In this article, we profile the top 30 most affordable online master’s in political science programs of 2019.

Political scientists study the development, origin, rise, and operation of political systems. Occupations within this specialized field generally require a master’s degree. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports most political science careers call for a master’s degree or PhD in political science, government, public administration, or closely related discipline. We examined colleges and universities that offer master’s in political science online degree programs designed for working professionals. These top-ranked programs and schools offer flexible learning options to accommodate busy students who want to earn their graduate degree via distance learning.

Top 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Political Science Online Programs Methodology

We looked at approximately 70 colleges and universities listed by the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) College Navigator that offered master’s in political science online, or closely related, programs. We narrowed our original pool of institutions by applying the following criteria: Accreditation by regional or national governing bodies, rankings from at least one major publication like U.S. News and World Report, and affordable graduate tuition and fees. Institutions with high graduate tuition costs offered top ranking programs and were included on our list. Our list is ranked according to raw affordability.

Below is our list of the top 30 most affordable online master’s in political science programs of 2019.

#30 – Johns Hopkins University

Online Master’s in Government

Baltimore, Maryland

Website

Johns Hopkins University - Top 30 Most Affordable Master's in Political Science Online Programs 2019
Ranked & accredited – Johns Hopkins University – master’s in political science online programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $55,816

Johns Hopkins University offers a master’s in government and political science online designed to teach students practical skills and knowledge needed to be successful in government positions and associated private and non-profit occupations. Students have the opportunity to study under some of the world’s most prolific faculty members that prepare them to take on the challenges within the political system. Within the curriculum, students are able to choose from three concentrations including democracy studies and governance, political communication, and security studies. Courses may include behind the numbers of polling and American elections, democracy and its modern critics, leadership skills in the 21st century, and the political and social media revolutions. U.S. News and World Report rank Johns Hopkins #10 in national universities.

#29 – University of Miami

Online Master’s in Public Administration

Coral Gables, Florida

Website

University of Miami - Top 30 Most Affordable Master's in Political Science Online Programs 2019
24-month program! University of Miami – Online MPA.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $37,624

The University of Miami’s online MPA program is designed to teach and train students for a career in public service. The 24-month program specifically focuses on salient aspects of public administration such as planning, budgeting, personnel administration, and policy analysis. Students leave with tangible skills used in their careers as well as leadership characteristics needed to successfully lead individuals and teams. The 12-course sequence includes featured classes such as budget and financial management and administration, from electronic government to digital governance, introduction to graduate public administration, and public policy analysis and administration. U.S. News and World Report rank University of Miami #53 in national universities.

#28 – Northeastern University

Online Master’s in Global Studies and International Relations

Boston, Massachusetts

Website

Northeastern University - Top 30 Most Affordable Master's in Political Science Online Programs 2019
Highly ranked! Northeastern University’s master’s in political science online programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $24,309

Unlike the majority of online master’s in political science, Northeastern University’s degree focuses on global studies and international relations. The program is interdisciplinary in nature yet provides focused attention on creating subject matter experts of graduates that are interested in government, private, and non-profit positions in one of the six major regions of the world. The degree truly prepares students to expand their career possibilities to anywhere in the globe. Featured courses include basic field research methods, globalization and global politics and economics, international field study experience, and peace and conflict. Admission requires an online application, statement of purpose, two letters of support, resume, and transcripts. Test scores are not required. U.S. News and World Report rank Northeastern #44 in national universities.

#27 – Pennsylvania State University

Online Master’s in Public Administration

University Park, Pennsylvania

Website

Pennsylvania State University - Top 30 Most Affordable Master's in Political Science Online Programs 2019
Highly affordable online MPA – Pennsylvania State University.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $21,772

Penn State University offers a top ranked online MPA designed for working professionals seeking to pursue graduate education without interrupting their career. The program is ideal for those with full-time obligations such as work and family. The program teaches students to successfully assume leadership and management positions within the public and non-profit sectors across a variety of industries and occupations. Core classes include governmental fiscal decision making, human resources in the public and nonprofit sectors, introduction to public policy analysis, and public organization and management. The MPA program is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration. U.S News and World Report rank Penn State University #59 in national universities.

