30 Best Accelerated Political Science Degree Online Programs [2022 Guide]

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Explore accelerated political science degree online programs. Compare schools and see what you could be doing after you graduate.

We’ve identified 30 accredited accelerated political science degree online programs. Here you can compare schools and degree programs to explore which one may be right for you.

Accelerated Political Science Degree

A political science degree can help you go beyond sensational news stories and give you the opportunity to get an in-depth look into how governments operate and interact.

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A degree in political science could help put you in place to be hired by the federal government as a political scientist, which has an average annual salary of $125,350 (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Types of Accelerated Political Science Degree Programs

Accelerated political science degree programs can provide a variety of different degrees and concentrations, including:

  • Bachelor of Applied Science in International Security and Intelligence Studies—Comparative Politics
  • Bachelor of Arts in General Studies—Political Science
  • 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 of these degrees can help prepare you for a career in political science, but each one has a different focus. You can look into the curriculum at each university to determine if the program 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 can give you the opportunity to study how a state is governed and look closely at how different government institutions function. Political science programs often cover historical and cultural influences on government, how political processes came about, and how politics, the economy, and society are connected.

Your program will likely include courses similar to the following:

  • 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 and Revolutions
  • Political Theory
  • Public Administration
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Quantitative Methods
  • West European Politics
  • World Politics

Besides theory, you may learn how to interpret analytical reports, which can help you gain 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 to become a politician, a political science degree can help prepare you for that, but there are many other careers that you can pursue with a political science degree as well. You could pursue a career in government, business, law, journalism, or even teaching.

Some careers that graduates with political science degrees pursue are:

  • Career Politician
  • Lobbyist
  • Political Campaign Manager
  • Political Consultant
  • International Business Specialist
  • Market Researcher
  • Public Relations Specialist
  • Legal Analyst
  • Legal Assistant
  • Paralegal
  • Investigative Journalist
  • Political Commentator
  • Political Editor
  • Elementary School Social Studies
  • High School History and Government Classes
  • University-Level Researcher or Professor (will usually require a PhD in Political Science)

While some of these careers may require further education and experience, the training you’ll receive in a political science degree program can help you succeed in these career fields.

Because of the variety of jobs that can be pursued, salary possibilities are also quite varied.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some of the average salaries for those with political science degrees are:

Career Annual Median Salary
Lawyers $126,930
Political Scientists $125,350
Political Consultants $87,910
Postsecondary Teachers $80,790
Market Research Analysts $65,810
Political Editors $63,400
Public Relations Specialists $62,810
Legal Assistants $52,920
Investigative Journalists $49,300

Because politics touches nearly every area of life, a degree in political science can help 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

Taking online accelerated classes can give you a few key benefits:

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

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

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How to Accelerate Your Political Science Degree Even More

If you really want to finish your degree quickly, here are a few ways to go about it.

Test Out of College Classes

Many colleges will give you up to 30 credits toward your degree if you can pass exams demonstrating your knowledge of the subjects. Through a program like the College Level Examination Program, you can register online for an exam, grab the study guide, and then take the exam at an exam center.

For most of these exams, you’ll be asked to complete around 100 questions (often multiple choice) in about 90 minutes. If you get 50% of those questions right, you’ll earn the credits (usually 3 credits) for the class.

That’s 90 minutes for 3 credits instead of taking the class.

Submit a Prior Learning Portfolio

Many online universities and colleges have programs set up that will award you up to 15 credits for qualifying job training, military experience, credentials, and experiences.

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. Taking a full course load of 18 credits for fall, spring, and summer semesters can make it possible to earn 54 credits in just 12 months.

It’s not uncommon for students to graduate from traditionally 4 year programs in just 18-24 months using these strategies.

You might get a bonus jump on your degree if you have qualifying credits from a previous time in college that you can transfer in. You would need to make sure that 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 might cost you $1,000 or more. Considering that you may need 40 classes to finish your degree, you are potentially looking at a pretty hefty bill.

Tuition is typically the most expensive part of a degree program. One way to make your tuition cheaper is to take fewer classes while still earning credit.

An exam through the College Level Examination Program usually only costs $89, plus service fees, which is much less than the average cost of a college course. If you receive 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 may apply for various forms of financial aid. Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can allow you to see what you qualify for in grants and loans.

You can also check the following for other possible forms of financial aid:

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

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

Political Science Degree Accreditation

logos of the six regional accreditors

It is important to make sure that the school you choose is regionally 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.

You can check the websites of the schools you are interested in to see if they have accreditation from one of the following regional accreditors:

You can also search for your school’s accreditation status 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.

For specific political science programmatic accreditation, you can look for your program to have accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration.

Can You Get a Political Science Degree Online?

Yes, a political science degree can be earned online. With the convenience and flexibility of online programs, many schools are offering this option. You can 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) typically 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 might serve you well. Otherwise, a BA could be just as valuable.

What Can I Do with a Degree in Political Science?

