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Online Master’s Degrees in Political Science

Discover flexible grad programs from top accredited universities and see where a master’s in political science online can take you.

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Shannon Lee
Written By

Shannon Lee



Whether your professional ambitions involve working in politics, another sector of public service, or different area entirely, the knowledge you gain in an online master’s degree in political science can be incredibly valuable. It’s also the perfect stepping stone for even more advanced studies at the PhD level.

The ability to understand the inner workings of government systems around the world and convey those facts and theories to others continue to be desirable (and in demand) traits in many career fields. And the flexibility offered by online learning makes earning a master’s degree in political science easier and more affordable than ever. This guide shares the key information you should know about online master’s degrees in political science, from a list of top accredited schools to details about the curriculum and a look at career opportunities after graduation.

2024’s Best Online Master’s Degrees in Political Science

Political science degrees often fit well with online learning. Much of the curriculum can be completed in a 100% virtual environment, and campus visits are either minimal or not required. This is useful for those seeking a master’s degree in political science who already have a full- or part-time job. That said, with dozens of online master’s degree programs in political science available, it can be tough to find the right one. To help, we’ve researched and analyzed more than 7,000 accredited colleges and universities to identify the top schools with online master’s degrees in political science. See which institutions stand out when it comes to price, and online program availability.

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).

Online Learning

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


  • Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on in-state tuition for graduate students per academic year.

Academic Quality

  • Student-to-faculty ratio: Schools with lower ratios ranked higher.
  • Percentage of students admitted. More selective schools ranked higher.

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


Liberty University

Lynchburg, Virginia

Liberty Unviersity's Master of Science in Political Science is designed for aspiring political scientists who plan to work in the private or public sectors. The curriculum covers both international and domestic political structures and processes. It prepares students whose ultimate goal is to earn a doctor of philosophy degree. The program is 100% online, with no campus visits needed. Most classes last eight weeks, making it easier for students to arrange their coursework around their work and personal lives. Due to the largely self-paced curriculum, most students graduate in about 18 months, though they can choose to take their time and graduate in two years instead. Prospective students who have already completed some graduate school can potentially graduate in less than 18 months given Liberty University's generous transfer credit policies, as up to 50% of the required credits can come from another accredited program.

Program Highlights:

Master of Science in Political Science -- General

  • Credits: 36
  • Length: About 18 months
  • Cost: $545/credit
  • Mode: Fully online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC
Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 17:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 97%


Indiana University-Southeast

New Albany, Indiana

At Indiana University Southeast, students seeking to push their careers into politics and related areas will appreciate the flexible learning offered with the Master of Political Science program. The curriculum takes a deep dive into the political processes and structures in the United States and offers the skills and analysis methods helpful for explaining and understanding political behavi