Best Online Bachelor’s in Political Science

TBS Staff Writers
by
Updated October 23, 2023
Find the best online bachelor's in political science with our list of top-rated schools that offer accredited online programs.

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Political Science Degree Online

Online bachelor’s degree programs in political science give students the flexibility to balance their studies with professional and personal obligations. Learners in these programs study political systems and behavior while strengthening critical thinking, analytical, and writing skills.

Graduates who earn a bachelor of political science online can work as policy analysts, political consultants, legislative assistants, and public relations specialists. Those who pursue a master’s degree can become political scientists — a job with a median salary of over $128,020 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

An online bachelor’s in political science degree provides a foundation for many careers, preparing graduates for jobs in policy development, lobbying, journalism, and education. This is good, because political science is a rapidly evolving discipline that mirrors the current political climate of the United States. Furthermore, renewed interest in the field means there may be more students considering degrees in political science. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that between 2022 and 2032, political science positions will increase by 7%.

Best Political Science Online Programs

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Choosing an Online Bachelor’s in Political Science Program

Depending on whether your degree is a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science, it’s likely that some of the requirements may be a bit different, both in the general education and major curriculum. Regardless of which degree type you are earning, there will be some similar elements between them.

Students earning a political science degree online can pursue an emphasis or a minor in areas such as history, journalism, communications, and economics. Courses within the major often emphasize areas like international relations, political theory, and the justice system. Graduation requirements will vary from school to school, and may include thesis projects, internships, or capstone courses. The important thing to remember is that these programs are often highly customizable, allowing students to choose courses and academic paths that best suit their needs and career goals.

Graduation requirements will vary from school to school, and may include thesis projects, internships, or capstone courses.

What Will I Learn in an Online Bachelor’s in Political Science Program?

Online political science programs offer similar courses. The sample curriculum below will give you an idea of what subjects you can expect to encounter while pursuing this degree.

  • Political Theory: This course is generally offered at introductory and advanced levels in many online political science programs. It covers the foundations of political theory and offers practical applications in today’s political climate.
  • International Relations: Any student of political science will likely encounter at least one course in international relations. Courses in this area can cover many topics, such as how various foreign countries are governed, current U.S. policies regarding foreign relations, and various current issues and conflicts around the world.
  • The Legal Process in America: An online political science degree provides the skills for careers in many fields, including law. Many political science programs offer courses in American law and the legal process, detailing topics such as criminal justice and the various other policies and procedures.

Accreditation for Online Bachelor’s in Political Science Degrees

When looking into earning your political science degree online, one of the most important factors to consider is accreditation. When a program is accredited, it means an accrediting organization has verified the academic merit of the program. There are a few different types of accreditation to keep in mind. Colleges and universities are accredited either regionally or nationally. Regional accreditation is the more common and popular of the two types. Some regionally accredited programs will not accept credits from nationally accredited schools.

Some programs may also have program-specific accreditation. While institutional accreditation is adequate for things like federal student aid, program-specific accreditation is another way of ensuring the program you choose meets important field-related standards. Political science programs, for example, may be accredited by the American Political Science Association.

Online Bachelor’s in Political Science Careers

Students in political science programs learn many skills, which prepare them for different careers. The jobs below are just a few examples of what graduates can pursue.

Paralegals and Legal Assistants

Median Salary: $59,200Projected Job Growth: 4%

With the background in law provided by a political science online degree, graduates can work as paralegals or legal assistants. These professionals work alongside practicing lawyers to help maintain files, do research for cases, and even draft legal documents. They may work in private practices or within larger corporations.

Reporters, Correspondents, and Broadcast News Analysts

Median Salary: $55,960Projected Job Growth: -3%

An online political science degree provides preparation for careers in communication or journalism, particularly as news analysts or reporters. These professionals often report on politics on the local, national, and international levels.

High School Teachers

Median Salary: $62,360Projected Job Growth: 1%

Many political science programs cover subjects in history and the social sciences, which help prepare graduates to become secondary school instructors. These teachers generally work in their area of interest, teaching students in grades 9–12. State licensure must be acquired prior to entering this field, which has additional requirements.

Top Political Science Online Programs

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Best Online Bachelor’s in Political Science Programs

The school and/or program descriptions below were drafted using natural language generation technology and have been edited for clarity and accuracy. The data is primarily sourced from government databases such as IPEDS – see sources section for more details.