#26 – Norwich University

Online Master’s in Diplomacy

Northfield, Vermont

Website

Norwich University - Top 30 Most Affordable Master's in Political Science Online Programs 2019
18-month program! Norwich University’s master’s in political science online degrees.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $19,360

Norwich University’s master’s in political science online focuses on developing students’ skills and knowledge as it pertains to an international career in virtually any sector including government, military, non-profit and private business. Students can drill down into a specific concentration such as cyber diplomacy, international conflict, international commerce, and international terrorism. The program can be completed in just 18 months and only requires a one-week residency requirement on campus. Featured courses include the history of diplomacy in the international system, law and the international system, and theory and the international system. U.S. News and World Report rank Norwich University #74 in regional universities North.

#25 – Villanova University

Online Master’s in Public Administration

Villanova, Pennsylvania

Website

Villanova University - Top 30 Most Affordable Master's in Political Science Online Programs 2019
Ideal for working students! Villanova University’s master’s in political science online.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $19,005

Villanova University provides students with a top-ranked online MPA designed for maximum flexibility and course rigor. The program is delivered online, making it an excellent choice for working professionals. Graduates are prepared for careers in local, state, and federal agencies as well as the nonprofit sector. Villanova’s program is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration. Students can choose from concentrations in nonprofit management or city management. Courses may include effective city management, effective nonprofit management, fundraising for nonprofit organizations, managing public networks, and urban politics and government. U.S. News and World Report rank Villanova University #49 in national universities.

#24 – University of Mary

Online Master’s in Public Administration

Bismarck, North Dakota

Website

University of Mary - Top 30 Most Affordable Master's in Political Science Online Programs 2019
Many concentrations! University of Mary’s online master’s in public administration.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,630

The University of Mary’s online MPA is an excellent graduate degree program for students seeking graduate studies from an accredited institution with rigorous curriculum and the flexibility of distance education courses. The degree offers several concentration areas such as executive preparation, healthcare, healthcare informatics, human resource management, project management, and virtuous leadership. The concentration areas allow students to learn specific knowledge and skills that directly translate to success in the particular career path and industry. Courses may include foundations of public administration, government fund and nonprofit management, law in the managerial environment, and management in the public sector. U.S. News and World Report rank University of Mary #111 in regional universities Midwest.

#23 – Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Online Master’s in Political Science

Blacksburg, Virginia

Website

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University - Top 30 Most Affordable Master's in Political Science Online Programs 2019
Fully online! Virginia Polytechnic Institute’s master’s in political science online degree.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,510

The Virginia Tech master’s in political science online is designed for working professionals seeking graduate education from a top ranked technical institution that combines flexible coursework with the rigorous curriculum of a state flagship university. The program is built upon the foundation of the 1995 Virginia Tech Cyber School established in 1995. All courses are delivered online in an asynchronous format and include the same content and rigor as the residential MA in political science. The 1.7 to 1 faculty/student ratio means plenty of interaction and assistance from Virginia Tech’s renowned political science faculty members. Admission requirements include copy of transcripts, official GRE test scores, three letters of recommendation, writing sample, and letter of interest. U.S. News and World Report rank Virginia Tech #76 in national universities.

#22 – Oregon State University

Online Master’s in Public Policy

Corvallis, Oregon

Website

Oregon State University - Top 30 Most Affordable Master's in Political Science Online Programs 2019
OSU’s master’s in political science online programs include the public policy degree.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,331

Oregon State University offers an online master’s in political science designed for professionals seeking graduate school without having to interrupt their career. The 62-credit program is designed for individuals with career aspirations within the public and nonprofit sectors. The interdisciplinary curriculum covers topics in public policy, leadership, sociology, and economics. Coursework may include applied research methods, conducting social research, public organizations and leadership, public policy theory, and understanding social research. Concentrations include energy policy, environmental policy, rural policy, and social policy. U.S. News and World Report rank Oregon State University #140 in national universities for its 2019 cohort of institutions.

