An online master’s in political science degree offers a flexible path for individuals to advanced their career and earn a higher salary. This list of schools and programs focuses on the most affordable options for an Online Masters in Political Science.
The rise in accelerated online degrees available to work professionals makes it possible for students from all over the country to follow their dreams into the political realm. A graduate program in this field prepares students to take on specialized roles within the field, including the highest positions of the United States federal government. It is also a great degree for those who work in the fields surrounding politics, such as journalism, education, public policy, law, and public administration.
Many in-service professionals would love to return to school to earn their graduate degree in the field; however, because of their work commitments and time constraints, they require a flexible, affordable, and accelerated online degree. These professionals need degrees that can be completed in two years or less, low-residency or no-residency programs, and that can provide them with the flexibility they need to complete the program. The ranking below covers schools that meet these requirements while providing students with additional information about the school that may help them decide on a program.
Methodology for Ranking the Fastest Online Master’s in Political Science
To rank the most affordable accelerated political science master’s online programs, the editors at Fast Online Master’s focus on reputable, fully accredited institutions. We have presented these programs by tuition rate, using current IPEDS info.
1. Troy University
The MS in International Relations at Troy University is among Alabama’s best online master’s in Political Science. Troy University’s Political Science degree includes three academic tracks in global studies, national security affairs, and regional affairs. Additionally, students can complete the degree with or without a thesis. Coursework includes classes like theory & ideology of international relations and international political economy.
Troy University is a public higher learning institution that was developed in the 1880s as a normal school to train teachers. It is a member of the state’s university system and also the state’s flagship school with more than 18,000 students studying online and on the school’s college-town four campuses. Troy University also has teaching facilities in seventeen states and nearly a dozen countries. And the university also has faculty members in seventeen states and nearly a dozen countries.
Degree: MS in International Relations
2. Western New Mexico University
An accelerated MA in Political Science at Western New Mexico University is among the best in the state. WNMU’s Political Science program takes an interdisciplinary approach with a focus on American Politics. Additionally, it offers two exit options, a thesis or a comprehensive examination. Classes for this affordable political science program include American Political Thought and Administrative Law, to name a few.
Established as a public school in the 1890s when New Mexico was still a territory, Western New Mexico University now serves more than 3,100 students online and from the school’s rural campus in Silver City, New Mexico. Western New Mexico University offers nearly six dozen academic study areas.
3. University of West Florida
The University of West Florida offers a MA in Political Science the among Northern Florida’s most affordable and best online Political Science master’s degree programs. Classes for UWF’s best online master’s in Political Science program include comparative politics, the study of politics, and political science research methods, among others. Online Students graduate from UWF’s best online Political Science master’s programs to find rewarding careers as a survey researcher, journalist, labor relations specialist, or public policy analyst.
The University of West Florida (West Florida) is a member school of Florida’s state university system that was established in the mid-1960s. UWF operates as a space-grant school with more than 12,700 students studying online and on the school’s Pensacola campus. The University of West Florida maintains two campuses, with a satellite facility in nearby Fort Walton Beach, FL.
Degree: MA in Political Science
4. University of Nebraska Omaha
The University of Nebraska Omaha offers an MS in Political Science that is one of Omaha’s most affordable and best online master’s in Political Science. The University of Nebraska’s best online Political Science master’s degree program is an interdisciplinary program designed for those who wish to work in education or the government sector. Nebraska’s best online master’s in Political Science degree offers an accelerated option to complete its 30 required master’s credit units. Sample classes include political theory, comparative politics, and international relations, among others.
The University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO) was established as a private college by the Presbyterian Church in 1908, UNO now operates as a public institution of higher education with a student enrollment that exceeds 15,350 students each year. The University of Nebraska’s student-athletes play as Mavericks in the Summit League and NCHC conferences.
Degree: MS in Political Science
5. Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University Commerce Distance offers two of the best online Political Science master’s programs in Texas with its Master of Arts or Master of Science degrees in Political Science. These affordable, best online master’s in Political Science offer both a thesis or non-thesis concluding project to finish the 30 (Thesis Option) to 36 (Non-Thesis Option) credit unit program. The primary difference between these best online master’s in Political Science degrees from Texas A&M is that the MA degree has a foreign language requirement.
Established in the late 1880s as a teacher’s training college, Texas A&M University Commerce is now a comprehensive university and the third largest of all campuses in the state’s A&M system. The university’s rural campus in Commerce is about a half-hour from the Oklahoma border and an hour north of Dallas. more than 12,100 undergraduate and postgraduate online students attend classes offered by Texas A&M Commerce.
