Best Masters in Political Science Degrees

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If you are interested in pursuing a lucrative career that will allow you to study the many ways in which politics influence communities, economies, and trends, you should consider a masters in political science.

With a degree in political science, you will have the skills and experience necessary to analyze current events and politics from not only our own country and your local community but also on a global scale. You will be able to design research projects and measure the trends and larger impacts of public policy. 

You aren’t limited to a bland, one-size-fits-all career, either. With one of these degrees, you can also specialize in multiple areas, like foreign policy, environmental politics, and more. The sky’s the limit when you receive a dynamic masters in political science.

What kind of political science degree should you get? 

You’ll want to think about the many features of a masters program before you decide on the best program for your needs. It can be tough to narrow down the myriad master’s programs in political science to find the best one for you, but thinking about pivotal factors like affordability, location, and overall quality will help you make your final decision. 

No matter what kind of program you choose, earning a college degree can be demanding of your time and resources. It will require several years of commitment, so you want to make sure you choose the best possible program out there. Select a college that is fully accredited, which will ensure that your program meets the highest academic standards. 

Beyond that, you’ll also want to consider the format in which the program is offered. Can you take some classes online? How big are the class sizes? While a masters degree will help elevate your resume to the top of the stack, making it a smart career move, you also want to make sure your degree provides you with plenty of hands-on experiences, too. 

If you want to learn more about all of the programs that are out there, consider exploring an online degree program. You will want to take a look at our comprehensive ranking of the Best Online Colleges and Universities to give you a better picture.

How much money do people make with a degree in political science?

Because your specific job title will vary once you receive a degree in political science, your salary won’t be set in stone, either, with people in different careers enjoying different salaries. However, you can rest assured that, with a masters degree in political science, your average earnings will be much higher on average than they would if you only had a bachelor’s.

The average salary for political scientists was $117,570 in May, 2018. The highest earners – those working for the federal government – tend to earn salaries in excess of $126,000! Even those who earn the lowest salaries, which are workers in educational services, still earn impressive paychecks averaging $70,430 each year.

While the average growth rate across this sector is only 3% by 2026, which is slightly slower than the national average, the likelihood of you finding a job in this field will depend upon the industry in which you want to work. For example, professionals who work directly as social scientists are in high demand, enjoying a rapid growth rate of 11% by 2026. 

What are the requirements for a degree in political science?

To apply for a masters degree in political science, it’s often required that you hold an initial bachelor’s degree in a related area. It doesn’t have to be in political science; a majority of programs accept students who have majored in topics besides political science, as long as applicants have some form of foundational knowledge in the discipline. 

Some – but not all – programs will also require or prefer some professional experience. In many cases, this can give you a jump start on your degree, as some universities offer course credit for prior life experience. If you have experience in politics, government, or even campaigning, be sure to mention it when you apply. 

While you are enrolled in your program of study, you will take classes that allow you to explore the relationship between the government and other societies, looking at how government influences (and is influenced by) a community. You may take courses in areas like research methods and statistics or even pursue unique electives like Global Politics based on your interest. You may complete a capstone, thesis, or comprehensive examination before graduating. Most students can complete a degree in two years or less. 

What are the best degrees in political science?

Ready to fill out some college applications but not sure where to start? You’ve come to the right place. Here at College Choice, we believe in giving you the most accurate, most helpful information to help you find the college of your dreams. 

The best degree in political science will vary depending on your unique skills, preferences, and career goals. Therefore, we aim to provide you with a large variety of programs to help make the decision-making process a little easier. 

When you begin working as a political scientist, you want to be armed with some impressive skills in research, communication, and policy analysis – these are skills you can’t get in any way except by engaging in hands-on experience and some rigorous coursework.

The best political science degrees that we’ve rounded up do just that, providing you with access to the skills you need for a successful career through courses taught by talented faculty, impressive support services, and generous financial aid. The schools on our list aren’t just good – they’re some of the best you will find. 

Want to learn more about how we weed out the best schools for you to choose from? Take a look at our methodology page, which will give you a clearer idea of how we find the best schools for you. 

What are you waiting for? Grab a pen to mark down your favorites and get to reading – these are the best masters in political science you’re going to find.

1

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

College Choice Score: 100

Average Net Price: $22,230

School Website

Overview

Massachusetts Institute of Technology is located in Cambridge, MA, and is one of the country’s premier private institutions of higher education. Founded in 1861, this school has a total population of 4,547 undergraduate students. The university specializes in scientific and technological research and is divided into five schools. The Master’s of Science in Political Science at MIT prepares learners to discover and utilize essential understandings about how 21st-century governments and societies work. 

Program Features

This degree is a one-year program, allowing students to build proficiency in applied research so that they can move on quickly to successful careers. The school also houses a rigorous PhD in Political Science, which is geared toward learners who want to pursue teaching careers at the college level. Students will complete 66 units of study, with intensive preparation in a single field of study chosen by the student. Concentration options include:

  • American Politics
  • Comparative Politics
  • International Relations
  • Models and Methods
  • Political Economy
  • Security Studies

Notables

This program is unique in that it allows learners to finish their studies in just three semesters of study, usually broken down into fall, spring, and summer semesters. Summer tuition is subsidized by MIT to make attendance a bit more affordable. This university has multiple other top-ranking programs in political science as well, including a bachelor’s, a minor, a minor in Public Policy, a minor in Applied International Studies, and a five-year program in political science.

2

Stanford University

College Choice Score: 98.87

Average Net Price: $16,562

School Website

Overview

Stanford University is a well-respected private university located in Stanford, CA. With a total undergraduate enrollment of 7,062 students, this suburban university offers undergraduate and graduate degrees split up among seven different schools and myriad departments. Offered within the Department of Political Science at Stanford, the Master’s of Arts in Political Science requires learners to incorporate a variety of quantitative and qualitative research methods to increase their analytics skills. It prepares students for a variety of contemporary careers.

Program Features

The Master’s of Arts in Political Science at Stanford is designed to be pursued in combination with another doctoral degree from another department, allowing for an interdisciplinary program that will prepare learners for career success. For students seeking a stand-alone degree, the university also offers a Master’s in International Policy Studies. Otherwise, the political science program requires 45 units of study, with core courses taken in topics such as:

  • International Relations
  • American Politics
  • Political Theory
  • Comparative Politics
  • Political Methodology 

Notables

This school is located just 30 miles from San Francisco and has an idyllic location in the heart of California’s Bay Area. This location makes the university not only a hub for intellectual development and discovery, providing students with unique research and career opportunities, but it also gives students access to some pretty spectacular off-campus learning opportunities. The school is home to a wide range of student organizations and support services, which is part of the reason why it was ranked as a top National University by U.S. News & World Report.

3

University of Florida

College Choice Score: 95.81

Average Net Price: $15,283

School Website

Overview

Located in scenic Gainesville, FL, the University of Florida is one of Florida’s largest public universities. Home to over 35,000 undergraduate learners, the school has a vibrant population of graduate students, too.  The University of Florida offers several Master’s of Arts programs in political science within the prestigious Department of Political Science. The stand-alone Master’s of Arts in Political Science is a top choice. 

Program Features

Depending on the specific program of study chosen – and whether learners plan to include further studies leading to an additional certificate – candidates may be able to choose between a thesis, capstone, or final examination requirement. Many plans of study not only include the option for internships but also require them, usually completed in the summer between academic years. While enrolled, students will complete a range of intensive courses, including studies in topics such as:

  • Conduct of Inquiry
  • Political Data Analysis
  • Political Behavior
  • American Government and Politics
  • Comparative Politics

Notables

In addition to the Master’s of Arts in Political Science, the University of Florida also offers companion certificate programs in topics such as Political Campaigning and Public Affairs. A separate Master’s of Arts in International Relations is also popular for graduate candidates seeking a more globally-focused experience. The department also provides pathways for joint BA/MA and Juris Doctorate/Master’s of Arts completion, making it easier for students to progress toward rewarding careers without having to reapply or take unnecessary classes. 

4

Columbia University

College Choice Score: 94.90

Average Net Price: $22,824

School Website

Overview

Columbia University is located in New York, giving potential political science students access to the hands-on learning experience of a lifetime. A truly urban school, Columbia is home to three undergraduate schools as well as multiple graduate and professional schools.  The Master’s of Arts in Political Science at Columbia prepares students with the advanced training in political science research methods that they need to become disciplined in areas like formal modeling and quantitative methods. 