#1 Best Online Bachelor’s in Political Science

Florida International University

  • Location-markerMiami, FL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$4,721
  • Out-of-state$16,529
  • Retention Rate91%
  • Acceptance Rate58%
  • Students Enrolled58,836
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment86%
  • AccreditationYes
#2 Best Online Bachelor’s in Political Science

University of Central Florida

  • Location-markerOrlando, FL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$4,478
  • Out-of-state$19,810
  • Retention Rate92%
  • Acceptance Rate45%
  • Students Enrolled71,881
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment9%
  • AccreditationYes
#3 Best Online Bachelor’s in Political Science

Southern New Hampshire University

  • Location-markerManchester, NH
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$9,600
  • Out-of-state$9,600
  • Retention Rate67%
  • Acceptance Rate94%
  • Students Enrolled134,345
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment96%
  • AccreditationYes
#4 Best Online Bachelor’s in Political Science

Arizona State University Digital Immersion

  • Location-markerScottsdale, AZ
  • 4 year
  • Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$10,710
  • Out-of-state$10,820
  • Retention Rate0%
  • Acceptance Rate73%
  • Students Enrolled53,993
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment0%
  • AccreditationYes
#5 Best Online Bachelor’s in Political Science

Rutgers University-New Brunswick

  • Location-markerNew Brunswick, NJ
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$12,230
  • Out-of-state$29,012
  • Retention Rate93%
  • Acceptance Rate67%
  • Students Enrolled50,411
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment33%
  • AccreditationYes
#6 Best Online Bachelor’s in Political Science

Fort Hays State University

  • Location-markerHays, KS
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$4,140
  • Out-of-state$14,580
  • Retention Rate78%
  • Acceptance Rate91%
  • Students Enrolled15,033
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment57%
  • AccreditationYes
#7 Best Online Bachelor’s in Political Science

Keiser University-Ft. Lauderdale

  • Location-markerFort Lauderdale, FL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$19,808
  • Out-of-state$19,808
  • Retention Rate60%
  • Acceptance Rate97%
  • Students Enrolled20,330
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment48%
  • AccreditationYes
#8 Best Online Bachelor’s in Political Science

Johnson & Wales University-Online

  • Location-markerProvidence, RI
  • 4 year
  • Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$13,365
  • Out-of-state$13,365
  • Retention Rate50%
  • Acceptance Rate36%
  • Students Enrolled2,152
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment0%
  • AccreditationYes
#9 Best Online Bachelor’s in Political Science

University of Arizona

  • Location-markerTucson, AZ
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$10,990
  • Out-of-state$33,273
  • Retention Rate85%
  • Acceptance Rate85%
  • Students Enrolled45,601
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment56%
  • AccreditationYes
#10 Best Online Bachelor’s in Political Science

Kennesaw State University

  • Location-markerKennesaw, GA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$4,450
  • Out-of-state$15,704
  • Retention Rate80%
  • Acceptance Rate83%
  • Students Enrolled41,181
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment94%
  • AccreditationYes
#11 Best Online Bachelor’s in Political Science

Indiana University-East

  • Location-markerRichmond, IN
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$7,067
  • Out-of-state$19,926
  • Retention Rate67%
  • Acceptance Rate67%
  • Students Enrolled3,434
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment97%
  • AccreditationYes
#12 Best Online Bachelor’s in Political Science

National University

  • Location-markerSan Diego, CA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$13,320
  • Out-of-state$13,320
  • Retention Rate45%
  • Acceptance Rate89%
  • Students Enrolled18,070
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment44%
  • AccreditationYes
#13 Best Online Bachelor’s in Political Science

Texas Tech University

  • Location-markerLubbock, TX
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$8,683
  • Out-of-state$20,953
  • Retention Rate87%
  • Acceptance Rate70%
  • Students Enrolled40,322
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment54%
  • AccreditationYes
#14 Best Online Bachelor’s in Political Science

University of Maryland Global Campus

  • Location-markerAdelphi, MD
  • 4 year
  • Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$7,200
  • Out-of-state$11,976
  • Retention Rate55%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled58,526
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment92%
  • AccreditationYes
#15 Best Online Bachelor’s in Political Science

Oregon State University

  • Location-markerCorvallis, OR
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$9,846
  • Out-of-state$29,445
  • Retention Rate85%
  • Acceptance Rate82%
  • Students Enrolled32,312
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment52%
  • AccreditationYes
#16 Best Online Bachelor’s in Political Science

American Public University

  • Location-markerCharles Town, WV
  • 4 year
  • Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$6,840
  • Out-of-state$6,840
  • Retention Rate98%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled50,047
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment0%
  • AccreditationYes
#17 Best Online Bachelor’s in Political Science

Washington State University

  • Location-markerPullman, WA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$10,202
  • Out-of-state$25,145
  • Retention Rate81%
  • Acceptance Rate80%
  • Students Enrolled31,159
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment28%
  • AccreditationYes
#18 Best Online Bachelor’s in Political Science

University of Missouri-St. Louis

  • Location-markerSaint Louis, MO
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$11,328
  • Out-of-state$29,970
  • Retention Rate82%
  • Acceptance Rate58%
  • Students Enrolled13,874
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment62%
  • AccreditationYes
#19 Best Online Bachelor’s in Political Science

Liberty University

  • Location-markerLynchburg, VA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$14,791
  • Out-of-state$14,791
  • Retention Rate81%
  • Acceptance Rate50%
  • Students Enrolled93,349
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment93%
  • AccreditationYes
#20 Best Online Bachelor’s in Political Science

