Political science is a rapidly evolving discipline, which mirrors the current political climate of the United States. Renewed interest in the field means there may be more students considering degrees in political science. An online political science degree provides a foundation for many careers, preparing graduates for jobs in policy development, lobbying, journalism, and education. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that between 2016 and 2026, political science positions will increase by 3%.
Choosing a 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.
For career information, skip down:
- What Will I Learn in an Online Bachelor’s in Political Science Program?
- Online Bachelor’s in Political Science Careers
- Accreditation for Online Bachelor’s in Political Science Degrees
- Political Science Professional Organizations
Online Bachelor’s in Political Science Degree Program 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.
The Best Online Bachelor’s in Political Science Programs
1. University of Central Florida
The University of Central Florida offers one of the nation’s top online political science degrees, which students can complete entirely on the web. Learners watch lectures and complete coursework according to their schedules. Students in the BA in political science program can choose from three concentrations: American politics and policy, international relations and comparative politics, or pre-law.
American politics and policy students take courses in areas such as civic engagement, presidential campaigning, and space policy. Students in the international relations and comparative politics concentration study topics including political economy, the politics of developing areas, and indigenous politics. Pre-law students explore subjects related to judicial policy and politics. In addition to 38 credit hours of major coursework, students complete 82 general education hours, including math and science classes.
Most full-time students complete the program in four years, but online students can pursue an accelerated course of study. All online students pay the in-state tuition rate, which is roughly half the rate for out-of-state learners studying on campus. UCF pairs each online student with a success coach to guide them from the admissions process to graduation. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED and a minimum 2.0 GPA.
The University of Central Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCC).
2. University of Memphis - UM Online
The University of Memphis offers a 120-credit bachelor’s in political science. Students can earn the political science degree online, on campus, or in a hybrid format. Learners develop a fundamental understanding of the mechanisms of government and gain skills needed for careers in public service, business, law, and academia.
In addition to general education courses, students complete 36 hours in American government and politics, comparative politics, international relations, and political theory. Available courses cover topics including political media, the politics of globalization, American foreign policy, and ancient political thought.
Students can join UofM’s political science honors program; applicants to the honors program must have completed their first two years with at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA and a 3.25 GPA in political science classes. Honors students complete special coursework and a senior thesis. At the commencement ceremony, the university recognizes students who successfully complete the honors program.
Most full-time students earn the degree in four years. In-state, out-of-state, and online students all pay the same tuition rate. Students have access to online tutoring and an online writing review program.
The University of Memphis is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCC).
3. University of Massachusetts - Amherst
The University of Massachusetts offers a fully online political science degree, which allows students to complete their bachelor’s degree while balancing professional and personal obligations. Because UMass offers the online bachelor of political science as a degree completion program, applicants must have at least 24 previous credits and can transfer up to 75 credits. The program is ideal for working professionals with previous college experience.
Of the 120 required credits, students must take 39 credits in political science classes. Course options include public administration, environmental policy, international relations, women and public policy, and the politics of football. The program features a pre-law concentration, which includes coursework in law and the courts. Students complete a three-credit internship; online students can select a local internship site.
Online students pay the same tuition rate as on-campus students, plus a $150 technology fee. Massachusetts residents over the age of 60 receive free tuition for online courses, provided space is available. UMass cannot currently enroll residents of Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Maryland, and Minnesota in online programs; students from these states can study on campus.
The University of Massachusetts is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (NEASC-CIHE).
4. Oregon State University
Oregon State University provides a flexible path for students to earn their political science degree online. The university offers both a BA and a BS in political science. Both programs require 120 credits, which students can complete fully online.
Along with liberal arts courses, students take political science classes in areas such as gender and the law, rural public policy, and issues in Central and European politics. Online students can complete a minor in another discipline, such as business or wildlife management. OSU graduates often pursue careers in intelligence, journalism, education, and other public service fields. Many graduates pursue advanced studies in the field or attend law school.
OSU offers four start dates per year, and online students have access to support services including online tutoring, success counseling, and career guidance. Students with previous college experience can apply transfer credit toward the degree; however, students must complete at least 45 of their final 75 credits through OSU.
Online students pay the same tuition rate as Oregon residents, though OSU assesses a small, per-credit distance education fee. Active duty military members who joined the service while residing in Oregon receive additional discounts.