Program Features

Although this degree is heavily influenced by research skills development, it also allows students to develop their own studies around a certain area of interest or subfield. After completing a major proseminar, learners can customize their degrees to the fullest, choosing from a range of classes that suit their interests. This one-year, full-time program allows students to choose from potential concentrations in topics such as:

  • American Politics
  • International Relations
  • Comparative Politics
  • Political Theory 

Notables

Learners who choose Columbia for their masters in political science benefit from a strong emphasis on political science research and analysis. Graduate students can take PhD-level classes and get involved in the stimulating intellectual environment of the department. Candidates can take part in co-curricular workshops, research proseminars, and more. When applying, each student is admitted to a small cohort of only 20 students – this is the maximum number of students that Columbia will admit to the program each year. Therefore, all students receive individualized advising and one-on-one mentoring from department faculty.

5

University of Georgia

College Choice Score: 94.68

Average Net Price: $15,934

School Website

Overview

The University of Georgia is located in Athens, GA and was founded in 1785. This school is large, with a total undergraduate enrollment of nearly 30,000 students, and was the first public college in America. Today, the school is home to dozens of academic programs as well as a whopping 600 different student clubs and organizations. The Master’s of Arts in Political Science and International Affairs is offered jointly between the Department of Political Science and the Department of International Affairs at the University of Georgia. 

Program Features

This program provides pathways for students who wish to develop the analytic skills they’ll need to become masters of the content. Learners can specialize in a discipline of choice, such as international relations, American politics, comparative politics, or political theory. Candidates also have a choice as to whether they would like to pursue a thesis pathway – which requires 30 credit hours of coursework – or a non-thesis option – which requires 33 hours of coursework. Regardless, all students will take classes such as:

  • American Government
  • Electoral Behavior
  • Applied Bayesian Modeling
  • Political Psychology
  • Introduction to Political Theory 

Notables

The faculty who teach in this program are second to none and are regarded as some of the most productive in the nation. Instructors have won numerous awards for teaching and research. The two departments are home to 40 tenured and tenure-track faculty members who specialize in the areas of concentration listed above. There are multiple scholarship and graduate assistantship opportunities available. These offer learners full-tuition waivers, stipends, and work experience as a teaching or research assistant.

6

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

College Choice Score: 92.55

Average Net Price: $11,100

School Website

Overview

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is just one of the multiple schools within the North Carolina state university system. This public university was founded in 1789 and has a large undergraduate enrollment of nearly 19,000 students – most of whom live on the 729-acre campus. Divided into multiple schools and colleges, UNC offers a dynamic degree in Political Science. This program prepares professional political scientists to perform political and administrative duties as well as those in research and education. 

Program Features

Within the political science department, the university offers additional focuses in Latin American studies. The curriculum of this graduate degree exposes students to the problems, literature, and skills necessary for all academic components of political science. Students are required to defend their thesis, both orally and in writing,before graduation. Students will take a range of hands-on and theoretical courses with major consideration being given to the following topics:

  • Race, Immigration, and Urban Politics
  • Executive Politics
  • Political Economy I: The Domestic System
  • State Governments: Laboratories of Democracy
  • Mock Constitutional Convention

Notables

This program serves as an excellent gateway for interdisciplinary communication in and with Latin America. The department provides funding for students to engage in interdisciplinary working groups, as well as research workshops, study abroad, and summer fellowships. The university offers students multiple ways to succeed, such as through an honors program, groundbreaking research and study abroad opportunities in over 70 countries, and more. As a result, UNC is ranked as a top National University by U.S. News & World Report.

7

University of Rochester

College Choice Score: 92.39

Average Net Price: $37,064

School Website

Overview

A private university founded in 1850, the University of Rochester is a suburban school in western New York. This school offers only 250 different student organizations and is ranked as one of the country’s top-tier research universities. Offering nearly 100 different graduate and undergraduate degree programs, this school receives top marks for its academic quality and student diversity. The Master’s In Political Science at the University of Rochester is designed to lead to doctoral studies in the PhD program in Political Science. 

Program Features

This degree takes a unique approach to the study of politics. Students learn how to develop formal theory as well as how to analyze quantitative evidence. Students repeatedly review the discipline’s leading journals to find out more about how the field was revolutionized. Because class sizes in this discipline are small, students are both productive and successful. Students may customize their degrees by choosing three of six different areas of specialty:

  • American Politics
  • Comparative Politics
  • International Relations
  • Political Philosophy
  • Methods
  • Formal Theory

Notables

University of Rochester alumni are found all over the globe, working in varied industries like law, business, and government. Students receive some of the best career advising and networking opportunities through the Gwen M. Greene Career and Internship Center. The professionals at this center help to connect students with internships, research opportunities, and jobs. The political science department at the University of Rochester is ranked No. 4 nationally with respect to graduate placement and citations of graduate research. 

8

Binghamton University

College Choice Score: 92.36

Average Net Price: $16,775

School Website

Overview

Binghamton University is located in Vestal, NY. A major university within the state university system of New York, this school is well-known for its retention rates and high-quality programs. With a 90% freshman retention rate, this school offers dozens of academic programs as well as plenty of things for students to do outside of the classroom. Binghamton offers both a PhD and an MA in Political Science. Both programs are highly interdisciplinary and allow students to collaborate with other departments, professionals, and students from all around the university. 

Program Features

This program has two potential tracks. One requires the production of a master’s thesis, while the other entails a comprehensive exam. Both prepare graduates by supplying them with the advanced training needed for journalism, policy analysis, and other professional careers. Graduates go on to work for a research institute, private industry, government, academia, and more. Through the program, students will study topics such as: 

  • International Relations and Foreign Policy
  • Human Rights
  • Political Parties
  • Campaigns and Campaign Finance
  • Religion and Politics 

Notables

The Political Science degree at Binghamton University ranks No. 19 in the entire world. It offers both Master’s of Arts and doctoral programs to a field of bright, successful graduate students. This program has limited enrollment to keep class sizes small. This ensures extensive collaboration and interaction among graduate students and faculty. As a result, graduate students frequently co-author articles and conference papers with faculty. The department also has a strong alumni network, which allows for the easy facilitation of internships and permanent job opportunities.

9

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

College Choice Score: 90.96

Average Net Price: $16,016

School Website

Overview

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey operates several campuses around the state. The Newark campus, however, offers an exceptional Master’s of Arts in Political Science through the Department of Political Science. This degree is designed for working professionals, with classes offered once a week in the evening hours. Rutgers, which was founded in 1908 and is located in New Jersey’s largest city, offers dozens of other academic programs as well as hundreds of different extracurricular activities to its large student body.

Program Features

This program requires 30 credit hours of study and prepares students with the writing and critical-thinking skills they will need to civically engage in a democratic society. It prepares students for careers or doctoral study in political science, public policy, administration, political science, criminal justice, and more. Students may choose from specializations in the American Political System or International Relations. Students will take classes such as: 

  • Global and International Politics
  • Urban Politics and Public Administration
  • Public Policy 
  • Comparative Politics
  • Research Methodology 

Notables

In addition to the concentration options listed above, students in this program have the opportunity to complete an additional concentration in Women and Gender Studies. This degree can also be completed concurrently as a Juris Doctor/Master’s of Arts in political science that allows up to 12 credits in law courses to be applied toward the credit requirement for the master’s degree. As a result of its quality and affordability, this school is ranked as a Best Value School by U.S. News & World Report

10

University of Wisconsin-Madison

College Choice Score: 90.52

Average Net Price: $15,910

School Website

Overview

The University of Wisconsin – Madison is located in Madison, WI and is just one of many schools within the state university system. This school was founded in 1848 and has a large undergraduate enrollment of just over 32,000 students. The Department of Political Science is a graduate program that leads to a doctor of philosophy in political science. This is a holistic program, admitting only students who intend to continue on to PhD studies. 

Program Features

This program is widely respected by both the national and international communities. With high-quality faculty and a diverse spectrum of approaches to teaching topics in political science, this program is led by instructors who teach in other disciplines, too. This degree offers a minimum of 30 credit hours, with no final formal examination required. In addition to being given access to numerous professional development resources, students are expected to engage in classes such as: 

  • Empirical Methods of Political Inquiry
  • Political Science as a Discipline and Profession
  • Independent Work 

Notables

The Department of Political Science shares faculty with the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, the Law School, and the Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs. Students also have access to such diverse centers and programs on-campus as the Center for Jewish Studies, the African Studies Program, and the International Studies major. This allows for intensive advancement of interdisciplinary approaches to student research. As a result, this school is ranked as one of the top National Universities by U.S. News & World Report.

