An online Master’s in Political Science degree can open many doors for a student, especially if they are interested in holding a public office or working as an analyst. Anyone who has an interest in holding any type of government or public office should have at least a working knowledge of how the political system works and the responsibilities a person must assume when choosing this type of career. A Master’s in Political Science will provide them with the skills they need to work in this field at the highest level. It will also open the door to many new opportunities and increase their chances of earning a higher wage.
Earning an online Master’s in Political Science degree is for anyone who intends to work in the political field and make it a long-term career. This is a unique environment that involves constant debate and the willingness to do what is right for the community. This degree takes the study of political science to its highest level. It is extremely challenging and will do well for someone who is interested in working within the government structure of their community at the highest level.
Methodology: Ranking the Best Online Political Science Master’s Programs
For our ranking of the best online master’s in political science, the editors at Value Colleges focused on accredited, trusted institutions across the US. We rank programs according to factors that prove their real-world value, including cost of tuition, reputation, and salary potential, using data from Niche and IPEDS.
1. Harvard University
Harvard University offers a Master of Liberal Arts in Government. This program is one of the best online Political Science Masters because it comes from one of the top choice schools for learning about government, politics, and law. Students learn about institutions, policies, and systems, and then they learn how they can make a difference in these systems. They combine theory and research for a thorough understanding of the subject matter.
Harvard University is a top choice for high-achieving students, and an education from Harvard can certainly help students go places. Harvard’s online learning options are just as rigorous and challenging as its on-campus classes. Harvard’s Extension School is designed specifically for all types of adult learners, including those who have jobs and families.
Highlight: 80% of Harvard Extension School alumni state that they learned from leading experts in their fields.
Degree: Master of Liberal Arts in Government
2. Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech’s MA in Political Science is one of the best online Political Science Master’s programs available in the region. It offers the same course content and quality as its on-campus counterparts. Students learn from experienced faculty members with years’ worth of political expertise, so they get their knowledge directly from the experts. At Virginia Tech, students can deepen their existing knowledge of politics and political institutions to take on advanced leadership positions.
Virginia Tech is a goal-focused, career-centered university that helps students set and achieve goals. With the VT Online program, students get that same career-centered guidance, but they get it with some extra flexibility. VT Online students can learn from virtually any location, and they can work toward their degrees while maintaining a balance with their other responsibilities.
Highlight: Virginia Tech is ranked highly for research in the United States. It’s a well-respected school among those who value technology and innovation.
Degree: MA in Political Science
3. Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University offers an MA degree in Government. It’s designed for students who want to make a difference on a political level. This degree program is considered one of the best online Master’s in Political Science. It attracts students who have goals for Washington DC, local government, and more. The flexible program is designed for adults with jobs, and the politically connected location means that students can stay connected and in the know, even if they learn online.
As a prestigious and world-recognized school, Johns Hopkins University is a top choice for Political Science students. Students choose this school to help them turn their ambitions into clear pathways for success. Johns Hopkins values excellent academics as well as research and discovery, so learners can get the best in education.
Highlight: Johns Hopkins is ranked #9 among national universities, according to US News and World Report.
Degree: MA in Government
4. Northeastern University
Northeastern University’s MS in Global Studies and International Relations is unique among grad school programs. It focuses specifically on international politics and cross-cultural relations, with is increasingly important as technology keeps making the world smaller. For those who want to focus on international politics, Northeastern provides one of the best online Political Science Master’s degree options. It’s an interdisciplinary, comprehensive degree that provides a broad knowledge base. Students from all over the world participate in this program.
Northeastern University goes beyond theory. It helps students turn their education into action. Here, students take a deep, hands-on approach to learning, which helps them develop confidence before graduation and starting a job search. When students start putting their knowledge to work early, they can hit the ground running no matter where they start in their careers. Students at Northeastern use their knowledge to make a difference in the world.
Highlight: Northeastern University values research and innovation. It’s had a 275% increase in external research awards since 2006.
Degree: MS in Global Studies and International Relations
5. University of Nebraska Omaha
The MS in Political Science from the University of Nebraska Omaha is one of the best online Political Science Master’s programs in the area. It’s both fast and flexible, and students can tailor their class schedules based on their own needs. Students gain a solid foundation in political theory, and they learn how to put that political knowledge to good use. Students may also specialize in a specific area based on career goals. The courses get learners ready for a variety of potential career choices.
