Best Online Bachelor’s in Political Science Programs

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Political science is an academic area of study concentrated in the political theories and practices of different government systems. This multidisciplinary field also examines how wealth and resources have historically been ― and currently are ― distributed among populations of cities, states and provinces, countries, and other governmental jurisdictions, as well as the laws and policies that have guided and continue to influence these provisions. Subfields of political science include: comparative politics, or the science of weighing differences and similarities between governments; international or global relations; public administration; and public health. Political science often leans on other academic disciplines, including social sciences like history, sociology, anthropology, and economics, as well as law, criminal justice, and public policy.

Political science is one of the most popular areas of study among U.S. undergraduate students, and The Princeton Review ranks ‘government/political science’ as the third best college major. The bachelor’s in political science will prepare students for a wide range of career paths in both the government (public) and private sectors. The curricula of these bachelor’s programs is grounded in history, economics, political theory, social advocacy, and law. Many bachelor’s in political science pathways culminate in a capstone experience, which typically entails a comprehensive research project that addresses a current trend or hot topic in the global political sphere. An internship may be required, as well. Many of today’s students are choosing to earn their bachelor’s in political science online. Web-based students follow the same rigorous curricula as their brick-and-mortar counterparts, leading to the same job opportunities after graduation. The asynchronous (or self-paced) format of most online bachelor’s in political science degree programs is also a good fit for students with part-time jobs, childcare duties, and other commitments that potentially conflict with commuting to a college campus.

Learn more about what you can do with an online bachelor’s in political science and what kind of career opportunities you can look forward to with this comprehensive guide.

WILL AN ONLINE BACHELOR’S IN POLITICAL SCIENCE PROGRAM PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?

A bachelor’s in political science online degree will introduce students to the foundational theories and practices that have shaped modern politics, laws, and government systems.
Coursework will involve extensive study in both the U.S. government and the governments of other countries, often as part of side-by-side comparisons. Other courses will delve into social justice and advocacy, highlighting some of the defining social issues of the past and present. Capstone projects allow students to draw on the skills and knowledge they have acquired to create a comprehensive report, and internships prepare students for the realities of today’s work environments.

WILL AN ONLINE BACHELOR’S IN POLITICAL SCIENCE PROGRAM WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?

Bachelor’s in political science online programs offer a flexible, easily-accessible alternative to traditional higher learning. Students can download course lectures and readings, participate in virtual discussions with other students, submit written assignments, take exams, and communicate with their professors from the comfort of their own home. Current technology also enables them to study on the go using a laptop, tablet, smartphone and other portable Wi-Fi-compatible devices.

WHAT JOBS CAN I GET WITH MY BACHELOR’S IN POLITICAL SCIENCE?

Bachelor’s in political science recipients are typically well-suited for jobs in law, policy, criminal justice, and other fields related to political theories and practices. In addition, many of these students find careers in occupations that require skills in leadership and communication, as well as a background in liberal arts, social sciences, and social advocacy. These include roles in fields like public relations, human resources, sales and marketing, social work, and community management. The bachelor’s in political science can also serve as a stepping-stone toward a master’s or Ph.D. in political science; a graduate degree is often the minimum educational attainment level for political scientists, as well as political science teachers.

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE BACHELOR’S IN POLITICAL SCIENCE PROGRAMS?

Choosing a program is an incredibly personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school’s strengths match your educational needs. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online bachelor’s in political science programs in the United States. Our ranking is based on the courses schools offer, available specializations, student outcomes, career support services, and other criteria used to determine academic excellence. If you are considering an online bachelor’s degree in political science, be sure to contact admissions specialists at different colleges and universities to learn more their about specific requirements and offerings.

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Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1 University of Central Florida 72.92 65% Orlando, FL

Serving over 64,000 students, Orlando's University of Central Florida has offered online degrees -- including a highly regarded online political science degree -- for over 20 years. To receive the university's political science BA degree, students must complete 120 credits of general education and major-related courses with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 for all political science classes. Learners must also demonstrate capability in a foreign language, either by completing one year of college-level instruction by the Department of Modern Languages or testing out through standardized examinations.

The major is divided into three tracks, of which students must choose one: American politics and policy, international relations-comparative politics, or pre-law. Each track consists of a three-credit basic core requirement, 21 credits of advanced coursework, and 12 credits of related electives. Students have time to pursue electives outside of the major, but not all electives may be available online. UCF delivers most of its online political science courses through the university's Webcourses@UCF learning management system.

UCF's Online Student Services provides access to multiple resources, including career services, academic resource and writing centers, accessibility and advisory services, library access, and book and computer stores.

Applicants must hold a minimum GPA of 2.0 from their previous institution. Transfer students may not count community college credit toward upper-division courses. Even if CLEP is awarded, 60 credits must be completed at UCF. The last 30 out of 39 credits must also be completed at the university. At this time, state regulations prevent UCF from admitting residents of Michigan, Minnesota, or Oregon. In-state and out-of-state tuition admission rates are the same, but non-Florida residents are subject to an out-of-state fee.


