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Guide to Earning Your Political Science Bachelor’s Online

Everything you need to know about online political science degrees at the bachelor’s level, including top-ranked schools, curriculum details, and career opportunities.

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Blake Huggins
Written By

Blake Huggins

Updated

10/09/2023

If you’re interested in the history of governance and how political systems work, then an online political science degreeis a great way to launch your career in high-impact fields like economics and public policy. And thanks to the convenience of online learning, completing your studies is easier and more affordable than ever.

In this guide, you’ll find top-rated online political science bachelor’sdegree programs, learn the importance of accreditation, discover popular course offerings and major career paths, and get answers to frequently asked questions. Keep reading for more on what you need to know about these advanced degree programs.

Best Online Political Science Degrees: Top Bachelor’s Programs for 2024

We’ve identified 50 of the best online political science degree programs—based on flexibility, accreditation, affordability, and academic quality—to help you narrow down potential schools. These programs combine rigorous, comprehensive study with convenient and accommodating delivery methods, offering solid preparation for further study or an entry-level career. Begin your school search and find out which programs stand out below.

About the ranking

College Ranking Methodology

Generate List of Eligible Schools and Programs

To be eligible for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • At least one program in the subject area offered partially or fully online.
  • Career placement and academic counseling services.

Assign Weightings

After generating the list of eligible schools, the STEPS data team then assigned weights and ranked schools based on their performance in a variety of key categories. Affordability metrics received the heaviest weightings, followed by online learning and academic quality metrics (equally weighted).

Affordability

  • Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on in-state tuition for undergraduate students per academic year.
  • Percentage of students who receive institutional financial aid (directly from the school).
  • Average amount of institutional financial aid awarded.

Online Learning

  • Number of online programs in subject area self-reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Percentage of students at the school taking at least one class online.

Academic Quality

  • Student-to-faculty ratio.
  • Percentage of full-time, first-time students graduating within 6 years.

About Our Data

All STEPS rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: August 2023

Accreditation Glossary

ABHE: Association for Biblical Higher Education, Commission on Accreditation

ABHES: Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools

ACCJC: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges

ACCSC: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges

DEAC: Distance Education Accrediting Commission

HLC: Higher Learning Commission

MSCHE: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

NECHE: New England Commission of Higher Education

NWCCU: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

SACSCOC: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

TRACS: Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, Accreditation Commission

WSCUC: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

1

Arkansas State University

Jonesboro, Arkansas

Students who wish to earn a college degree without having to set foot on campus will appreciate Arkansas State University's 100% online Bachelor of Arts in Political Science degree. The vast majority of these courses can be taken asynchronously, meaning no set class times. Students can complete class requirements at any time and from anywhere. Despite not learning on campus, students still have access to the same student services, such as the A-State Online Writing Center. Not only can students earn their degree fully online, but they also can satisfy up to 75% of the required coursework through transfer credits. And because of the universal nature of the political science curriculum, students can easily use this degree to double major in another area of study, like sociology, business administration, criminology, or communication studies. As for the cost of attendance, all students, no matter where they reside, will enjoy the same low tuition rate.

Program Highlights:

Bachelor of Arts in Political Science

  • Credits: 120
  • Length: About 4 years
  • Cost: $276/credit
  • Mode: Fully online
  • Accreditation: HLC
Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 14:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation HLC
Online Students 69%

2

University of Maine

Orono, Maine

The Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Maine is a model of flexible learning. The most notable feature of this program is its 100% online course delivery. Although many courses have deadlines for some assignments, the bulk of the online learning can occur at any time that's convenient for the student. Additionally, special technology isn't required, as most students only need a broadband internet connection along with a tablet or laptop. Students can begin their coursework during one of three annual starting points: fall, spring, or summer semesters, thus making this a truly flexible learning option. Lastly, there are plenty of customized learning options available. For example, in addition to general electives, students can take 12 credits of political science electives.

Program Highlights:

Bachelor of Arts in Political Science

  • Credits: 120
  • Length: About 4 years
  • Cost: $400/credit (resident), $500/credit (non-resident)
  • Mode: Fully online
  • Accreditation: NECHE
Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Accreditation NECHE
Online Students 66%

3

University of Illinois Springfield

Springfield, Illinois

The Bachelor of Arts in Political Science degree from the University of Illinois -- Springfield provides research skills and a deep understanding of the United States political system. To accommodate the various needs of students, this program is 100% online, with no in-person learning requirements. However, this program is also available in a hybrid format, where traditional students who enroll for on-campus learning can take online classes in addition to in-person classes. The online format of each course is up to the professor, who can choose to offer live lectures, pre-recorded lecture