The University of Nebraska Omaha is a dynamic university that helps students make connections as they learn. As a city-based university, UNO helps students network and gain internships, which means that a lot of students get a head start in their careers. This school values independence and risk-taking, and those values show. Students to more than study here. They take risks that pay off.
Highlight: The University of Nebraska Omaha has been recognized for its military-friendliness.
Degree: MS in Political Science
6. Sam Houston State University
The Political Science MA from Sam Houston State University comes in a thesis option and a non-thesis option. As a result, it’s a good choice for those who want career advancement, those who want to become political science teachers, and those who want to get a PhD. It’s also one of the best online Master’s in Political Science. This program helps learners to deepen their political science knowledge. The online format provides plenty of flexibility so that students can balance their work, home, and school lives.
Sam Houston State University is well recognized in the state of Texas. While the school has traditional roots, it meets the needs of today’s students. SHSU values high-quality education. It also values service, which is why it’s a favorite school among those who want to use their degrees to make a difference in the world.
Highlight: Sam Houston State University has been recognized as a good choice for military members and their families.
Degree: MA in Political Science
7. The Citadel
The Citadel offers an MA in Social Science with an emphasis on Leadership. It’s unique among social science and political programs, which is part of the reason why it’s one of the best online Political Science Master’s degrees available today. It’s flexible and well-rounded program, so people in various social science careers can use this program to deepen their leadership skills. It’s also 100% online, and students can tailor the program based on their goals.
The Citadel is a military college with a civilian graduate school. As a military college, it’s known for fostering leadership skills. In its long existence, The Citadel has taught with academic excellence, so it’s a top choice for students who want to get the most out of their educational experience. Students at The Citadel sharpen their minds and deepen their characters.
Highlight: U.S. News and World Report ranked The Citadel as the #1 public college in the south for institutions granting up to a Master’s degree. The Citadel has achieved this ranking for nine years in a row.
Degree: MA in Social Science – Leadership
8. American Military University
The American Military University has an MA in Political Science, and many count this program as one of the best online Political Science Master’s programs. It focuses primarily on American political systems and governments, providing deep background knowledge of how American politics work. It covers political philosophy and the practicalities that result from political philosophy. Students who choose this degree know that they can make a difference in the political sphere.
American Military University is a part of the American Public University System. Of course, this school has military roots, but it also serves a lot of civilian students. At AMU, tuition is affordable, and education is flexible. This school helps remove roadblocks from education so that people can achieve their educational dreams and goals.
Highlight: AMU is the #1 provider of education to the US military.
Degree: MA in Political Science
9. Ball State University
Ball State University’s MA in Executive Development and Public Service is a unique program. It’s one of the best online Master’s in Political Science, especially for those who have or want to have certain leadership positions. The degree is designed to boost existing leadership skills and help executives and managers gain deeper understanding. It also reveals how government and private organizations are built, how they function, and the role that leaders play in these organizations. Students can choose an emphasis to customize their degrees.
Ball State University boasts of highly-ranked educational programs. It’s as top choice for high-achieving students who want to take their career dreams to the next level. In addition to excellent academics, Ball State has a great online platform that helps adult learners get their education from virtually any location. Students get the flexibility they need, but they still get the quality education that defines Ball State.
Highlight: Ball State University has won multiple awards and recognitions for its online learning programs.
Degree: MA in Executive Development and Public Service
10. University of Illinois Springfield
The University of Illinois Springfield has one of the best Political Science Master’s available in the midwest. It’s a good program for those who want to advance a political career, become a teacher of political theory, or pursue a more advanced degree after graduation. Students can choose an emphasis to focus more deeply on US politics, international relations, or another area of political science. The degree is designed for flexibility, so students can consider their own goals and areas of research. It’s delivered via an excellent online platform.
The University of Illinois Springfield performs well with online learning. This school wholeheartedly embraces the online learning format, so online learners get plenty of support and a great education. Students can take accelerated courses to meet their goals quickly and move on to the next step. The University of Illinois is a diverse school, where students come from many different backgrounds and points of view.
Highlight: US News and World Report has ranked UIS as one of the top 15 public regional universities in the midwest for 13 years.
Degree: Master’s in Political Science
11. Eastern Illinois University
Eastern Illinois University has an MA in Political Science program. This program is distinct on many levels, including the fact that the program is equally divided among men and women. For this and other reasons, it’s considered one of the best online Master’s in Political Science. This program helps students broaden their knowledge of politics as they enhance their leadership and communication skills. The program comes from an excellent online learning platform.
