A bachelor's in political science provides graduates with the skills they need to pursue careers in the government, business, and nonprofit sectors. Many of these opportunities, including careers in social sciences and business and finance, offer strong salaries and projected growth rates.
While many students seeking a bachelor's in political science aspire to a political science career, graduates can also pursue other career paths. The program that students choose can impact their career choices. To help learners make that decision, this page provides information about common courses, careers, and requirements.
For more information, visit our bachelor's in political science program guide.
What Are the Best Online Bachelor's in Political Science Programs of 2021? Here Are Our Top 10:
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|1||University of Central Florida||Orlando, FL|
|2||Florida International University||Miami, FL|
|3||Arizona State University||Scottsdale, AZ|
|4||University of Wisconsin La Crosse||La Crosse, WI|
|5||University of Illinois Springfield||Springfield, IL|
|6||University of Wisconsin Whitewater||Whitewater, WI|
|7||Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey||New Brunswick, NJ|
|8||Texas Tech University||Lubbock, TX|
|9||Liberty University||Lynchburg, VA|
|10||Indiana University Bloomington||Bloomington, IN|
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2021 Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Political Science Programs
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University of Central Florida
|Orlando, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 73%||
UCF's bachelor's in political science program awards a BA and prepares graduates for entry-level careers and graduate study. The program features three concentrations: American politics and policy, international relations, and pre-law. All students must complete an exit exam to graduate.
Over 80% of UCF graduates find a career that aligns with their degree. Learners can prepare for professional success by accessing Handshake job-search software and cover letter critiques.
UCF offers three start dates per year, and admission requirements include a high school diploma or GED scores. Florida residents receive a significant tuition discount. New students need not submit a separate application to apply for one of UCF's Pegasus Scholarships.
Florida International University
|Miami, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 58%||
FIU's online bachelor's degree in political science requires courses in comparative politics, international relations, and political theory. Students customize their curriculum by selecting six credits of political science electives; these may include independent study and internship experiences. Learners must maintain a 2.0 cumulative GPA to graduate.
FIU helps students develop interview skills and search for job and internship opportunities. Many FIU undergraduates who complete an internship receive a job offer from their internship host after graduation.
The university's undergraduate admission requirements include ACT or SAT scores and transcripts, although standardized test requirements are waived for transfer students who hold at least 60 college credits.
Arizona State University
|Scottsdale, AZ||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 48%||
ASU's bachelor's in political science program includes coursework in political ideologies, comparative government, and empirical political inquiry. Each course involves applying new knowledge and skills to practical scenarios.
ASU's career center provides a mentor network, InterviewStream, and resume critiques. Over 90% of ASU undergraduates enter graduate school or earn a job offer shortly after graduation.
First-year applicants must have a high school diploma and submit standardized test scores. ASU's Earned Admission Track allows transfer applicants who do not meet all application requirements to gain conditional admission. Out-of-state learners pay only slightly higher tuition rates than in-state students.
University of Wisconsin La Crosse
|La Crosse, WI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 71%||
Prospective students who already hold an associate degree can consider pursuing UW-La Crosse's online bachelor's degree in political science. The 30-credit major features courses in international relations, political theory, and research methods. Students who need to take general education credits can do so on campus.
UW-La Crosse's career advisors work one-on-one with distance learners, helping them explore careers and apply to internship opportunities. The university also provides an in-depth guide on how to write persuasive essays.
First-year admission requirements include ACT or SAT scores and high school transcripts or GED scores. The university requires a minimum 2.0 undergraduate GPA for transfer credit. Minnesota residents also pay in-state tuition at UW-La Crosse.
University of Illinois Springfield
|Springfield, IL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 51%||
UIS offers an entirely online bachelor's in political science program that includes courses in American political systems, international relations, and empirical political analysis. Students also complete a relevant internship. Motivated distance learners may qualify for the honors program.
More than 90% of UIS undergraduate alumni find a job or start a graduate program within one year of earning their degree. The university's career center promotes positive career outcomes by offering resume critiques, mock interviews, and standardized test study guides.