#21 – Central Michigan University

Online Master’s in Public Administration

Mount Pleasant, Michigan

Website

Central Michigan University - Top 30 Most Affordable Master's in Political Science Online Programs 2019
Ranked and accredited – Central Michigan University’s online MPA.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,804

Similar to a master’s in political science online, Central Michigan University’s master’s degree in public policy prepares students for a career in public service. The degree is designed for working professionals seeking graduate education without having to sacrifice their career. The degree is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration – a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) with 300 institutional members. Core classes include administration and ethics in public service, foundations of public administration, program analysis and evaluation, public service competencies, and research in public administration. U.S. News and World Report rank Central Michigan University #250 in national universities.

#20 – Ashford University

Online Master’s in Public Administration

San Diego, California

Website

Ashford University - Top 30 Most Affordable Master's in Political Science Online Programs 2019
The online MPA at Ashford University appeals to those interested in a master’s in political science online degree.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,160 (2018/2019 academic year)

Ashford University’s online MPA provides students with the knowledge and skills to assume leadership positions engaging in a wide range of competencies such as budgeting, planning, urban development, personnel management, and quantitative research. The skills gained can be transferred to a wide range of sectors including public, private, military, and not-for-profit. The Ashford program is divided into six-week courses taken one at a time while still being considered a full-time graduate student. Courses may include business ethics and social responsibility, contemporary issues in organizational leadership, and foundations of public administration. U.S. News and World Report include Ashford University in its cohort of regional universities West. Certain degree programs may not be available in all states.

#19 – Kent State University

Online Master’s in Public Administration and Nonprofit Management

Kent, Ohio

Website

Kent State University - Top 30 Most Affordable Master's in Political Science Online Programs 2019
Full-time or part-time options! Kent State University’s master’s in political science online MPA programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,536

Kent State University offers Ohio’s only fully online MPA accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration. The 36-credit program requires the completion of 12 courses that last seven weeks each, which means students can attend full-time while taking just one course at a time. Administered through the Office of Continuing and Distance Education, coursework includes graduate introduction to public administration, methods in public administration, personal accountability in the public service, and public budgeting and financial management. Students can graduate in as little as two years. U.S. News and World Report rank Kent State University #191 in national universities.

#18 – University of Illinois

Online Master’s in Political Science

Springfield, Illinois

Website

University of Illinois - Top 30 Most Affordable Master's in Political Science Online Programs 2019
Ranked and accredited! University of Illinois’ master’s in political science online programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,486

The University of Illinois at Springfield offers an online master’s in political science consisting of the same coursework taught by the same tenure track faculty as the on-campus program. The entire degree is delivered online, making it an excellent option for working professionals seeking to leverage graduate education into advancement opportunities while not having to forego their current personal and professional obligations. Coursework includes comparative political cultures, introduction to the American political system, introduction to public policy, and statistics for the social sciences. U.S. News and World Report rank the University of Illinois at Springfield #50 in regional universities Midwest for its 2019 cohort of institutions.

#17 – Purdue University Global

Online Master’s in Public Administration

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Website

Purdue University - Top 30 Most Affordable Master's in Political Science Online Programs 2019
100% online – Purdue University’s online MPA.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,414

Purdue University offers one of the most affordable online political science programs designed for working professionals seeking the convenience of distance education delivered by a top-ranked research university. The 55-credit program offers two different start dates in July and October. Graduates go on to work in the executive arm of the government, non-profit organizations, public sector organizations, and military. Sample courses include finance and the administration of public funds, human resource management in the public sector, leadership in the public sector, public administration and management, and research and writing in public administration. U.S. News and World Report rank Purdue University #56 in national universities.

#16 – Bellevue University

Online Master’s in Intelligence and Security Intelligence

Bellevue, Nebraska

Website

Bellevue University - Top 30 Most Affordable Master's in Political Science Online Programs 2019
Accredited! Bellevue University’s master’s in political science online program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,025

Similar to an online master’s in political science, the Bellevue University online graduate degree in security studies focuses on the political, economic, and safety outcomes as it relates to various national and international intelligence and security threats. Additionally, students drill down into areas such as comparative intelligence cultures and transnational threats. The institution is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission to confer the master’s degree upon successful completion of coursework. Courses may include analyzing anti-Americanism, cyberwar and cyber deterrence, political Islam and terrorism, and post-conflict politics. Admission requirements include bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited institution, 2.5 minimum GPA in last 60 credit hours, letters of recommendation, and personal essay.

