30 Best Online Political Science Degree Programs [2020 Guide]

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

Online Political Science Degree

Political science is a field not only for politicians but analysts and commentators. Earning a poli sci degree could set you up to earn between $48,000 and $107,000 per year.

Types of Online Political Science Degrees

Political science is an excellent career path for students who want to take positions in private organizations and businesses or public service and administration.

Below are some of the course concentrations that you can choose from if you decide to pursue your career in political science. Click on the one that interests you to jump to that part of the page.

While there will be some overlap between them, each of these concentrations prepares you for a different career path.

American Politics

politician and his assistant being interviewed by media

If you want to pursue a career in domestic government and various political services, then taking up concentration in American politics provides you with the knowledge you need.

This concentration helps you gain a deeper foundation in parties and elections, political behavior, and American institutions. It also provides you with the basic understanding and overview of political foundations, basic economic policy, and general knowledge in statistics for social sciences.


A concentration in American politics exposes you to different fields of politics and help you gain practical experience in government, interest groups, and campaigns.

International Politics

group of politicians attending an international event

Are you interested in understanding the correlation between international politics, economics, and laws? Taking up a concentration in international politics can provide you with in-depth knowledge in this field.

Most of the coursework revolves around analyzing foreign policies of different countries and states.


This course teaches and develops the skills you need for the modern corporate and working world, such as creativity, communication, critical thinking, problem-solving, and self-development.

International politics can provide you with a head start in decision making for global organizations. You’ll spend the majority of your time taking up this course overseas, allowing you to build a vast network for better work opportunities in the future.

Political Theory

politicians discussing their reports with each other in a conference room

If you have a keen interest in analyzing the methodological and complex normative issues of contemporary politics, then taking up concentration in political theory is an excellent choice.

Most of the topics in this course encourage you to participate in critical reflection on social science methods, institutional arrangements, and political practices.


A concentration in political theory also provides you with a solid foundation in political and social thought, analytical rigor, and policy relevance.

This concentration focuses on developing future leaders by teaching them critical skills that can help them develop public policies despite moral and religious disagreement. It also covers theoretical and practical methods on how to improve the bond between political and economic institutions.

Public Administration

public administrator getting ready to present her report during a meeting

Students who want to learn practical skills that can help them develop government policies, public services, and programs can take a concentration in public administration.

It is a professional and academic discipline that prepares students for future public service. The coursework uses the framework in public administration that civil servants and government leaders use to create policies for different institutions and nonprofit organizations.


In addition to formulating public policies, students also learn how to invest resources correctly to implement these policies.

The coursework also covers general knowledge in administering complex budgets, coordinating human resources, and critical thinking to maximize the performance and implementation of different public systems.

Courses for an Online Political Science Degree

Courses for an Online Political Science Degree

Online political science programs cover several topics that can prepare students in social, domestic, and international politics and economics. Below are some of the courses that you’ll encounter if you decide to pursue a degree in political science:

  • The American Political System is a course that introduces the history of the American political system and how it differs from its functions today. It covers a wide range of topics, including the institutional foundations of US politics.
  • The Constitutional Law provides students with an outlook on the history of constitutional law in the United States. It also discusses where it stands today in comparison with the intentions of the founding fathers, and the changes that it went through.
  • Political Protest examines the role of protests in shaping American and global politics. It covers different topics, including protest strategies and responses from the public, media, and the government. All of which are necessary skills when applying for positions in advocacy and nonprofit groups.
  • The Legal Process in America develops in-depth knowledge with American law, criminal justice, and various policies that make up the legal process in the United States.
  • Comparative Politics uses comparative or other empirical methods that are necessary to explore the politics within countries. This course includes discussions that address different questions relating to political institutions, political conflict, political behavior, and consequences of economic development.

What Can I Do with a Bachelors in Political Science?

Earning a bachelor’s degree in political science opens different opportunities in the public and private sectors. It may be in the form of handling legal transactions for a business or overseeing the company’s operations.

