30 Best Accelerated Political Science Degree Online Programs [2021 Guide]

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. Compare 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 might put you in place to be hired by the federal government as a political scientist with a yearly paycheck of $114, 290 (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

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 can help 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 may give 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 may 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 can help prepare you for that. But there are many other careers that you may 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 may 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.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some careers in the political science field include:

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

Because politics touches 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

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 may 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 are a few ways to go about 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 may 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 might get a bonus jump on your degree if you have transfer credits from a previous time in college. You would need to make sure, though, 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. Consider that you may 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.

One 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 $89. And 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. 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:

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 might serve you well. Otherwise, a BA is just as valuable.

What Can I Do with a Degree in Political Science?

What you can do with a political science degree can consist of multiple opportunities in fields such as politics, law, business, journalism, and education.

You may 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 (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 be more attractive to employers. Having a political science degree might make you an attractive candidate depending on the law practice’s specialty.

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

APUS is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Arizona State University

Arizona State University campus

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

Central Michigan University

Central Michigan University campus

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

Columbia College

Columbia College campus

Columbia College has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Florida International University

Florida International University campus

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

Eastern Kentucky University

Eastern Kentucky University campus

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

Fort Hays State University

Fort Hays State University campus

FHSU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Indiana University – Bloomington

Indiana University Bloomington campus

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

Indiana University – East

Indiana Unviersity East campus

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

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

Liberty University

Liberty University campus

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

National University

National University campus

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

Oregon State University

Oregon State University campus

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

Pennsylvania State University

Pennsylvania State University campus

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

Rutgers University

Rutgers University 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 is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Texas Tech University

Texas Tech University campus

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

Troy University

Troy University campus

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

University of Illinois – Springfield

University of Illinois Springfield campus

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

University of Iowa

University of Iowa campus

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

University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth

University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth campus

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 is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

University of Memphis

University of Memphis campus

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-St. Louis is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of North Alabama

University of North Alabama campus

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

University of West Georgia

University of West Georgia campus

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 is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Wisconsin – Whitewater

University of Wisconsin Whitewater campus

UW-Whitewater is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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.