Program Overview
Department: Political Science
Program name: Bachelor's of Arts in Political Science
Available concentrations: American politics & policy, international relations - comparative politics, pre-law
Accrediting body: SACS
Tuition: $179/credit in-state; $384/credit out-of-state

Delivery
Format: Online or hybrid
Instruction style: Asynchronous & synchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 120 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 4 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: 2.0 minimum
Standardized tests: SAT or ACT (if fewer than 60 transferable credits)

Admission Requirements
Department phone: (407) 823-2608
Department email: politics@ucf.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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2 Pennsylvania State University-World Campus 65.83 50% University Park, PA

Public research university Penn State has educated online students for nearly two decades thanks to its internet-based University Park World Campus, the second-largest campus of the Pennsylvania State University system. Although its online political science degree is offered as a BS and a BA, this profile highlights the school's BS in political science.

To earn the BS, students must complete 120 credits of online political science courses centered on political theory, analysis, mathematics, programming, and statistics. The program also provides several opportunities for students to complete non-major-related electives. Penn State schedules start dates in the fall, spring, and summer. Courses last between 12 to 15 weeks and generally involve weekly assignments. Students access materials, delivered by the Canvas and ANGEL course management systems, at their convenience. To help with their studies, online students take advantage of academic advising services, career counseling, technical support, tutorials, and the university's libraries, which make up one of the largest research collections in the country.

Applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED. Transfer applicants must have earned a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0. In order for credits to transfer, a course must have an equivalent offered by Penn State and must relate to the political science major. The last 36 of 60 credits must be completed by students on-campus at Penn State. Tuition rates remain the same regardless of residency. Students who pursue 12 or more credits a semester pay a flat fee and part-time students pay a per-credit rate. Military and veteran students qualify for lower tuition rates, and extra admission and credit transfer support.

The university encourages World Campus students to join university organizations, including branches of national honor societies Alpha Iota Omega (for political science students) and Alpha Sigma Lambda (for adult learners).


Program Overview
Department: Political Science
Program name: Bachelor's of Science in Political Science
Accrediting body: MSCHE
Tuition: $542/credit (59 or fewer credits); $584/credit (60+ credits)

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 120 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 4 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Fall - June 30; spring - October 31; summer - March 15

Admission Requirements
Department phone: (814) 863-5386
Admissions email: wdadmissions@outreach.psu.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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3 Northeastern University Global Network 64.31 79% Boston, MA

Founded in 1898 and presently enrolling over 17,000 students, Northeastern University is located in the historic city of Boston. Northeastern's College of Professional Studies offers an online political science degree, the school's BS in political science. This degree requires 120 credits, including foundational courses in general education (18 semester hours) and political science (36 semester hours), as well as major requirements and electives (36 semester hours).

The curriculum takes a multidisciplinary approach, drawing relevant coursework from departments such as history and anthropology. The program includes optional concentrations in international relations and comparative politics or American politics, which can be completed through five specific electives. Major studies conclude with a required three-credit capstone course that engages students in extensive research and analysis.

Northeastern uses the Blackboard online learning system, and students may access materials at any time, though assignments are usually due on a weekly basis. Northeastern's academic year consists of three 15-week terms. Online students enjoy access to the Office of Academic Advising (everyone is assigned a career and academic coach), the Peer Mentoring Program, tutoring services, and Northeastern's libraries.

Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or GED and need to submit transcripts from any institution attended, including those from which they wish to transfer credit. SAT and ACT scores are not required, but students with sufficient Advanced Placement scores should submit them to receive college credit. For added flexibility, Northeastern administers start dates in the fall, spring, and summer, and calculates tuition on a per-year basis. Tuition rates are the same for all students regardless of residency. Online students may also qualify for merit- and need-based scholarships, awarded several times per year.


Program Overview
Department: College of Professional Studies
Program name: Bachelor's of Science in Political Science
Available concentrations: International relations & comparative politics, American politics
Accrediting body: NEASC
Tuition: $504/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 120 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 4-7 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling

Admission Requirements
Department phone: (877) 668-7727
Admissions email: cpsadmissions@neu.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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4 Arizona State University-Skysong 63.19 51% Scottsdale, AZ

Based in Tempe, Arizona State University boasts an incredible total enrollment of close to 100,000 students. ASU's online BA or BS in political science requires the completion of 40 classes/120 credit hours in subjects such as government, politics, math, and composition, as well as several social science courses. Some courses in this online political science degree program require a minimum grade of "C" in order to receive degree credit, and all political science students must demonstrate a proficiency in a second language through four semesters of study or standardized test scores. The program uses several digital learning platforms, including Blackboard, to provide course materials.

The degree is offered in an accelerated format, with classes starting six times a year and running for seven-and-a-half-week sessions. Students can access course materials whenever they like, though assignments are due at set times. Online students benefit from access to academic advisers and success coaches, and learners are encouraged to join student organizations such as the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.

Students must submit applications two weeks prior to a their desired start date. Individuals applying as freshman -- defined as those with less than 24 college credits -- must demonstrate a cumulative high school GPA of at least 2.5. Applicants must have completed four years of math and English, three years of science, two years of social science and foreign language, and one year of fine art. (The school still considers those who are missing one class in no more than two categories.) Transfer applicants who are Arizona residents and completed their associate degree in the state are assured admission so long as they maintained a 2.0 GPA. Transfer applicants who have completed the Arizona General Education Curriculum with a minimum 2.5 GPA are also assured admission. ASU's tuition rate is the same flat per-credit amount for both in-state and out-of-state residents with no extra fees.