OSU is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
5. University of Massachusetts - Lowell
UMass Lowell offers a bachelor’s in liberal arts with nine available concentration areas, including political science. Liberal arts students who concentrate in political science prepare for careers in government, law, and nonprofit management. Because learners must select two areas of concentration, students can further specialize through coursework in history, economics, or legal studies.
The political science concentration requires classes including politics of the internet, politics of food, and electoral politics. Students interested in graduate school can study research methods in political science, and those planning to attend law school can take coursework in the American legal system. The political science department encourages students to complete an experiential learning course that prepares them for careers or advanced studies.
All online students pay the in-state tuition rate. Transfer students can apply up to 60 previous credits towards the bachelor’s degree; to transfer credits, students must have attended an accredited institution and maintained at least a 1.7 GPA during their previous studies. UMass Lowell students must maintain a minimum 2.2 GPA.
The University of Massachusetts Lowell is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (NEASC-CIHE).
6. Indiana University - Bloomington
IU Bloomington offers a BS in political science consisting of asynchronous, online courses. Online students have no deadlines and can complete coursework according to their schedules. The flexible online program is ideal for working professionals and learners with personal obligations.
The online political science degree requires 120 credit hours, including general education coursework and major courses in areas such as Indiana politics, contemporary revolutions, political philosophy, and public opinion. Students develop an understanding of various forms of government, hone writing and research skills, and learn to develop arguments and effectively evaluate sources of information.
The same experienced faculty lead both online and on-campus courses, so distance learners receive the same quality education as on-campus students. Online learners regularly engage with their on-campus peers through discussion forums, and online students have opportunities to communicate with professors on an individual basis.
IU Bloomington offers discounted tuition for Indiana residents, and the university assesses a per-credit fee for online learners. Students can transfer up to 64 credits earned from an accredited institution. Online students have access to the same support services offered on campus, including online tutoring, guidance counseling, and technical assistance.
Indiana University Bloomington is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
7. Florida International University
Enrolling nearly 54,000 students, FIU is Miami’s largest university. FIU offers a 120-credit BA in political science that students can complete fully online. After completing general education requirements, students earning the online political science degree take 39 credits of major coursework, beginning with a class in American government and a course in either comparative politics, international relations, or political theory. Students customize the degree through electives in topics such as political violence and revolution, authoritarianism, and human rights.
Florida International University matches each online learner with a success coach who guides them through selecting and registering for courses, accessing academic support services, and finding internship and leadership development opportunities.
Applicants must submit high school transcripts and SAT or ACT scores. FIU uses a holistic admissions process and has no minimum requirements for academic achievement. Students transferring more than 60 credits do not need to submit standardized test scores.
Florida residents receive a discounted tuition rate. Online students pay a small, per-credit distance learning fee; however, distance learners are exempt from certain fees associated with studying on campus, such as parking fees.
Florida International University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCC).
8. Kennesaw State University
Kennesaw State University offers a BS in political science that prepares students for careers in public service and for graduate studies in social science. Students earning the online political science degree choose from fully online and hybrid formats; Georgia learners can attend classes at either of KSU’s metro Atlanta campuses.
The program requires 120 credit hours in areas such as great political thinkers, public polling and survey techniques, and the U.S. Congress. KSU encourages students to complete a supervised internship or a cooperative study program with a local business, nonprofit organization, or government agency. Program coordinators help online learners find convenient internship sites near their homes. The program culminates in a senior seminar that highlights the interconnectedness of political science disciplines.
The university provides personalized, online academic coaching through the student affairs office. Distance learners have access to an online writing center that provides individual guidance in both synchronous and asynchronous formats. KSU hosts an online student community, through which distance learners collaborate on projects and seek help from peers. Both residents and nonresidents pay the same tuition rate for online courses.
Kennesaw State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCC).
9. University of Illinois at Springfield
The University of Illinois at Springfield’s offers an online BA in political science. Students earning the online political science degree take foundational courses in the American political systems, political philosophy, and empirical political analysis. UIS offers online courses in both synchronous and asynchronous formats; however, the curriculum is primarily asynchronous, allowing students to watch lectures and complete assignments at their convenience.
All political science majors complete 10 hours of engaged citizenship experience, which includes an internship and participation in a speaker series on civic engagement. Distance learners watch and contribute to the speaker series online and work with university program coordinators to find a local internship site. The program culminates in a two-hour capstone seminar, and most learners complete the 120 required credit hours in about four years.