11

University of California

College Choice Score: 89.95

Average Net Price: $12,404

School Website

Overview

A public university founded in 1954, the University of California – Riverside is just one school within the large California state university system. This school has grown rapidly in the last quarter of a century, with enrolment nearly tripling and surpassing 23,000 undergraduates to date. Over 100 different bachelor’s and 55 master’s degrees are available here. The Political Science MA at the University of California – Riverside is offered within the award-winning Department of Political Science. This program emphasizes the development of skills that candidates will need to conduct original research. 

Program Features

All courses in this program are offered jointly with the PhD program in Political Science, making it an ideal choice for students who will one day pursue doctoral studies. There are two plans that allow students to complete their studies – one requires 36 units of study and a comprehensive examination, while the other requires a thesis. Students will take courses in the following key content areas:

  • Comparative Politics
  • International Relations
  • American Politics 
  • Mass Political Behavior
  • Political Theory 

Notables

This program allows students to conduct vital, cutting-edge research alongside faculty and staff. The school ranks among the best political science programs in the country for its scholarly productivity, with faculty possessing wide-ranging interests in political science. While the campus community is comprised almost entirely of commuter students, the University of California offers plenty of ways for students to get involved. The school is home to multiple research centers as well as over 300 different student organizations and activities.

12

Boston College

College Choice Score: 89.81

Average Net Price: $27,299

School Website

Overview

Boston College is located just outside of Boston in Chestnut Hill, MA. This suburban school is a private university that was founded in 1863. The school was founded by the Society of Jesus and has Roman Catholic Jesuit religious affiliation to this day. Boston College offers a Master’s of Arts in Political Science that takes most students two years to complete. The Department of Political Science offers multiple related programs, including those in International Studies and Islamic Civilization and Societies. 

Program Features

This degree prepares students with the skills necessary to conduct scholarly work at the postgraduate level, enabling them to pursue positions as professionals in the field of political science as well as to enter into doctoral study. Students may conclude their studies with either a comprehensive examination or a thesis. An Advanced Directive Study final paper project is also an option. This 30 credit hour program requires students to take at least one course in three of the four major fields of Political Science, including:

  • International politics
  • American Politics
  • Political Theory
  • Comparative Politics

Notables

Despite its humble beginnings, this school is one of the most well-respected and highly-ranked universities of its kind in the Northeast. It is recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a university with high research activity. It has highly-ranked graduate programs within many of its schools and encourages undergraduate and graduate students alike to benefit from the more than 200 different organizations and clubs the school has to offer.

13

University at Buffalo

College Choice Score: 89.27

Average Net Price: $16,120

School Website

Overview

Also known as SUNY Buffalo, the University at Buffalo is one of the largest schools within the state university system of New York. This suburban school, located just outside of downtown Buffalo, NY has a total undergraduate enrollment of 21,020 students. This university has a profound tradition of groundbreaking research and overall academic excellence. The Master’s of Arts in Political Science at the University of Buffalo helps prepare students for government, advocacy, political, or academic careers. 

Program Features

Each student has the option between a comprehensive examination or a master’s thesis. Learners may also choose to complete a research project paper, but this is expected to be conducted with faculty guidance. Master’s students can transfer up to six credits from other universities, making it easy to complete their studies. In addition, this degree requires all students to take core courses such as:

  • Introduction to Political Inquiry
  • Basic Statistics for Social Science
  • Comparative Politics
  • Public Law
  • American Politics 

Notables

While most students can complete their studies in just two years, this program can be extended for up to four years for students who need extra time. The university also offers joint JD and PhD programs so that learners can complete multiple degree tracks within one rigorous course of study. The school offers well over 300 different graduate and undergraduate degree programs to choose from, giving political science students the opportunity to learn in a highly interdisciplinary format. The school is located in one of the most culturally and recreationally rich areas of western New York, making it the perfect setting in which to study politics and government.

14

Michigan State University

College Choice Score: 89.24

Average Net Price: $16,684

School Website

Overview

Michigan State University is located in East Lansing, MI. Originally founded in 1855, this school was the first land-grant institution in the country, serving as an example for other schools that followed shortly after. The Master’s of Arts in Political Science is offered within the College of Social Science at Michigan State University. It is designed to prepare students for doctoral studies. Known formally as the Master’s of Public Policy, this degree prepares students for careers in nonprofit planning or in government work. 

Program Features

Students have several options in how they complete their degrees at Michigan State. They can conduct a plan of study that is either with or without a thesis, with the non-thesis option including two additional research papers. Other course requirements include:

  • Issues in Public Policy
  • Public Finance
  • Policy Evaluation
  • Policy Development and Administration
  • Policy Workshop

Notables

In addition to the Master’s of Arts in Public Policy, Michigan State offers related programs in International Planning Studies, Social Work, and Urban and Regional Planning. A PhD is also available. This program is just one of many highly-ranked graduate programs. Class sizes here are small, with graduate students enjoying a low student-to-faculty ratio of 16:1. What’s even more important is that learners at Michigan State are highly satisfied with the quality of their education: The retention rate is well over 90%.

15

University of Iowa

College Choice Score: 89.13

Average Net Price: $14,845

School Website

Overview

The University of Iowa is a public university that was founded in 1847. Ths school has an urban setting in downtown Iowa City, Iowa and offers students access to over 500 different clubs and organizations along with a staggering number of off-campus adventures to choose from. This school also offers multiple programs in political science, including minors, undergraduate degrees, and graduate programs. The Master’s of Arts in Political Science at the University of Iowa serves as an excellent preliminary step toward the full PhD in Political Science.

Program Features

This program requires a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate credits. Although no thesis is required, every student’s record is reviewed by a final examination committee before graduation. Because this program is contained within a larger doctoral program, all master’s candidates will take the following doctoral-level courses and field seminars:

  • American Politics
  • Comparative Politics
  • International Politics
  • Introduction to Formal Models in Political Science
  • Advanced Methodology 

Notables

This political science degree offers six areas of concentration: formal theory, political theory, research methods, international relations, American politics, and comparative politics. As a major national research university, this liberal arts college has received international recognition for its achievements in the arts, sciences, and humanities. Students can choose from over 200 areas of study and 500 different student groups, giving them access to leadership and engagement opportunities both inside the classroom and out. The school is also ranked a Best College for Veterans by U.S. News & World Report.

16

Loyola University Chicago

College Choice Score: 88.49

Average Net Price: $34,526

School Website

Overview

Loyola University Chicago is a private university that opened its doors in 1870. This school has an urban setting in downtown Chicago and is one of the largest Jesuit institutions in the country. Interestingly, the school has two separate locations in Chicago as well as an international campus in downtown Rome, Italy, where over 400 students are able to study abroad each year. The Master’s of Arts in Political Science at Loyola requires 30 hours of coursework or the equivalent of ten total courses within the Department of Political Science. 

Program Features

This degree exposes students to the broad theories and scholarly literature related to the discipline of Political Science. Students will obtain extensive research methods training as they explore the four major subfields of political science, which are American Politics, International Relations, Comparative Politics, and Political Theory. Students will enhance their critical thinking and communication skills as they take classes such as: 

  • International Politics
  • American Politics
  • Political Theory
  • Environmental Politics
  • European Union

Notables

Although most students will only take two years to complete their studies., the graduate school allows students to take up to five years to conclude their studies. Students may choose to write a thesis or to complete a comprehensive examination to wrap up their degrees. This school has the perfect setting, providing students access to the third-largest city in the country, which is also a leader in culture, commerce, and industry. Additionally, the school offers over 100 different study abroad opportunities in 60 countries, making it possible for students to extend their learning outside of the classroom.

17

University of Texas at Dallas

College Choice Score: 88.44

Average Net Price: $10,036

School Website

Overview

Just one of many schools within the Texas state university system, the University of Texas at Dallas is one of the most well-respected. This public university was founded only in 1969 but has already made a major impression with its dozens of graduate and undergraduate degree programs, all of them spread out amidst multiple colleges, schools, and departments. Offered within the School of Economic, Political, and Policy Sciences, the MA in Political Science provides learners with advanced instruction in political theories and social-science literature. 