Program Overview
Department: School of Politics & Global Studies
Program name: Bachelor's of Arts or Bachelor's of Science in Political Science
Accrediting body: NCA
Tuition: $500/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous & synchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 120 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 4 years
Program start dates: January, March, May, June, August, October

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: 3.0 minimum for core competency courses (unless minimum SAT/ACT scores or in top 25% of high school class)

Admission Requirements
Department phone: (480) 965-8563
Department email: spgs@asu.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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5 Oregon State University 62.50 61% Corvallis, OR

Based in Corvallis, Oregon State University is a public research university that offers a highly regarded online political science degree as either a BA or BS. Consisting of 180 credits, the program's curriculum explores topics beyond American politics. For example, students analyze the politics of contemporary Europe and how global powers view the US alongside subjects such as sports and environmental politics. They may also choose to study American and international politics; government; political analysis; and related issues like media, gender, and law. Online students also have the option to declare a minor.

Students must meet five broad requirements in order to earn OSU's online political science degree. First, students are required to complete 51 credits of general education core classes, which includes a three-credit writing intensive course. Learners must also complete 15 additional credits in the College of Liberal Arts core. Students also complete 15 to 24 political science credits on top of the program requirement of 51 major credits. Finally, students must fill the remaining credits with electives to meet the 180 credit total. OSU delivers courses via Canvas during four 11-week quarter terms throughout the year.

Ecampus Student Services offers access to resources such as OSU Libraries, online tutoring, career services, a writing center, and video-based counseling. The Open Oregon State program offers learners a variety of free educational materials online, including digital textbooks.

Applicants with less than 24 semester credits are considered first-year students. OSU administers four application deadlines per year, each nine weeks prior to the start of the quarter. High school graduates should submit ACT or SAT scores. OSU maintains a preference for GPAs of 3.0 or higher. Transfer applicants should have a 2.25 minimum GPA in their college coursework. OSU's tuition rates are the same low per-credit rate regardless of an applicant's state residency.


Program Overview
Department: Political Science
Program name: Bachelor's of Arts or Bachelor's of Science in Political Science
Available concentrations: General political science; environmental politics & policy; international affairs; law, politics, and society
Accrediting body: NWCCU
Tuition: $280/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous & synchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 180 quarter credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 4 years
Program start dates: Fall, winter, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: 2.25 minimum for transfer applicants only
Standardized tests: SAT or ACT (if graduated high school in 2011 or later)

Admission Requirements
Department phone: (541) 737-1879
Department email: Andrew.Edwards@oregonstate.edu (Andrew Edwards, Advisor)
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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6 Fort Hays State University 61.11 41% Hays, KS

Kansas' Fort Hays State University boasts a total enrollment of more than 14,000 students, including approximately 8,100 online learners from more than 20 countries. FHSU's online political science degree is offered by the university's Virtual College and consists of courses in American politics, international relations/comparative politics, public law, political theory, and public administration and policy. Students may concentrate in public administration or pre-law. Unlike some pre-law concentrations at other political science degree online schools, FHSU's program includes a number of law-related courses such as legal advocacy, legal research, and even LSAT preparation.

In order to complete the 124 credit hours required for the BA in political science, students take 55 credit hours of general education classes, 37 credit hours of core and major classes in political sciences, and 22 credit hours of electives in any field of interest. However, those who pursue a concentration have less opportunities for free electives, as concentration coursework consists of 20 credit hours. The program has a 10-credit hour modern language requirement, and students must complete a senior capstone research project. FHSU delivers its online political science courses asynchronously through Blackboard.

All online students are assigned an academic adviser and enjoy access to free online tutoring, technical support, and writing and career resources. The Forsyth Library offers assistance via text, email, and phone as well as research guides, ebooks, and databases.

To apply, all incoming freshmen under the age of 21 must submit ACT or SAT scores. Both freshmen and transfer applicants should submit transcripts from all prior institutions. Kansas residents must hold a minimum GPA of 2.0, while out-of-state applicants should demonstrate a minimum 2.5 GPA. Students may enroll in the fall, spring, and summer. Tuition is the same affordable per-credit hour rate regardless of state residency. Fort Hays is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview
Department: Political Science
Program name: Bachelor's of Arts in Political Science
Available concentrations: Pre-law, public administration
Accrediting body: NCA
Tuition: $207/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous & synchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 124 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 4 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Requirements vary based on age, residency status, & number of college-level credits
Standardized tests: SAT or ACT (unless over the age of 21 or ranked in top third of high school class)

Admission Requirements
Department phone: (785) 628-5393
Department email: samills@fhsu.edu (Shala Mills, Department Chair)
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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7 Troy University 58.75 35% Troy, AL

Located in Alabama, Troy University has delivered quality internet-based education for nearly two decades. During the fall of 2015, Troy boasted an enrollment of 18,000 students, approximately 9,000 of which were distance learners.

