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Online Master’s Degrees in Political Science

Find out where an online master’s in political science can take you. This guide lists top accredited universities with flexible degree programs, and you’ll also explore curriculum requirements and get answers to frequently asked questions. Learn how to inspire positive change in our government, society and in individual communities — keep reading.

Author: Shannon Lee
Editor: STEPS Staff

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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.

Affordability

  • 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