What you can do with a political science degree depends on your interests and the degree and concentration you choose. You could pursue a variety of opportunities in fields such as politics, law, business, journalism, and education.

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You might become a politician or political analyst, a campaign manager or political advisor, a journalist, an international business person, or a teacher. Average salaries range from $49,000 to $126,000 (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Can You Become a Paralegal with a Political Science Degree?

Yes, you may pursue a career as a paralegal with a political science degree.

Becoming a paralegal does not require a specific degree, though some areas of study will likely be more attractive to employers. Having a political science degree could help make you an attractive candidate for a law practice with a specialty in politics and other related topics.

List of Schools Offering Political Science Degree Programs Online

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

American Public University

American Public University campus

At American Public University, online courses start monthly and are 8 or 16 weeks long. American Public University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science that requires 120 credit hours. Students can choose concentrations in Political Theory, American Government, and International Relations. Each concentration requires 15 credit hours of coursework in that area.

APUS is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Arizona State University

Arizona State University campus

Online classes at Arizona State University last just 7.5 weeks. Students have the opportunity to earn credits toward their master’s degree while completing their Bachelor’s in Political Science. Completing the bachelor’s degree requires 120 credit hours, which is 40 classes. Coursework includes Political Ideologies, Empirical Political Inquiry, and Political Statistics.

ASU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Central Michigan University

Central Michigan University campus

The online BS in Political Science program from Central Michigan University requires 120 credit hours. It provides opportunities to study international relations, comparative politics, political theory, American political institutions and processes, public administration, and public policy. It is designed to prepare students for careers in government, law, education, journalism, or international business.

CMU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Columbia College

Columbia College campus

Columbia College offers a major in public administration. This is an interdisciplinary program that covers political science, economics, management, psychology, sociology, and human services. The degree is intended to help prepare students for careers in public administrative offices, nonprofit organizations, or similar places.

Columbia College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Florida International University

Florida International University campus

Florida International University’s political science degree program is fully online. It is 120 credit hours and can be started in fall, spring, or summer. Students can tailor the program to acquire general or specialized knowledge and can get one-on-one guidance from personal success coaches.

Florida International University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Eastern Kentucky University

Eastern Kentucky University campus

Eastern Kentucky University’s BA in Political Science program is 100% online. Courses are offered in accelerated 8 week terms and start six times per year. They are taught by the same instructors who teach on campus. The program is intended to help students learn how to apply political theory to solve real-world problems.

EKU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Fort Hays State University

Fort Hays State University campus

Fort Hays State University has an online program in political science. Students in the program can select a concentration in Pre-Law or Public Administration. The program includes internships and other hands-on learning opportunities to help students learn how to apply their studies to real-world situations.

FHSU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Indiana University – Bloomington

Indiana University Bloomington campus

Indiana University—Bloomington does not offer an online degree in political science. Its Department of Public Affairs and Administration does offer bachelor’s degrees in two related fields, though, Criminal Justice and Sustainability Studies. Both degrees are available 100% online and are 120 credit hours long.

Indiana University – Bloomington is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Indiana University – East

Indiana Unviersity East campus

Indiana University—East offers an online Bachelor of Science in Political Science program. This program provides opportunities to study government, public policies, political processes, systems, and political behavior. The degree is 120 credit hours and is often chosen by those wanting to pursue careers in law, business, or international organizations.

IU East is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Kennesaw State University

Kennesaw State University campus

A Bachelor of Science in Political Science can be earned online through Kennesaw State University. The program is designed to teach students how to examine government processes using empirical and normative research methodologies. It is intended to be good preparation for law school or careers in business, journalism, or international affairs.

Kennesaw State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Liberty University

Liberty University campus

Liberty University offers 100% online, 8 week courses, and students can log in on their own schedules. The degree program in political science is Christ-centered and emphasizes leadership. There are eight different start dates per year, and the degree can usually be earned in less than four years.

Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

National University

National University campus

National University does not offer a political science degree specifically, but it does offer a variety of degrees in the social sciences and related disciplines. Classes are just four weeks long and start monthly. They can be taken on weekends, in the evening, or 100% online.

National University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Oregon State University

Oregon State University campus

A B.A. or B.S. in Political Science can be earned through Oregon State University’s ECampus. Both programs are 180 credit hours, and delivery is fully online. There are four start dates per year. The programs cover topics such as international terrorism, campaign finance, government involvement in health care, and censorship.

Oregon State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Pennsylvania State University

Pennsylvania State University campus

Penn State’s online degree program in political science is designed to be flexible and convenient. It is 123 credit hours long. Its goal is to develop students’ abilities to understand and analyze political theory, domestic politics, and the politics of other nations. There is an emphasis on research-based writing projects.

The Pennsylvania State University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Rutgers University

Rutgers University campus

Rutgers University has a degree in political science available online. Before applying to this program, potential students are expected to have achieved junior status or earned an associate degree. They are also expected to have completed Introduction to Political Science. Online degrees at Rutgers are designed with the intent to provide the same quality education that can be received on campus.