Pennsylvania State University-World Campus

  • Location-markerUniversity Park, PA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$0
  • Out-of-state$0
  • Retention Rate0%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled0
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment0%
  • AccreditationYes

Online Bachelor’s in Political Programs Ranking Guidelines

We selected the degree programs based on the quality of program and range of courses provided as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Ranking Methodology

The motto of TheBestSchools.org is Finding the best school for you. Here is how we do it:

The value of any ranking list of schools and/or degree programs depends on having a methodologically sound assessment of each school’s/program’s characteristics, especially insofar as these can be objectively measured. A college or university is a complex entity, with numerous factors to consider, and distilling these down to the place where meaningful comparisons can be made to form a defensible ranking list becomes part science and part art.

To meet this challenge—and thereby provide you with the most useful and insightful educational rankings on the Internet — TheBestSchools.org formulates our rankings based on five informational categories (six, when considering online schools). The major metrics and qualities for which we rank are these (with expanded, detailed considerations and weights listed):

1. Academic excellence based on a school’s curriculum generally or within the selected discipline [weight = 25%]

  • Weighs school against known leading schools in that discipline
  • Weighs number of core curricula listed as advanced courses within that discipline and compares against introductory courses
  • Weighs school’s curriculum against known knowledge needs of major employers in that discipline
  • Considers number and types of specializations offered within that discipline
  • Considers faculty expertise in that discipline
  • Considers range of electives within that discipline
  • Considers quality of online environment offered to students (if applicable), particularly within that discipline

2. Strength of faculty scholarship [weight = 25%]

  • Considers education background of the faculty
  • Considers years of faculty experience both inside and outside of academia.
  • Considers faculty membership and leadership within relevant, prominent associations
  • Considers academic papers published by faculty in relevant, prominent periodicals
  • Considers awards and recognitions given to faculty members from prominent organizations and from other sources

3. Reputation [weight = 20%]

  • Considers a school’s reputation among academic peers and employers regarding the following:
    • Faculty
    • Curriculum
    • “Freshness” of academic knowledge
    • Adaptability to changes in employment sectors
    • Suitability of graduates for the workplace

4. Financial aid [weight = 10%]

  • Mandatory: Requires full accreditation from an agency endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education and listed on the federal register to accept student federal financial aid
  • Considers range of school-sponsored financial aid such as scholarships and grants

5. Range of degree programs [weight = 20%]

  • Considers range of degree levels: associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral and professional
  • Considers range of degree subjects offered, such as art & design, computers & technology, education & teaching, criminal justice, and business

6. Strength of online instruction methodology (if applicable) [weight = 25%; subtract 5% from each of the above for online schools/programs]

  • Considers the following of the online classes:
    • Types of online technology used to deliver content
    • Pedagogy style: asynchronous, synchronous, or both (depending on the degree)
    • Extent and quality of the online, community learning environment, including options for communication, interactivity, and collaboration between students and also between students and instructors
    • Variety, breadth, and depth of coursework, and its support, including project options and online tutoring
  • Considers the following of instructors:
    • Extent of training for teaching within an online learning environment
    • Amount of timely, consistent feedback to students
    • Extent of collaboration with prospective employers to ensure suitability of instructional materials for achieving desired skills
    • Ratio to number of students in a class
  • Number and quality of internships in a student’s geographical area for applicable degrees

Because students tend to review a variety of information when choosing a school, the weight a student gives any one criterion will vary. For instance, it’s not enough to offer a carefully constructed ranking of great schools if many are too expensive or too difficult to get into.

To better serve the needs of prospective students, we are therefore increasingly offering filters that help you better use our rankings to find the schools that match your specific needs. These supplement our ranking criteria and include:

  • Accreditation
  • Public or private status
  • Acceptance rate
  • Retention rate
  • Graduation rate
  • ACT/SAT requirements
  • Cost in-state / out of state
  • Undergrad, grad, or both offered
  • Region
  • State
  • City

Get the best rankings here AND get them to suit your personal needs. That’s TheBestSchools.org advantage!

If you have any questions about our ranking methodology, please contact us.

Citations: For a broader account of our ranking methodology, especially as it relates to TheBestSchools.org’s underlying educational philosophy and, in other ranking articles, looks beyond academic excellence (as here) to such factors as return on investment or incidental benefit, see our article “Ranking Methodology: How We Rank Schools at TBS./” Reputation of schools and degree programs can at least in part be gauged through the school or department’s publishing activity, citations, and desirability. At TheBestSchools.org, we keep track of such social and peer validation: “Making Sense of College Rankings./” For nuts-and-bolts information about colleges and universities, we look to the National Center for Education Statistics and especially its College Navigator. Insofar as salary and inflation data are relevant to a ranking, we look to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Finally, nothing beats contacting schools and degree programs directly, which our researchers often do, with the result that all the entries in this article should be considered as belonging to this citation!

Top Best Political Science Online Programs

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