Degree: MA or MS in Political Science
6. University of Illinois at Springfield
The University of Illinois at Springfield offers a Master’s in Political Science that is ranked consistently among the nation’s most affordable and best online master in Political Science. The University of Illinois’s best online Political Science master’s degree program includes up to a dozen hours of approved credit from outside the political science curriculum. Online students enrolled in the University of Illinois’s these best online master’s in Political Science degree offers two academic tracks – American Government or International Affairs.
The University of Illinois (UIS) Springfield was founded as a state university in 1969 and a part of the University of Illinois system. The university serves approximately 4,100 students from its rural campus and through its distance-learning platform. The library at UIS is home to approximately 750,000 cataloged items.
Degree: Master’s in Political Science
7. American Military University
The MA in Political Science at American Military University is one of the most affordable Political Science master’s programs in West Virginia. AMU’s degree program offers an accelerated path as 15 of the required 26 credits may be transferred if eligible. Available concentrations include international relations, public policy, comparative government & development, and American politics and government.
American Military University (AMU) is a member of the American Public University System and operates as a for-profit private school specializing in distance-learning. The university serves more than 46,100 students each year. American Military University is not affiliated with the US government and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Degree: MA in Political Science
8. Sul Ross State University
Sul Ross State University offers a MA in Political Science that is ranked among the most affordable as well as best online Political Science master’s programs by intelligent.com. Students interested in applying for SRSU’s best online Political Science master’s degree are offered a non-thesis and thesis option or a comprehensive exam. Classes for Sul Ross State University’s 30-credit best online master’s in Political Science degree include a seminar in European History, Programs in Business Administration, and a seminar in American history, to name a few.
Sul Ross State University was founded as a teacher’s training college in 1917. The school is a member of the Texas State University system and named for the 19th governor of Texas, whose family founded Waco and who was also president of what is now known as Texas A&M University. The school operates satellite facilities in Castroville, Del Rio, Uvalde, and Eagle Pass that serve nearly 3,000 students each year.
Degree: MA in Political Science
9. Fort Hays State University
Two of the best online Political Science master’s programs are at Fort Hays State University. Students can choose from the Master of Liberal Studies with an academic emphasis in Political Science or the Master of Professional Studies in Political Management. Both FHSU degrees require candidates to complete 31 graduate credits in classes like Political Behavior, Policy Analysis, and also Public Personnel Management.
Established in 1902 as a public state-funded normal school for teachers, Fort Hays State University now operates as a space-grant school with a student enrollment served on its rural Hays campus and online. The school is home to the Sternberg Natural History Museum, with more than 100K square feet of fossils from more than 70 million years ago.
10. Sam Houston State University
The MA in Political Science at Sam Houston State University is one of Texas’s best online Political Science master’s. This program offers multiple start dates. Students can select from a thesis track (with 30 credit hours) or a non-thesis track (with 36 credit hours). Additionally, SHSU’s online master’s is for educators, students furthering their graduate studies, or those planning on attending law school.
SHSU started as a teacher’s training school in the late 1870s. It is among the oldest schools in the Lone Star State and the state’s first normal school. Sam Houston is a member of the Texas state university system with an annual student enrollment of 21,000.
Degree: MA in Political Science
11. Indiana University
The Master of Arts for Teachers (MAT) in Political Science at Indiana University is one of the most affordable programs. IU’s best online Political Science master’s degree program requires the completion of a minimum of 30 graduate units. This online degree offers students start dates each year in the spring, fall, and two in the summer sessions. Sample classes include social issues in education, comparative politics, and also methods of research.
Indiana University was established in 1920 as a public educational institution dedicated to research. Indiana University operates several campuses that serve more than 110,000 students online and on nine campuses. The university also operates as a space-grant designated institution of higher learning.
Degree: MAT in Political Science
12. Ball State University
The MA in Executive Development for Public Service at Ball State University is among the best online master’s programs. Ball State University’s program requires degree candidates to finish a minimum of 30 graduate credits from an interdisciplinary curriculum. Additionally, students have the option to participate in an internship with a business or various nonprofit organizations.
Founded in 1918, Ball State University operates as a public university with multiple campuses across Indiana. Ball State University is a space-grant school that serves more than 21,450 undergraduate and graduate students each year. Ball State University is organized into seven colleges that offer certificates and degrees at the associate, bachelor’s, and master’s levels.
13. Iowa State University
The MA in Political Science at Iowa State University is among Iowa’s most affordable online programs. Degree candidates must finish at least 30 graduate units. Classes include political analysis and research, sociology of the environment, and also internal bio renewables policy.