Troy's political science online degree program consists of 120 credits, 36 of which must be within the major. Students concentrate in either American politics and public administration or international politics. A selection of subjects in both concentrations includes American government, world politics, and political theory and research. Students concentrating in international politics also have the option to enter an accelerated honors program that consists of three additional classes that survey international relations, explore research methods, and examine the global political economy. (Students must first complete at least 90 credit hours before pursuing honors classes.) Undergraduates must also take classes in English composition, math, science, and history to receive their BA degree.

Most online political science courses run for nine-week terms, and Troy uses the Blackboard and Canvas learning management systems to deliver coursework asynchronously. Troy updates its virtual student union, Trojan Café, on a weekly basis. The site hosts articles, tips, discussion forums, and announcements.

Troy requires applicants under the age of 25 to submit ACT or SAT scores. The school grants unconditional admission to students who earn a 20 or 950, respectively, and maintained a minimum 2.0 GPA in high school. Troy requires applicants who are over age 25 and did not maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA to submit standardized test scores as well. The school grants conditional admission to applicants who earned at least a 17 on the ACT or 830 on the SAT and maintained a minimum 2.5 GPA in high school. To be admitted, transfer applicants must have completed at least 24 credits at a regionally accredited institution with a GPA of at least 2.0.


Program Overview
Department: Political Science
Program name: Bachelor's in Political Science
Available concentrations: American politics & public administration, international politics
Accrediting body: SACS
Tuition: $338/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous & synchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 120 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 4 years
Program start dates: August, October, January, March, May

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: 2.0 minimum
Standardized tests: SAT or ACT (unless over the age of 24)

Admission Requirements
Department phone: (800) 414-5756
School email: ask@troy.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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8 University of Maryland-University College 57.92 4% Adelphi, MD

The University of Maryland University College is a member of the University System of Maryland. Members of the military, their families, veterans, and adult learners make up a significant portion of UMUC students.

UMUC's online BS in political science is a 120-credit program. Major courses, consisting of 30 credits, address topics such as political science, theory, government, terrorism, war, law, and statistics. Consisting of 41 credits, general education requirements include classes in computing, writing, arts, the physical and social sciences, research, and math. Students also complete 49 elective credits. Most courses are offered in eight-week sessions and all are offered online asynchronously through the Learning Experience Online (LEO) platform. Select courses may also be offered in a hybrid format for those who wish to complete part of their studies on campus.

Online students benefit from access to academic advisers, tutoring and writing centers, mentoring, career services, technical support, and library services. Most textbooks are available at no cost through UMUC's open resource program.

Applicants should submit either a high school transcript, a college transcript with at least 24 semester hours of credit, or GED scores. UMUC does not require standardized test scores. Admissions decisions are made on a rolling basis, and students have the option to start the online political science degree program at one of 11 start dates throughout the year: four in the fall, four in spring, and three in summer. Learners may transfer up to 70 credits from a community college and 90 from a regionally accredited university into the degree program. UMUC accepts international study on a case-by-case basis. The school's in-state tuition rate is priced lower per-credit than its out-of-state counterpart, and military students pay a ower rate of $250 per credit.


Program Overview
Department: Healthcare & Science
Program name: Bachelor's of Science in Political Science
Accrediting body: MSCHE
Tuition: $289/credit in-state; $499/credit out-of-state

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 120 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 4 years
Program start dates: August, September, October, January, February, March, May, June

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling

Admission Requirements
Department phone: (240) 684-2850
Department email: maryfrances.lebamoff@umuc.edu (Mary Frances Lebamoff, Program Chair)
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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9 University of Nebraska at Omaha 55.00 46% Omaha, NE

The only urban extension of the University of Nebraska system and founded in 1869, the University of Nebraska-Omaha enrolls more than 15,000 students, most of whom live off-campus. UNO offers a concentration in political science for online undergraduate students pursuing a bachelor's of general studies.

This undergraduate degree requires the completion of 120 credits, 30 of which consist of the political science concentration. Concentration-related online political science courses allow students to explore political history, theory, and analysis; government; law; international relations; and politics as they relate to gender, ethnicity, identity, and race. Students may use the program's designated 26 elective credits to further their study of politics by pursuing extra courses in areas of interest. This political science online degree also requires students to study two secondary fields, each one consisting of 12 credits. The school offers an optional, nine-credit related field study in criminology, economics, world geography, history, and sociology as well.

UNO uses the Blackboard learning management system to deliver course materials. Instruction is delivered asynchronously, but students are expected to submit weekly assignments at set deadlines. Online students have access to the Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Library, which hosts more than 200 databases. UNO's library also features more than 400,000 ebooks and documents, as well as an Online Learning Resource Guide.

Applicants should submit high school and/or college transcripts. High school graduates should have completed the requisite number of English, math, science, and foreign language requirements. An ACT score of 20 or its SAT equivalent is preferred. Admissions are processed three times a year for three program start dates, one in the fall, another in the spring, and the final in summer. Transfer applicants should hold a GPA of at least 2.0. UNO determines credit tuition rates by residency.


