For professionals working in government, an online master’s degree in political science can be a valuable way to increase their skills and advance in their careers. When asking if a master’s degree in political science worth it, a person has to consider his or her career goals. A political science degree can open up positions in law. Additionally, a person with a master’s degree can take on jobs within the government. Media companies, banks, schools, and lobbying agencies also have a need for professionals with a political science background.
A person with a political science master’s degree has a variety of job options to select from, making an online political science masters a versatile option for people who interested in politics. Additionally, this means that finding a job with an online master’s in political science is easier than a degree that only leads to a specific job.
How We Ranked the Best Online Master’s in Political Science
To rank the best online political science master’s programs, the editors at Best Master’s Programs focused on accredited, reputable institutions that offer a fully online or hybrid program in political science or a related field. Programs are ranked according to several key factors that indicate value: Tuition Cost, Student Satisfaction, and Salary Potential, according to IPEDS, Niche, and College Scorecard.
1. George Washington University
Students seeking the best online political science masters might also want to consider the master’s in political management from The George Washington University. This is not a political science or public policy degree, but rather a degree for students who want to make positive changes in the political environment. The political management degree gives students the knowledge and skills they need to make a difference and help make democracy work. Political science teaches theory. Political management teaches how to put that theory into action. The online program consists of 36 credit hours.
The Graduate School of Political Management offers online degrees that are taught by the same outstanding faculty as The George Washington University’s on-campus classes. Students take the same classes and earn the same degrees. The only difference is the flexibility and convenience of online programs, which are designed to fit into busy working adults’ schedules. Students can continue working while pursuing higher education in order to advance their careers.
Degree: Master’s in Political Management
2. Salve Regina University
Another program of interest to students looking for the best online political science masters programs is the Master of Arts in International Relations from Salve Regina University. This program provides students with a solid understanding of how international relations work in the context of world justice. Students develop analytical and critical thinking skills as they learn to come up with creative solutions for solving the world’s most complex problems. Graduates are prepared for positions in government or in businesses or nonprofit organizations with an international focus.
Salve Regina University has an outstanding placement record, with 98% of graduates either working or pursuing an advanced degree within six months after graduation. Students have access to research opportunities and mentorships with the school’s faculty. Students can develop a concentration in an area that fits their interests as long as there are sufficient courses available to support the concentration.
Degree: MA in International Relations
3. Harvard University
Harvard University’s online Master of Liberal Arts in Extension Studies with a concentration in government is a hybrid degree of interest to students who seek the best online masters in political science. Students obtain a thorough understanding of how government organizations work and their role in society. The program covers political theory and practice, political systems, and challenges in the administration of government. Three of the courses must be taken on campus at Harvard University.
Harvard Extension School is Harvard brought online for adult learners all over the world. As part of Harvard University, the school brings the proud history and lineage associated with Harvard. Students come from diverse backgrounds and range in age from 18 to 89. Harvard students are motivated and ready to take on the challenge of a rigorous education that will help them advance their careers and improve their lives. Students march at commencement and receive a Harvard University degree.
Degree: Master of Liberal Arts in Government
4. University of Nebraska Omaha
The University of Nebraska Omaha offers an MS in Political Science that is one of the best online political science masters in the world. Students gain a solid understanding of political science in a curriculum that can incorporate other disciplines if desired. Students can choose to add a concentration in American government or international affairs, or they can add a graduate certificate in intelligence and national security or a certificate in government. The program typically takes two years, but full-time students can graduate faster if they take courses year-round.
The Department of Political Science has award-winning faculty members and offers challenging courses that teach students to think critically and introduce them to the political events and ideas that have led to the current political climate. Students are prepared for careers in government, law, research, business, and education. The master’s program typically enrolls around 90 students. There is a thesis track and a non-thesis track.
Degree: MS in Political Science
5. Norwich University
The online MA in Diplomacy from Norwich University is another degree of interest to students seeking the best online political science masters programs. The program is designed for students who want to change the world through diplomacy. Students learn to promote peace by defusing tension and building cooperation among nations and groups. Graduates are prepared to serve as international problem solvers. There are four concentrations available: cyber diplomacy – policy or technical, international conflict management, international commerce, and international terrorism.