Applicants to the online program must have a minimum 3.0 high school GPA and must reside at least 50 miles outside Springfield. Maryland residents are not eligible to enroll in the university’s online programs.
Students outside Illinois enrolled in online programs receive a discount on the out-of-state tuition rate. Online learners pay an online academic support fee and must pay to take proctored exams for some classes. The university provides guaranteed tuition, so each student’s tuition rate remains the same over four years of study.
The University of Illinois at Springfield is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
10. Keiser University
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Keiser University offers a BA in political science program at 13 Florida campuses, at its Nicaragua location, and online. Students earning the political science degree online take one course at a time; at the end of each four-week class, students must pass a final exam to advance to the next course. Full-time students typically complete the 120 required credit hours in four years.
Political science students take courses on religion and politics, foreign policy in the Middle East, the global economy, and immigration law. During their final two years, students take classes in statistics, conflict resolution, critical thinking, and the history of civil rights and civil liberties. Keiser delivers online courses asynchronously through Blackboard.
Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED, but Keiser does not require applicants to submit standardized test scores or to hold a minimum GPA. Transfer students can bring up to 90 credit hours from an accredited institution, and the university partners with community colleges to ease the transfer process for associate degree holders.
In-state students pay a discounted tuition rate for online programs, and distance learners pay a small, per-credit distance learning fee.
Keiser University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCC).
11. Pennsylvania State University - World Campus
University Park, Pennsylvania
Penn State offers an online BA in political science that combines the rigor and resources of a leading public university with the convenience and flexibility of online education. Parents, professionals, and military members can pursue a bachelor’s degree in political science according to their schedule without ever visiting campus.
In addition to a general education core, the 120-credit program requires online political science courses in political theory, political research, and contemporary political ideologies. Elective options include the politics of terrorism, the politics and institutions of Latin American nations, and international political economy. Penn State delivers all online courses asynchronously and uses online discussion forums to help students learn from and support each other.
Most full-time students complete the program in four years. Penn State awards credit for prior experience; for example, veterans and active duty military members can receive credit for their service. Students can also earn credit through an exam. Transfer students can apply previous credits toward their bachelor’s.
While out-of-state learners studying online are not eligible for in-state tuition rates, some distance learners may qualify for discounted tuition. Penn State offers reduced tuition to active duty military personnel, federal employees, and dependents of military members and federal employees.
Pennsylvania State University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
12. Texas Tech University
Texas Tech is a public research university based in Lubbock. Founded in 1923, Texas Tech is the only campus in the state with a major university, law school, and medical school. The university offers an online political science degree with optional specializations in American politics, international relations, comparative politics, and policy and public administration. Most full-time students complete the 120 required credit hours in four years.
Beyond choosing a concentration, students can customize the degree through elective options such as post-communist politics, political behavior, international bargaining and security, and energy policy. All Texas Tech students must meet general education requirements and a communication literacy requirement.
All courses in the program are available entirely online. Although most classes are asynchronous, some require students to log in at a particular time for lectures or exams. Applicants must submit high school transcripts or GED verification and SAT or ACT scores. The university does not set minimum academic standards for admission.
All distance learners qualify for in-state tuition rates. Texas Tech guarantees full tuition and fees for Texas residents whose family’s adjusted gross income falls below a certain threshold.
Texas Tech University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCC).
13. University of Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa
The University of Iowa offers an online BA in political science. Graduates of the program often pursue careers in public policy, campaign management, and nonprofit and government administration. Others advance to graduate studies in law, public administration, or international relations after earning the online political science degree.
The comprehensive curriculum prepares students for careers and graduate studies in a variety of disciplines. Students complete coursework in areas such as the politics of class and inequality, the analysis of political data, Chinese politics, and American foreign policy. Learners choose a culminating experience that aligns with their academic and professional goals; students can participate in a supervised internship at a government agency or complete an undergraduate research tutorial. Distance learners work with program coordinators to find a local internship site.
Freshmen attend regular advising sessions, and the university matches students with a personal academic adviser from their major department. Online students can work with their adviser over the phone or in virtual sessions. Students must maintain at least a 2.0 GPA in major coursework. All students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of program format or state residency.