Program Features

Through hands-on training in the best and most empirical methods of understanding data, this degree prepares learners to become in-demand employees in public service, government, and nonprofit work. It requires 30 credit hours of study, half of which may be in prescribed electives that address the interests of any political science student. Students may also choose to complete one of three different tracks:

  • Political Science
  • Legislative Studies
  • Constitutional Law Studies 

Notables

This university prides itself on its attention to student success. The average retention rate, which is used as a common indicator of student satisfaction and overall well being, is over 87% at this school. This is likely a testament to the small class sizes here; on average, the student-to-faculty ratio is 23:1. As a public university, it’s also affordable, offering undergraduate and graduate students alike significant financial aid. As a result, it’s ranked a top National University by U.S. News & World Report.

18

George Washington University

College Choice Score: 88.29

Average Net Price: $37,638

School Website

Overview

Located in the heart of our nation’s capital, George Washington University is a private school that was founded in 1821. The urban location of this school is a dream setting for students interested in studying politics, as it’s only about a mile away from the Washington Monument and the museums on the National Mall. The Master’s of Arts in Political Science is offered as a part of the social and behavioral sciences discipline in the Columbia College of Arts and Sciences at George Washington. 

Program Features

This nationally-recognized program provides graduate students with the opportunity to work alongside prominent scholars in many different fields. The program offers students access to the many resources and opportunities of the capital region, with the curriculum training students broadly and providing mastery of numerous research methods. Required and elective courses include some of the following options:

  • Public Opinion and Political Psychology
  • Campaigns, Elections, and Political Communication
  • Craft of Political Inquiry
  • Advanced Theories of Comparative Politics
  • Theories of Political Development 

Notables

This degree is one of the most successful of its kind at preparing students to secure tenure-track teaching positions at schools like the University of Indiana, DePaul University, and more. Graduates have also found positions working for organizations such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the World Bank. Learners who continue on to doctoral study are allowed to construct their own programs consisting of major and minor fields of study. Major fields include topics like American politics, comparative politics, and international relations.

19

University at Albany

College Choice Score: 88.28

Average Net Price: $26,851

School Website

Overview

Also referred to simply as SUNY Albany, the University at Albany is located in upstate New York and is part of the State University of New York system. This university offers over 50 undergraduate majors and 120 masters programs, many of them in the fields of education, business, and liberal arts. These programs are highly ranked, maintaining a strong presence on a campus that has a centuries-old tradition of excellence. The Master’s of Arts in Political Science at the University of Albany requires 31 credit hours of study. 

Program Features

This degree is offered within the prestigious Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy. All students will take core data and research courses to build the skills they will need for graduate and doctoral level study if the latter option is pursued. All students must take Introduction to Political Inquiry as well as a course in either quantitative or qualitative research methods before moving on to core program requirements such as:

  • State Government
  • Urban Community Development
  • Citizen Participation and Public Policy
  • American Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations
  • The Legislative Process

Notables

This degree requires all students to complete a capstone if they are completing terminal master’s degrees. Capstones can be in the form of unified major research projects or portfolios, both of which will take place under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Students who pursue a doctoral degree may also choose to complete an internship, study abroad program, field experience, or clinical engagement in a course of interest. With a central location in the state capital, students have unique internship and study abroad opportunities, making this school one of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Value Schools.

20

Boston University

College Choice Score: 88.25

Average Net Price: $33,728

School Website

 

Overview

Boston University is a private university that was founded in 1839. Located in the heart of Boston, this school is one of the largest independent, nonprofit universities in the country and enrolls over 18,000 undergraduate students. Home to several highly-ranked graduate schools, such as the College of Engineering and the School of Education, Boston also hosts an exemplary Political Science degree. All students who are interested in studying political science at the graduate level are automatically admitted to the PhD program in Political Science at Boston University. This option awards a Master’s of Arts in addition to a PhD.

Program Features

This degree is highly selective, enrolling only about six students every year. It requires students to complete hands-on coursework, a second-year paper, a qualifying examination, and a PhD prospectus and dissertation. Students will take 16 classes in total. In addition to three methodology courses and two semesters of research workshops, all students at Boston University will engage in core seminars in the following topics: 

  • Approaches to the Study of American Politics
  • Approaches to the Study of Comparative Politics
  • Approaches to the Study of International Relations
  • Approaches to the Study of Political Theory 

Notables

Although this program is highly selective, the competitive nature of the admissions process is well worth it. All students who are admitted to the Political Science program at Boston University receive full funding. In addition, these learners are able to interact with a diverse community of scholars among several different schools and departments. Learners can take advantage of the broad resources in the Boston area as well, developing their skills in research and teaching as they prepare to pursue positions at research institutions, government agencies, and colleges. 

21

Northeastern University

College Choice Score: 88.02

Average Net Price: $30,784

School Website

Overview

Located in Boston, Northeastern University is a private university that was founded in 1898. With a total undergraduate enrollment of just under 14,000 students, this urban school has a commitment to providing students with hands-on experiences. In fact, over 90% of all Northeastern undergraduates complete at least one professional co-op during their college careers. This opportunity is extended to graduate students as well; the Master’s of Arts in Political Science at Northeastern gives students hands-on training in the core disciplines of political science as well as access to numerous concentrations.

Program Features

In this program, students will take courses in the major scholarly disciplines of political science, such as Comparative Politics, American Government, International Relations, Public Policy, and more. Learners also have access to specializations to help them focus their studies in an area of interest. Options include European Studies, Security Studies, and Middle East Studies. Required classes include: 

  • Congress and Policy 
  • State Government
  • Security and Resilience Policy
  • Economic Analysis for Policy and Planning
  • Public Budgeting and Financial Management 

Notables

The classes in this program serve as an excellent foundation for work in government, nonprofit organizations, the private sector, and even doctoral study. The degree can be completed in as little as a year if pursued full-time, but part-time study is also an option. Learners have access to numerous online courses, as well as internships, experiential learning opportunities, directed study, and more. Students also have access to full-time cooperative learning opportunities that allow them to gain experience in both paid and unpaid settings, applying the skills they’ve developed through coursework and case studies to real-life settings. In addition, graduates have access to a global network of over 255,000 alumni and 3,350 employer partners around the world.

22

Temple University

College Choice Score: 88.01

Average Net Price: $22,940

School Website

Overview

Temple University, located in Philadelphia, is home to an impressive 570 different degree programs, all of them spread out over 17 schools and colleges and eight separate campuses. The Master’s of Arts in Political Science at Temple is targeted toward students who want to pursue careers in academia. It provides students with preparation for both research and teaching and is an excellent, direct pathway to the PhD program in Political Science at the university.

Program Features

This degree takes most students about three years to complete, with a majority of classes offered after 3:00 pm to suit working professionals. It can be completed on a full- or part-time basis and includes unique specializations in International Relations, American Politics, Political Theory and Comparative Politics. Faculty are expert instructors and practitioners in these fields of research, strengthening their own credentials as they teach in topics such as:

  • Government in American Society
  • Comparative Politics
  • International Politics
  • Topics in Research Design
  • Introduction to Political Theory

Notables

There’s plenty to do outside of the Temple classroom, too. The school has over 270 student organizations and 18 Division-I athletic programs. The campus, which is home to multiple state-of-the-art residence halls, research buildings, and athletic facilities, welcomes international students from over 120 countries. The school is also well-respected for its commitment to making the cost of college affordable by reducing student-loan debt and having substantial financial aid available. As a result, this university is ranked the Best Value School by U.S. News & World Report.

23

Syracuse University

College Choice Score: 87.94

Average Net Price: $35,306

School Website

Overview

Syracuse University is located in upstate New York. This school was founded in 1870 and has a total undergraduate enrollment of 15,252. Syracuse University is best known for its vibrant student life, with the color orange making an appearance practically everywhere you turn on campus. In addition, the school is home to dozens of high-quality graduate and undergraduate programs. The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs offers a dynamic Master’s of Arts in Political Science. 

Program Features

This program provides extensive training to students who are interested in pursuing doctoral study in political science without completing an ultimate doctoral program. It is also a great program for candidates who are interested in careers in law, journalism, and public policy. Students can specialize in a variety of fields, such as Public Administration & Policy, Law and Courts; Security Studies; International Relations; Political Theory; American Politics; or Comparative Politics. Regardless of the specialization chosen, all students will take classes in: 

  •  Logic of Political Inquiry
  •  Introduction to Quantitative Political Analysis
  •  Qualitative Political Analysis
  •  Research Design

Notables

Ranked a Best Value School by U.S. News & World Report, Syracuse University has earned a reputation as one of the best schools in which to get involved – and for good reason. With over 300 different student organizations, there are plenty of things to do and experience on campus. In addition, the school has a commitment to diversity that makes it possible for many students to study abroad. In fact, nearly half of all Syracuse University students study abroad at some point, enjoying locations such as Beijing, Hong Kong, Madrid, Strasbourg, Florence, London, Santiago, and more.