Norwich University’s College of Graduate and Continuing Studies provides online programs that are tailored to meet the needs of adult students. The courses are taught by Norwich’s outstanding faculty members and meet the school’s high quality standards. Norwich has a history of leading the charge in higher education, and its online programs build on that legacy. The school prepares its students for challenging leadership roles. Norwich University was the first private military college in the United States.
Degree: MA in Diplomacy
6. St Mary’s University
St. Mary’s University offers an MA in International Relations that might appeal to students who are searching for the best online masters in political science. The program helps students understand how domestic, regional, and global factors impact the relationships between international organizations, communities, activists, businesses, and countries. The curriculum incorporates religion, philosophy, law, anthropology, history, and political science as they relate to public relations. The interdisciplinary approach helps students understand the range of issues that can impact global events and relations.
The Department of International Studies and Global Affairs is dedicated to producing graduates who will be responsible and informed international leaders. The department takes an interdisciplinary approach to learning in order to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the many issues that impact international policy around the world. There are two concentrations available online: sustainable development and conflict transformation, and security policy.
Degree: MA in International Relations
7. Kennesaw State University
The MS in International Policy Management from Kennesaw State University is also among the degree options that appeal to students seeking the best online political science masters. This program trains students to serve as leaders who understand the economic and political dynamics that affect international relations. Students learn how to deal with cultural nuances during negotiations, understand how regulations affect corporations, and assess political risk. The program is cohort-based and consists of 33 semester hours. This program takes 20 months to complete.
Kennesaw State University has a long history of providing international education. The school takes pride in its use of innovation in teaching, and it is one of the largest public schools in the United States, with almost 38,000 students. Kennesaw offers an entrepreneurial spirit, strong global ties, a diverse student population, and a colorful and inspiring on-campus experience. The school has international students from more than 90 countries around the world.
Degree: MS in International Policy Management
8. Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University offers an MA in Government that might interest students looking for the best online political science masters programs. The program teaches students to study political institutions, find ways to change things for the better, and implement those changes. The curriculum combines policy-making and politics with the practice of government. This program is intended for working adults who want to learn more about government and pursue leadership positions in administration and politics. Students learn research, analytical, and communication skills.
The Krieger School of Arts and Sciences Advanced Academic Programs (AAP) offers programs for working adults who want to advance their education in order meet their personal and professional goals. Many of the AAP’s programs are offered online for the convenience of its students. The programs are intended to be taken part-time so that students can continue working while they earn their degrees. There are three concentrations available: security studies, political communication, and democracy studies and governance.
Degree: MA in Government
9. University of Dayton
The MS in Government Contracting and Procurement from the University of Dayton is another degree that might meet the needs of students searching for the best online masters in political science. The program is taught by faculty members who are experts in their field, and teaches students the intricacies of purchasing and contracting with the government. Students will gain the skills they need to be successful in government contracting and to become masters of negotiation. The courses count toward certification with the National Contract Management Association.
As part of a Catholic institution, the University of Dayton School of Law expects its graduates to adhere to the highest professional and ethical standards. The school values acceptance and inclusivity and has been diverse from the very beginning. Its first class included one African American and two women. There is plenty of financial aid available to those who need it.
Degree: MS in Government Contracting and Procurement
10. American Military University
American Military University offers an MA in Political Science that is one of the best online political science masters available. The program covers a variety of topics related to American government process and theory, political philosophy, legislative behavior, foreign and domestic policy, security and defense, contemporary political institutions, and comparative politics. In addition to learning how the government works, students gain the writing, research, and analytical skills that will help them succeed in their careers. Graduates can apply their knowledge in a variety of military, government, and private sector careers.
American Military University caters to veterans, active-duty military, and other students who have the persistence, courage, and willingness to work hard to succeed. The school is the top provider of higher education to the U.S. military and strives to keep education affordable and convenient for those who serve. The courses are eight weeks long, and there are monthly start dates to begin the program.
Degree: MA in Political Science
11. Virginia Tech
The MA in Political Science from Virginia Tech is one of the best online political science masters programs in the country. The program is designed for students who are unable to attend the school’s regular, on-campus classes. It is taught by the same highly qualified faculty that teaches on-campus classes and allows working adults to pursue their graduate degrees without taking time off from work to advance their education. The courses are asynchronous, so students can log on whenever it is convenient for them to complete their schoolwork.