Eastern Illinois University is an excellent and affordable university for undergrads and grad students alike. Faculty members are highly experienced and deeply invested in helping students reach their goals. EIU has high graduation and retention rates thanks in part to its quality education standards. Because of the supportive community and opportunities to save money, many students thrive during their time at EIU, which helps them thrive as they graduate and move into their careers.
Highlight: EIU is in the top 6% of US schools for preparing students to earn doctoral degrees.
Degree: MA in Political Science
12. Texas A&M University Commerce
Texas A&M University-Commerce offers both an MA and an MS in Political Science. Both are considered among the best online Master’s in Political Science. These programs are built for those who want to go into public administration, campaign management, and even certain types of work in the private sector. Students in these programs learn how to succeed in a competitive job market. They can communication skills and learn how to apply their political knowledge on the job.
TAMUCommerce is part of the state-spanning Texas A&M University system. However, the Commerce campus is quite a bit smaller than the main A&M campus, so students can benefit from the A&M name while also enjoying smaller class sizes and more one-on-one interaction. A&M Commerce helps students gain confidence in learning. It turns raw passion into guided direction.
Highlight: Texas A&M Commerce is one of the most affordable universities in North Texas, and over 70% of students receive financial aid.
Degree: MA/MS in Political Science
13. Troy University
Troy University’s MS in International Relations is one of the best online Political Science Master’s degree options. It focuses on politics as it applies to international communication and understanding. This program helps students become competitive in the job market, and it hones critical thinking skill so that students can adapt to an ever-changing political climate. Whether students go into politics or want to establish a stronger international presence in business, this particular program can make a great choice.
Troy University is an award-winning school that helps students work toward their career dreams. Students learn the most important on-the-job skills, and they learn how to make important connections that can help them get started in the job market. The academics at Troy are valuable and challenging, whether learners stick to the classroom or choose to learn online.
Highlight: Multiple organizations and publications have awarded high rankings to Troy’s online degree programs.
Degree: MS in International Relations
14. University of West Florida
The University of West Florida has a great MA in Political Science online program. This program teaches students how to analyze the broader issues and apply their political knowledge to practical situations. Students study the core issues of politics, including political security. The degree comes in thesis and non-thesis options, and the online format offers a lot of flexibility. A lot of experts consider this program one of the best online Political Science Master’s programs.
The University of West Florida believes that big ideas can foster major change. This school helps students find their own pathways toward making that change. UWF has small class sizes, both in its undergraduate and graduate degree programs. As a result, students get more one-on-one attention, and they get access to the support that they need. UWF’s online programs perform especially well. This school has earned several recognitions for its online programs.
Highlight: US News and World Report ranked UWF #15 among the top regional universities in the south.
Degree: MA in Political Science
15. University of Denver
The University of Denver offers an MA in Global Community Engagement. This unique program compares to some of the best online Master’s in political science. Students in this program learn how to navigate communication with communities all across the globe. It’s a great program for business leaders who want a deeper understanding of international law and politics. It teaches how to work with people positively and productively, combining theory and hands-on practice.
The University of Denver offers excellent academics and top career preparation. Students at this school learn how to stand out and make themselves more competitive in the job market. Denver’s many online programs are especially career-focused, delivering quality skill preparation with all the flexibility that adult learners need to maintain balance. Faculty members at Denver are no stranger to online learning, so students benefit from a smooth overall educational process.
Highlight: The University of Denver is one of the top 100 national universities, according to US News and World Report.
Degree: MA in Global Community Engagement
16. George Washington University
George Washington University’s Master’s in Political Management examines political theory and philosophy from all around the world. This global approach means that GWU is, for many, one of the best online Political Science Master’s degree programs. It’s meant for students who want to make a political difference, either at home or abroad. It encourages positive, forward-moving action and teaches students how to overcome roadblocks. The online program was designed specifically for working adults, so busy learners can manage their careers and education.
George Washington University is a top choice for students who are interested in politics, social justice, leadership, and activism. The Washington DC location gives this school a unique look into the politics of today’s world. Even online students benefit from this perspective. GWU has top-notch, challenging academics that help learners test their own boundaries and consider big ideas.
Highlight: GWU is known for fostering internship opportunities. Some GWU students have even interned at the White House.
Degree: Master’s in Political Management
17. Central Michigan University
The MS in International Administration from Central Michigan University is one of the best online Political Science Master’s programs in its region. This particular program is for business leaders and future business leaders who want to gain more knowledge on international marketing and law. Students learn how politics shapes the global market, and they learn how to become business leaders with an international reach.
