Home > Top 25 Online Bachelor’s in Political Science for 2018

Top 25 Online Bachelor’s in Political Science for 2018

Are you an avid reader of the day’s national political headlines? Do you have a keen interest in foreign affairs? If so — and if you enjoy following the creation, development, and passage of laws and policies — you may be an ideal candidate for an online political science degree. This degree sharpens your analytical and critical thinking skills, and can lead to very lucrative careers. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported political scientists’ median annual salaries at $114,290 in 2016.

As you work on your political science degree online, you develop expert knowledge of the political influences that impact major issues in the U.S. law and economy. Your grasp of these forces, along with your expertise in problem-solving and communications, will make you an invaluable asset to employers.

What are the Best Online Bachelor’s in Political Science Programs?

1

University of Central FloridaOrlando, FL

Degree Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
Admissions Rate 49%
Default Rate 7%
Retention Rate 89%
Graduation Rate 70%
Online Enrollment 15%

For those interested in careers in foreign and domestic public service as intelligence officers, lobbyists, or paralegals, the online political science degree at the University of Central Florida (UCF) is a great option. A competitive, affordable institution, UCF's high-quality distance learning program offers a robust political science curriculum with courses in American national government, comparative politics, political development, international law, world political geography, political psychology, causes of war, and diplomacy. Students with fewer than 60 semester hours are required to complete at least nine semester hours during summer sessions. UCF operates on a rolling admissions basis, and applicants must submit a high school transcript and official SAT or ACT scores. Transfer applicants must also have two English courses and two math courses with minimum 2.0 GPA. UCF offers merit-based scholarships based on academic performance, leadership, and extracurricular activities.

2

University of Massachusetts-AmherstAmherst, MA

Degree Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
Admissions Rate 58%
Default Rate 5%
Retention Rate 91%
Graduation Rate 78%
Online Enrollment 11%

UMass offers a political science online degree completion program focused on the concepts, theories, and empirical findings in political science. Notable coursework includes American political thought, constitutional law, congress, comparative politics, controversies in public policy, and international relations. Distance learners are also required to complete a capstone seminar. Students gain research skills, such as design, data analysis, and interpretation, as well as a strong understanding of professional writing on public affairs. With a focus on communication and independent work, distance learners learn to formulate and analyze arguments, assess the relevance of situations, and develop organized courses of action. As a completion program, applicants must hold at least 24 credits and can transfer up to 75 credits from another institution. Students who are enrolled in at least six credits per semester are encouraged to apply for financial aid.

3

Washington University in St LouisSaint Louis, MO

Degree Bachelor of Science in Political Science
Admissions Rate 17%
Default Rate 3%
Retention Rate 96%
Graduation Rate 93%
Online Enrollment 2%

Accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, Washington University in St. Louis offers a comprehensive political science degree online program. The 30 credit degree includes coursework in international political economy, women and politics, the legislative process, constitutional law, the American presidency, urban politics and administration, and political parties and interest groups. Distance learners work closely with academic advisors to personalize the program to meet their unique interests, and many students use this program to prepare for entrance into law school or business school. Admission decisions are made on a rolling basis, and students can begin in summer, spring, or fall semesters. Students are encouraged to apply for financial aid via federal and state grants and loans, merit and need-based scholarships, payment plans, and employee tuition reimbursement.

4

University of Massachusetts-LowellLowell, MA

Degree Bachelor of Liberal Arts with concentration in Political Science
Admissions Rate 57%
Default Rate 7%
Retention Rate 86%
Graduation Rate 56%
Online Enrollment 21%

UMass Lowell is one of the finest political science degree online schools in the United States. In collaboration with the Division of Online and Continuing Education, the school offers a 120 credit bachelor of liberal arts degree with a concentration in political science. Through an examination of the nature of politics and government, distance learners gain a deep understanding of the political process across local, state, national, and international policy. The curriculum includes courses such as politics of the internet, law and the legal system, state and local politics, the politics of food, politics and film, constitutional law and politics, American presidency, and congress. Applicants must hold a high school diploma, GED, or HiSet. Admissions decisions are made on a rolling basis. Note that UMass Lowell is not currently able to offer this program to residents of Arkansas, Kansas, or Minnesota.