Bachelors in Political Science Careers

Armed with a political science degree, your career options are plentiful. Your potential salary range depends on the career path you choose.

Career Average Annual Salary
Corporate Counsel $106,520
Executive Director $86,728
Attorney / Lawyer $83,514
Management Consultant $83,149
Associate Attorney $72,782
Marketing Manager $66,920
Operations Manager $63,829
Account Manager $54,130
Program Manager $53,296
Executive Assistant $52,973
Research Analyst $49,392
Paralegal $48,276

Keep in mind that your experience and location also play a part in determining your salary.

Professional Organizations for Those with a Political Science Degree

logos of Professional Organizations for Those with a Political Science Degree

Once you have earned your political science degree, you can join different organizations that aim to improve the standards and ethics of poli sci. Here are some of the organizations that you can look into:

  • The American Political Science Association or APSA is an association for political science students and scholars. APSA publishes the American Political Science Review, Journal of Political Science Education, Perspectives on Politics, and PS: Political Science & Politics. The organization is also responsible for the Centennial Center for Political Science and Public Affairs — a program that offers fellowships, research space, conference, and grants for scholars.
  • The International Association for Political Science Students or IAPSS is a nonprofit student organization that works globally for political science students in almost 100 countries. IAPSS has members from undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate students. It operates from its regional branches in Africa, Asia, Canada, Europe, Latin America, Oceania, and the USA.
  • The International Political Science Association or IPSA is an international scholarly association devoted to the development and advancement of political science all over the world. IPSA has consultative status with the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Council (UNESCO) and the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC).
  • The Southern Political Science Association or SPSA is an association that organizes a conference for political science students and scholars every January at different locations in the South. The SPSA publishes the peer-reviewed academic journal — The Journal of Politics.

Accreditation for a Political Science Degree Online

logos of six regional accreditors

Accreditation is an integral factor that you need to consider if you want to earn a degree in political science. An accredited online program means that an accrediting organization verifies the academic merit of the program.

Universities that offer degrees in political science can receive regional or national accreditation. Some schools that have regional accreditation do not accept transfer credits from nationally accredited schools.

There’s also an institutional accreditation awarded by organizations like the American Political Science Association. This type of certification also ensures that you’re receiving industry-standard practices and ethics that are specific to the programs you take.

Financial Aid for a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science

screenshot of FAFSA website

Political science is a phenomenally, useful college education. It covers a wide range of topics that may be useful in corporations and nonprofit organizations, but it comes at a cost.

However, financial difficulties should not stop you from pursuing your goals, especially now that there are several political science scholarships and aids that students can take.

Before you start looking for financial aid and scholarship programs, it would be wise to start with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You may be eligible for grants, loans, or work-study programs that can ease up the financial burden of taking political science.

Applying for different scholarships is a wise move because these assistance programs can help reduce your need for student loans. These financial aids are often overlooked but are some of the best ways to fund your education.

Colleges, organizations, associations, clubs, and groups related to political science may also offer financial assistance or work-study programs. It’ll be easier to apply for these programs because these organizations operate in your specific field of study.

Questions Related to Earning a Poli Sci Degree Online

Here are our answers to a few more questions you might have.

Can I Get a Political Science Degree Online?

political science student studying on her computer

Yes, you can get a Political Science degree online. Most of these programs provide you with a foundation in policy development, lobbying, education, and journalism.

They adapt to the rapidly evolving political climate in the United States, ensuring that students always receive current and valid knowledge in this career path.

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

Both degrees have merit and are advantageous for different career goals. A BS in Political Science, for example, is more focused on courses in math and science, while a BA in Political Science offers more courses in foreign languages.

A BS creates professionals in data analysis, while a BA is advantageous for students who want to pursue international political careers.

What Is the Best College for a Political Science Major?