24

University of Utah

College Choice Score: 87.72

Average Net Price: $12,363

School Website

Overview

The University of Utah is located in Salt Lake City and is a public institution with an excellent reputation. With a total undergraduate enrollment of 24,635 students, the school has multiple well-respected graduate colleges, including the S.J. Quinney College of Law, the David Eccles School of Business, and more. The Master’s of Arts in Political Science at the University of Utah is offered through the well-respected Political Science Department in the College of Social and Behavioral Science. 

Program Features

This program prepares students for advanced work in political science, helping them gain expertise by working alongside talented faculty as they conduct original, groundbreaking research. There are no course prerequisites for the program, and students are able to gain exposure to major research issues as they prepare themselves for careers in colleges and other organizations. The program requires the completion of 30 credit hours through courses such as: 

  • American Political Institutions
  • Proseminar Comparative Politics
  • Comparative Public Policy
  • Foundations of Political Thought
  • Administrative Theory

Notables

Students in this program may choose from multiple concentrations, including Comparative Politics, Public Administration, American Politics, and Political Theory. The university operates a number of research centers and institutes, including the American West Center and the Brain Institute. Graduate students are given access to all of these institutes and more, making it easy for them to get involved in research opportunities both in the classroom and out of it. Class sizes are small, with an average student-to-faculty ratio of just 16:1, to bolster student success and satisfaction.

25

George Mason University

College Choice Score: 86.76

Average Net Price: $18,629

School Website

Overview

A public university founded only in 1972, George Mason University has three suburban campuses for students to choose from. All are located near the District of Columbia in northern Virginia, but the school also has an international campus in Songdo, Korea. The Master’s of Arts in Political Science at George Mason is offered by the Schar School of Policy and Government. This program prepares learners for advanced work in teaching, social sciences, research, or government. 

Program Features

This degree is comprised of four core courses in political science, as well as the completion of a concentration in international security, international relations, American government and politics, or comparative politics. Students who choose specialties have the opportunity to engage in interdisciplinary learning opportunities, completing up to nine credits in related fields like public policy or history. 36 credit hours are required for degree completion, with course options including: 

  • American Government and Politics
  • The Scientific Method and Research Design
  • Introductory Data Analysis for Policy and Government
  • Ethics and International Security
  • Advanced Seminar in Comparative Politics

Notables

This program is unique in that it can be pursued in the typical two-year format, or it can be attempted as an accelerated program. The accelerated degree allows learners to earn a bachelor’s degree in a chosen major along with an MA in Political Science in just five total years of study. It reduces the number of credits required, allowing students to save both time and money. The flexibility and quality of this program are just two of the many reasons why George Mason is ranked as a top National University by U.S. News & World Report.

26

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

College Choice Score: 86.41

Average Net Price: $16,813

School Website

Overview

The University of Nebraska- Lincoln, located in the Nebraska city of the same name, offers over 150 different undergraduate and graduate majors. This large school, which was founded in 1869, is a public university that is dedicated to research and excellence in teaching. It is home to a wide variety of graduate departments, including the College of Education and Human Science and the College of Engineering. The Master’s of Arts in Political Science is administered through the Department of Political Science, which is actively involved in numerous interdepartmental, national, and global initiatives. 

Program Features

This degree is offered with multiple optional specializations. The customizations available here are one-of-a-kind, with learners given the opportunity to choose between Ethnic Studies Environmental Studies, Women’s & Gender Studies, Water Resources Planning and Management, and Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs. The stand-alone major includes classes such as:

  • Scope and Methods of Political Science
  • Professional Development in Political Science
  • Research Methods
  • Congress and Public Policy
  • Topics in American Public Policy

Notables

While this degree is an excellent choice when pursued by itself, it also provides a superb gateway for professionals who are ultimately interested in pursuing a doctoral program. Requiring only 36 credit hours of study, it can be completed on a full- or part-time basis. Graduate students frequently interact with faculty, who are internationally-recognized scholar-teachers, to conduct research and gain quality experience in research methods, conference presentations, and publications. 

27

University of Cincinnati

College Choice Score: 86.05

Average Net Price: $21,050

School Website

Overview

A public university founded in 1819, the University of Cincinnati is located in the heart of Cincinnati, OH. This school made its mark as the first to offer bachelor’s degrees in nursing in 1916, but now offers over 250 different academic majors. This school is well-known for its experienced-based learning opportunities. The College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Cincinnati offers a spectacular graduate program in Political Science, as well as multiple majors, minors, certificates, and BA+MA programs to suit any learner’s needs.

Program Features

The Master’s of Arts in Political Science at the University of Cincinnati requires a minimum of 30 credit hours of study. This program is flexible, allowing learners to choose between completing a Master’s Thesis or an article-length professional paper. While most students can complete their core courses and research work within just two years, learners are given up to five years to complete their studies. Students must complete the following courses before graduation:

  • Statistics for Political Science
  • Research Methods and Design 

Notables

This program serves as an excellent pathway to a doctoral program, but it also prepares learners who are interested in receiving JD diplomas. The school offers two dual degree programs: one is a MA/JD and the other is a PhD/JD, allowing students to complete their studies in just four or six years, respectively. This school is regarded as one of the world’s most beautiful campuses and is fully engaged with the local community. This engagement makes it possible for graduate students to engage in service-learning, study abroad, internships, partnerships, research, and more.

28

University of Kansas

College Choice Score: 85.85

Average Net Price: $18,365

School Website

Overview

The University of Kansas, located in idyllic Lawrence, KS, offers one of the best locations at which to study Political Science. Graduate students have access to nationally-recognized centers for research and scholarship, like the Dole Institute of Politics and the Institute for Policy and Social Research. The Master’s of Arts in Political Science at the University of Kansas is well-respected, taught by faculty who have national and international renown for the excellence of their teaching, research, and advising. 

Program Features

This program is unique in that it requires students to gain hands-on experience in teaching, research, and scholarship before they leave campus. The Thompson Summer Scholarship Research Program grants masters’ students the opportunity to work on a collaborative research project with peers and selected faculty. This project is supported by competitive stipends and allows students to sharpen their research skills in a variety of interdisciplinary areas. Courses required for the major include:

  • Research Design for Political Science
  • Research Methods
  • Comparative Politics
  • Public Policy 
  • International Relations 

Notables

This university has high scholarly output, which is why it is top-ranked by organizations such as U.S. News & World Report. The University of Kansas was ranked as one of the best public universities according to this publication’s recent Best Graduate Schools ranking. Classes are small, allowing faculty to teach varied seminars and to engage in individualized mentoring with all students. Graduate candidates are able to work closely with faculty on independent papers, fellowships, and awards. By the time they finish their degrees, most graduate learners will have taught classes of their own, too.

29

Washington State University

College Choice Score: 85.75

Average Net Price: $17,885

School Website

Overview

Located in Pullman, WA, Washington State University is a public university that was founded in 1890. This school has a large undergraduate enrollment of over 25,000 students and has over 200 different fields of study for students to choose form. The Master’s of Arts in Political Science at Washington State University is a terminal degree program that is designed to give students specialized qualifications to pursue careers in the federal, state or local government. 

Program Features

As a terminal degree, this program does not require a thesis in order to graduate. It is geared toward students who want to pursue non-academic governmental careers and gives students maximum flexibility in constructing their specific specializations. Faculty work closely with all students to help them tailor the program of study in order to meet their own professional needs. 31 total credit hours are required, including studies in:

  • International Security
  • U.S. National Security Policy
  • Comparative Criminal Justice Systems
  • Seminar in Comparative Policing

Notables

This degree prepares students for professional careers in a number of unique ways. Students will develop high-quality curriculum vitae, learning about the theories of teaching and presenting their original research in conference papers and peer-reviewed journals. They are frequently given the opportunity to present at national and regional professional association meetings, and learn how to become effective researchers and communicate information clearly. Many students are also given the opportunity to teach undergraduate courses.

