2019 Best Master's in Political Science Online Programs

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These nine universities offer the best online master's degrees in political science. Top-ranked Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University offers a Master of Arts in Political Science for $12,277 per year. Median salary post-graduation is $113,576. Second-ranked Johns Hopkins University has a similarly impressive median salary for graduates at $110,700. Students at Johns Hopkins University can earn an MA in Government or an MS in Government Analytics with tuition starting at $23,382.

Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about SR Education Group.

Find an Online Degree:
Rank School Annual Tuition Median Salary
#1 #1 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University $12,277 $113,576
#2 #2 Johns Hopkins University $23,382 $110,700
#3 #3 University of Illinois at Springfield $7,245 $98,360
#4 #4 Norwich University $16,522 $96,552
#5 #5 Bellevue University $10,350 $82,632
#6 #6 Sam Houston State University $7,402 $71,400
#7 #7 Liberty University $13,560 $71,987
#8 #8 Southern New Hampshire University Online $13,794 $70,212
#9 #9 University of Nebraska at Omaha $9,911 $56,893
Salary data provided by Payscale Logo. Updated 2018.
  • Annual Tuition: $12,277
  • Median Salary: $113,576
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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Online degree programs at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University are designed with the maximum benefit to students in mind. Distance students receive the same support and assistance as on-campus students, including access to the library system, financial aid and scholarships, and standard academic support services. In addition, distance learners also receive tech support, have the option of ordering their textbooks remotely, and may take tests from inside their own homes - per guidelines stipulated by their professors. Virginia Tech also has a reputation for providing military veterans with exceptional benefits, including providing multiple forms of assistance in obtaining employment in the civilian job market. They offer an online MA in Political Science, which is identical to the residential MA degree program. Classes are conducted asynchronously.

Online Master's Degrees (1)

  • Annual Tuition: $23,382
  • Median Salary: $110,700
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
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With 20% of its students coming from outside the United States, and over 20,000 alumni living abroad, Johns Hopkins University truly has global reach. Distance students can choose from a range of sophisticated online offerings, including part-time and full-time programs, hybrid and fully-online programs, and a full range of degrees and certificates. Johns Hopkins' 100% online MA in Government requires 12 courses for completion and offers students the choice of starting fall, spring, or summer semester. It offers three areas of concentration and is taught by permanent faculty of international renown.

  • Annual Tuition: $7,245
  • Median Salary: $98,360
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: HLC
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University of Illinois at Springfield partners with a number of colleges located throughout the state of Illinois to ensure that students transfer in fluidly and without issue. UI offers over a dozen online graduate degrees, including an online M.A. in Political Science that requires 40 credit hours for completion. The school website provides prospective distance students with a self-assessment test and a student orientation video, and distance students receive library support and services, career services, and disability services. An online application assists distance students with the admissions process.

  • Annual Tuition: $16,522
  • Median Salary: $96,552
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: NECHE
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Students wishing to become officers in the military may choose to attend Norwich University, the oldest private military college in the United States and the origin of the ROTC. Norwich has 20 years of experience teaching online, and offers a robust catalog of online degrees, including master's degrees in leadership, diplomacy and international relations. Distance students will find that Norwich provides them with a comprehensive set of professional, online support tools. These include testimonials and recommendations from alumni, a thorough and complete explanation of the entire online program and experience, and individual support from the application process through graduation.

  • Annual Tuition: $10,350
  • Median Salary: $82,632
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: HLC
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Bellevue University prides itself on ensuring that its online degrees provide the same academic challenges and rewards as its on-campus degrees. Its online classes are limited in size to 24 students and are taught in a cohort format. Online students receive online tutoring and writing assistance, as well as 24/7 library services and daily tech support. Bellevue's 100% online Master of Science in Intelligence and Security Studies offers concentrations in comparative politics and international relations. It is a 36-credit-hour degree, comprised of 27 major credits and nine elective credits.

  • Annual Tuition: $7,402
  • Median Salary: $71,400
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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Sam Houston State University provides excellent value to online learners. New distance students pursuing its 100% online Master of Arts in Political Science will find that they receive the standard $1,000 scholarship. Neither their degree nor their transcript will mention the word "online,” as all of SHSU's degrees require the same effort and contain the same coursework. The degree program is 30 to 36 credit hours in length, with three convenient enrollment windows - fall, spring and summer. All SHSU degree programs are regionally accredited by The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Online Master's Degrees (1)

  • Annual Tuition: $13,560
  • Median Salary: $71,987
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC and TRACS
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In an effort to accommodate all students, most of the degree programs offered by Liberty University are 100% online. LU is a college that is embracing technology by taking distance learning to the next level. They don't require standardized testing for admission, and incoming students can transfer in up to 75% of the credits they will require for their bachelor's degree and up to 50% of the credits they will require for their master's degree. Classes are eight weeks in length and there are eight start dates per year, allowing adults with other commitments to earn their degrees on their own schedules. Their Master of Science in Political Science program is 36 credits in length and takes an average of one and a half years to complete.

  • Annual Tuition: $13,794
  • Median Salary: $70,212
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: NECHE
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Southern New Hampshire University Online goes the distance to make the online degree process as smooth as possible. This includes providing online students with admissions counselors and dedicated academic and career advisors, as well as allowing them access to an online bookstore, an online library, tutoring, and round-the-clock technical support. Webinars and internships are additional perks, as is their low tuition. 

Online Master's Degrees (1)

  • Annual Tuition: $9,911
  • Median Salary: $56,893
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: HLC
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University of Nebraska at Omaha's low tuition and online degree programs make it an exceptional value for working adults. Through its web portal UNO Online, they offer a variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees. Students in its 100% online Political Science, MS program will find that most classes can be accessed according to one's own schedule. The program is also designed to allow students to customize their own specialty area. Online students have access to advisors and the library, and are taught by on-campus faculty.

Online Master's Degrees (1)

Online Master's in Political Science Overview

Program Requirements

To qualify for master’s in political science programs, students must hold bachelor's degrees. Many schools also require applicants to submit resumes detailing their relevant job, internship, and volunteer experience. Applicants must also submit transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose. Earning a master’s degree in political science requires two years of coursework, or 30 units.

Curriculum

Students typically begin their degree program by taking courses in communications, political theories, political structures and methodologies, sociology, business, law, the criminal justice system, and elections. Most students specialize in a certain area of political science and structure their curriculum around their chosen concentration. Most political science master’s programs have a thesis requirement. Students spend many months choosing a topic, developing their research processes, and working with professors to write and edit their thesis.

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