Whether you are planning to earn a BA or BS in Political Science, you have to make sure that you’re enrolling in a highly customizable program. It allows you to choose the courses and academic paths that suit your career goals.

You also need to consider the most crucial factors that make up the best college, such as degree completion, student body caliber, educational resources, and the school’s post-graduation earnings.

What Are the Cheapest Online Political Science Degree Programs?

Online programs are usually cheaper than on-campus political science programs, but you can further reduce the cost by checking the school’s in-state and out-of-state rates.

Universities Offering Online Political Science Degrees

Rankings Methodology

The following colleges and universities are regionally accredited and offer Political Science degrees online.

#1  American Military University

American Military University campus

American Military University offers a BA in Political Science that is a 120-credit-hour program. The program is delivered entirely online with an 8-week program format.

There are monthly course starting dates, so you don’t have to wait until the beginning of a traditional semester to get started. Military grants are available to those who qualify.

  • BA in Political Science

American Military University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#2  Arizona State University

Arizona State University campus

Arizona State University offers a BA in Political Science and a BS in Political Science. This 120-credit-hour course can be completed in 40 weeks and is offered entirely online. The program provides students the opportunity to study the policies of politics at a local national and a global level as well.

  • BA in Political Science
  • BS in Political Science

Arizona State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Committee.

#3  Brescia University

Brescia University campus

Brescia University offers a BA in Political Science that is delivered entirely online. The program is a 128-credit-hour program, including 57 credit hours of gen. Ed courses.

Students who complete this program learn about the functions of government, the principles of government, the American democratic experience, etc.

  • BA in Political Science

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

#4  Central Michigan University

Central Michigan University campus

CMU offers a BS in Political Science. It is a 120-credit-hour program offered by its fully online global campus. The program equips students with the knowledge they need to find employment in careers in international business, education, journalism, law, and of course, government.

Students will study politics, best practices, public and foreign policy, and more.

  • BS in Political Science

CMU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#5  Columbia College

Columbia College campus

Columbia College offers a BA in Political Science. The program imparts knowledge about the justice, equality, and democracy of government structures. Students learn about how the different levels and branches of government relate to each other.

They will learn about local, national, and international governments as well as how nations interact and how citizens participate in government.

  • BA in Political Science

Columbia College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#6  Eastern Kentucky University

Eastern Kentucky University campus

Eastern Kentucky University offers a Bachelor’s in Political Science that is provided entirely online. The program allows students a maximum of 90 transfer credits and is a 120-credit-hour program.

Graduates can find jobs at local and national government agencies, in public administration, education, homeland security, and much more.

  • Bachelor’s in Political Science

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

#7  Florida International University

Florida International University campus

Florida International University offers a BA in Political Science through the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs. The 120-credit-hour online program covers topics in political theory, public policy, American politics, and international affairs, to name a few.

The program starts in spring, summer, and fall semesters, and each successful applicant is assigned a success coach.

  • BA in Political Science

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

#8  Fort Hays State University

Fort Hays State University campus

Fort Hays State University offers an online BA in Political Science, a Master of Liberal Studies, a Master of Professional Studies,  and Certificates in Political Science. For the BA, students can choose from Pre-Law and Public Administration concentrations.

For the Master of Liberal Studies, students can choose from global studies, political leadership and public service, public administration, and political science concentrations.

For the Master of Professional Studies students, concentration is on political management. The certificates available are in pre-law and public administration.

  • BA in Political Science

FHSU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#9  Indiana University – Bloomington

Indiana University Bloomington campus

This university offers a BS in Political Science.

The 120-credit-hour program exposes students to courses in political analysis, judicial politics, political participation, contemporary revolutions, urban politics, public opinion, political philosophy and helps students to develop an understanding of politics and governments overall.

  • BS in Political Science

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

#10  Indiana University East

Indiana Unviersity East campus

Indiana University East offers a 120-credit-hour BS in Political Science program. The program is suited for persons who have already completed at least 60 hours of transferable college credit.

