Overview

Political science is a branch of social science that centers on the theory and practice of government and politics. More specifically, professionals examine and analyze the institutions, relations, and policies that shape public life from the local to the international level. Whether that involves evaluating wealth and resource distribution or policy decisions, political scientists work to ensure that institutions make ethical and beneficial decisions for the public.

In a time where political discourse is more divisive than ever, political scientists must be prepared to offer clear insights that can drive the public to responsible political action. To that end, professionals often consider obtaining a master’s degree to receive advanced training in the field and to serve as voices of authority. Courses cover everything from political theory to trade and economics. Students can also specialize in specific fields including political methodology and international relations to foster greater understanding in more niche areas of political policy.

Political scientists have a wealth of career options and often work as researchers, consultants, and teachers.

Yes. Many schools offer online programs for political science.

The specific requirements of a school will vary, but most programs list their requirements online. In any case, a minimum GPA and GRE score is often required.

Like most master’s programs, it will take around 2 years to get your master’s in political science. That said, taking more courses can speed up the process.

Most online degrees are well-respected. Employers and universities are more interested in a student’s performance in a program rather than if it was obtained online or in person.

Graduate programs often grant students more recognition as experts. The advanced training means students have proven their ability to understand and critically examine complex political concepts and have transformed into trustworthy sources of political commentary and perspectives. More importantly, degree holders learn to translate political policy and tactics for the public which makes advocacy and public engagement possible.

Best Online Masters in Political Science Programs

We took a deep-dive and analyzed every online Masters in Political Science program in the nation. Below are the results of our analysis and a list of the 8 best online Masters in Political Science programs.

Read about our methodology here.

Graduation Rate
45%
School Type
Public
Tuition
In-state: $357 per credit; Out-of-state: 600 per credit
Best Value

The University of Nebraska at Omaha offers a budget-friendly, military-friendly, completely online master's in political science program for distance learners. Students can transfer 12 approved credits, adjust the schedule to suit their needs and receive a personalized education experience thanks to small class sizes.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: College of Arts and Sciences
Program Name: Master in Political Science
Available Concentrations: International Affairs

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Program requirementsCredit Requirements: 30 credit hours

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, Part-time
Program Length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall: June 15; Spring: October 15; Summer: March 15

Admission RequirementsGPA: 3.0

Contact:

Brittney Knowlton

Admissions Contact

Address:

6001 Dodge St

Omaha, NE 68182

402-554-2458

Graduation Rate
83%
School Type
Public
Tuition
In-state: $819 per credit; Out-of-state: $1595 per credit
Best Individualized Education

Virginia Tech University keeps the class sizes small in the online master's in political science program. With fewer than 20 students in the class, professors can provide a more individualized educational experience and one-on-one support to help students succeed in their coursework.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Department of Political Science
Program Name: Master of Arts (MA) in Political Science

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 30 credit hours

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Spring: January 1; Summer I: May 1; Summer II: June 1; Fall: August 1
GPA: 3.0

Contact:

Scott Nelson

Admissions Contact

Address:

220 Stanger St

Blacksburg, VA 24061

540-231-5629

Graduation Rate
64%
School Type
Public
Tuition
$362 per credit
Best Faculty

The University of Illinois at Springfield's faculty is full of experienced professionals in the field of political science. The faculty members are full-time and visiting educators with experience in political theory, international politics, public affairs reporting and more, which ensures students receive a quality education as they work toward their online master's in political science degree.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Department of Political Science
Program Name: Master in Political Science
Available Concentrations: American National and State Politics, Comparative Politics / International Relations, Political Theory, and Public Law
Accrediting Body: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

DeliveryFormat: On-Campus, Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Baccalaureate degree
Credit Requirements: 40 credit hours

Program LengthProgram Length: 2 years

Admission RequirementsGPA: 3.0

Contact:

Rebekah Grosboll

Admissions Contact

Address:

One University Plaza

Springfield, IL 62703

217-206-6646

Graduation Rate
52%
School Type
Private, Non-profit
Tuition
Full-time: $565 per credit; Part-time: $615 per credit
Best Transfer Benefits

Liberty University allows up to 18 transfer credit hours for students enrolling in the online master's in political science program. Students are able to transfer their credits to reduce the number of hours needed in the master's in political science program, helping them to earn their degree much sooner.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Helms School of Government
Program Name: Master of Science in Political Science
Available Concentrations: Campaigns and Elections, General, International Affairs, Leadership, Middle East Affairs, Policy Studies, Public Administration
Accrediting Body: SACSCOC

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 36 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, part-time
Program Length: 2 years
Program start dates: January 14, 2019

Admission RequirementsGPA: 3.0

Address:

1971 University Blvd

Lynchburg, VA 24515

434-592-3691

Graduation Rate
53%
School Type
Public
Tuition
$503 per credit
Best Degree Plans

Sam Houston State University offers two degree plans for students in the master's in political science program: a 30-credit thesis plan and a 36-credit non-thesis plan. These two plans include the required coursework, give students a choice and allow them to customize their degree path in this extensive online program.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Department of Political Science
Program Name: Master of Arts in Political Science
Available Concentrations: Disaster and Emergency Management

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Undergraduate degree
Credit Requirements: 30-36 credit hours

Program LengthProgram start dates: Fall, Spring, Summer

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall: August 1; Spring: December 1; Summer: May 15
GPA: 3.0

Contact:

Dr. Jason Enia

Admissions Contact

Address:

1905 University Ave

Huntsville, TX 77340

936-294-1457

Graduation Rate
51%
School Type
Public
Tuition
In-state: $385 per credit; Out-of-state: $1,044 per credit
Best Virtual Campus

The University of West Florida delivers the online coursework in a synchronous method for students attending the master's in political science program. Online students log in and attend live sessions at the same time as their on-campus classmates, giving distance learners a campus-like experience while completing the lessons at home.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Reubin O'D. Askew Department of Government
Program Name: Master of Arts
Available Concentrations: Political Science, Security and Diplomacy

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's Degree
Credit Requirements: 33 credits

Program Length
Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall: June 1; Spring: October 1; Summer: March 1
GPA: 3.0

Contact:

Brenton Avery

Admissions Contact

Address:

11000 University Pkwy

Pensacola, FL 32514

850- 474-2660

Graduation Rate
22%
School Type
Private, For-profit
Tuition
$350 per credit
Most Established

American Public University is an entirely online school with years of experience delivering a flexible and affordable master's in political science degree to distance learners. Students who want a 100 percent online program with a professional faculty and no on-campus requirements should consider this established online school.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Arts & Humanities
Program Name: Master in Political Science
Available Concentrations: American Politics and Government, International Relations, Comparative Government and Development, Public Policy, General
Accrediting Body: CHEA

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 36 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time
Program Length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall

Admission Requirements

Address:

111 W Congress St

Charles Town, WV 25414

877-777-9081

Graduation Rate
26%
School Type
Public
Tuition
In-state: $217 per credit; Out-of-state: $632 per credit
Best Hybrid Format

Sul Ross State University gives students a way to learn online and on campus thanks to a hybrid option in the master's in political science program. Students who select this option are able to network with peers and professors during in-person sessions while also benefiting from online coursework.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences
Program Name: MA in Political Science

DeliveryFormat: Online, Face-to-Face

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 36 semester credit hours

Program Length
Admission RequirementsGPA: 3.0

Contact:

Dr. David Watson

Admissions Contact

Address:

East Highway 90

Alpine, TX 79832

432- 837-8742