30

Texas A&M University

College Choice Score: 85.58

Average Net Price: $19,554

School Website

Overview

Texas A&M University is located in College Station, TX. As a public university in the Texas state university system, this school is large, with a total undergraduate enrollment of over 53,00 students. The school was founded in 1876 and offers over 270 different graduate majors in its multiple colleges and departments. Texas A&M offers a Political Science degree that prepares students through research and other creative endeavors. It is available with or without a thesis. This program is offered via the well-respected College of Liberal Arts.

Program Features

The thesis plan of study for this degree requires 30 credit hours of study, while the non-thesis program includes 36. Candidates who choose not to complete a thesis are instead required to complete a comprehensive examination. Extensive merit-based funding is available for select graduate students, making this an affordable as well as high-quality option. Required courses include:

  • Theory and Method in Comparative Politics
  • Seminar in Political Institutions
  • Seminar in Cross-National Topics
  • Seminar in Religious Studies
  • Comparative Political Systems

Notables

The Department of Political Science at Texas A&M offers both undergraduate and graduate programs and is home to over 50 graduate students. These graduate students are supported in close-knit classes – there are 38 tenured and tenure-track faculty in the political science department alone. There’s also frequent opportunity for cross-discipline collaboration with other departments, like Women’s and Gender Studies and International Studies. The department is also the editorial home to both the Journal of Theoretical Politics and the Presidential Studies Quarterly

31

The University of Mississippi

College Choice Score: 85.45

Average Net Price: $14,259

School Website

Overview

The University of Mississippi, located in University, MS, is a large rural university with an outstanding reputation. The Master’s of Arts in Political Science at the University of Mississippi gives graduates students the intensive study of the theories, fields, and research methods necessary for the contemporary study of political science. It prepares learners for doctoral study in political science as well as high-profile careers in government, education, and policy analysis. 

Program Features

This degree presents learners with two different completion options. Candidates can either complete a written thesis, which prepares learners who are interested in careers in political science research, or they can take a written comprehensive examination. The latter option is designed for students who want to work in a more practical, hands-on application of political science. Regardless, all programs require 30 credit hours of study, including courses such as: 

  • Directed Research In Political Science
  • Readings and research in Political Science
  • Special Topics in Political Science

Notables

Although most students can complete their studies within two years, graduate students are given four years to complete their degrees. This university is committed to research and offers learners access to multiple on-campus institutes, such as the Center for the Study of Southern Culture and the Mississippi Law Research Institute. As a result, the school is regarded as a Top Public School by U.S. News & World Report. 

32

American University

College Choice Score: 85.20

Average Net Price: $32,732

School Website

Overview

American University is located in Washington, D.C. and is a private university that was founded in 1893. A suburban school that was originally designed to serve those in public and military service, the school now offers an outstanding learning environment with an average 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio. The Master’s of Arts in Political Science at American University is offered in one of the most hands-on environments in the entire country – in the heart of the nation’s capital. Requiring 33 credit hours of study, this program culminates in a final comprehensive examination. 

Program Features

This program prepares learners to become competent, dynamic leaders in the political environment. Candidates have access to a variety of hands-on experiences while they are studying at American, including close connections with major think tanks, nonprofits, campaign centers, and consulting firms. The program teaches students the art of policymaking along with the practice and theory of politics within various political systems. Required classes include: 

  • Political Analysis
  • Introduction to Quantitative Methods in Political Science 
  • Social and Political movements, Ethnicity, and Nationalism
  • Applied Politics and American Public Policy
  • Advanced Studies in Campaign Management

Notables

This degree includes three different concentrations, allowing students to build on their expertise and showcase that expertise through their online portfolios and resume. Choices include American Politics, APplied Politics, and Comparative Politics. The university gives students access to Washington, D.C. as a classroom, giving them experience on K Street, Capitol Hill, and in the executive branch. In addition, learners have access to over 240 clubs and organizations and 150 study abroad programs in over 40 countries.

33

University of Illinois

College Choice Score: 85.14

Average Net Price: $11,884

School Website

Overview

The University of Illinois at Chicago is just one of many universities with the massive state of Illinois university system. This school was founded in 1965 and is home to hundreds of academic majors. The school is situated in one of the biggest and most influential cities in the country – an ideal location that positions the university to train professionals or a  wide range of public service disciplines. The Master’s of Arts in Political Science at the University of Illinois is highly competitive but allows students from any baccalaureate background to apply. 

Program Features

In this degree, students may choose to conduct thesis, project, or coursework only options, giving them maximum flexibility in pursuing their degrees. The degree serves as an excellent platform for students wishing to enter directly into political science practice, as well as those who wish to pursue doctoral studies in Political Science. This program includes 18 semester hours of required coursework, with major classes taken in areas such as:

  • Data Analysis
  • Theories of Democracy and Representation
  • Research Design and Methods
  • Independent Research for Master’s Degree
  • Seminar in Political Theory 

Notables

Students at the University of Illinois may also choose to pursue interdisciplinary concentrations to provide them with more diverse, interdisciplinary degrees. Options include Gender and Women’s Studies, Violence Studies, Survey Research Methodology, and Latin American and Latino Studies. With an average student-to-faculty ratio of just 19:1, this school offers class sizes that are both small and close-knit. As a result, the university is ranked a top National University and Best Value School by U.S. News & World Report.

34

Duke University

College Choice Score: 84.98

Average Net Price: $22,011

School Website

Overview

Duke University is located in Durham, NC. This private university was founded in 1838 and is relatively small, with an enrollment of fewer than 7,000 undergraduate students. The university is divided into ten schools and colleges, each of which is home to a number of well-respected academic departments. Duke’s Department of Political Science has a history of over 80 years of excellence, producing global citizens who are highly qualified experts. The Master’s of Arts in Political Science is no exception to this reputation.

Program Features

This degree is instructed and led by an international Duke faculty. It allows masters’ candidates to work alongside PhD students as they take seminar courses. Graduate students receive the same quality feedback and access to faculty mentorship as they would as doctoral students, and are able to take intensive seminar courses that cover analytical and methodological approaches to political analysis. Core classes are taken within the following disciplines:

  • Normative Political Theory and Philosophy
  • Political Behavior and Identities
  • Political Institutions
  • Political Economy
  • Political Methodology

Notables

This degree has an impressive track record, with graduates going on to pursue top PhD programs at websites like Princeton, NYU, Chicago, Maryland, Emory, Penn State, and, of course, Duke. Graduates also work for employers like the state department, foreign service, and federal administration. Students may also pursue paid internship and training opportunities in the international development industry, a program unique to Duke that is known as Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning for Development.

35

University of Houston

College Choice Score: 84.62

Average Net Price: $15,664

School Website

Overview

Located in Houston, TX, the University of Houston is a public university that was founded in 1927. A large school with an ideal location in one of the largest cities in the country, this school is an excellent place for any student. It is home to over 40 research and community initiative centers and offers a variety of graduate programs, including the University of Houston Law Center and the Cullen College of Engineering. This university is truly remarkable and offers an equally outstanding masters program in political science. 

Program Features

This program allows candidates to choose between a thesis option, requiring 30 hours of coursework, or a non-thesis option, which includes 33 credit hours and a bibliographic essay. Regardless of the option chosen, most students will take about two years to complete their degrees. Students are encouraged to pursue one of four concentrations while they complete their studies. Most students will take classes like:

  • Survey of American Political Behavior
  • Comparative Political Analysis
  • Research Design and Quantitative Methods I
  • Research Design and Quantitative Methods II

Notables

Concentration saree available in fields such as American Politics, Political Theory, Political Analysis, and comparative Politics. A leader in health research, law, business, and policy, the University of Houston employs world-class faculty and ensures that students are given opportunities for experiential learning through its strategic industry partnerships and state-of-the-art research facilities. As a result, it is ranked a Top Public School by U.S. News & World Report.

36

Arizona State University

College Choice Score: 84.30

Average Net Price: $12,947

School Website

Overview

A public university, Arizona State University has one of the largest undergraduate populations in the nation. WIth over 300 different academic majors for undergraduate and graduate students to choose from, this school offers exceptional value and diversity in its course offerings. As a result, the school is ranked as one of the Top 100 Universities in the world by Center of World-Class Universities in the Academic Ranking of World Universities. True to that, the Master’s of Arts in Political science at Arizona State University is truly one-of-a-kind. 

