30 Best Accelerated Political Science Degree Online Programs [2020 Guide]

We've ranked the 30 best accelerated political science degree online programs. Compare top schools and see what you could be doing after you graduate.

We’ve ranked the 30 best accelerated political science degree online programs. Compare top schools and see what you could be doing after you graduate.

Accelerated Political Science Degree

A political science degree takes you past the sensational news stories. Instead, you get to take an in-depth look at how governments operate and interact. A degree in political science could put you in place to be hired by the federal government as a political scientist with a yearly paycheck of $114, 290.

Types of Accelerated Political Science Degree Programs

An accelerated political science degree program can have many different names and concentrations. Degrees you might be looking for are:

  • Bachelor of Applied Science in International Security and Intelligence Studies – Comparative Politics
  • Bachelor of Arts in General Studies – Political Science Concentration
  • Bachelor of Arts in Historical and Political Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
  • Bachelor of Arts in Political Science – Legal Studies
  • Bachelor of Science in Political Science

All these degrees will prepare you for a degree in political science but with a different focus. Look into the curriculum at each university to determine if it fits your interests.

Accelerated Political Science Degree Programs Overview

Accelerated Political Science Degree Programs Overview

When you start a degree in political science, you are diving into a well-known but little understood world. Everybody knows about politics but few people know how the government truly functions. You could be different.

Your degree gives you the opportunity to study how a state is governed and to look closely at how the different government institutions function. You cover topics such as historical and cultural influences on government. You will look at how political processes came about and what it all means for how politics, the economy, and society are connected.

Your classes will likely include courses like:

  • 20th Century Political Thought
  • Asian Politics
  • East European Politics
  • Foreign Policy
  • Forms of Government
  • International Law
  • International Relations
  • Judicial Systems
  • Legislation Practices
  • Middle Eastern Politics
  • Political Protest & Revolutions
  • Political Theory
  • Public Administration
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Quantitative Methods
  • West European Politics
  • World Politics

Besides theory, you’ll learn how to interpret analytical reports, gaining an international and culturally sensitive perspective on hot topics that influence the well-being of a population.

Careers with an Accelerated Political Science Degree

Careers with an Accelerated Political Science Degree

If you have plans for becoming a politician, a political science degree will prepare you for that. But there are many other careers that you can launch with a political science degree. You might be looking at a career in government as a:

  • Career Politician
  • Lobbyist
  • Political Campaign Manager
  • Political Consultant

But you can also pursue a role in business with jobs such as:

  • International Business Specialist
  • Market Researcher
  • Public Relations Specialist

Law is another field that goes along perfectly with political science. You could pursue further schooling and become a:

  • Legal Analyst
  • Legal Assistant
  • Paralegal

There is also journalism and careers as a:

  • Investigative Journalist
  • Political Commentator
  • Political Editor

Maybe you are looking at passing your knowledge onto the next generation of your political scientists and would want to teach:

  • Elementary School Social Studies
  • High School History and Government Classes
  • University-Level Researcher or Professor (will usually require a PhD in Political Science)

There are many options for where you could take your degree. And many different ranges for your pay range.

Career Annual Salary
Lawyer $118,160
Political Scientist $114,290
Campaign Manager $107,320
Postsecondary Teacher $75,430
Market Research Analyst $62,560
Public Relations Specialist $58,020
Political Editor $57,210
Legal Assistant $49,500
Investigative Journalist $38,870

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Because politics touches every area of life, a degree in political science can prepare you to pursue careers in many different fields.

Why Take Online Accelerated Political Science Degree Classes

political science degree student studying on her laptop in a cafe

When you take online accelerated classes, you get a few key benefits:

  1. You finish your degree faster – usually in about half the time as a normal degree
  2. You can take classes on your schedule – you’re not limited to when campus classes are offered
  3. You can take classes where you want – no commuting to school

Online accelerated classes provide the flexibility and convenience that modern students demand.

How to Accelerate Your Political Science Degree Even More

If you really want to finish your degree quickly, here’s how to do it.

  1. Test out of college classes. Most colleges will give you up to 30 credits toward your degree if you can pass the exams, even without taking the class. Through a program like the College Level Examination Program, you can register online for an exam, grab the study guide, then go to an exam center, and in 90 minutes, you complete 100 (often multiple choice) questions. If you get 50% of those questions right, you can walk out with 3 credits. That’s 90 minutes for 3 credits instead of taking the class.
  2. Submit a prior learning portfolio. Many online universities and colleges have programs set up that will award you up to 15 credits for your job training, military experience, credentials, and experiences.
  3. Take the maximum number of classes. Most schools will let you maximize your course load at 18 credits per semester AND let you take a full course load over the summer too. Three semesters in 12 months can earn you 54 credits.