Iowa State University of Science & Tech started under the Morrill Land Grant Act in the 1850s. ISU’s eight colleges/schools offer more than 300 academic degree programs to more than 33,250 students each year. In addition, Iowa State University is a space-grant school and the state’s flagship institution of higher education.
Degree: MA in Political Science
14. Central Michigan University
The MS in International Administration program at Central Michigan University is among Michigan’s best online Political Science master’s programs. CMU’s program requires the completion of 36 credit units, all available online. Required core classes include strategic planning or administrators, administration, globalization and multiculturalism, and also foundations of research methods in administration.
Central Michigan University was founded in the 1890s but now operates with more than 50 locations worldwide in addition to the school’s Mount Pleasant campus. This public university serves more than 17,100 students each year. The university offers programs in music, teacher education, entrepreneurship, engineering, journalism, audiology, psychology, physician assistantship, and engineering, among others.
15. University of Florida
The University of Florida offers an MA in Political Communication that is one of Gainesville’s best online Political Science master’s programs. This best online Political Science master’s degree program from UF requires students to complete at least 36 academic credits at the graduate level, with the last three credits earned from a relevant capstone project. In addition, UF’s affordable best online master’s in Political Science degree includes coursework in digital political campaigning, mass communication theory, and fundamentals of digital political advertising, among others.
The University of Florida (Florida) was founded in 1905 but can trace its roots fifty years earlier from another school on the Gainesville campus. In addition, UF operates as a sea, space, and land-grant school with a student enrollment that exceeds 56,550 undergraduate and postgraduate students each year. The University of Florida is ranked among the top six public schools in the nation, as reported by US News & World Report.
Degree: MA in Political Communication
16. Eastern Illinois University
The MA in Political Science at Eastern Illinois University offers students an accelerated track. Eastern Illinois University’s best online Political Science master’s programs also offer students an affordable master’s degree option. This best online master’s in Political Science from Eastern Illinois University offers an optional public administration and public policy concentration.
Founded as a two-year normal school in 1899 by state legislative action, Eastern Illinois University (Eastern Illinois) is now a comprehensive four-year school that serves approximately 8,550 undergraduate and postgraduate students each year. Eastern Illinois University’s four colleges/schools offer programs in education, health/human service, business & technology, and liberal arts/sciences.
Degree: MA in Political Science
17. University of Akron
The Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron offers a Master of Applied Politics degree (MAP) program. It is among Ohio’s best online Political Science master’s programs. This 30 credit program prepares graduates for careers in fundraising, nonprofit management, community organizing, and also government relations. The university offers a rolling admissions schedule and students can complete the degree as a part-time or full-time student.
The University of Akron is a Stem-focused institution of higher education. It first opened as Buchtel College in 1870. Today, Akron operates as a space-grant university with a student enrollment of approximately 18,000 undergraduate and graduate students each year. Additionally, it is home to the archives of American Psychology History, affiliated with the Smithsonian Institute.
Degree: Master of Applied Politics
18. Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech offers an MA in Political Science that ranks among the best online Political Science master’s programs nationally. This affordable, best online Political Science master’s degree from Virginia Tech includes the requirement of 30-semester credits in core classes, electives, and a required research project or thesis with an accelerated academic track option. Core classes for VT’s best online master’s in Political Science include research methods I & II, collaborative governance and civil society, alternative perspectives in political theory, public ecology, public policy analysis, and contemporary political theory.
Established in 1872 as an A&M college, Virginia Polytechnic institute & State University (VPI) is a land, sea, and space-grant school that is also a senior military institution of higher education. More than 36,150 undergraduate & graduate students attend classes online and on the Blacksburg campus. The university offers study abroad opportunities in the Dominican Republic and Switzerland.
Degree: MA in Political Science
19. Kennesaw State University
The MS in International Policy Management (MSIPM) program Kennesaw State University is one of the state’s most affordable online Political Science master’s programs. Kennesaw State University’s best online Political Science master’s degree requires thirty graduate semester credits, completed through a cohort model online delivery. Additionally, students can accelerate their path and finish in as few as 20 months.
Kennesaw State University started in the 1960s as a junior college. It now operates as a multiple-campus higher learning institution with a student enrollment that exceeds 41,050 students. It is a member school of the Georgia University System and also a space-grant school. Additionally, Kennesaw State University’s second president was the first woman to be a university president in Georgia’s state system.
