The 15 Best Master’s in Political Science Programs Online for 2018

In this turbulent political climate, there is increased interest in earning higher degrees in the political arena. Many schools are tailoring their degree programs to suit the growing, current interests of its applicants. Many students select distance learning as a means to earn a higher degree in political science; an online political science master’s can have a wide range of specialty focus areas. For more general information regarding online learning, visit our ranking of the top online colleges.

In determining the order of this ranking, we awarded points based on:

  • Strong academic offerings that reflect current topics in political science (1-5 points)
  • Quality of online classroom portal and resources (1-5 points)
  • Career-building features such as field work opportunities or direct network connections  (1-5 points)
  • Flexibility of the political science degree track (1-3)
  • An additional point was awarded for significant features that made it a top college for an online political science masters

In the event of a tie in points, the school with the lower net price appears higher in the ranking.

Tuition data was sourced from the official website of each respective college.

The following list of ranked colleges represents the top 15 online master’s degrees in political science.

#15 – Sul Ross State University

Program Website

Points: 11
Program Tuition: $483.00 per-credit-hour

An excellent higher education, Sul Ross State University has small class sizes and well-rounded degree programs. For those pursuing a future in political science, Sul Ross has multiple options in the department of behavioral and social sciences; among the department’s degrees is an online graduate degree in political science. The political science degree prepares students for teaching, research, government administration, and more. Distance-learning students have the option to complete their degree 100% online, or in a campus / online hybrid structure. The majority of Sul Ross State’s faculty has doctorate-level degrees in their fields.

#14 – Sam Houston State University

Program Website

Points: 11
Program Tuition: $387.00 per-credit-hour

Among the largest schools in Texas, Sam Houston State University has an ever-increasing enrollment and success rate of graduates. This popular college has a 100% online master’s in political science; this 30-36 credit programs can be completed on a thesis or non-thesis track, depending on the preference of the student. The political science master’s is suitable for recent college graduates or advancing career professionals. Among the political science courses include American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and thesis. Sam Houston’s online programs have won numerous accolades for their value and strong academics.

#12 – Liberty University

Program Website

Points: 12
Program Tuition: $390.00 per-credit-hour

A Christian-centered institution, Liberty University is a popular school for both on-campus and online students. Liberty’s online master’s in political science is a challenging program led by experts in the field. Students typically complete the online political MS eighteen months, completing coursework in economics, public policy, political philosophy, international diplomacy, and more.

#11 – Eastern Carolina University

Program Website

Points: 13
Program Tuition:  $700.00 per-credit-hour

Founded nearly a century ago, Eastern Carolina University is a reputable, community-centered institution. Among ECU’s many academic offerings is distance learning program; this program has an online master of science in security studies, a degree found within the political science department. This online MS specializes its curriculum in security studies foundations, policy and practice, homeland security policies, and much more. ECU values an interdisciplinary approach to courses, ensuring maximum versatility in the field.

#10 – Bellevue University

Program Website

Points: 13
Program Tuition: $575.00 per-credit-hourBellevue University

Flexible, affordable, and popular with many types of students, Bellevue University has a vast selection of degree programs. For students eager to advance their political science degree, Bellevue has an online master of science in intelligence and security studies; this online political science masters is suited best for those interested in the national and international intelligence community. Students enrolled in this specialized degree complete field-related internships, and complete curriculum in comparative intelligence, foreign policy, comparative politics, post-conflict-politics, and much more.

#9 – University of West Florida

Program Website

Points: 14
Program Tuition: $1,024.00 per-credit-hour (out-of-state)

Based out Pensacola, University of West Florida provides dynamic, engaging academic programs. UWF distance-learning department includes an online masters in political science; this graduate degree can be specialized in political science alone, or security and diplomacy. The 33-credit political science MA is focused in comparative politics, international relations, and public policy. Online political science students attend a synchronous course delivery program, which means they attend live lectures at the same time as their classmates.

#8 – Western New Mexico University

Program Website

Points: 14
Program Tuition: $330.00 per-credit-hour

The college of choice for over 3,500 students, Western New Mexico University has degrees in 70 fields of study. WNMU offers a unique MA in interdisciplinary studies; this online degree has a concentration in political science, a program that explores American constitutional development, Latin American politics, comparative political analysis, and more. Online political science students can complete their degree with either a thesis or comprehensive exam. Western New Mexico students have given high praise for degree affordability, faculty, flexibility, and other areas.