#15 – Citadel Military College of South Carolina

Online Master’s in Social Science

Charleston, South Carolina

Website

Citadel Military College of South Carolina - Top 30 Most Affordable Master's in Political Science Online Programs 2019
100% online – Citadel Military College’s online social science master’s.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,890

The Citadel offers a unique and affordable master’s in political science online focusing on international politics and military affairs. The Citadel is uniquely qualified to provide this 100% online program to students, as it is the military college of South Carolina. Admission requirements include statement of purpose, transcripts, at least two letters of recommendation, and a minimum 290 GRE or 396 MAT score. Courses may include intelligence research and analysis, international political economy, research methods in social science, and social science seminar. U.S. News and World Report rank The Citadel in several categories including #3 in best regional universities South and #1 in top public schools.

#14 – Indiana University

Online Master’s in Public Affairs

Bloomington, Indiana

Website

Indiana University - Top 30 Most Affordable Master's in Political Science Online Programs 2019
GRE score optional! Indiana University’s master’s in political science online program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,564

Indiana University offers a master’s in political science distance learning focusing on public affairs. The degree is a hybrid of public administration and public policy, which provides a wide range of skills and special knowledge that leads to a variety of excellent career paths. The program is 48 credits, which administrators recommend students take two courses at a time. Core classes include law and public affairs, public finance and budgeting, public management economics, and statistical analysis for effective decision-making. Application requirements include answering departmental prompts, transcripts, IU graduate school application, and GRE test scores (optional). U.S. News and World Report rank Indiana University #89 in national universities.

#13 – Jacksonville State University

Online Master’s in Public Administration

Jacksonville, Alabama

Website

Jacksonville State University - Top 30 Most Affordable Master's in Political Science Online Programs 2019
Jacksonville State University’s master’s in political science online program is fully online.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,080

Jacksonville State University offers one of the most affordable online political science programs that prepare students for a variety of careers. The distance degree format means students do not need to interrupt their career while pursuing graduate education, which makes the Jacksonville State program a great option for busy working professionals. Courses may include American foreign policy, constitutional law I, governments of Europe, political theory from the ancients to 1700, and southern politics. The degree is housed within the School of Human Services and Social Sciences. U.S. News and World Report rank Jacksonville State University #107 in regional universities South for its 2019 cohort of institutions.

#12 – Eastern Illinois University

Online Master’s in Political Science

Charleston, Illinois

Website

Eastern Illinois University - Top 30 Most Affordable Master's in Political Science Online Programs 2019
Ranked and accredited – Eastern Illinois University’s master’s in political science online program is highly affordable.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,958

Eastern Illinois University offers a very affordable master’s in political science distance learning perfect for working professionals who desire a graduate education while continuing their career. The political science program also offers an option in public administration and public policy that prepares students for a wide swath of careers in the public, private, nonprofit, and military sectors. Courses may include budgeting in government and nonprofit organizations, cities and urban policy in the U.S. federal system, human resource management in public and nonprofit organizations, and state governments and policy in the U.S. federal system. U.S. News and World Report rank Eastern Illinois University #38 in regional universities Midwest.

#11 – The University of Texas

Online Master’s in Public Administration

Arlington, Texas

Website

University of Texas - Top 30 Most Affordable Master's in Political Science Online Programs 2019
Just 24 months! University of Texas – master’s in political science online degree.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,672

The University of Texas’ online master’s in political science focuses on public policy preparation for its students. The degree is designed to teach individuals the skills and knowledge required to assume positions at all levels of government, private business, and non-profits. The 39-credit hour program is delivered entirely online and can be completed in just 24 months. The program carries with it the prestigious accreditation from the Network of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration. Courses include ethics in public service, financial management in the public and non-profit sectors, foundations of urban research and analysis, and intro to public administration. U.S. News and World Report rank University of Texas Arlington #221 in national universities.