The University of Iowa is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
14. Liberty University Online
Liberty is a private, religious institution based in Lynchburg, Virginia. The university offers a bachelor’s in political science that requires 120 credit hours and develops students' understanding of government and politics through online political science classes rooted in biblical principles and history.
Program requirements are available entirely online and in an asynchronous format, making this program ideal for individuals with personal and professional responsibilities. Each course lasts eight weeks, and Liberty offers eight start dates per year. Most full-time students complete the program in about four years. Transfer students can bring up to 90 credits from previous studies. Military personnel can receive credit for their service.
Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED. Liberty may provisionally admit students with a GPA below 2.0; provisionally admitted students must take remedial coursework after consulting with an academic adviser. Liberty does not require applicants to submit standardized test scores.
Liberty has not raised tuition for online students in three years. Veterans and active duty service members receive a discounted tuition and a stipend for books and course materials. Emergency personnel, such as police officers, firefighters, and paramedics, also qualify for reduced tuition.
Liberty University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCC).
15. Washington University in St Louis
Saint Louis, Missouri
Washington University in St. Louis offers an online BS in political science that blends a liberal arts education with training in political theory and practice. Students earning the online political science degree complete 120 units and prepare for careers and advanced studies in a variety of disciplines.
Students work with an academic adviser to select courses in topics such as race and ethnicity in American politics, Israeli politics, urban administration, and business and public policy. The university encourages students to participate in an internship or directed fieldwork. The political science department maintains relationships with community organizations, government agencies, and law firms in the St. Louis area; faculty members help online students find local sites.
Applicants must have a high school diploma, or the equivalent, and a minimum 2.7 cumulative GPA. Applicants must submit a personal essay detailing their academic and professional goals. Students must maintain at least a 2.0 GPA in general education and political science courses.
Students can earn the political science degree online, on campus, or in a hybrid format. Many instructors deliver online courses asynchronously, though some require students to log in at specific times. Online students pay the same tuition rate as on-campus students, and St. Louis-area teachers and school employees may qualify for tuition discounts.
Washington University in St. Louis is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
16. South Dakota State University
Brookings, South Dakota
SDSU offers two online political science degrees: a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of science. Learners can concentrate in criminal justice, pre-law, public administration, research/graduate school preparation, teaching, or general political science.
Students complete general education coursework and foundational political science classes in topics such as American government and early and modern political philosophy. Students use elective options to design a course of study based on their professional and academic goals. Available electives explore topics including issues in local government and democracy in European nations. Most full-time students complete the 120-credit program in four years.
Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED and must either have graduated in the top 60% of their high school class, earned an ACT score of at least 18, or maintained a minimum 2.6 cumulative GPA. SDSU students must maintain at least a 2.0 GPA.
Online and on-campus students pay the same tuition rate. However, residents of South Dakota, Iowa, and Nebraska pay in-state tuition. Minnesota pay slightly more than in-state tuition, but less than the tuition rate for residents of all other states. Children of alumni receive discounted tuition, and SDSU offers scholarships for Native American students.
South Dakota State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
17. Fort Hays State University
Fort Hays State University offers more than two dozen online bachelor’s degrees, including an online BA in political science. Students complete many of the required online political science courses asynchronously through Blackboard, and the university offers some courses on DVD to serve students without a reliable internet connection. Full-time students typically take four years to complete the 124 credit hours required to earn the online political science degree.
Students choose from legal studies and public administration tracks. The legal studies track prepares students for law school through mock trials, LSAT preparation, and coursework in subjects including constitutional law and American civil liberties. The public administration track is ideal for students planning to pursue public service careers at the local, state, and federal levels. Public administration courses include budgeting, personnel management, the administrative process, and policy analysis.
Applicants must submit high school or GED transcripts and ACT scores. Students older than 22 do not need to submit standardized test scores. Out-of-state online students pay a higher tuition rate than Kansas residents but considerably less than out-of-state learners studying on campus. The university offers merit-based scholarships specifically for online students. FHSU accepts transfer credit and awards credit for military service and prior learning assessments.
Fort Hays State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
18. University of Wisconsin - La Crosse
La Crosse, Wisconsin
UW-La Crosse offers a fully online BS in political science. Students take online political science courses in topics such as interest group politics, economic justice, and health administration. The university encourages students considering graduate school to take coursework in political inquiry and analysis and in research methods in politics and government.