#7 – American Public University

Program Website

Points: 14
Program Tuition: $350.00 per-credit-hour

A 100% online school, American Public University is particular popular with working adult students. APU’s online political science master’s is a 36-credit, two-year degree; this degree can be started monthly, offering maximum flexibility to incoming students. The political science master’s has concentration options in general studies American politics and government, comparative government and development, international relations, or public policy; depending on which chosen concentration, degree curriculum will include both core and specialized topic areas. APU has an engaging online classroom and attentive student services.

#7 – Southern New Hampshire University

Program Website

Points: 15
Program Tuition: $627.00 per-credit-hourSouthern New Hampshire University

Both affordable and flexible, Southern New Hampshire University has increased popularity with adult student. SNHU has excellent degree programs, one of which being an online MS in political science. The twelve-course master of science aligns with American Political Science Association’s (APSA) Principles for Graduate Education in Political Science; this indicates equal weight on analysis and the human political experience. Graduates of SNHU’s political science program go on to careers in political campaigns, city planning, immigration, intelligence analysis, lobbying, mediation, and many other settings.

#6 – University of Illinois at Springfield

Program Website

Points: 15
Program Tuition: $362.00 per-credit-hourUniversity-of-Illinois-at-Springfield

The University of Illinois at Springfield is a diverse, tight-knit community that encourages collaborative learning. Among this schools online degrees is an MA in political science. Students in the political science program can choose concentrations in American national and state politics, comparative politics, international relations, or public law; this 40-hour graduate degree is fitting for those seeking careers in politics, education, law, and other related fields. UIS online faculty is the same as their campus tenure faculty, ensuring mastery of the curriculum and available college resources.

#5 – Norwich University

Program Website

Points: 16
Program Tuition: $750.00 per-credit-hour

The nation’s oldest private military college, Norwich University values rigorous academics, loyalty, and confidence. For students seeking an online master’s in political science, Norwich offers an eighteen-month MA in diplomacy; this challenging degree program offers courses in the history of diplomacy, law and the international system, cross-cultural management, economics, and more. Norwich’s diplomacy master’s concludes with a required campus residency; this residency serves as an opportunity to connect with peers, network, and attend concluding ceremonies. Norwich has a diverse faculty of instructors, all of whom have expertise in the field.

#4 – Central Michigan University

Program Website

Points: 16
Program Tuition:  $575.00 per-credit-hour

A nationally respected institution, Central Michigan University is an expansive academic opportunity. This popular college offers over 300 academic programs, many of which can be attained via distance-learning. CMU has an online masters of public administration, a degree suited for those who want an advanced political science degree; this affordable degree covers coursework in public policy, organization theory, program analysis, public service, among others. As an added advantage, online public administration students complete a hands-on internship in government and politics.

#3 – University of Nebraska at Omaha

Program Website

Points: 17
Program Tuition: $400.00 per credit-hour

Affordable and military-friendly, University of Nebraska at Omaha has high-achieving faculty and students. The political science masters online is an interdisciplinary degree, and students can choose a thesis or non-thesis degree track. Political science students have the option of concentrating in international affairs, or adding graduate certificates in intelligence and national security or global information options. Typically, students complete the political science masters within two years, and Omaha will accept of to 12 approved transfer credits.

#2 – Northeastern University

Program Website

Points: 17
Program Tuition: $22,061.00 

Among the nations most respected institutions, Northeastern University ranks with the best in academics. For students pursuing an internationally-focused degree, Northeastern has a 100% online MS in global studies and international relations; this degree is an excellent option for online political science students, particularly those who want to further specialize their career. Northeastern has an expansive global network, providing promising connections in field study, post-graduation job placement, advisement, and much more.

#1 – Virginia Tech

Program Website

Points: 18
Program Tuition: $1,595.00 per-credit-hour

One of the most respected schools in the country, Virginia Tech receives accolades for its faculty and academic excellence. This college has a 17:1 student-to-faculty ratio, ensuring students receive a personalized education experience. Virginia Tech’s online degrees are increasingly popular, among them a master’s in political science; V T established this political science degree in 1969 and has since evolved its curriculum to reflect current theories and career prospects. Graduates of VT’s political science master’s find careers in government agencies, research institutes, political organizations, non-profits, among other relevant settings.

The preceding list represents the top 15 online master’s degrees in political science.

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