#10 – University of West Florida

Online Master’s in Political Science

Pensacola, Florida

Website

University of West Florida - Top 30 Most Affordable Master's in Political Science Online Programs 2019
Ranked and accredited – University of West Florida’s master’s in political science online.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,062

The University of West Florida offers one of the top online political science programs that combine rigorous coursework with flexible online delivery. The University of West Florida program features synchronous course delivery, which means students are required to view live lectures at specific times from their computer or device. Admission requirements include GRE/MAT test scores (waivers available), undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or above, completion of supplemental questions, sample research paper, and transcripts. The program is housed within the Reubin O’D. Askew Department of Government, which prepares students for careers across a variety of sectors and industries. U.S. News and World Report rank University of West Florida #230 in national universities.

#9 – Liberty University

Online Master’s in Political Science

Lynchburg, Virginia

Website

Liberty University - Top 30 Most Affordable Master's in Political Science Online Programs 2019
No campus residency! Liberty University’s master’s in political science online degree.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,333

Liberty University offers one of the most affordable master’s in political science distance learning programs in the industry. The 36-credit program is divided into 8-week courses, with students able to transfer in up to 18 credits from other institutions and programs upon approval. The average time to completion is just 1.5 years. Featured courses include economics and public policy, geopolitics and international diplomacy, and political philosophy. Liberty University is accredited by SACSCOC to confer degrees upon successful completion of coursework and related requirements. All courses are delivered online with no campus residency requirement. U.S. News and World Report rank Liberty University #230 in national universities.

#8 – University of Colorado

Online Master’s in Criminal Justice

Denver, Colorado

Website

University of Colorado - Top 30 Most Affordable Master's in Political Science Online Programs 2019
Ranked among the top 20 programs! University of Colorado’s master’s in political science online.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,017

The University of Colorado at Denver offers one of the top affordable online political science programs designed for working professionals seeking accredited graduate education while continuing to work. The on-campus master’s in criminal justice was founded in 1972. The same program is now offered via distance learning. Students can choose from concentrations in crime analyst, emergency management and homeland security, gender-based violence, and non-profit organizations. Featured courses include criminal theory, criminal justice systems, and law and theory. U.S. News and World Report rank University of Colorado Denver in several categories including #205 in best national universities and #19 in best graduate online criminal justice programs.

#7 – Sam Houston State University

Online Master’s in Political Science

Huntsville, Texas

Website

Sam Houston State University - Top 30 Most Affordable Master's in Political Science Online Programs 2019
Ranked with U.S. News! Sam Houston State University’s master’s in political science online program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,791

Sam Houston State’s online master’s in political science rank as one of the top in affordability in the higher education space. The program is designed for working professionals such as recent college graduates as well as those with career experience seeking advancement through a graduate degree. Administered through the Department of Political Science, students may matriculate during three periods of the academic year, which means no waiting around for extended periods to start coursework. Additionally, coursework is all delivered online providing maximum flexibility for students to complete the 30-36 credits. U.S. News and World Report rank Sam Houston State #230 in national universities.

#6 – East Carolina University

Online Master’s in Security Studies

Greenville, North Carolina

Website

East Carolina University - Top 30 Most Affordable Master's in Political Science Online Programs 2019
Ranked and affordable! East Carolina University’s master’s in political science online degree programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,485

Similar to a master’s in political science distance learning, East Carolina State University provides a value-driven online graduate degree in security studies designed to teach and train students for international and domestic careers in security for a wide variety of private and government organizations. The interdisciplinary nature of the degree provides a focused yet well-rounded curriculum that crosses over into criminal justice, sociology, history, anthropology, religion, and international studies. Students seeking a concentration area can choose from homeland security, conflict and peace studies, intelligence, and military technology. U.S. News and World Report rank ECU #194 in national universities for the 2019 cohort.

#5 – American Military University

Online Master’s in Political Science

Charles Town, West Virginia

Website

American Military University - Top 30 Most Affordable Master's in Political Science Online Programs 2019
Highly affordable! American Military University’s master’s in political science online program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,600

American Military University offers a master’s in political science online ranked as one of the most affordable in the country. At just $350 per credit ($325 with military grant), the American Military University option is one of the most value-driven programs of its kind. The program prepares its graduates for careers in government, private sector, military, and non-profit contexts. The degree can be completed in just two years with full-time enrollment and features courses such as American politics and government, comparative government and development, diversity in American politics, and government and security in Korea. Because all coursework is delivered online, the program is an excellent option for full-time professionals seeking graduate coursework without having to interrupt their personal and professional lives.