5

Liberty UniversityLynchburg, VA

Degree Bachelor of Science in Political Science
Admissions Rate 22%
Default Rate 7%
Retention Rate 75%
Graduation Rate 47%
Online Enrollment 82%

The Helms School of Government at Liberty University offers a 100% online political science degree that explores the foundations in the theory and history of politics. Coursework includes international relations, American foreign policy, constitutional government and free enterprise, American exceptionalism, resilient nations, and political theory. Students must also complete a senior seminar. Online coursework is delivered via Blackboard, and distance learners have additional access to an online writing center and a student life video library, which facilitates more connection to the learning community. Admitted students can transfer up to 90 hours of previously earned credit. While Liberty offers a military tuition discount for qualified online students and their spouses, all students are encouraged to apply for federal financial aid.

6

Oregon State UniversityCorvallis, OR

Degree Bachelor of Science in Political Science and Bachelor of Arts Political Science
Admissions Rate 78%
Default Rate 5%
Retention Rate 85%
Graduation Rate 64%
Online Enrollment 17%

Military-friendly Oregon State University offers a 180 credit political science online degree focused on critical thinking and persuasive communication. Featuring 52 credits in major coursework, students choose between a bachelor or arts or a bachelor of science. Coursework includes environmental politics and policy, international terrorism, campaign finance, politics of climate change, policy analysis, politics and the media, interest groups, presidential politics, politics of developing nations, sustainable living and politics, and modern political thought. Online courses are delivered asynchronously, and online students have access to academic advisors, career services, online tutoring, and an online library. Tuition is charged on a per-credit basis and is the same for all students, regardless of residency. Students enrolled in more than six credits per term are encouraged to apply for financial aid.

7

Northeastern UniversityBoston, MA

Degree Bachelor of Science in Political Science
Admissions Rate 28%
Default Rate 4%
Retention Rate 97%
Graduation Rate 84%
Online Enrollment 1%

Northeastern University’s political science online degree is ideal for those interested in law, government, history, or journalism. By examining the social and economic forces that shape political institutions, students gain an understanding of human behavior and the cultural contexts of various political matters. Distance learners have the opportunity to tailor their degrees with a variety of classes, including history of the world, ethical issues in communication, negotiation, comparative economic systems, international relations, survey of political thought, global governance, political parties and interest groups, nationalism, and civil liberties. Students may also opt for a concentration in international relations, comparative politics, or american politics. Online courses are offered in seven-and-a-half week and 10-week sessions. Applicants must hold a high school diploma, GED, or an official associate degree, and admitted students can begin in fall, spring, or summer semesters.

8

Florida International UniversityMiami, FL

Degree Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
Admissions Rate 50%
Default Rate 10%
Retention Rate 88%
Graduation Rate 58%
Online Enrollment 14%

Offering one of the top-notch political science degrees online, FIU's bachelor of arts is a great option for distance learners. The program explores political theory, public policy, and international affairs, while the curriculum features a diverse offering of courses such as American politics, comparative politics, and political theory. Graduates are prepared for careers in government service, political research, public policy analysis, and campaign management. Online learners work closely with a success coach throughout the duration of their studies, which also provides a great deal of flexibility to tailor the program to meet their unique needs and interests. Applicants must submit official SAT or ACT scores and high school transcripts, and admitted students can begin in fall, spring, or summer semesters. Financial aid in the form of grants, scholarships, loans and work-study programs are available for distance students.

9

Central Michigan UniversityMount Pleasant, MI

Degree Bachelor of Science in Political Science
Admissions Rate 69%
Default Rate 6%
Retention Rate 79%
Graduation Rate 59%
Online Enrollment 19%

Located in Mount Pleasant, MI, Central Michigan University's online political science degree offers students a breadth of knowledge pertaining to local, national, and international government, law, and public and foreign policy. Specific courses include American national government and politics, citizen engagement in public life, great political thinkers, and empirical methods of political research. This 124 credit program is delivered online via Blackboard, and learners have additional access to resources including an online learning resource center, a writing center, and a math assistance center. Applicants must hold a high school diploma with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 or a GED. Students may transfer an unlimited number of previously earned credits, however, a maximum of 64 credits can be applied towards their degree.

10

University of IowaIowa City, IA

Degree Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
Admissions Rate 81%
Default Rate 4%
Retention Rate 85%
Graduation Rate 72%
Online Enrollment 9%

The University of Iowa offers a bachelor of arts political science degree online degree. This program is designed for students interested in the Peace Corps, urban and regional planning, campaign management, public policy, or government administration at the local, state, and federal level. The curriculum includes coursework in political behavior, comparative politics, international relations, and American public policy. Students are required to complete 36 credits of political science coursework, 18 of which must be completed through the University of Iowa. Online learners have access to suite of resources, including a writing center and a speaking center. Admitted students can begin their coursework in fall, summer, or spring semesters, and all students are encouraged to apply for scholarships and fellowships.