The university incorporates experiential learning into the political science curriculum. Students planning to attend law school can take mock trial classes to learn about court procedure. Students interested in international relations can enroll in two Model United Nations courses. Both the mock trial and Model UN courses are available online; however, these classes require synchronous participation. The university connects students with internship opportunities in government, criminal justice, and public administration.
Online and on-campus students pay the same tuition rates, though residents of Wisconsin and Minnesota receive a discount. Applicants must have a high school diploma, or the equivalent, and submit standardized test scores. The average admitted freshman at UW-Lacrosse has an ACT score between 23 and 27 and graduates in the top 69–90% of their high school glass. The university accepts transfer credits from accredited institutions and awards credits for credit equivalency programs and examinations.
The University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
19. Indiana University-Purdue University - Indianapolis
IUPUI offers a BA in political science that requires 120 credit hours of major and general education courses. Major courses comprise 33 credit hours and cover subjects including comparative politics, international relations, and political analysis. The online political science degree requires no campus visits.
The university also offers accelerated paths to earning two advanced degrees in political science. Students can enroll in a joint BA/MA program, during which participants meet requirements for both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in only five years. Students can also enter the joint BA/JD program, which allows learners to earn a bachelor’s and a law degree in only six years. Both joint programs require applicants to demonstrate exceptional academic performance.
Online and on-campus students pay the same tuition rate, and IUPUI assesses a small, per-credit distance learning fee. Indiana residents pay a discounted tuition rate, and residents of states participating in the Midwest Student Exchange Program pay discounted tuition rates.
Students can transfer up to 90 credits from an accredited institution. The university’s online credit transfer tool helps prospective transfer students estimate how many credits IUPUI will accept.
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
20. Northeastern University
Northeastern offers a flexible online BS in political science that is ideal for students considering careers in government, law, journalism, or public service. Learners pursuing the political science degree online can complete coursework while holding full-time jobs and meeting family obligations.
Students begin with foundational courses in history, philosophy, economics, and communication. Learners can concentrate in international relations and comparative politics or American politics. International relations students take classes in international conflict, negotiation, and global governance. Students concentrating in American politics explore subjects including American foreign policy and the relationship between politics and the mass media. Students in both concentrations complete a political science capstone to hone their professional skills.
Most full-time students complete the 120 required semester hours in four years, while part-time students typically require seven years. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED. Northeastern students must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA in general education and political science courses.
All students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of residency. Northeastern offers a number of scholarships, including awards for graduates of Massachusetts community colleges and for incoming freshman who excelled academically in high school. Financial awards are also available to educators, veterans, and military service members.
Northeastern University is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (NEASC-CIHE).
21. Eastern Kentucky University
EKU students can earn a bachelor’s degree in political science entirely online. The university delivers courses for the BA in political science through Blackboard; distance learners watch lectures, complete assignments, collaborate with classmates, and take exams asynchronously. Online classes last eight weeks, and EKU offers six start dates per year.
The political science online degree requires 120 credit hours and features foundational coursework in government, political philosophy, and research methods. Students can explore specialized topics, such as politics and religion in the United States, the politics of development in Appalachia, and the politics of sex. Students complete 40 general education credit hours and a political science capstone.
Applicants must have either a high school GPA of at least 2.5, an ACT score of at least 20, an SAT score of 950 or better, or at least 24 transferable credit hours from a regionally accredited institution. Transfer students can bring up to 90 previous credit hours.
All undergraduate students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of program format or state residency. Online students pay many of the same fees as on-campus students, and distance learners have access to support services including online tutoring, writing consultations, and tutorials.
Eastern Kentucky University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCC).
22. Rutgers University - Camden
Camden, New Jersey
Rutgers University offers an online political science degree with three concentration options: foreign and international politics, American institutions and politics, and theoretical approaches to politics. Students earning the BA in political science take courses in areas such as violence, revolution and terrorism, New Jersey politics, and quantitative methods.
Political science majors can earn an advanced degree or certificate jointly. For example, students in the BA/MPA dual-degree program meet requirements for both a bachelor’s in political science and a master’s in public administration in as few as five years. Similarly, students can earn a bachelor’s degree and a juris doctorate in six years. Through the National Security Studies Certificate Program, undergraduate students deepen and demonstrate their expertise in international relations.