#4 – University of Nebraska

Online Master’s in Political Science

Omaha, Nebraska

Website

University of Nebraska - Top 30 Most Affordable Master's in Political Science Online Programs 2019
Two years! University of Nebraska’s master’s in political science online program moves at a fast pace.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,592

The University of Nebraska at Omaha offers one of the most value-driven online political science programs based on its affordable tuition. Students can choose from concentrations in international affairs, intelligence and national security, and global information operations. The degree can be completed in just two years with a course load of just two classes per semester during fall, spring, and summer. Courses may include advanced special topics in political science, government and politics of China and East Asia, government and politics of Russia and the post-Soviet states, international relations of the Middle East, and quantitative analysis in political science. U.S. News and World Report rank University of Nebraska Omaha #230 in national universities.

#3 – University of North Georgia

Online Master’s in Public Administration

Dahlonega, Georgia

Website

University of North Georgia - Top 30 Most Affordable Master's in Political Science Online Programs 2019
One of the most affordable master’s in political science online programs on our list is the online MPA at University of North Georgia.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,962

One close alternative to a master’s in political science distance learning is the University of North Georgia’s online master’s in public administration. The program is designed for current professionals employed in a public service position or those considering a career change to public and human services. Students can choose from concentrations in diversity, military leadership, or public affairs depending on their interest and career trajectory. The program combines rigor with course flexibility, making it a viable option for full-time professionals. Courses may include foundations of public administration, the legal and ethical environment of public administration, and research methodology in public administration. U.S. News and World Report rank University of North Georgia #58 in regional universities South.

#2 – Western New Mexico University

Online Master’s in Political Science

Silver City, New Mexico

Website

Western New Mexico University - Top 30 Most Affordable Master's in Political Science Online Programs 2019
Highly affordable! Western New Mexico University’s master’s in political science online program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $4,781

Western New Mexico State University offers a political science distance learning as part of its interdisciplinary master’s degree. The political science distinction is designed for graduates desiring to work in careers affiliated with the political system such as various levels of government or teaching courses at the collegiate level. Courses may include American political thought, border issues in the U.S. and Mexico relations, comparative political analysis, Latin America and the Cold War, and politics in the Middle East. Because the entirety of the degree is completed online, the program is an excellent option for working professionals seeking to leverage a graduate degree into career promotion. Additionally, recent graduates can continue their education and receive a master’s before moving into the workforce.

#1 – Sul Ross State University

Online Master’s in Public Administration and Political Science

Alpine, Texas

Website

Sul Ross State University - Top 30 Most Affordable Master's in Political Science Online Programs 2019
Ranked & highly affordable – Sul Ross State University’s master’s in political science online program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $2,850

Sul Ross University offers the top affordable master’s in political science online. The political science degree is appropriate for individuals seeking to teach political science and related subjects at the community college or secondary education levels. Moreover, graduates will be qualified for careers in public service at all levels of government. Courses in political science may include case studies in public administration, public budgeting and financing, readings and research in government, scope and methods in social science, and seminar in comparative government and public policy. U.S. News and World Report ranks Sul Ross University in several categories including #96 in regional universities West.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do with a master’s in political science online degree?

Political scientists engage in a wide variety of work within the political sphere. Those with master’s degrees typically research some mechanism of a political system such as trends, policy, theology, and government. Various duties include data collection and analysis of public opinion, measuring impact of policies, publishing research results regarding political theory, and forecasting future political movement.

Nearly 50% of political scientists work as political analysts for the federal government where they conduct rigorous quantitative and qualitative analysis using large swaths of data in an attempt to measure the impact of current or future policies. Data may come from public opinion polls, election results, economic data or other channels. In addition to working for the federal government, political scientists work for agencies or organizations that have stakes in the political world such as labor unions, think tanks, political groups, and private organizations.

At the master’s degree level, many political scientists not only test policy, but also play an integral role in policy development and planning. Also, in the federal government and closely related entities, approximately 7% of political scientists work as educators at the secondary or postsecondary levels, educating students about political systems, policy, and economics.