Students must complete at least 30 undergraduate credits with a minimum 3.0 GPA before applying to the political science program. UIS charges the same per-credit tuition rate to all online learners, even if they live out of state. However, learners must live at least 50 miles outside of Springfield to qualify for this program
University of Wisconsin Whitewater
|Whitewater, WI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 58%||
Students who earn UWW's online bachelor's degree in political science can also pursue multiple minors, including paralegal and lobbying studies. Major courses include crises in American politics, law and society, and African American politics. During the program's capstone, learners complete a thesis, internship, or independent study project.
UWW's career center provides Handshake, Interview Stream, and an internship search guide. Approximately 98% of UWW's alumni find a job or enroll in another academic program.
The university admits new learners in the fall and spring semesters. Prospective first-year students should submit high school transcripts alongside ACT or SAT scores. Transfer students must have a 2.0 minimum GPA.
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
|New Brunswick, NJ||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 80%||
Rutgers oversees a bachelor's in political science program that targets learners who already hold an associate degree or significant transfer credit. Core coursework includes the nature of politics, international relations, and comparative politics. Students who maintain a high GPA qualify for the honors program, which requires a thesis.
The university's career center provides career-interest clusters, Handshake, and industry mentoring programs. About 80% of recent Rutgers graduates have found a job or enrolled in graduate school.
In addition to transfer credit, admission requirements include an essay. Some applicants may also need to provide ACT or SAT scores. As New Jersey's flagship university, Rutgers provides a significant tuition discount to Garden State residents.
Texas Tech University
|Lubbock, TX||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 60%||
TTU's online bachelor's degree in political science features courses in American public policy, administrative process, and comparative politics. Students can enroll in online classes or opt for a hybrid delivery format by taking some courses in person at one of several regional campuses.
The university's career center offers resume tips, interview guides, and salary negotiation best practices. Students who live near campus can also visit the Career Closet to pick up a set of professional clothes for free.
TTU admits new students at three points throughout the year and accepts first-year applicants with high school diplomas or GED certificates. All online learners pay the same per-credit tuition rate.
|Lynchburg, VA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 50%||
Liberty's 120-credit bachelor's in political science program features coursework in American exceptionalism, foreign policy, and political theory. The flexible curriculum features 12-14 elective courses, which may appeal to learners who want to pursue a second major. Liberty — an evangelical Christian university — also requires that all students take at least three courses covering the Bible and theology.
Nearly 75% of graduates find a job that aligns with the degree they earned at Liberty. Students can prepare for career success by participating in workshops, resume critiques, and one-on-one coaching sessions.
Prospective students must have a minimum 2.0 high school or undergraduate GPA. In addition to charging all students the same tuition rate, Liberty provides textbooks at no additional cost. Active-duty service members and veterans qualify for tuition discounts.
Indiana University Bloomington
|Bloomington, IN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 78%||
Aspiring community organizers and news analysts may be interested in IU's online bachelor's degree in political science. The program's asynchronous curriculum covers American politics, comparative politics, and political theory. Additional requirements include a senior seminar.
IU's career center has helped nearly 80% of recent undergraduates find a job or gain admission into a graduate program. Distance learners can access career coaches, internship opportunities, and career communities — groups of like-minded students who network with alumni and receive advice from industry professionals.
IU accepts applications throughout the year, and prospective first-year students should submit high school transcripts or GED scores. As Indiana's flagship university, IU provides Hoosier State residents with a significant tuition discount.
What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Political Science Program?
The program builds a strong foundation in political theory, along with analytical, communication, and critical thinking skills.
In a diverse field like political science, students encounter a variety of program types and study options. In general, the degree requires 120 credits and takes approximately four years to finish. The program builds a strong foundation in political theory, along with analytical, communication, and critical thinking skills.
Most bachelor's in political science programs award a BA degree, although some schools offer BS degrees. Outside of major coursework, BA degrees usually focus more on the humanities, while BS degrees typically emphasize math and science.
Many programs provide students with different study options based on their interests and career goals. Learners interested in a specific career path, for example, can pursue an internship in that field. Some programs also offer extensive research project opportunities and research appointments.
