Best Online Political Science Programs
An online bachelor's in political science isn't just for future legislators. Read on to learn about this flexible degree and its extensive career options.
Published on September 24, 2021 · Updated on August 12, 2022
In online bachelor's in political science programs, students gain foundational knowledge in areas like political theory, American politics, and political economy. Political science majors develop practical research, writing, and critical thinking skills throughout their program, preparing them for diverse careers and academic opportunities.
Political science graduates can enter various careers both within and beyond the political realm, working in business, nonprofit, and civil service positions. Earning a bachelor's in political science is also an excellent choice for degree-seekers who plan to pursue careers in government and public policy.
www.bestcolleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
Ready to start your journey?
The following page explores the ins and outs of undergraduate political science degrees. In addition to covering what students can expect in the classroom, this guide examines application requirements, career prospects for political science graduates, and the elements that make up a quality online program.
Read on to learn more about what a bachelor's in political science can offer.
What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Political Science Program?
Online bachelor's in political science students typically complete 120 credits before graduating. In addition to general education requirements, learners take classes in political theory, comparative politics, and American government. Throughout these programs, degree-seekers also hone communication, analytical, and critical thinking skills that prepare them for a variety of careers.
Political science majors can often choose between earning a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree. Students choosing the latter option supplement core requirements with more math and science courses, while those pursuing a BA typically complete additional humanities and foreign language requirements. Possible concentrations or focuses in political science programs include political theory, international relations, and comparative politics.
Online students may complete coursework asynchronously or synchronously. Asynchronous programs provide learners with more flexibility by eliminating scheduled class times. These programs use online discussion boards and collaborative projects to ensure that distance learners can still connect with their peers and professors.
Read on to learn about classes students often encounter while earning an online bachelor's in political science.
Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Programs.
Related Programs That Might Interest You
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Political Science Program?
Introduction to Comparative Politics
This introductory course covers the challenges and opportunities inherent to democratic forms of government, the persistence of non-democratic regimes, and political development in countries around the globe. Students focus on the political institutions and processes in industrialized democracies, developing nations, and post-communist regimes.
Introduction to Political Theory
In this course, students grapple with the complex relationship between citizenship, freedom, and economics, delving into the enduring ideas behind Western political thought. Channeling these intellectual challenges through thinkers like Aristotle, Locke, and Marx, students explore the how and why of the political and social experience.
Introduction to International Relations
Introducing learners to actors in global politics, this course explores the interactions and relationships between various countries. To gain an understanding of contemporary global politics, students also explore the historical intricacies and development of institutions like the United Nations and European Union.
In this course, students explore the political behaviors of citizens, activists, legislators, and politicians throughout United States history. This course covers essential topics like the presidency, civil rights, and the Constitution.
International Political Economy
Examining the issues, history, and theories within the international political economy, this course explores the behaviors, consequences, and political interactions resulting from the pursuit of wealth. Covered topics often include international trade, international economic systems, and the influence of multinational corporations.
Find the Tools You Need to Get Started on Your Degree
What Are Admission Requirements for an Online Bachelor's in Political Science Program?
Completing a thorough college application is a critical step in the admissions process. A thoughtful application gives prospective students the chance to highlight both their academic performance and the personal attributes that make them unique. Read on to learn more about standard admission requirements.
All programs require an application. Some schools accept the Common App, which allows students to apply to multiple colleges at once. Applications vary from school to school. Some require an application fee, while others do not.
While college entrance exams generally aren't as important as they used to be, many schools still use standardized test scores as a barometer for academic success. Many schools require prospective students to submit ACT or SAT scores.
Letters of Recommendation
Letters of recommendation can play a significant role in the admissions process. Metrics like GPA and standardized test scores only tell part of each applicant's story. Glowing letters of recommendation often highlight personal and intangible attributes that make prospective students unique.
Personal essays are another way prospective students can stand out from the crowd of applicants. Essays can showcase an applicant's maturity, thoughtfulness, and writing ability. Many college essays are 500-800 words in length.
While official high school transcripts verify academic performance, critically reviewing transcripts can reveal a student's ambition, breadth of academic interests, and willingness to tackle challenging topics. Schools also use academic transcripts to determine potential transfer credits.
What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Political Science Degree?
Political science graduates begin their careers armed with marketable research, writing, and analytical skills. As a result, these graduates can find work in various public, private, and nonprofit settings.
Individual career decisions influence the professional outlook for graduates with a bachelor's in political science. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 8% job growth for high school teachers between 2020 and 2030. During the same period, the BLS projects 18% job growth for market research analysts will grow by 22%. Conversely, students pursuing journalism careers enter a competitive trade with lower projected growth rates.
See where an online bachelor's in political science can take you. Learn more about political science careers.
High School Teacher
Teachers create academic lessons while teaching students the necessary knowledge to begin their professional or college careers. Often teaching classes focusing on topics like American government and civics, these professionals also help students develop research and writing skills. To work in public schools, educators must complete an approved teacher preparation program and earn state licensure.