What is the job outlook for those graduating with an online master’s in political science degree?

According to our data analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data sets, the job outlook for individuals graduating with a master’s degree in political science varies greatly by the work and industry. For the years 2016-2026, the growth rate for political scientists is expected to lag behind the general occupational growth rate of 7% with just a 3% increase. Moreover, job competition for political scientists will remain fierce considering the small number of total job openings compared to the popularity of the major at colleges and universities.

Individuals with master’s degrees that show talent with analyzing data combined with internship experience may fare better than others. Occupations in the social sciences and related industries for which a master’s degree in political science may suffice to procure a job are expected to outpace job growth of all occupations by 4% with an estimated 11% increase from 2016-2026.

Graduates willing to relocate to the Northeast, west coast, or states such as Texas and Florida may be more likely to secure positions due to the concentration of occupations within these regions. The top two regions employing individuals with a master’s degree in political science include the District of Columbia and Virginia. Additionally, graduates seeking employment within the federal government will find more job openings than other sectors.

How much money can I make with a master’s in political science online degree?

Professionals with a master’s degree in political science can earn significant salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for political scientists is $117,570 per year, which is significantly higher than the median salary of $38,640 for all occupations. The median salary indicates 50% of workers earn less than that amount while 50% earned more. Occupational data analytics and software company PayScale indicates the median political scientist salary is $51,606 per year with a top range of $99,131. Despite the discrepancy in the data between the two organizations, it is clear political scientists earn a lucrative salary compared to many other occupations.

Geographic location plays a salient role in salary distributions for political scientists. The highest paid salaries occur for individuals working in the District of Columbia, Virginia, and Maryland. The majority of these individuals work for a federal executive branch of the United States government or a specialized scientific research and development firm with close governmental ties. The lowest wage political scientists earn in the west coast states of California and Washington State is an average salary of approximately $79,000. Many of these political scientists work for local government agencies and postsecondary educational institutions. Other states that employ a high concentration of political scientists include Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, and New York.

How long does it take to earn a master’s in political science online degree?

Time to completion of a master’s in political science online degree varies greatly by program and individual. Because many students pursuing online degrees are working professionals, attending part-time is a more viable option. The average completion timeline for students is typically two years including summer semesters. The majority of programs allow students up to 5-6 years to complete the degree from the initial date of matriculation. Some programs allow students to adjust their enrollment levels between part and full-time while cohort-based programs generally do not.

Pursuing an online master’s degree in political science can take longer for students who choose to stop out. Stopping out refers to choosing to sit out a term and not take courses. Many online programs allow this type of flexibility that allows students to take a term away from their studies without having to re-apply or re-take courses they have completed. Most programs count terms where students stop out against the maximum time to completion guideline established by the program.

Students with a background in political or social science can often finish their degree program faster than their counterparts with no relevant academic coursework. Programs generally want students to have successfully passed undergraduate coursework in statistics and political science. Candidates with no academic background have to take these courses, which extends the time it takes to complete the degree.

What are the admission requirements for master’s in political science online degree programs?

Admission requirements for master’s in political science programs vary greatly. Top tier programs with selective admissions require top quartile GRE scores in verbal, quantitative, and writing. In addition to GRE scores, some programs requiring standardized testing will accept the Miller’s Analogy Test (MAT) as an alternative to the GRE.

In addition to top standardized test scores, selective programs require strong undergraduate grade point averages of 3.5 or above with an academic background in political science or a closely related social science. In addition to test scores and undergraduate grade point average, selective programs also evaluate student writing samples, personal statements, and letters of recommendation. A minimum number of years of work experience is also a factor in top programs that accept candidates with managerial experience or those ready to assume leadership positions. Some programs will waive test score requirements for candidates with significant work experience in a related occupation.

Less selective programs often waive or do not require standardized test scores. Additionally, undergraduate grade point averages range from 2.0-3.0. Although less selective, these programs typically require personal statements and letters of recommendation. Programs of this nature may not require a bachelor’s degree in political science or a closely related field, which opens the program up to candidates with a variety of backgrounds.

BCO Staff
May 2019

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This concludes our list of the top 30 most affordable online master’s in political science programs of 2019.