Program Overview
Department: College of Public Affairs & Community Service - Division of Continuing Studies
Program name: Bachelor's of General Studies
Available concentrations: Political science
Accrediting body: HLC
Tuition: $264/credit in-state; $489/credit out-of-state

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous & synchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 120 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 4 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Fall - August 1; spring - December 1; summer - June 1
Standardized tests: ACT or SAT (only if fewer than 24 transferable credits)

Admission Requirements
Department phone: (402) 554-2276
Department email: unodcs@unomaha.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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10 University of Wisconsin-Whitewater 51.67 58% Whitewater, WI

The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater became part of the public University of Wisconsin system in 1971. The university presently enrolls more than 12,000 students. UWW's online BA and BS programs in political science are degree-completion programs for students who have earned at least 12 undergraduate credits.

The online political science degree requires 120 credits in total, 32 of which are comprised of general education courses and 34 of which are in the major. The major includes coursework in subjects such as American government, public policy and administration, comparative government, international relations, and political theory. Additionally, BA students must demonstrate that they have a certain level of proficiency in a foreign language (equivalent to one year of college-level study), while BS students are required to complete several math and lab science courses. All political science degree online students must also choose a minor. Like their on-campus counterparts, the school encourages political science degree online students to participate in research and internships.

UWW uses Desire2Learn for asynchronous course material delivery. Students may also take certain classes on campus as part of a hybrid program. Online students enjoy access to career services and the library, which offers free document delivery to distance students, web chat, and an extensive ebook collection.

Applicants to this political science degree online program should hold a GPA of at least 2.0. Applicants who have not completed 12 college credits may still apply and will be evaluated for admission based on their high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. UWW's tuition rate includes textbook rentals but tuition varies based on residency. Wisconsin and Minnesota residents receive discounts. Financial aid consisting of scholarships, grants, and loans is available to all qualified online students. Students should apply for certain scholarships outside of their regular financial aid application.


Program Overview
Department: Political Science
Program name: Bachelor's of Arts or Bachelor's of Science in Political Science
Available concentrations: American government & politics, public policy & administration, comparative government & politics, international relations & political theory
Accrediting body: HLC
Tuition: $3,825/term full-time, in-state; $8,111/term full-time, out-of-state

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous & synchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 120 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 4 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: 2.0 minimum on college-level coursework
Standardized tests: SAT or ACT (only if fewer than 12 transferable credits)

Admission Requirements
Department phone: (262) 472-1532
Department email: gimbele@uww.edu (Dr. Edward Gimbel, Associate Professor of Political Science)
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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11 Southern New Hampshire University 50.28 59% Manchester, NH

Founded in 1932 in Manchester as a business school, this private institution began granting degrees in 1963 and today offers accredited political science degrees online. About 3,000 students attend classes on SNHU's campus, while more than 80,000 do so online.

SNHU's BA in political science degree program consists of 120 credits of general education, major-related, and free elective courses. The school's general education core consists of only 10 courses, so students have plenty of time to immerse themselves in courses relating to their major. The major offers courses in American history, politics, government, international relations, law, and comparative and world politics. Course offerings feature special courses in disaster relief, campaign organizing, and municipal operations, all geared to produce a deeper understanding of American policies. The university also offers classes in political theory, analysis, and research. Students take up to 21 credits of electives. SNHU uses Blackboard to deliver course materials asynchronously. Classes are conducted in eight-week terms that begin six times each year.

Online students have access to SNHUconnect, a virtual student union, as well as to an online writing center, academic advising, 24/7 tutoring, disability resources, technical support, and wellness educational resources. SNHU's Shapiro Library features more than 100 full text databases and offers interlibrary loan and electronic document delivery services.

Applying for this online political science degree is easy. Applicants just need to fill out the free online application and accompanying transcript release form. Decisions are made on a rolling basis. Transfer applicants may transfer up to 90 credits towards the political science online degree so long as they earned a "C-" or higher in the courses they're transferring. Tuition costs the same low per-credit rate regardless of residency, but active military students and their spouses receive an additional 30% discount.


Program Overview
Department: Social Sciences
Program name: Bachelor's of Arts in Political Science
Accrediting body: NEASC
Tuition: $320/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 121 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 4 years
Program start dates: September, October, January, March, May, July

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling

Admission Requirements
Department phone: (888) 387-0861
Admissions email: enroll@snhu.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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12 National University 47.36 23% La Jolla, CA

National University specializes in educating adult learners. Students enrolled in the school's online BA in political science learn about topics such as political theory, comparative politics, international relations, American and international politics, and public policy. The major consists of 10 core classes and seven electives.

Unlike other accredited political science degrees online, NU's is awarded after the completion of 180 quarter units instead of 120 semester credits (most courses are composed of four and a half quarter units). Students take one course per month during the 32-week-long academic year. Students who have earned a GPA of at least 3.0 may continue to the university's master of public administration transition program.

Online students benefit from access to library services that include tutorials, research guides, and staff guidance. Students can also consult career services; the help desk; disability services; and the school's math, academic success, and writing centers. As NU's student body includes many active or former members of the military, the university also hosts a facility specifically for veterans.