Applicants must submit high school transcripts and standardized test scores. Rutgers employs a holistic admissions review process and sets no minimum GPA or exam score requirements. Admission selection is based largely on the strength of each applicant’s personal essay and their history of community service, military service, employment, and achievements. New Jersey residents pay a discounted tuition rate. The university waives some fees for distance learners.
Rutgers University is regionally accredited by Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
23. Central Michigan University
Mount Pleasant, Michigan
Central Michigan University offers an online BS in political science and undergraduate certificates in citizen engagement, political advocacy and elections, and lawmaking and legal processes. Political science majors can complete requirements for the bachelor’s and the specialized certificate simultaneously, and most full-time students graduate in four years.
CMU offers credit for prior learning and experience, including professional experience, training experiences, and life experience such as volunteer work. To receive prior learning credit, students must take an exam or submit a portfolio of the experience. Earning credit for prior learning allows students to graduate more quickly and reduce the total cost of the degree.
Applicants must have a GED or a high school diploma and a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA. Applicants with a GPA below 2.0 may receive conditional admission. Transfer applicants must have at least a 2.0 GPA in college coursework. Students can transfer up to 90 credits from a regionally accredited institution.
Online and on campus students pay the same tuition rate. CMU offers tuition discounts to federal employees and their children, employees of the state of Michigan and their dependents, and veterans and active duty military service members.
Central Michigan University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
24. Park University
Park University’s BA in political science prepares students for careers in business, law, government, journalism, and education. Students explore topics including the history of political philosophy and the Missouri state constitution. Park offers select political science courses online; learners in the program take courses both online and on campus in Parkville, Missouri.
Along with major coursework, students complete an internship and a senior thesis. Political science majors work with a faculty advisor to locate an internship opportunity related to politics or public administration; distance learners are responsible for identifying a local internship site. Students develop a research question within their area of interest and ultimately write and defend a thesis paper.
In addition to careers in the field, the program prepares students for law school. Students can take courses in the fundamentals of law, legal analysis, and legal history. They can also earn credit for an LSAT preparation course, and seniors can participate in a mock trial project.
Online students pay the same tuition rate as on-campus students. Park offers tuition discounts to active duty military members and their dependents, reservists, and National Guard members. The university offers competitive academic scholarships for incoming freshman.
Park University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
25. University of Wisconsin - Whitewater
UW-Whitewater serves mainly students with previous college credit who need to complete their degrees. Although students can complete all requirements for the BA or BS in political science through a combination of online and on-campus classes at UW-Whitewater, most students earn an associate degree before entering either of the programs.
Political science students take classes in subjects including criminal justice and the Constitution, politics of the metropolis, disability politics and policy, and black political and social thought. The university encourages students to participate in an internship, and students planning to pursue an advanced degree should complete coursework in research methods and writing to prepare for graduate studies.
Distance learners have access to support services including online tutoring, career guidance through phone and email, and online mental health counseling. Online students can work with the financial aid office to apply for scholarships offered through the university.
Wisconsin residents pay a discounted tuition rate, and distance learners pay a small eLearning fee. Transfer students can apply credit earned from accredited institutions toward their bachelor’s degree at UW-Whitewater, and the university maintains articulation agreements with community colleges in Wisconsin.
The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
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 a number of 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 a number of 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.
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: 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.
- Median Annual Salary: $50,410
- Projected Growth Rate: 15%
Reporters, Correspondents, and Broadcast News Analysts: 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.
- Median Annual Salary: $40,910
- Projected Growth Rate: -9%
High School Teachers: 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.
- Median Annual Salary: $59,170
- Projected Growth Rate: 8%
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
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.
Political Science Professional Organizations
While pursuing a political science degree online, there are ways to stay connected with your field even without being on campus. Professional organizations generally provide members with a number of valuable and useful tools and services. Membership in career or field-specific professional organizations can help students find networking opportunities, continuing education and professional development programs, and conferences. The three organizations below are open to members studying and/or working in the field of political science.
- American Political Science Association: In addition to supporting research and scholarship in the field, APSA also offers a number of events and conferences, as well as a members-only job board and professional development opportunities.
- Southern Political Science Association: SPSA is primarily responsible for the publication of a scholarly journal, the Journal of Politics. Members receive access to the journal and the organization’s annual conference.
- International Political Science Association: The IPSA was founded in France. It promotes the field globally, emphasizing political research and scholarship around the world. It also holds World Congress events at various locations around the globe.