Why This Matters


    With a median hourly wage of $58.76, political scientists make three times more than the average U.S. worker.


    The need for public policy analysis by political organizations, lobbying firms, and labor unions will keep the employment of political scientists growing faster than the average rate for all occupations.


    Both government and nongovernment organizations will depend on the advanced knowledge of political scientists to perform research and policy analysis over the next decade.

Our Research

This list covers master’s in political science programs that equip graduates with the necessary skills to analyze governments, political trends, and policy decisions. Students can choose to pursue a Master of Arts in Political Science or Master of Science in Political Science degree. All programs are delivered online.

National and regional accreditation organizations recognize higher education programs that meet specific criteria and prepare students for professional careers in their field of study. The schools on our list are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 79 hours to write this article
  • 193 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 367 education programs we compared

The Top 42 Master’s in Political Science Degree Programs

Best Master's in Political Science Degree Programs
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What You Should Know About This Degree

When choosing a career in politics, you should also consider graduate programs in public policy and public administration. Political science programs focus on the history of political systems and how to manage governmental organizations effectively. Students who are interested in a more academic approach to politics might consider this program; however, graduates will be prepared for a broad range of occupations in law, government, and politics.

If you’re interested in working in politics and influencing public policy, you should consider a degree in public policy or public administration. Public administration programs look at the internal structure of government agencies. Graduates are prepared to work in roles such as city manager, county administrator, community relations manager, and urban and regional planner. Determine if you are more interested in political theory or prefer a hands-on career approach to political science when deciding on which program is right for you.

Certifications can help graduates demonstrate their expertise to potential employers and increase future job opportunities. Graduates should consider obtaining professional certifications from The Academy of Certified Political Analysts such as CPS Certified Political Scientist, CPM Certified Political Manager – Campaign Manager & Analyst, and Certified in Public Policy – Policy Analyst.

Although the job outlook for political scientists is positive over the next decade, the field remains competitive. Strong writing, analytical skills, and specialized knowledge are expected of graduates entering the job market.

What’s Next?

When researching graduate programs in political science, ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I eligible for this program? Students need a bachelor’s degree or equivalent to pursue a master’s degree in political science. Many programs require a minimum GPA, and some might also require a minimum Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score.
  • How long does it take to complete this online degree? Master’s degree programs in political science take two years of full-time study to complete. Graduates who wish to teach may need to obtain additional certifications or licensure. The programs on our list require between 27 to 40 credits to graduate.

Each program has specific academic prerequisites and application deadlines. Research application requirements by visiting the school’s website for the program to which you’re applying.

Graduate degree programs require a financial investment. Determine how you’ll cover the costs of your studies by researching scholarships and grants. You might also be eligible for federal funds, so submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) soon.