11

University of Illinois at SpringfieldSpringfield, IL

Degree Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
Admissions Rate 63%
Default Rate 7%
Retention Rate 77%
Graduation Rate 48%
Online Enrollment 35%

The online political science degree at University of Illinois at Springfield provides a well-rounded curriculum focused on research and data analysis, giving students strong critical thinking and communication skills. Distance learners opt for a concentration in either practical or academic political science, while the curriculum includes courses in comparative political cultures, the Cold War and American political culture, state of the state, global women, ideas, ethics, and public policy, and sexual orientation and public policy. Students complete an internship in the location in which they reside, and coursework is offered synchronously and asynchronously -- the latter of which relies on discussion boards and other web-enhanced collaborative tools. Applicants must live at least 50 miles outside of Springfield and hold a minimum GPA of 3.0. Please note UIS is not currently authorized to offer online distance education to students in Maryland.

12

Keiser University-Ft LauderdaleFort Lauderdale, FL

Degree Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
Default Rate 18%
Retention Rate 89%
Graduation Rate 68%
Online Enrollment 44%

Through the Fort Lauderdale online division, Keiser University offers a 120 credit political science degree online program that examines campaigning, political theory, government policy and processes, and legal studies. Graduates gain an understanding of the functions of government in American society and the role of U.S. foreign policy through coursework in campaign processes, religion and politics, mass media and politics, the American presidency, voting behavior and public opinion, and immigration law. Applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED, and admitted students can begin at the beginning of any month. Students can transfer credits from another institution with a minimum grade of C, however, they must complete the final 25% of their program at Keiser. Financial aid is available in the form of grants, loans, scholarships, and tuition reimbursement.

13

Texas Tech UniversityLubbock, TX

Degree Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
Admissions Rate 63%
Default Rate 8%
Retention Rate 83%
Graduation Rate 60%
Online Enrollment 7%

The largest higher education institution of the Texas Tech University System, Texas Tech University's political science online degree offers students a well-rounded view of American government, Texas politics, and the history of the United States. The curriculum emphasizes communication literacy, while courses include federal and Texas constitutions, international politics, and political analysis. Students can opt for one of four concentrations in American politics, comparative politics, international relations, or policy and public administration. Applicants must hold a HS diploma or GED and submit SAT or ACT scores. Admitted students can transfer a maximum of 80 credits from other accredited institutions, however, the final 30 credits of their degree must be completed at Texas Tech. Students are encouraged to apply for scholarships, grants, loans, and other financial assistance programs.

14

University of Wisconsin-La CrosseLa Crosse, WI

Degree Bachelor of Science in Political Science
Admissions Rate 80%
Default Rate 2%
Retention Rate 85%
Graduation Rate 68%
Online Enrollment 2%

UW-La Crosse's online political science degree takes a humanistic and scientific approach to the study of government and public policies. Using qualitative and quantitative methods, students examine political structures, institutions, and participant behavior in the government. Specific classes include American national government, contemporary global issues, comparative politics, international relations, identity politics, public opinion, and judicial process. Students can opt for a specialization in American government and politics, international relations, comparative politics, or political theory. All political science students must complete a final seminar. Applicants must submit an official high school transcript and ACT or SAT scores, and students who wish to transfer previously earned credit must hold a minimum GPA of 2.5. Students are encouraged to apply for financial aid.

15

University of MemphisMemphis, TN

Degree Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
Admissions Rate 40%
Default Rate 11%
Retention Rate 77%
Graduation Rate 45%
Online Enrollment 11%

With flexible formats and alternative degree paths, including the Finish Line Program and prior learning assessment, the University of Memphis is a great option for pursuing an political science degree online. A Tier II research university accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, UM offers a fully online program that develops a thorough understanding of the political system. Courses include political thought, American government, and international relations. Online coursework is taught by on-campus faculty and is delivered via the Desire 2 Learn learning management system. Online learners have additional access to academic advising, online tutoring, technology support, library services, and career guidance. Students are encouraged to apply for financial aid.