Virginia Tech embraces new technology in education, which continually changes the way the school teaches and its students research, learn, and engage. The school values diversity and encourages cross-discipline cooperation to solve difficult problems. Virginia Tech strives to make a difference in the world by inspiring its students to serve their communities and their world. The online curriculum is the same as for on-campus students.
Degree: MA in Political Science
12. Troy University
Troy University offers an MS in International Relations that is a good fit for students who are trying to find the best online masters in political science. The program gives students the skills and knowledge they need to be able to analyze and interpret global concepts and trends and understand cultures in other parts of the world. Troy’s MSIR programs teaches students from many different backgrounds how to work together to understand the international economic trends and politics that shape the world we live in. Students gain an understanding of the geographical, economic, cultural, historical, and political factors that affect international relations. There are three specializations to choose from: regional affairs, national security affairs, or global studies.
Troy University got its start as a teacher’s college, and offered extension courses from the beginning. During the 1950s, the school started offering its extension courses at U.S. military bases. Troy University continues its tradition of adult education with its online offerings.
Degree: MS in International Relations
13. Liberty University
The MS in Political Science from Liberty University is one of the best online political science masters programs. The program is perfect for students who love to keep up on the latest political events or who want to understand how the American government system works. The curriculum involves an all-encompassing study of the political system. Students learn how to uphold their biblical principles while working in public service. The program teaches students how to advance research on how politics impact society.
The Helms School of Government offers political education from a Christian perspective. The staff has real-life experience in government and criminal justice, as well as a strong grounding in Christian principles. Students learn skills that will help them excel and become leaders in their fields while taking online classes that are convenient enough to fit around their schedules. This program takes about 1.5 years to complete.
Degree: MS in Political Science
14. Central Michigan University
Students searching for the best online political science masters might also be interested in the MS in Administration with a concentration in international administration from Central Michigan University. This program gives students a solid understanding of administration with a focus on the global business world. Courses include foundations of research methods in administration, strategic planning for the administrator, and organizational dynamics and human behavior.
Central Michigan University Online offers rigorous courses that are just as challenging as in-person classes. Busy adult students benefit from the flexibility of an online learning experience while gaining the same education as they would experience on campus. CMU Online offers plenty of support for students and the school’s staff is ready help whenever they are needed. Courses vary from 8 to 16 weeks in length. The culminating experience for this degree is an applied research project in administration.
Degree: MS in International Administration
15. University of Denver
Another degree that could be of interest to students who are searching for the best online political science masters programs is the MA in Global Community Engagement from the University of Denver. This program prepares students to thrive in culturally diverse and globally connected environments in the business world. Students learn about global challenges and engage with global communities that are undergoing changes. The program incorporates hands-on learning, and students have a chance to make a positive difference in the world.
The University of Denver’s University College handles professional studies and continuing education for the university. The school focuses on providing flexible options for busy adults who need to juggle their schoolwork with the rest of their lives. The credentials students earn through the University College help them move ahead in their careers, so they can earn more money and achieve success. Classes can be taken in the evenings or online, and the program takes as little as 18 months to complete.
Degree: MA in Global Community Engagement
16. Regent University
The MA in Communication with a concentration in political communication from Regent University is another good choice for students seeking the best online masters in political science. This program prepares students for careers such as public relations director, director of communications for a political campaign, media spokesperson, or press secretary. Students receive a Christ-based education and learn how to handle difficult media situations ethically. Regent also offers an MA in Government with a concentration in political campaign strategies and management.
Regent University is a Christian school that was founded to train students who wanted to represent Christ through their professions. The school’s mission is “Christian Leadership to Change the World.” Regent is ranked among the top schools for 2020 by US News & World Report. The school has a strong liberal arts foundation and has been recognized for being military friendly.
Degree: MA in Political Communication
17. University of West Florida
The University of West Florida offers an MA in Political Science that is one of the best online political science masters. Students can choose from two concentrations: security and diplomacy or political science. Students learn about public policy, comparative politics, and international relations. There are 33 credits required for the program, and there is a non-thesis option available for students who don’t plan on getting a PhD. Graduate students who attend on-campus are eligible to apply to work as graduate assistants.