20. Harvard University
Harvard University offers a Master of Liberal Arts in in Government that is considered among the country’s best online Political Science master’s programs. Students enrolled in Harvard University’s best online Political Science master’s degree explore the interrelationship of government, education, history, international law, sociology, economics, and sociology. The average age of students attending Harvard’s best online master’s in Political Science is 35, with students average fifteen years of professional experience.
Harvard University was established in the 1630s by the Massachusetts General Court and is the oldest of any school in the country and space-grant university. The school’s student body approaches 21,000 undergraduate and graduate students, vying for degrees offered by Harvard University’s ten academic divisions. Harvard University is recognized to be one of the most prestigious institutions of higher education across the globe.
What is Political Science?
Political science is the scientific study of the state, government, and politics. It deals with the theory and practice of politics and the analysis of political systems and political behavior. It includes the study of political behavior and public policy, as well as methods for understanding and analyzing politics.
Why Earn a Master’s in Political Science Online?
The benefit of earning an online political science master’s is considerably more than financial. An online master’s also opens doors and career opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise be available. Is a master’s degree in political science worth it? In addition to creating better financial and career scenarios, a master’s in political science also offers benefits that are less tangible but no less meaningful.
What Can I Expect From an Online Master’s in Political Science Program?
Online master’s in political science programs offer graduates the same robust academic foundation as a traditional, on-campus degree in the field. You can expect online courses to examine topics such as international politics, political philosophy, public policy, public opinion and polling, and also research methods.
Programs with a concentration or area of focus help students expand career options and strengthen their skills in a subdiscipline. Some popular Political Science specialization options include Nonprofit Management, American Politics, and Political Theory.
Strong communication, networking, and critical thinking skills are a must in a master’s program, as well as the ability to analyze data and write formal research papers. Ultimately, an online degree program should leave graduates with an understanding of the frameworks, institutions, and processes used to develop and implement public policy.
What are the Admission Requirements for Online Master’s in Political Science Programs?
Admission requirements for online Master’s in Political Science programs vary depending on the school and the program. Generally, applicants should have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Some programs also require GRE scores, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and a resume or CV.
Additionally, many schools prefer applicants with a background in social sciences or related disciplines. Some of these are economics, foreign policy, international affairs, or public policy. Many online programs also give preference to applicants with a high grade point average (GPA) or other academic achievements.
How Much Can You Make with an Online Master’s in Political Science?
Political science is a field that offers above-average pay, along with many perks and benefits. A master’s in political science salary, however, is even another step up. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), political Scientists earn an average median wage of $122,510 per year. Entry-level salaries are around $61,000, and the highest paid political scientists earn more than $170,000 per year.
A master’s degree in political science salary obviously provides a nice living and excellent income. But there is more to a political science master’s degree that a six figure salary. In addition to those nice income numbers are other benefits that don’t come with a price.
Where Can You Work With an Online Master’s in Political Science?
The variety of political science jobs is another one of the major benefits of earning these highly-coveted degrees. Because there are so many different types of jobs and careers, graduates of these programs have many options. Below are the largest employers of political scientists as reported by the BLS.
|Employer or Sector||Percent|
|Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services||16%|
|Religious, Professional, Grantmaking, and Civic Organizations||12%|
Much political science master’s jobs involve research, analysis, and forecasting techniques. These kind of master in political science jobs might deal with analyzing voter data to identify voter trends for example. Not all master’s political science jobs, however, deal with politics.
Some jobs with political science master’s requirements will be more focused on acting in the role of analysts. These positions can often be involved in evaluating, analyzing, and making projections for organizations that have a vested interest in policy and policymaking. These can be groups and organizations such as labor unions, big business, and government agencies.
What Can You Do With an Online Master’s in Political Science Degree?
A master’s degree in Political Science offers a variety of career opportunities in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Potential roles include working in politics and policy analysis, advocacy and public affairs, legislative research, law, and government service.
Depending on the curriculum, graduate may also qualify for roles in the international arena. Examples include economic development, foreign policy consulting, diplomatic corps, and international relations management. Additionally, you may find a career in education or research. Below are a few of the most exciting master’s of political science jobs and careers.
Is a Master’s in Political Science Worth It?
The answer depend on the individual and how they value education. Political Science professionals are often involved in work that makes a difference or an impact. The work to create change in policies or even societies at large. With the importance of these jobs also comes the joy of helping others. And these professionals experience the satisfaction of having a positive role in the world.
These benefits, from the financial to the personal and professional, make earning an online political science master’s degree worth it. And the rewards of working in the field of political science only make this career path more inviting.