view all)
69 Programs, 2 Bachelor's in Political Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Political Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a concentra...
# 22 #22 University of Louisiana - Monroe $21,074 67% (3 reviews)
67 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Political Science (view all)
67 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Political Science
  • Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
# 23 #23 The University of Texas Permian Basin $7,506 67% (3 reviews)
31 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Political Science (view all)
31 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Political Science
  • BA in Political Science
# 24 #24 Virginia Wesleyan University $36,860 Add Review
22 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Political Science (view all)
22 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Political Science
  • Bachelor of Arts in Comprehensive Liberal Studies
# 25 #25 Johnson & Wales University - Online $13,365 25% (4 reviews)
73 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Political Science (view all)
73 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Political Science
  • BS - Political Science

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.

International Relations

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.

Political Economy

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 Scientist

Annual Median Salary: $122,510
Job Outlook: 9%

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.

Lawyer

Annual Median Salary: $127,990
Job Outlook: 9%

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.

Journalist

Annual Median Salary: $48,370
Job Outlook: 6%

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.

Economist

Annual Median Salary: $105,630
Job Outlook: 13%

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

Annual Median Salary: $78,500
Job Outlook: 7%

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:

Potential Advantages

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.

Potential Drawbacks

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.

Bottom Line

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.

Political science has a lot of overlap with other disciplines in the liberal arts and social sciences, and students interested in a degree in political science may also want to consider degrees in sociology, history, or economics.

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