It’s not uncommon for students to graduate from a traditionally four-year program in 18-24 months using these strategies. 

You get a bonus jump on your degree if you have transfer credits from a previous time in college. All you need to do is make sure you passed the class with a C or better and that the college you attended was fully accredited.

You Can Also Lower Tuition Costs

screenshot of FAFSA websiite

Classes are expensive. One 3 credit political science class could cost you $1,000 or more. Consider that you will need 40 classes to finish your degree, and you are looking at a pretty hefty bill. Tuition is the most expensive part of your degree.

The only way to make your tuition cheaper is to take fewer classes while still earning credit. Remember that a 3 credit exam through the College Level Examination Program will only cost you $85. And if you get credit for prior learning, you don’t even need to test out of the class.

For the classes that you do need to take, you can apply for various forms of financial aid. When you fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you’ll see what you qualify for in grants and loans. Afterward, you can also check with:

  • Your state for grant money
  • Private organizations for scholarships
  • Universities for scholarships and payment plans
  • Employers for tuition assistance

When you take advantage of CLEP exams, Prior Learning, and financial aid, your political science degree could end up costing you very little.

Political Science Degree Accreditation

logos of the six regional accreditors

Make sure that the school you choose is accredited. This means that your college or university has been reviewed by an accrediting board and has earned the right to grant you a degree. Accreditation can be either regional or national.

The regional accreditors include:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

You can also search for your school in the Database of Postsecondary Institutions and Programs. This site is compiled by the U.S. Department of Education and will give you the assurance that your degree is legit.

If you are looking specifically for political science accreditation, check out the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration.

Questions Related to Getting a Political Science Degree Online

Here are our answers to a few questions you might have about earning a poly sci degree.

Can You Get a Political Science Degree Online?

Yes, you can get a political science degree online. With the convenience and flexibility of online programs, many schools are offering this option. Review our list below for some recommendations.

Is It Better to Get a BA or BS in Political Science?

It depends on what you want to do for your job. A BS (Bachelor of Science) requires more math and science classes. If you plan to be a political analyst or researcher who deals with statistics or large amounts of data, a BS degree will serve you well. Otherwise, a BA is just as valuable.

What Can I Do with a Degree in Political Science?

Graduates with a political science degree enter the fields of politics, law, business, journalism, and education. You could be a politician or political analyst, a campaign manager or political advisor, a journalist, an international business person, or a teacher. Salaries range from $40,000 to $120,000.

Can You Become a Paralegal with a Political Science Degree?

Yes, you can become a paralegal with a political science degree. Becoming a paralegal does not require a specific degree, though some areas of study will be more attractive to employers. Having a political science degree can make you an attractive candidate depending on the law practice’s specialty.

List of Schools Offering Accelerated Political Science Degree Programs Online

Rankings Methodology

To be included on our list, a school needs to be fully accredited and offer online political science degree classes at an accelerated pace.

  1. American Military University
  2. Arizona State University
  3. Central Michigan University
  4. Columbia College
  5. Florida International University
  6. Eastern Kentucky University
  7. Fort Hays State University
  8. Indiana University – Bloomington
  9. Indiana University East
  10. Keiser University
  11. Kennesaw State University
  12. Liberty University
  13. National University
  14. Pennsylvania State University
  15. Oregon State University
  16. Rutgers University
  17. Southeast Missouri State University
  18. Texas Tech University
  19. Troy University
  20. University of Central Florida
  21. University of Illinois at Springfield
  22. University of Iowa
  23. University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth
  24. University of Massachusetts – Lowell
  25. University of Memphis
  26. University of Missouri – St Louis
  27. University of North Alabama
  28. University of West Georgia
  29. University of Wisconsin – La Crosse
  30. University of Wisconsin – Whitewater

Get Started!

political science delegates talking about a conference in an office

An online accelerated political science degree is within your grasp. It does not need to cost you $200,000 and 4 years of sitting through boring classes. You can test out of the preliminary classes and get credit for your work experience. Then you can zero in on the information that really matters to you.

In 18 months, you could be proudly celebrating the completion of an accredited degree in political science. Start by looking into which colleges you might want to attend and applying for financial aid.

This article is brought to you by
Daniel Nguyen
Daniel Nguyen
Joy Mays
Joy Mays
Stephen Wilson
Stephen Wilson
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