Program Features

This program has a commitment to mentorship, providing students with extraordinary support from faculty and other students. Students can work with faculty in an up-close-and-personal format, stu dying in small cohorts of less than five students. 30 credit hours of study are required. Learners have access to the best resources from the largest university in the United States as they pursue classes such as: 

  • Empirical Political Inquiry
  • Polimetrics I
  • Comparative Politics
  • International relations
  • American Politics

Notables

This program is highly customizable, allowing students to choose between a thesis or portfolio option in order to graduate. Each student works closely with a faculty member to create a schedule that meets his or her individualized interests. Faculty are both distinguished and diverse, expressing a profound commitment to excellence in teaching and research. The program emphasizes research methods and substantive content, preparing learners for careers in teaching, government, nonprofit work, and the private sector. It can be pursued as a terminal degree or as a step toward doctoral study.

37

University of Oregon

College Choice Score: 84.24

Average Net Price: $15,100

School Website

Overview

Located in idyllic Eugene, OR, the University of Oregon is a public university that was founded in 1876. It is located in a town that prides itself on its strength in the arts and outdoor activities, but the academic quality of this university’s programs can’t be overlooked, either. The school is home to multiple colleges and departments, as well as to more than 30 research centers and institutes. The master’s degree in Political Science at the University of Oregon is geared toward students who are interested in eventual doctoral studies in Political Science.

Program Features

This degree prepares students for PhD programs, and as a result, a majority of the students who apply to this masters program will actually apply to the PhD in Political Science at the University of Oregon. However, a limited number of students who are interested in a terminal master’s degree may also be admitted. This degree prepares students for professional research and teaching careers in political science. Students must complete basic course requirements such as:

  • Political Behavior
  • Political Institutions
  • State-Society Relations
  • Comparative Political Economy
  • States and Regimes

Notables

This program provides learners with access to a wealth of resources, both on-campus and off. Graduate students may apply for membership to branches of many different political science associations, such as the American Political Science Association, the International Studies Association, and the Western Political Science Association. In addition, the Department of Political Science at the University of Oregon is home to a unique graduate specialization in Politics, Culture, and Identity, allowing graduate students to fully customize their degrees.

38

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

College Choice Score: 84.08

Average Net Price: $16,638

School Website

Overview

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a public university that was founded in 1867. This school, located in the twin cities of Urbana and Champaign in east-central Illinois, is just a few hours from major cities like Indianapolis, Chicago, and St. Louis. Offering 15 different colleges and schools, this university offers an exceptional program in political science. The Master’s of Arts in Political Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is designed for students who wish to pursue an eventual PhD program.

Program Features

This degree requires 32 graduate hours of study. A thesis research program is required, and while concentrations are not necessary, students may choose to pursue one or more as they complete their required graduate coursework. Students may choose to take any sequence of graduate-level coursework and may even pursue minors if so desired. The degree is available with a thesis and non-thesis option, and includes core courses such as:

  • Democratic Political Institutions
  • The US Congress
  • Political Parties and Elections
  • Proseminar in Political Behavior
  • Foundations of Organizational Behavior

Notables

In addition to the stand-alone masters in political science, the University of Illinois offers toe joint programs to motivate learners. One is the Law, J.D., and Political Science PhD and the other is the Law, J.D. and Political Science MA with a concentration in Civic Leadership. This school is considered a school with the highest level of research activity, according to the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. It provides extensive student services, including academic tutoring, disability access, and career planning services.

39

Georgia State University

College Choice Score: 83.91

Average Net Price: $15,350

School Website

Overview

Georgia State University is located in Atlanta, GA and offers one of the country’s premier programs in Political Science. This public university was founded in 1913 and is quite large, with an approximate undergraduate enrollment of more than 25,000 students. The school offers graduate and undergraduate learners more than 200 different majors and minors from which to choose, all of which are distributed among numerous colleges and departments. The masters in political science is one of the most prestigious programs offered at the university.

Program Features

This degree offers learners a choice of four concentrations: American Politics, Public Law, International and Comparative Politics, and General Political Science. Most courses are taught in-person through small seminars, but students may also take some courses online if they so choose. Regardless of the format in which they are offered, all classes are taught by highly qualified full-time faculty who empathizes interaction and collaboration. Sample classes include:

  • Research Design and Applied Data Analysis
  • Elements of Research Design
  • Interbranch Politics
  • Campaign Organization and Management
  • State Politics

Notables

This degree is designed for learners who seek an intensive foundation in political science. It can be pursued as a stand-alone, terminal degree, or as a stepping stone to pursuing a doctoral degree. It focuses on developing independent research more than anything else. In fact, this school, located in the heart of the city, is home to multiple research centers and institutes, giving graduate students extensive opportunities to pursue research areas of interest, as well as to publish and present their work.

40

The University of New Mexico

College Choice Score: 82.82

Average Net Price: $11,283

School Website

Overview

The University of New Mexico is located in the bustling city of Albuquerque, NM. Founded in 1889, this large university sits on over 769 acres and is New Mexico’s flagship institution. Offering over 75 different graduate degrees, the Master’s of Arts in Political Science at the University of New Mexico introduces students to the broad discipline, while also providing them with the tools necessary to pursue in-depth independent research.

Program Features

This program gives students extensive opportunities to conduct unique research in their chosen field of interest. While all students are required to complete a comprehensive examination before graduating, most students can complete their degree requirements in just two years. Graduate students may choose to complete a thesis or non-thesis program, the latter of which requires 32 credit hours of study. The thesis program requires 24 credit hours of classes such as: 

  • American National Government
  • International Relations
  • Introduction to Political Analysis
  • Public Policy and Administration
  • The Legislative Process 

Notables

This university claims one of its greatest achievements as being the only Hispanic-serving institution in the United States that is also classified as a Carnegie Research University with Very High Activity. As a result, the Political Science Department is uniquely poised and situated to study the politics of underserved and underrepresented groups. As a result, the programs in this department combine hands-on coursework with real-world internship opportunities. These opportunities prepare students for intensive careers in law, government, international organizations, political campaigns, education, and more.

41

Purdue University

College Choice Score: 81.84

Average Net Price: $12,117

School Website

Overview

Purdue University has multiple campuses in Indiana, but it’s the West Lafayette campus that is most well respected for its political science course offerings. This school, which was founded in 1869, is relatively large, with an enrollment of over 31,000 undergraduate students alone. Comprised of 13 schools and colleges, the school has many well-ranked professional and graduate programs to be aware of. The Master’s of Arts in Political Science at Purdue is positioned to prepare students for doctoral study.

Program Features

This degree includes separate MA and PhD tracks, preparing graduate students to continue on to the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Political Science. Students may specialize in one of four specialization areas, and they may also pursue minors in two other areas. This can be a self-designed area, allowing for maximum flexibility and adaptability to a student’s individual career plans. Required and elective courses might include: 

  • Introduction to International Relations
  • Women, Politics, Public Policy
  • American Government and Politics
  • Rich and Poor Nations
  • Governments of World 

Notables

Purdue offers graduate certificates in two related disciplines. Students may add a certificate in Environmental Policy or one in Social Policy to their degrees, adding for additional specialization and job readiness. Purdue is recognized as one of the country’s premier institutions, offering over 200 areas of undergraduate study as well as numerous renowned research initiatives. The school is highly diverse, attracting students from all 50 states and over 130 countries As a result, it is ranked as one of the Best National Universities by U.S. News & World Report.

42

University of Tennessee, Knoxville

College Choice Score: 81.80

Average Net Price: $20,995

School Website

Overview

The Knoxville campus of the University of Tennessee is just one of several schools within the massive state university system of Tennessee. This public university is also one of the oldest, founded in 1794 and sitting on a large campus of over 600 acres. The Master’s of Arts in Political Science at the University of Tennessee has two main purposes. The first is to acquaint students with the foundational knowledge necessary to pursue advanced graduate study, and the other is to prepare students for diverse careers in journalism, education, or the military.

Program Features

This degree provides students with two course completion options. The first is to complete 30 credit hours of coursework and the writing of a master’s thesis. The other is to complete 36 credit hours of coursework and a written comprehensive examination. In addition to completing coursework in the Scope and Methods of Political Science, Research Design, and Quantitative Political Analysis, students may choose from the following six concentrations to customize their degrees:

  • Traditional and Normative Theory
  • Empirical Theory and Research Methodology
  • Public Administration
  • American Government and Politics
  • Comparative Government and Politics
  • International Relations

Notables

This university offers a range of other political science programs to provide the perfect fit for any candidate. In addition to a Masters in Political Science, the department also offers a bachelor’s degree, a PhD program, and a Master’s of Public Policy and Administration. The Master’s of Public Policy and Administration prepares students for careers in public service. Students in this program benefit from an exclusive partnership with the Howard H. Baker Jr. The Center for Public Policy, which provides students with extensive hands-on learning opportunities. 