Applications are accepted year-round. All undergraduate applicants who have not completed any college level English or math classes must take the free ACCUPLACER mathematics and English evaluation. The school automatically admits transfer applicants from regionally accredited institutions who hold a GPA of 2.0 or higher as political science degree online students. Those with a GPA of below 2.0 may still be admitted on a conditional basis. To earn the degree, transfer students must complete at least 45 quarter units at NU, and 76.5 units must consist of upper division courses. In-state and out-of-state students pay the same per-credit tuition rate. NU tiers tuition based on class level. Four classes in the political science program are priced slightly higher than the rest but only one of them is required (the other three courses are optional electives).


Program Overview
Department: College of Letters & Sciences - Department of Social Sciences
Program name: Bachelor's of Arts in Political Science
Accrediting body: WASC
Tuition: $362/credit for 100-400 level courses; $416/credit for 500-level courses

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous & synchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 180 quarter credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 4 years
Program start dates: Monthly

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: 2.0 minimum

Admission Requirements
Department phone: (858) 642-8494
Department email: shanish@nu.edu (Dr. Shak Hanish, Program

Admission Requirements)
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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13 Columbia College 46.11 42% Columbia, MO

Based in Missouri, Columbia College serves students at 36 locations around the country. The college also educates more than 16,000 online students annually. This non-sectarian school is affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

CC's BA in political science is a 120-semester hour degree. Students take 18 hours of general education courses, which include an ethics class, 18 hours of foundational political science classes, and 30 hours of major-related electives. Political science subject matter includes American government, international relations, international studies, the presidency, ethics, and political philosophy. Students must also complete six semester hours of a foreign language. To round out their education, students may also pursue between 22 and 25 semester hours of free electives in other interest areas. This program is also an excellent foundation for graduate studies: more than 95% of degree recipients go on to continue their studies in graduate school.

Online courses run in six eight-week sessions per year. The college employs the Desire2Learn learning management system to deliver materials asynchronously. Online students benefit from access to academic advisers, career advisers, and virtual veteran services. Columbia's Stafford Library also provides an Online Campus Library Guide, which includes course guides, tutorials, and citation information.

In comparison to other political science degree online schools, applying to this political science degree online program is a simple process. Applicants need only submit their official transcripts from high school or college, or GED scores. (Military students should submit their Joint Services transcript.) The school reviews applications on a rolling basis and, in turn, the school sets no application deadline. Once admitted, students complete an online orientation. Students pay tuition at a per-semester hour rate, and the school's tuition rate is the same for all non-military students regardless of state residency. Military students receive a tuition discount and pay a lower tuition rate.


Program Overview
Department: School of Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences - Department of History, Philosophy, & Political Science
Program name: Bachelor's of Arts in Political Science
Available concentrations: American politics, international studies
Accrediting body: HLC
Tuition: $290/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 120 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 4 years
Program start dates: May, June, August, October, January, March, April

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling

Admission Requirements
Department phone: (573) 875-7570
Department email: hass@ccis.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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14 Indiana University East 43.89 25% Richmond, IN

Located in Richmond, Indiana University East is part of the renowned public Indiana University system. The university currently serves more than 4,500 students and its online BS in Political Science is tailored to the needs of undergraduates who have accumulated 60 or more semester hours of college credit while maintaining a GPA of at least 2.0.

The program is designed to be completed in two years of full-time study. Students take four classes per semester (fall and spring only) to amass 60 credits. All degree students must complete at least 30 hours, including 15 hours in the major, at IU East. Political science students must also complete 36 hours of advanced-level courses, 18 of which should be in the major. Subject matter includes American politics, international relations, comparative politics, and political theory. By the end of the program, students will know how to analyze individual and group political behavior. Learners must receive a grade of "C" or better in their writing course and maintain a cumulative 2.0 GPA in all major-related classes in order to graduate. Students also complete a culminating writing project that directly relates to their studies in political science. The school delivers course materials through Canvas.

Online students have access to the IU East library, which is part of the extensive IU Library system and has millions of resources such as books, ebooks, and full text databases. The library also offers reference assistance through email and chat.

Applying to this political science degree online school is simple. Applicants should submit the online or paper application and provide transcripts from their prior institutions of higher learning. Out-of-state residents pay a moderately higher per-credit tuition rate than Indiana residents. IU East awards over $30 million in financial aid, which includes grants and scholarships, per year.


Program Overview
Department: School of Humanities & Social Sciences
Program name: Bachelor's of Science in Political Science Degree Completion
Accrediting body: HLC
Tuition: $216/credit in-state; $309/credit out-of-state

Delivery
Format: Online or hybrid
Instruction style: Asynchronous & synchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: 60 credits
Credit requirements: 60 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling

Admission Requirements
Department phone: (765) 973-8208
Admissions email: applynow@iue.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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15 Brescia University 43.89 46% Owensboro, KY

Brescia University is a small Roman Catholic institution in Owensboro, Kentucky accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. More than 70% of its faculty members hold the highest degree available in their field.

To earn a BA in political science from BUonline, students must complete 128 credits, including 57 credits of general education courses and 27 credits of political science classes (breaking down to 18 credits of required classes and nine of politics electives). Students also benefit from ample room for electives. Political science students pursue classes such as American government, international relations, comparative political systems, public policy, constitutional law, and campaigns and elections. The program also requires that students complete a math class.