The Reubin O’D. Askew Department of Government offers liberal arts programs in political science, international studies, and world languages and cultures. The department encourages students to think about political issues such as war and peace, the performance of various regimes, political leadership, political processes and institutions, and the development of law and order in society. Political science students are welcome to participate in the Model U.N. Club or the Moot Court Society.
Degree: MA in Political Science
18. University of Illinois Springfield
The online master’s degree in political science from the University of Illinois Springfield is also among the best online political science masters programs. Students who enroll can tweak the curriculum to meet their career goals and interests. The program is designed to meet the needs of all students, whether they plan to use their master’s degrees to enter the workforce or to continue their education. There are four concentrations available for online students: public law, political theory, comparative politics/international relations, and American national and state politics.
The University of Illinois Springfield is proud to have a diverse student body made up of students with many different backgrounds. The school is highly ranked by US News & World Report and its alumni make up a good chunk of the workforce in the area surrounding the university. Online students complete the same program as their on-campus counterparts, and are taught by the same faculty members.
Degree: Master’s in Political Science
19. Western New Mexico University
Western New Mexico University has an MA in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in political science that is a good choice for students looking for the best online masters in political science. The program covers both American and worldwide politics. Students learn about democratization, Latin American politics, comparative political analysis, and American Constitutional development. Courses include American political thought, world politics, water rights, social movements, and Latin America and the cold war.
The Interdisciplinary Studies Department is student-centered and has support available for students who need a personal touch. The department prides itself on its customer service and the sense of belonging it provides to students. The interdisciplinary studies degree offers flexibility for students who want to create a unique program that suits them perfectly. Students can choose between a thesis option or a comprehensive exam at the end of the program.
Degree: MA in Political Science
20. Sam Houston State University
The MA in Political Science from Sam Houston State University is one of the best online political science masters. The program is designed for adult students seeking to advance their careers as well as for recent college graduates. Students who complete the program are prepared to enter law school or doctoral studies. This program is ideal for students who want to work in the public sector or in nonprofit organizations and for those who want to teach at community colleges. There is a non-thesis option and a thesis option.
Sam Houston State University is named after Texas’s greatest hero and has a history of academic excellence. The school prepares students to live meaningful lives while serving their communities and their world. Sam Houston’s online programs are taught by the same professors who teach the school’s on-campus courses.
Degree: MA in Political Science
21. Northeastern University
Northeastern University offers an MS in Global Studies and International Relations that might appeal to students who are searching for the best online political science masters programs. This program prepares students to become strong leaders with cross-cultural skills as well as strong research and analytical skills. Students will be prepared to take on business challenges both in the United States and abroad. The program is interdisciplinary and incorporates hands-on field work to help prepare students for the challenges they will face in the real world.
At Northeastern University, experiential learning allows students to put what they have learned into action. The school combines professional practice with academic learning to create graduates with first-hand experience in their industries. Northeastern has several programs that help students gain experience, from experiential learning at work to full-time co-op opportunities. The program has a diverse student population with students from more than 20 different countries, which brings additional perspectives to the classroom.
Degree: MS in Global Studies and International Relations
22. Sul Ross State University
The MA in Political Science from Sul Ross State University is one of the best online masters in political science in the country. The program meets the needs of students who plan to teach in secondary schools or at the college level as well as students who want to pursue administrative or political careers in government. Courses include scopes and methods in social science, public budgeting and finance, public management, agency politics, local government administration, and case studies in public administration.
The College of Arts and Sciences at Sul Ross State University houses five departments, including the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences. The school is also home to the Academic Center for Excellence, which provides academic workshops, tutorials, and developmental courses as well as administering the honors program. Students must pass an oral exam on the coursework at the end of the program.
Degree: MA in Political Science
23. Eastern Illinois University
Eastern Illinois University offers an MA in Political Science that is one of the best online political science masters in the US. The program focuses on excellence in research and teach, and its faculty is made up of teachers with outstanding reputations who have won a variety of awards for both research and teaching. There are usually about 27 students accepted into the program, so classes are small enough to allow students to work closely with faculty members. In fact, collaboration between students and faculty is one of the program’s missions.
Eastern Illinois University is in the top 5% nationwide for the number of undergraduates who eventually earn doctoral degrees. The school strives to be environmentally friendly and has a large biomass facility called the Renewable Energy Center, which will pay for itself in energy cost savings. The program takes a little over a year and a half to complete.