Rutgers is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Southeast Missouri State University

Southeast Missouri State University campus

Southeast Missouri State University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Social Science that is flexible and 100% online. Courses can be completed in 4, 8, or 16 week sessions. They are available year-round to help students complete their degrees faster. Students can customize the program by choosing an area of interest.

Southeast Missouri State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Texas Tech University

Texas Tech University campus

Texas Tech University’s online Bachelor of Arts in Political Science is a 120 credit hour program that includes opportunities to specialize. Online courses at Texas Tech are taught by the same faculty as on-campus courses. Online students are charged a similar tuition rate as in-state students.

Texas Tech University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Troy University

Troy University campus

Troy University offers a 100% online B.S. in Political Science program. Courses are available in 9 week terms. There are five start dates each year. Coursework can be completed at anytime from anywhere with an internet connection. Students pursuing this degree can choose a concentration in American Politics and Public Administration or International Politics.

Troy University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Central Florida

University of Central Florida campus

The University of Central Florida offers a 120 credit hour BA in Political Science that can be earned completely online. The program emphasizes critical reasoning and analytical thinking skills. The coursework covers such topics as government, politics, international relations, and political theory. A limited number of internships are also available.

The University of Central Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Illinois – Springfield

University of Illinois Springfield campus

The University of Illinois—Springfield has a Bachelor’s in Political Science program that is 100% online for students who reside more than 50 miles outside of Springfield. Requirements for the online program are the same as for the on-campus program. Most online students have the opportunity to complete internships in the areas where they reside.

The University of Illinois Springfield is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Iowa

University of Iowa campus

The University of Iowa offers an online B.A. in Political Science program. Courses are taught by on-campus faculty, and students can meet with their instructors and academic advisors via web meetings. Flexible and self-paced course options are available. Some students may need to complete proctored exams as part of the program.

The University of Iowa is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth

University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth campus

UMass Darmouth’s Bachelor of Arts in Political Science program is available fully online and offers a Pre-Law concentration. It is 120 credit hours long and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education. UMass Dartmouth’s online degree programs have won numerous awards.

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education.

University of Massachusetts – Lowell

University of Massachusetts Lowell campus

The University of Massachusetts—Lowell offers a Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Political Science. The degree can be earned completely online or as a mix of online and on-campus courses. The degree can often be completed in as little as 12 to 36 months.

The University of Massachusetts Lowell is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

University of Memphis

University of Memphis campus

A B.A. in Political Science from the University of Memphis can be earned 100% online. The program is 120 credit hours long, and a summer semester is available. Some coursework can be completed on campus, and students may apply to transfer credits from previous college experience.

The University of Memphis is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

University of Missouri – Saint Louis

University of Missouri – Saint Louis campus

The University of Missouri—Saint Louis offers a B.A. in Political Science that can be earned online, on-campus, or a combination of both. The program has numerous areas of concentration to choose from. Options include American Politics, International and Comparative Politics and Policy, Urban Politics, Public Law, Public Policy and Administration, and Gender and Politics.

The University of Missouri-St. Louis is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of North Alabama

University of North Alabama campus

The University of North Alabama offers a B.A. and a B.S. in Political Science. Both of these degree programs can be done online and can typically be completed in 4 years.

The online programs allow for flexible scheduling to meet the needs of non-traditional students. Coursework for both covers United States government and politics, public policy and administration, political science scope and research, and comparative politics.

The University of North Alabama is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

University of Texas – Permian Basin

University of Texas Permian Basin campus

The University of Texas—Permian Basin offers an online B.A. in Political Science. Summer sessions that are 7 or 14 weeks long are available. The program is designed to prepare students for law school or careers in fields such as policy analysis or public relations.

The University of Texas Permian Basin is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

University of West Georgia

University of West Georgia campus

A B.A. in Political Science is available through the University of West Georgia’s online program. The degree requires 124 semester hours and is accredited by SACSCOC. Students are required to study a foreign language and to select a minor.

UWG is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Wisconsin – La Crosse

University of Wisconsin La Crosse campus

The University of Wisconsin La Crosse offers a B.S. in Political Science online program. It is designed to teach students how to use qualitative and quantitative research to study political structures. The program has four specializations to choose from: American Government and Politics, International Relations, Comparative Politics, and Political Theory.

The University of Wisconsin – La Crosse is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Wisconsin – Whitewater

University of Wisconsin Whitewater campus

The University of Wisconsin—Whitewater offers a major in Political Science in which students can get an emphasis in Legal Studies.

The degree program covers American politics, law and courts, public policy and administration, and comparative government and politics. Other topics of study are international relations, political theory, and political science research methodology.

UW-Whitewater is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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Joy Cromwelle
WRITTEN BY
Joy Cromwelle
Joy is pursuing her Ph.D. in Public Policy & Foreign Policy and holds a Master of Business Administration in Strategic Management, as well as a Bachelor's in Business Administration. Joy's focus is helping non-traditional students find accelerated degree options and credit for prior learning opportunities.