Central Michigan’s Global Campus is a great online platform for those who want to advance their careers but still need flexibility to maintain balance. Global Campus courses have the same quality and are taught from the same materials as their on-campus counterparts. CMU is dedicated to providing excellence in education. The school values discovery and curiosity, and it helps learners turn their knowledge into usable career strategies.
Highlight: Central Michigan University has two Carnegie research classifications. It’s one of only 5% of US schools that have this distinction.
Degree: MS in International Administration
18. University of Dayton
The University of Dayton offers an MS in Government Contracting and Procurement. This unique degree has a lot of the same courses and benefits as some of the best online Political Science Master’s programs. This program covers essential contracting and purchasing skills, including how to negotiate. For those who want a career in contracting, and for those who want to climb higher in their existing contracting careers, this degree can certainly help them move in the right direction. Classes are available both online and on campus.
The University of Dayton is a well-respected research school that empowers business leaders. As a Catholic research university, this school combines science and faith for discovery and innovation. Students do more than sharpen their academic minds; They also build compassion and empathy, and they learn how to use their skills for the good of their neighbors around the world.
Highlight: The University of Dayton is the #1 Catholic university for research and development.
Degree: MS in Government Contracting and Procurement
19. Kennesaw State University
The MS in International Policy Management from Kennesaw State University is one of the best online Master’s in Political Science. This cohort-based program lets online students learn virtually alongside a group of peers. It helps students find the tools that they need for policy management success, whether they move on to become business leaders or work in the public sector. Students learn about international policy. They study courses that help them improve their communication skills for international audiences. All the while, they benefit from the support and community of other members in their cohort.
Kennesaw State University is a great choice for both graduate and undergraduate students. It has a major commitment to innovation and progress, and it fosters an environment where students can share their ideas. As one of the largest schools in the state of Georgia, Kennesaw also fosters connection, networking, and internship opportunities, which can benefit online students, too. This research institution is where students go when they want to make innovative change.
Highlight: Kennesaw State University is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution. Only 6% of colleges in the US have a similar status.
Degree: MS in International Policy Management
20. Liberty University
Liberty University’s MS in Political Science is one of the best online Political Science Master’s options among Christian schools. The program is 100% online and comes with a fairly generous transfer policy. This program claims a “big picture” approach to political science, helping students gain a broad view of politics and government. Students deepen their knowledge of how politics work in the United States and the world. They also learn what they can do to make an impact.
Liberty University is a private Christian school with a well-developed online program. Liberty’s online courses are known for their academic quality. They match the same high standards as Liberty’s on-campus courses, which are also known for their academic excellence. However, online courses provide a level of flexibility that most on-campus courses don’t provide. All classes are taught from a Christian perspective, so many Christian students choose Liberty as a way to deepen their faith while getting an education.
Highlight: Liberty University has been ranked among some of the most affordable online colleges in the United States.
Degree: MS in Political Science
21. St Mary’s University
The MA in International Relations from St. Mary’s University is available as an online program. Some people count it as one of the best online Political Science programs in Texas. In addition to the 100% online option, students can also earn the degree on campus or in a combination of both formats. This program examines the many factors that influence international relations, covering everything from politics and religion to philosophy and history. This program is equally suited for those who work in the government, the private sector, and nonprofit organizations.
St. Mary’s University comes from the understanding that education is powerful. “It only takes one degree of change to make a world of difference,” says St. Mary’s website. This school provides the education that students need to make that change. It’s a Catholic University in the Marian tradition, so it values faith and ethics as well as excellence in education. Here, education isn’t just for the degree. It’s a means to deeper understanding, faith, community, and the ability to make a difference.
Highlight: According to Money Magazine, St. Mary’s is the #1 Catholic University in the Southwest.
Degree: MA in International Relations
22. Regent University
Regent University offers an MA in Political Communication. It’s one of the best online Political Science Master’s programs for those who want to focus on communication specifically. This program covers important political knowledge, and it also covers the skills and tools that students will need to communicate effectively in the realm of American politics. This type of Master’s degree can benefit those who want to be a press secretary, political campaign manager, or similar career.
Regent University is a Christian school that puts faith at the core of every class. Whether students learn online or in the classroom, they gain an understanding of calling and purpose as it relates to education. This transfer-friendly, overall affordable school offers challenging academics and support for students. Faculty members are deeply invested in helping students succeed.