Degree: MA in Political Science
24. The Citadel
The MA in Social Science with a focus on leadership studies from The Citadel is another of the best online political science masters programs. The program is designed for students who want to advance in their careers and want to be able to tailor their program to meet their needs. Teachers can use the program to gain competency in the social sciences and other professionals can choose courses that meet their own unique requirements and career goals. Military personnel can construct a program that covers management, public policy, and national security studies.
The Department of Political Science at The Citadel strives to help students think critically in order to become successful members of their communities. The department prepares students for careers in pre-law, military affairs, international politics, and American politics. This program is flexible enough to meet the needs of students with many different backgrounds and goals.
Degree: MA in Social Science – Leadership
25. Ball State University
Ball State University offers an MA in Executive Development and Public Service that is one of the best online masters in political science. The program is designed to help supervisors, managers, and executives improve their administrative and leadership skills. Students learn about human behavior, communication techniques, and human relations principles. The program allows students to choose an emphasis on higher education, healthcare, psychology, political science, gerontology, communication, business, or another discipline.
Ball State University strives to motivate its students, so they can soar through life. The school encourages students to spread their wings and fly like the cardinal that is the school’s mascot. Ball State University’s graduates are quick to take advantage of opportunities. They have strong values and challenge one another to excel in all areas of their lives. This program is designed for adult students and offers Saturday and evening classes as well as online courses.
Degree: MA in Executive Development and Public Service
Should I Get a Master’s in Political Science?
A person may question what is political science when deciding on a career. This particular field of interest is considered to be a social science. When defining what is political science about, it’s important to understand that it includes political behavior. Additionally, what is political science also includes learning about political systems and politics in general. What is political science about also incorporates the morality associated with this field.
A degree in political science includes studying the government and politics. In addition, to understand what is a degree in political science, a person should know that they’ll study comparative government, international relations, and politics. Other areas of study include political opinion and behavior as well as political parties, legislative process, and both state and local governments.
Examples of positions a person can take on include a social policy program officer, public policy analyst, political campaign staff member, or a political consultant, among other positions. It’s even possible for a person to become a political scientist with a master’s degree in political science.
When questioning is a master’s degree in political science worth it, an individual will more than likely want to know about the earning potential careers have. A political scientist, for example, earns an average of $117,570 per year. A social services policy officer earns an average of $65,320 per year. Entry-level positions only require a bachelor’s, but a person can further his or herself and improve his or her earning potential by possessing a master’s degree.
Another factor to consider when asking is a master’s in political science worth it is if jobs in this field are available. Jobs for political scientists are expecting to grow by six percent from 2018 until 2028.
Why Should I Choose an Online Political Science Master’s?
Many of the positions available with an online political science master, such a political scientist, are expected to increase over time. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a five-percent increase in the number of political scientist positions from 2018 until 2028. This is an average amount of growth when compared to other career paths.
A person with an online master’s in political science can work with the government but may also choose to work for a bank, business, law firm, or educational institution. Therefore, a person may explore his or her options until he or she finds a place he or she feels comfortable at.
Another benefit of earning an online political science master’s is the earning potential. The median salary for a political scientist is $117,570 per year.
How Much Can I Make with a Master’s in Political Science?
When a person is deciding if he or she should attend school for political science, he or she usually wants to know the average master’s in political science salary. This varies based on the type of job a person takes on as well as the location of the job and his or her physical location.
For instance, a political science master’s salary for a political scientist is $117,570. The master’s degree in political science salary for a political scientist isn’t always this high, though. For example, the master’s in political science salary for someone who works at a university or other educational institution is around $81,270 annually. On the other hand, the average political science master’s degree salary for someone who works with the federal government is $126,770 yearly.
The masters in political science salary for those who live in Virginia is higher than the average as well. In this state, the average master’s in political science salary is $128,590. On the other hand, the political science master’s salary for those who live in Washington state is $84,480.
As mentioned above, a political scientist isn’t the only career path for someone with a master’s degree in political science. A public relations specialist is another career option. The average master’s degree in political science salary for this position is $60,000 per year. A person can also choose to become a public relations manager or a fundraising manager, and the master’s degree in political science salary for these positions is $114,800 yearly. This political science master’s degree salary is equivalent to $55.19 per hour.