Brescia uses the Moodle learning platform to deliver online political science courses. Standing apart from many other political science degree online schools, Brescia requires students to log on at regularly scheduled weekly time to participate in classroom chat sessions. However, Brescia's program delivers flexibility by allowing students to complete their studies in as little as two years (courses are scheduled in four eight-week sessions -- modules -- throughout the year).

Online students receive extensive support from the university's Fr. Leonard Alvey Library. Its resources include live distance instruction, research assistance, citation information, and various tutorials.

To apply, students should submit their online application with their high school or college transcripts. The school makes admission decisions on a rolling basis, and assigns each applicant his or her own personal admissions counselor. Brescia also has a generous transfer credit policy. Applicants may transfer up to 67 credits from a community college and up to 86 from a university. Tuition is the same per-credit rate for both Kentucky and out-of-state residents. Online students may qualify for financial aid by filling out the FAFSA.


Program Overview
Department: Social & Behavioral Sciences
Program name: Bachelor's of Arts in Political Science
Available concentrations: American government/public administration, international relations
Accrediting body: SACS
Tuition: $425/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous & synchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 128 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling

Admission Requirements
Department phone: (270) 686-4252
Department email: socialscience@brescia.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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A political science degree online is for students interested in politics and political theory. Political science graduates find careers in government, law, business, advocacy groups, teaching, and journalism. An online political science degree covers a broad range of topics.

CONCENTRATIONS OFFERED FOR AN ONLINE BACHELOR’S IN POLITICAL SCIENCE

Concentration Description Potential Careers
American politics This concentration focuses on analyzing and understanding the American political system using historical and contemporary case studies. The concentration typically looks at institutions, politicians, the public, law, the media, and diversity to try to understand how the political system has evolved and how to create change. Governmental positions (local, state, and federal level), lawyer, advocate in the nonprofit field, lobbyist
Comparative/international politics This concentration is similar to the American politics concentration but is expanded to analyze and compare politics at a global level. More focus is given to understanding and resolving conflict. A comparative politics concentration also spends time looking at why politics differ from country to country. Governmental positions, international business, international legal positions, NGOs
Political theory A political theory concentration (sometimes called political philosophy) focuses on the theoretical underpinnings of the political and legal system. Courses explore philosophical questions about the meaning of justice, the social order, and authority. Students who want a theoretical understanding of politics should consider this concentration. Teaching, law, governmental positions

CURRICULUM FOR AN ONLINE BACHELOR’S IN POLITICAL SCIENCE

Political science degree online schools offer a range of courses that can vary between schools. Some sample online political science courses are listed below.

  • The American political system: This course introduces students to how the American political system has worked historically and how it functions today. It also gives an overview of the field. Topics covered include institutional foundations of U.S. politics and activities of politicians, citizens, and organizations. This introductory course is helpful for students interested in any career dealing with politics or the government.
  • Constitutional law: This course looks at constitutional law in the United States from a contemporary and historical point of view. The intentions of the founding fathers are considered while the role of the Supreme Court and changes in society over time are also examined. The three branches of government and their separate roles are discussed. Future lawyers and government workers benefit from this course.
  • Political protest: This course examines the role of protest in either American or global politics. Topics include protesters, protest strategies, and response to protest from the government, the public, and the media. Students also analyze the way that protests and governmental responses to protest change depending on type of government and epoch. This course develops necessary skills for students interested in pursuing careers in advocacy and nonprofit groups.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET AN ONLINE BACHELOR’S IN POLITICAL SCIENCE?

Factors affecting program length include the number of courses available each term, if a student attends classes full-time or part-time, and the number of transfer credits a student has when beginning the program.

Some programs give students the choice to go at their own pace, while others adopt a cohort learning approach. In cohort programs, students progress through the program together, taking the same courses each term. The cohort approach fosters a community of learners who support each other. Students who go at their own pace may have more flexibility in how many courses they take and when they take them. On average, it takes two-and-a-half to four years to complete a political science degree online.

When looking at political science degree online schools, it’s important to make sure the school chosen is accredited. Accreditation is a voluntary process in which a school is evaluated to make sure it meets minimum educational standards.

There are two types of accreditation: regional and national. Regional accreditation agencies concentrate on specific geographic regions of the country. National accreditation agencies can accredit schools in any part of the country and typically work with for-profit and faith-based schools. Regional accreditation is more widely recognized, and regionally accredited institutions tend to accept transfer credits. By choosing an accredited school, students can be assured they will get a quality education. Many political science online degrees at the bachelor’s level are not accredited separately from the school.

Two organizations play important roles in accreditation: the Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. The Department of Education (DOE) is a U.S. government agency that establishes policy and coordinates federal assistance, including student loans and grants. The DOE publishes a list of nationally recognized accreditors that students can trust. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation is an organization of degree-granting American colleges and universities. Its purpose is to coordinate the accreditation process for higher education in the United States by ensuring the quality of accrediting agencies. For a list of all accredited schools, visit the Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

JOB PLACEMENT: BACHELOR’S IN POLITICAL SCIENCE

The political science field is relatively small, and little to no job growth is projected in the coming years. Thankfully, this is not the only career option for those who earn a bachelor’s in political science; graduates ― particularly those with good grades and solid recommendations ― are well-positioned to compete for jobs in business, creative media, and social services.