43

Wayne State University

College Choice Score: 81.15

Average Net Price: $13,287

School Website

Overview

Wayne State University is located in Detroit, MI and first opened its doors in 1868. This public university is ranked as one of the top National Universities by U.S. News & World Report, offering students over 300 different academic programs from which to choose. The schools’ graduate programs are highly ranked and allow students to conduct original research. The Political Science program at Wayne State is located in the University of Cultural Center of Detroit, giving students access to all the resources of a nationally ranked, professional research university. 

Program Features

Classes are offered both full- and part-time, allowing students to take classes in the late afternoon and evenings. This program provides learners with many advantages, including small class sizes of fewer than fifteen students and experienced faculty who are dedicated to excellence in research, teaching, and advising. 33 to 34 semester credit hours are required, with 12 to 15 completed in a major field. Major fields of study are available in:

  • American Government and Politics
  • Comparative
  • Public Policy
  • Political Theory 
  • Urban Politics
  • World Politics

Notables

The Political Science department at Wayne State is prestigious, having awarded 75 doctorates and even more masters degrees since the program’s inception just 30 years ago. Graduates work all over the world for government agencies, private-sector research firms, and universities. All graduate courses are taught by experienced, full-time faculty who are active, practicing scholars. These instructors are still engaged in research, giving students exclusive opportunities to pursue publishable research in their own fields of interest.

44

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

College Choice Score: 81.04

Average Net Price: $15,479

School Website

Overview

The University of Hawaii at Mānoa is a public university that was founded in 1907. This school is located just outside of downtown Honolulu on the pristine island of Oahu. The school has multiple academic departments, including the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology and the School of Hawaiian Knowledge. The Department of Political Science at the University of Hawai’i offers two separate MA degrees, both of which originated in 1947. The first MAN. requires the completion of a thesis, while the second allows students to supplement core curriculum with a culminating experience. 

Program Features

As mentioned, this program is unique in that it allows master’s students to complete a culminating experience instead of a thesis. This project can take the form of a research project or other hands-on experience but must be approved by an advisor and presented at an academic conference. Regardless of the master’s pathway chosen, all candidates hoping to receive a graduate degree in Political Science will take the following classes:

  • Introduction to Global Politics
  • Politics and Public Policy
  • Problems of War and Peace
  • Naive Hawaain Politics
  • International Organization

Notables

This department is staffed by 21 full-time faculty, all of whom teach and conduct research in a variety of areas, such as political theory, futures studies, indigenous politics, and more. The department values interdisciplinary research, and as such students are able to explore research in other departments to enhance their understanding of political science. In addition to the two Masters programs, the University of Hawaii also offers a Doctor of Philosophy, a Bachelor’s of  Arts, a minor, and a five-year BA/MA program.

45

University of Oklahoma

College Choice Score: 80.31

Average Net Price: $20,003

School Website

Overview

Located in Norman, OK, the University of Oklahoma is a public university that was founded in 1890. With a total undergraduate enrollment of nearly 23,000 students, this large university is known for being a large, public research institution with a dedication to student success. The Master’s of Arts in Political Science at the University of Oklahoma is a superb preparatory program for candidates who are interested in pursuing eventual doctoral study, as well as for those who are interested in teaching at the secondary level. 

Program Features

This program prepares students by providing them with a strong theoretical foundation of education in research and political methodology. Students may choose to specialize in numerous areas, such as comparative government, public administration, international relations, political theory, American politics, and more. Regardless of the concentration chosen, most students will take nine credit hours each semester and graduate in just two years. Sample classes include:

  • International Politics and Government
  • International Law, EU, NATO, and European Security
  • Terror Management Theory and Communication
  • Cultural Diversity in Human Relations
  • Cultures and Development in Africa

Notables

This degree is incredibly flexible, allowing learners to complete their studies either part- or full-time. Although many classes are scheduled during the day, there are also quite a few offered in the evening to accommodate students who work full-time. Both thesis and non-thesis options are available. There is plenty for students to do outside of the classroom, too – the university is home to over 300 different student clubs and organizations, many of which are tailored specifically to political science students.

46

University of Missouri

College Choice Score: 80.25

Average Net Price: $17,762

School Website

Overview

The University of Missouri is located in Columbia, MO, and offers over 280 majors – 70 of which are offered entirely online. Home to a variety of well-regarded colleges and academic departments, this school has a reputation for producing exceptional research and stories for student success. The University of Missouri offers a Master’s of Arts in Political Science that prepares learners both for doctoral study as well as for professional work in political science. Offered within the College of Arts and Sciences, this program provides students with extensive training in a number of research areas.

Program Features

This program is a 30 credit-hour generalist program that requires students to take a core series of seven hours’ worth of methods courses. After that, students will engage in graduate seminars before selecting from a thesis or non-thesis option. The thesis option requires candidates to prepare an original research project, as does the non-thesis option. However, the non-thesis option if often just an expanded version of a paper that these students prepared in a research seminar already. Students may take a minimum of 18 credit hours of graduate seminars from fields such as: 

  • American Politics
  • Comparative Politics
  • International Relations
  • Public Policy and Administration

Notables

The Department of Political Science at Missouri State trains students in state-of-the-art methodologies such as spatial econometrics, experiments, and techniques to both collect and analyze big data. Students are given extensive opportunities to collaborate with faculty members on collaborative research projects working in a small yet vibrant department. This department is home to professors who regularly publish research in leading academic journals and university presses while teaching advanced classes. As a result, many graduate students also publish in academic journals while in graduate school. 

47

University of North Texas

College Choice Score: 78.81

Average Net Price: $12,053

School Website

Overview

The University of North Texas is located in Denton, TX and is a public university that was founded in 1890. One of the nation’s largest universities, this school is a student-focused public research institution.  Located near Dallas and Fort Worth, this university offers students over 100 different majors from which to choose. The MA in Political Science is just one of several degrees in this discipline at the University of North Texas. It prepares students for a wide variety of careers in political science. 

Program Features

This masters degree prepares students who intend to pursue academic careers in research and teaching, as well as those interested in work in the public or private sector. Several degree completion options are available, including the completion of a thesis or an oral examination. A field examination option is also available. Candidates will take classes such as: 

  • Political Science Teaching and Research
  • The American Presidency
  • The U.S. Congress
  • Mass Political Behavior
  • Multiple Regression

Notables

The University of North Texas offers numerous financial aid opportunities, most of them in the form of research assistantships, teaching fellowships, and teaching assistantships. In addition, graduate students are regularly published in journals such as The Journal of Politics, Party Politics, Social Science Quarterly, Political Research Quarterly, and more. In addition to the MA in Political Science, a PhD and BA/MA degree are also available. With average class sizes of fewer than 24 students apiece, the attention to individual student success here cannot be surpassed.

48

University of Alabama

College Choice Score: 78.51

Average Net Price: $19,993

School Website

Overview

Located in Tuscaloosa, AL, the University of Alabama is a premier public institution that was founded in 1831. With a large undergraduate enrollment of nearly 34,000 students, this suburban university is often referred to as the “Capstone” campus, as it is the flagship campus of the University of Alabama system. The school has dozens of academic majors divided into highly ranked and well-respected colleges and academic departments. Among them is the prestigious MA in Political Science. 

Program Features

This degree has multiple plan options that require 30 semester hours of coursework. Learners may choose to complete a thesis research project in addition to an oral examination, or a written comprehensive examination. An additional plan of study requires students to complete just 36 hours of coursework and a written comprehensive examination in lieu of a thesis. Regardless of the pathway chosen, students will take courses in three of five fields with a core seminar in each. Core seminars include:

  • American Core
  • Seminar in Comparative Politics
  • Core Seminar in International Relations
  • Political Theory Seminar
  • Foundations of Public Administration

Notables

In addition to the MA in Political Science, the University of Alabama also offers a Political Science PhD and a Public Administration MPA. The University of Alabama hosts an annual Research and Creativity Conference to showcase student work, and also provides graduate and undergraduate students alike with extensive opportunities to publish their search and interact with other professionals in the industry. As a result, this school is ranked as a Best Value School by U.S. News & World Report.