Median Annual Salary: $62,870 (May 2020)
Whether working for newspapers, digital media, or television, political journalists often have a background in political science. These professionals investigate news stories, conduct research for assigned stories, and use contacts to conduct interviews. Some journalists enter the field immediately after earning their bachelor's degree.
Median Annual Salary: $49,300 (May 2020)
Market Research Analyst
Using research and critical thinking skills, these analysts study market conditions and their impact on the sale of goods and services. These professionals analyze the effectiveness of marketing strategies while dealing with complex data.
Median Annual Salary: $65,810 (May 2020)
Providing various support services to elected officials, legislative aides often coordinate meetings, write speeches, and summarize legal research. These professionals also monitor legislative developments, meet with constituents, and research potential legislation.
Average Annual Salary: $45,790 (September 2021)
Government Affairs Director
Laws and regulations can significantly affect a company's bottom line, and government affairs directors help them manage legal changes. Additionally, these professionals implement policy strategies, manage relationships with legislators, and help shape public relations strategies.
Average Annual Salary: $98,800 (September 2021)
Political Science Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.
Graduates with a bachelor's in political science often pursue a graduate-level education. An advanced degree often leads to expanded career options, greater expertise, and increased earning potential.
In addition to on-campus continuing education options, online degrees abound. Students interested in a political science master's degree can choose from several online options. Political science graduates also enroll in MBA programs, JD programs, and Ph.D. programs in education and public administration.
How Do I Choose an Online Bachelor's in Political Science Program?
The cost of an online bachelor's in political science can vary significantly between schools. This disparity is especially noticeable when considering the tuition rates between public and private institutions.
A program's format can also influence whether or not a particular school is an appropriate choice. For working students who need flexibility, asynchronous coursework allows them to complete course requirements largely at their own pace while managing personal and professional obligations. Additionally, students who want to complete their degrees quickly can look for accelerated programs.
One of the primary benefits of online degrees is that students can complete coursework from any location. Still, prospective learners should ask about potential on-campus or in-person requirements so that they can plan ahead. Additionally, many public institutions offer reduced tuition to in-state students.
When considering bachelor's in political science programs, a college's accreditation should play a major role. The best schools hold regional accreditation and meet rigorous standards for academics, financial aid, and student services.
Access to student support services can also determine if a school is a good choice. Services like academic advising, mental health support, mentorship opportunities, and tutoring can significantly impact students' academic success. Additionally, career services and internship opportunities often help positively shape a graduate's job prospects.
Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Political Science Programs
Rankings compiled by the the BestColleges Ranking Team
Is your school on this list? Get the BestColleges ranking seal.
How We Rank Schools
At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you can make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering transparent, inclusive, and relevant school rankings.
Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Political Science Programs
Is a bachelor's in political science worth it?
Earning an online bachelor's in political science can open up a variety of career and academic opportunities. This degree helps learners hone widely applicable research, writing, and critical thinking skills.
Additionally, online students can often manage personal and professional obligations while completing academic requirements, especially if they enroll in an asynchronous program.
What can I do with a bachelor's in political science?
Students with a bachelor's in political science develop the tools needed to tackle various careers in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.
While it may seem like a niche field for future academics and politicians, political science offers graduates the chance to pursue careers as market research analysts and high school teachers. Additionally, a bachelor's in political science is a strong choice for students planning on applying to law school.
Are political science majors in high demand?
Political science graduates can enter a variety of careers, although demand varies by sector. The BLS projects 8% job growth for high school teachers and 11% job growth for public relations specialists between 2020 and 2030.
Graduate school is another viable option for political science graduates — gaining additional expertise and training can enhance career options and earning potential.
How much money can I make with a bachelor's in political science?
How much money a political science graduate can make depends on their specific job and professional experience. For example, as of May 2020, high school teachers earned a median annual salary of $62,870.
As with most careers, gaining additional professional experience can lead to higher wages. Additionally, earning postgraduate certificates or a graduate degree can significantly increase earning potential. Political science majors who go on to earn a law degree can become lawyers, who earned a median salary of $126,930 per year, as of May 2020.
What are the highest-paying jobs I can get with a bachelor's in political science?
In addition to earning an annual median salary of over $65,000, market research analysts also enter a field that the BLS projects to grow by 22% from 2020-2030. Additionally, according to PayScale data from September 2021, government affairs directors boast an average base salary of nearly $100,000 per year.
For individuals interested in maximizing their earning potential, graduate school may be a good idea. For example, political scientists, who generally need a master's or doctoral degree, earned a median annual salary exceeding $125,000 as of May 2020.
Colleges Owe $1 Billion in Debt to U.S. Government
How Joe Biden Plans to Transform Education
BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
Compare your school options.
View the most relevant school for your interests and compare them by tuition, programs, acceptance rate, and other factors important to find your college home.