Highlight: Regent University is one of the top 5% of affordable private Christian universities.
Degree: MA in Political Communication
23. Western New Mexico University
Western New Mexico University has an MA in Political Science program. More specifically, it offers an interdisciplinary program with a Political Science concentration. This program is one of the best online Political Science Master’s programs for those who want to take a broader approach to their studies. Students can draw from a wide range of knowledge that will help them learn more about politics from all angles. Students can choose from a global focus and an American politics focus.
Western New Mexico University is an open-access institution with a commitment to creativity, responsibility, and student achievement. This school is focused on helping students reach their career goals by teaching both theoretical and practical knowledge. WNMU has built a solid community, and even online students benefit from working alongside their peers and learning new ideas.
Highlight: 50% of WNMU undergrad students are Hispanic, and the school is designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution. It offers resources in both Spanish and English.
Degree: MA in Political Science
24. Norwich University
The MA in Diplomacy from Norwich University is one of the best online Master’s in Political Science today. This unique degree covers political knowledge, but it also covers international communication and conflict resolution. These skills and knowledge sets can benefit students in all kinds of careers, including careers in both the public and private sector. It’s a challenging program, but the online format provides a lot of flexibility, and students walk away with a broad knowledge base.
Norwich University has been offering online education for more than 20 years, so the faculty members here understand how to teach for online learning. A Norwich education focuses on leadership and communication skills, which is why so many Norwich graduates move on to high-ranking jobs in prestigious organizations.
Highlight: More than 96% of Norwich online graduates would recommend this program to a friend.
Degree: MA in Diplomacy
25. Sul Ross State University
The MA in Political Science from Sul Ross State University is one of the best online Political Science Master’s degree programs. This program is designed for students who want to teach Political Science or work in political careers. It covers the core skills that students need to succeed in either of these endeavors, including research, critical thinking, and effective communication. These course are offered online, so they come with plenty of flexibility.
Sul Ross is a Hispanic-Serving University with a passion for excellence and career success. Students learn as part of a tight-knit community. It offers small class sizes, student resources, and support from faculty members and advisors. Though the campus itself is small, it support students with big dreams, helping them to gain the skills they need to move forward in the world and make a difference.
Highlight: Sul Ross is an affordable school compared to similar institutions.
Degree: MA in Political Science
How Much Can I Make with a Master’s in Political Science?
The amount of money you can make by earning an online Master’s in Political Science degree will depend on several factors. Individuals who are just starting out can expect to earn approximately $55,000 per year. There are many career options available for individuals who possess a Political Science degree. Entry-level positions will normally start out with the lowest pay, especially if you have minimal experience. The more experience you gain, the more responsibilities you will have. More responsibilities, in most cases, mean more pay as well.
For individuals who have both experience and a Master’s degree in Political Science or higher, the ability to earn a higher wage is within their reach. In the highest levels of the Political Science field, individuals who have both experience and education can expect to make anywhere from $110,000 to $122,000 per year. While certain areas of the country, especially rural areas, may have lower pay scales than large metropolitan areas, the ability to earn increases with every year of experience and degree that is earned.
What Can I Do with a Master’s in Political Science?
An online Master’s in Political Science will open many doors for you. Political scientists and government officials are two of the most commonly recognized political science careers. With a political science degree, you understand how politics work and also how the concepts drive the government forward. You are able to hold public office or work as an analyst to determine specific outcomes in terms of elections, the passing of bills, and other major events.
One perfect use of an online political science master’s is to become a lobbyist. Lobbyists work within Congress to help get certain bills passed. Lobbyists are hired by organizations who want to see specific changes in some of the laws that are passed within the House of Representatives and the Senate. Lobbyists work long hours and must constantly be researching what bills are being presented and which ones are being put up for a vote.
An online Master’s in Political Science also is beneficial for individuals who work in business or journalism. Understanding how the political sciences affect our economy is important if you own any size of business, large or small. Journalists need to have a solid understanding of how the political sciences work so they can accurately report what is happening within our government. Journalists with a working knowledge of political science are better able to explain to others what is happening within our local, state, and federal government and how it will impact our lives on a day to day basis.
A Master’s in Political Science degree is also a good choice for individuals who are interested in politics from the theoretical aspect of things. Political science goes far beyond simply holding office. It also involves how certain situations are handled when creating new laws or bringing about social change. While it is the politicians who do the work, political science is the methodology and concepts they use to perform the tasks and continue to move things forward.