Unemployment rates for political science graduates will vary by their specific job title. Using data from U.S. News & World Report, the table below looks at the current employment rates for some of the most common jobs among political science bachelor’s recipients. Comparatively, the average unemployment rate for all occupations nationwide currently sits at 4.5%.

Occupation Unemployment Rate (2017)
Public Relations Specialist 1.1%
Paralegal 2.8%
Market Research Analyst 3.1%
Interpreter and Translator 4.0%
Political Scientist 7.9%
Fundraiser 8.1%
Technical Writer 8.7%

Source: U.S. News & World Report

EARNING A LIVING

Like unemployment rates and projected job outlook, the earning potential for those with a bachelor’s in political science will often boil down to their experience level and current title, as well as the size of their employer and their city/state of employment. The table below features 20-year salary growth projections for five of common careers among those who have earned a bachelor’s in political science.

Occupation Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 Years) Median Annual Salary for Experienced Employees (10-20 Years) Median Annual Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ Years)
Public Relations Specialist $41,877 $54,057 $60,563 $60,173
Public Relations Manager $51,770 $67,115 $74,905 $75,446
Campaign Manager $50,474 $61,609 $79,208 $73,469
Marketing Manager $54,369 $65,768 $73,016 $77,213
Human Resources Specialist $44,951 $50,430 $54,645 $61,124

Source: PayScale

All five occupations experience salary growth of at least 36% after 20 years on the job. PR managers reported the highest growth rate: a 45.7% increase in earnings between the entry-level and late-career stages. Campaign managers ranked closely at second with 45.6% career salary growth, followed by PR specialists with 43.7% salary growth.

Career Opportunities

Those who earn a bachelor’s in political science will be qualified for dozens of jobs in a wide range of industries, although individual eligibility may depend on their chosen concentration. Four popular career pathways in political science are outlined below.

Public Relations Specialists: Public relations specialists (also known as PR specialists) create a positive image for individuals and organizations in order to generate public interest. Their day-to-day duties include writing press releases, scheduling public appearances, coordinating interviews with journalists, and engaging in social media marketing on behalf of their clients.

Public Relations and Fundraising Managers: PR and fundraising managers design the materials used to promote and raise money for individuals, organizations, and social causes. PR and fundraising both play an important role in modern politics, and these managers often find work with elected officials, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations.

Advertising, Promotions and Marketing Managers: These managers develop and coordinate programs designed to generate public buzz about a person, place, or product. Those with a background in political science are well-suited for the data analysis, demographic research, community outreach, and communication that this job entails.

Human Resources Specialists: HR specialists are responsible for recruiting new employees, screening job applicants, conducting interviews, and providing orientation programs for workers when they begin work. The BLS notes that 14% of HR specialists are work for local, state, or federal government employers.

Occupation Median Annual Salary Projected Industry Growth (2014-24)
Public Relations Specialists $56,770 6% (+14,900 jobs)
Public Relations and Fundraising Managers $104,140 7% (+4,700 jobs)
Advertising, Promotions and Marketing Managers $127,560 9% (+19,700 jobs)
Human Resources Specialists $59,180 5% (+22,000 jobs)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Professional Organizations

Making professional connections and learning about different approaches to political science is crucial to your success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you’ll find three of the country’s most prominent organizations established for political science professionals. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates. Resources like these often prove invaluable as you complete your degree requirements and prepare to enter the job market.

  • American Political Science Association: Founded in 1903, the APSA today represents more than 13,000 members in 80 different countries. The association published four different peer-reviewed journals and hosts a handful of events, including an annual exhibition in a different major city each year.
  • International Political Science Association: UNESCO established IPSA in 1949 to “support the development of political science in all parts of the world, building academic networks linking East and West, North and South”. Membership is offered at individual, institutional, and collective rates.
  • International Association for Political Science Students: The IAPSS represents more than 1,000 students worldwide and publishes two peer-reviewed journals. Membership benefits include voting rights in general assembly meetings held each year, an invitation to join different committees, and complimentary magazine and journal subscriptions.

Despite the relative affordability of online bachelor’s programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about financial aid options.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today’s college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE COLLEGE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you’ll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn’t always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR WOMEN

Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We’ve curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family’s financial future. We’ve compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.

SCHOLARSHIPS AND FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE STUDENTS

Students who pursue online degrees will be eligible for scholarships, grants and other financial aid that is unavailable to their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Learn more about these financial opportunities for web-based learners.

MASTER’S IN FINANCE

Finance — the study of money and asset management — is one of the most popular degree concentrations for MBA students. Learn about the best schools for this area of study with our comprehensive degree guide.

MASTER’S IN HUMAN RESOURCES

Another popular specialization field for MBA students, human resources (or HR) focuses on hiring, new employee orientation and other administrative needs. Visit our guide to master’s degrees in HR for more information.

BUSINESS RESOURCES

Our page dedicated to resources for business students includes links to professional organizations, open courseware, industry publications, books and business-minded users to follow on Twitter.

BUSINESS CAREERS

Our career page for business degree graduates includes a state-by-state breakdown of business careers and academic options for business students, as well as popular job sites, professional organizations and continuing education opportunities for established professionals.