The degree prepares students for careers as a lawyer, judge, legislator, political scientist, court reporter, social activist, legal assistant, political scientist, government executive, and more.

  • BS in Political Science

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

#11  Kennesaw State University

Kennesaw State University campus

Kennesaw State University offers a BS in Political Science. This program provides students with the knowledge they need to pursue law school. It is also a prerequisite to graduate study in several liberal arts and social science areas of study.

After completing this degree, students can find jobs in teaching, the federal government, business, communications, and journalism.

  • BS in Political Science

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

#12  Liberty University

Liberty University campus

Liberty University provides students the opportunity to graduate with a BS in Political Science offered entirely online. It is a 120-credit-hour course giving applicants the ability to transfer up to 75% of applicable previous college credit.

The program is broken down into 8-week classes and takes on average three and a half years to complete.

  • BS in Political Science

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

#13  National University

National University campus

National University offers a BA in Political Science. The program is offered on campus as well as online and is broken down into 4-week courses.

The program aims to teach students the methods, concepts, and theories of political science. Students get the opportunity to apply what they learn to real-world situations.

  • BA in Political Science

National University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

#14  Oregon State University

Oregon State University campus

Oregon State University offers both a BA and a BS in Political Science. The program requirements are 180 credit hours, which are taken over four years. The program is delivered online and has start times for spring and summer semesters.

Graduates of this program can go on to study law or enter graduate school as well as can enter the career field of their choice.

  • BA in Political Science
  • BS in Political Science

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

#15  Pennsylvania State University

Pennsylvania State University campus

Pennsylvania State University offers both a BA and a BS in Political Science. The BA requires a total of 123 credit hours, while the BS requires 120 credit hours of study courses.

The BA emphasizes research writing while the BS emphasizes course work in statistics, computer science, mathematics, and analytic skills.

  • BA in Political Science
  • BS in Political Science

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

#16  Rutgers University

Rutgers University campus

Rutgers University offers a BA in Political Science that is offered wholly off-campus and online. This degree is best suited for those who already hold junior status or an Associate’s degree.

Students will be required to take and pass the course “Introduction to Political Science” before applying to this program.

  • BA in Political Science

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

#17  Texas Tech University

Texas Tech University campus

Texas Tech University offers an online BA in Political Science. The program is designed to provide students with a broad understanding and a solid foundation of the disciplines surrounding political science.

Students in this program learn the necessary skills to pursue careers in civil service, journalism, law, politics, and teaching.

  • BA in Political Science

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

#18  Troy University

Troy University campus

Troy University offers a BS in Political Science with an emphasis in American politics and public administration. They also offer a BS in Political Science with an emphasis in international politics.

Both programs require the completion of 120 credit hours with 9-week courses. Both programs are delivered 100% online.

  • BS in Political Science – American Politics and Public Administration
  • BS in Political Science – International Politics

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

#19  University of Central Florida

University of Central Florida campus

The University of Central Florida offers a BA in Political Science that is offered entirely online. It is one of the most affordable programs by cost per credit hour to in-state students.

This program prepares students for careers as educators, intelligence officers, congressional office staffers, foreign service officers, and more.

  • BA in Political Science

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

#20  University of Hawaii – West O’ahu

University of Hawaii - West Oahu campus

The University of Hawaii – West Oahu offers a BA in Social Sciences with an emphasis in political science. The program is set apart from other programs as it draws from the social science disciplines of philosophy, psychology, and history.

The program outline goes beyond providing the student with an understanding of how things are to how and what they should be.

  • BA in Social Sciences – Political Science

UH West Oʻahu is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

#21  University of Illinois – Springfield

University of Illinois Springfield campus

The University of Illinois offers a BA in Political Science online and on campus. Students enrolled in the online program complete all of their requirements entirely online.