Political science degree-seekers may also get the opportunity to pursue a concentration, which can dramatically alter their career options. Possible concentrations may include public administration, international politics, international business, and economics. Choosing a concentration can help students narrow the focus of a broad, interdisciplinary degree, a good move for learners who already know their ideal career path.
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What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Political Science Program?
The courses students take in an online bachelor's in political science vary by school and program. However, most programs cover the same core topics. The following section provides more information about five common courses in an online bachelor's in political science.
- American Politics
American politics courses examine political foundations in the U.S., the systems in place, and the various components that interact with one another. Learners study different areas of government, including national security, the economy, and social welfare policies and programs.
- Comparative Politics
In comparative politics courses, students explore the differences in politics around the world. Covered topics may include ideology, leadership, the economy, and the political systems. Learners look at the political behaviors of other countries and discuss the causes and rationale behind them.
- Public Policy and Administration
This course focuses on the development and implementation of public policies, as well as how key policies and programs have changed or stayed the same over time. Students learn about the systems and actors that enact policies, in addition to the processes involved in passing such policies.
This course emphasizes the various political, cultural, and economic systems that have been impacted by globalization. Learners examine debates and ethical concerns related to globalization. They also discuss responses to different globalization issues, such as global crises and westernization.
- Public Service Leadership
In this course, students learn how public service officials conduct themselves in the public sphere. Learners gain insight into how public service professionals can shape policy and improve service delivery. Students also explore some of the leading tools and strategies used by professionals.
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What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Political Science Degree?
Completing a bachelor's in political science prepares graduates for diverse careers across many industries. In addition to jobs in political science, students can pursue positions in business and finance, a sector the BLS projects to grow 5% between 2019 and 2029.
Despite strong competition for these jobs, an increased demand for professionals with knowledge of globalization and market conditions bodes well for political science graduates.
Discover how a bachelor's in political science can change your future. Learn more about political science careers here.
- Market Research Analysts
Market research analysts investigate risks and opportunities for products and services within the marketplace. They research demographics, market conditions, and the competition to determine consumer appetites.
- Political Scientist
Political scientists study various political systems and policies. They may conduct research, perform data analysis, and survey public opinion. These professionals often provide organizations with forecasts or evaluations based on their findings.
- Survey Researcher
Survey researchers conduct surveys on various topics to provide organizations with insight into consumer, public, and employee opinions and feelings. These professionals research opportunities and develop questions that generate the most effective responses and response rates.
- Legal Assistant
Legal assistants support lawyers and law officials by performing research, completing paperwork, and preparing information and documents for cases. These assistants need specialized knowledge of several legal areas.
- Budget Analyst
Budget analysts evaluate organizational finances to optimize budgets and spending strategies. Analysts may also assess the performance and effectiveness of various programs and policies and advise organizations on their findings.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Political Science Programs
- Is a bachelor's in political science worth it?
Yes. A bachelor's in political science provides graduates with widely applicable skills. Graduates can pursue careers in social science and business and finance. Both sectors boast 5% projected growth between 2019 and 2029 and median annual salaries that exceed $68,000.
- What can I do with a bachelor's in political science?
Graduates can pursue various careers that leverage their strong communication and analytical skills. While most programs focus on government and public policy, students can apply their skills to many industries and careers, including financial analysis, market research, and budget analysis.
- Are political science majors in demand?
Yes, but these jobs are often competitive. The BLS projects 6% employment growth for political scientists between 2019 and 2029. Political science majors can also work in management analysis, a career the BLS projects to grow 11% between 2019 and 2029.
- How much money can I make with a bachelor's in political science?
Political science graduates can earn jobs with attractive salaries, especially for those who rise to management positions. While these careers may require additional training and experience, the median annual salary in the management industry is $105,660. Non-managerial business and financial occupations provide a median annual salary of $69,820.
- What are the highest paying jobs with a bachelor's in political science?
Political scientists earn a median annual salary of $122,220, but many positions in this field require a master's degree. Bachelor's degree-holders can pursue careers as management analysts, who earn a median annual salary of $85,260.