Students wishing to apply to this program must have a GPA of at least 3.0 and have obtained a minimum of 30 credit hours. Students for the online program must also reside a minimum of 50 miles outside of Springfield.

  • BA in Political Science

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

#22  University of Iowa

University of Iowa campus

The University of Iowa BA in Political Science as well as a BAS in Political Science. The BA provides students with the knowledge to find work in public policy, government administration, and campaign management, etc.

The BAS program offers students the opportunity to study an interdisciplinary curriculum that prepares them for careers in political science, justice studies, and human relations.

  • BA in Political Science
  • BAS in Political Science

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

#23  University of Maine

University of Maine campus

The University of Maine offers a BA in Political Science. The program is offered online and on-campus and allows students the opportunity to transfer up to 90 credits. There are options for concentrations from which students must choose two.

Students can apply anytime and can take advantage of several options for financial aid.

  • BA in Political Science

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

#24  University of Massachusetts – Lowell

University of Massachusetts Lowell campus

A liberal arts degree with a concentration in political science from UMass – Lowell offers students the ability to be conversant in a wide range of topics. Possible classes include not only American and International politics but sports politics, Internet politics, the politics of film, and the politics of food.

  • Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts – Political Science

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

#25  University of Memphis

University of Memphis campus

The University of Memphis offers a BA in Political Science. The degree allows students the option to take courses entirely online or to combine both online and on-campus learning. The online program provides a facility for other students to obtain a minor in political science.

It also allows those who need to complete elective course requirements in political science the opportunity to do so.

  • BA in Political Science

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

#26  University of Missouri – Saint Louis

University of Missouri – Saint Louis campus

The University of Missouri – Saint Louis offers a BA in Political Science. The program imparts knowledge to students on the fundamentals of inquiry that is science-based.

It also educations students on the evidence marshaling and the postulation of cause and effect relationships. It prepares students for careers in government, law, and business, among other sectors.

  • BA in Political Science

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

#27  University of North Alabama

University of North Alabama campus

The University of North Alabama offers a BA in Political Science. This program was designed to prepare students for further study in law, politics, and government.

It also prepares students for careers in private planning agencies, the federal government, state government, local government, and policy, to name a few.

  • BA in Political Science
  • BS in Political Science

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

#28  University of Texas – Permian Basin

University of Texas Permian Basin campus

The University of Texas – Permian Basin offers an online BA in Political Science. It is a 120-credit-hour program with the ability to transfer up to 90 applicable previous college credit.

The degree provides students with the means to work in data-driven analysis, education, politics and lobbyism, public service, and much more.

  • BA in Political Science

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

#29  University of West Georgia

University of West Georgia campus

The University of West Georgia offers a BS in Political Science. The degree is set up to allow students to emphasize n state and local government, public or nonprofit organizations, foreign service, or international organizations.

Students pursuing other degrees can opt to minor in political science by taking 15 credit hours of upper-level courses from this program.

  • BS in Political Science

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

#30  University of Wisconsin – La Crosse

University of Wisconsin La Crosse campus

The University of Wisconsin in La Crosse offers an online BS in Political Science. All major courses are offered online. Students enrolling in the program study government policies and institutions and how the different participants of the political world behave.

Students can specialize in comparative politics, political theory, American government, or international relations.

  • BS in Political Science

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

Is a Political Science Degree Worth It?

politician being interviewed by media

Yes, a political science degree is worth the hard work. After graduation, you could be making between $50,000 and $100,000 per year.

Political science is an excellent degree for students because it provides a lot of room for growth and future career advancements.

There are also a lot of work opportunities available to students, including some of the most high-paying jobs in private businesses, nonprofit organizations, public administration, and data analysis.

You can check different university programs to see which of them can provide you with the foundation that you need for this career path. Some universities even offer online programs with minimal on-campus obligations without compromising the quality of education.

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Isaac Collins
Isaac Collins
Author
Joy Mays
Joy Mays
Director