16

Fort Hays State UniversityHays, KS

Degree Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
Admissions Rate 86%
Default Rate 7%
Retention Rate 70%
Graduation Rate 43%
Online Enrollment 66%

The Virtual College at Fort Hays State University offers a flexible and affordable political science degree online. Developed for prospective lawyers, city managers, judges, state legislators, or foreign diplomats, this program offers students a comprehensive understanding of the legal and political worlds. The curriculum is grounded in political philosophy and emphasizes research skills and hands-on learning opportunities, including internships. Applicants must complete the Kansas Qualified Admissions Pre-College Curriculum with a minimum GPA of 2.0 or rank in the one-third of their high school's graduating class. Applicants must also submit ACT or SAT scores. FHSU offers discounted tuition rates to students from Oklahoma, Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Michigan, North Dakota, and Wisconsin.

17

Southern New Hampshire UniversityManchester, NH

Degree Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
Admissions Rate 92%
Default Rate 8%
Retention Rate 61%
Graduation Rate 58%
Online Enrollment 88%

The political science degree online program at Southern New Hampshire University explores the relationship between public perception and the U.S. political system. With a practical approach to politics, distance learners develop strong critical thinking and communication skills through analyzing current events and exploring political questions, tactics, and strategies. Classes include public administration, U.S. history, international relations, analysis and research, globalization and world politics, and the legal system in America. Students must also complete a capstone experience in which they synthesize and integrate the learned knowledge and skills. Classes are offered in a flexible format over six eight-week terms per year. Admitted students can transfer up to 90 credits toward their degrees. SNHU also offers financial aid packages and a 30% tuition discount for U.S. service members and their spouses.

18

South Dakota State UniversityBrookings, SD

Degree Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Bachelor of Science in Political Science
Admissions Rate 92%
Default Rate 5%
Retention Rate 76%
Graduation Rate 54%
Online Enrollment 10%

South Dakota State University offers its online political science degree via the Department of History, Political Science, Philosophy, and Religion. The curriculum explores the values and traditions of democratic government institutions, and students gain a global awareness by exploring the concepts, theories, and methods of political science. Distance students can opt for an additional specialization in criminal justice, pre-law, public administration, research and graduate school, or teaching. Specific classes in the curriculum include American government, research methods, early political philosophy, international political science, and comparative political science. Applicants must be in the top 60% of their high school graduation class, achieve an ACT score of 18, an SAT score of 870, or earn a minimum GPA of 2.6. Admitted students are encouraged to apply for financial aid, as nearly 90% of students receive some form of financial assistance.

19

Park UniversityParkville, MO

Degree Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
Admissions Rate 40%
Default Rate 10%
Retention Rate 59%
Graduation Rate 43%
Online Enrollment 53%

Founded in 1875, Park University offers distance learners a political science degrees online. The program examines public policy and the political behavior of individuals and groups, in addition to humanistic and scientific perspectives of the United States and other countries. Coursework includes American national government, international relations, history of political philosophy, parties and elections, constitutional law, and congress and the presidency. A senior thesis and internship are also required, which further develops strong communication, writing, analytical, and critical thinking skills. Classes are offered on an accelerated basis of eight-week terms, starting five times each year. Applicants must hold a high school diploma, GED or equivalent, and a cumulative 2.0 GPA.

20

Grand Valley State UniversityAllendale, MI

Degree Bachelor of Science in Political Science
Admissions Rate 81%
Default Rate 4%
Retention Rate 84%
Graduation Rate 67%
Online Enrollment 1%

Located in Allendale, MI, Grand Valley State University is one of the most affordable colleges in Michigan. With an excellent reputation among employers throughout the Midwest, Grand Valley offers a self-directed political science online degree that develops strong analytical, communication, critical thinking, and research skills. Distance learners select either a 120 credit bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science degree. Classes include congress and the presidency, American politics, environmental policy, human rights, issues in world politics, comparative politics, international relations, and political theory. Online classes are delivered via Blackboard, and students have access to an online advising center and eLearning support. Applicants must submit official SAT or ACT scores, and all students are encouraged to apply for financial aid via grants, loans, and scholarships.

21

University of West GeorgiaCarrollton, GA

Degree Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Political Science
Admissions Rate 57%
Default Rate 9%
Retention Rate 72%
Graduation Rate 39%
Online Enrollment 16%

Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, the University of West Georgia offers a bachelor of arts degree with a concentration political science. This 124 credit political science degree online program explores the institutional, political, and legal processes of the United States. Students examine civic cultures societies, and the theories and concepts of several subfields of political science. Classes include American political institutions, gender and politics, media and politics, public policy, legislative process, the presidency, and constitutional law. Students also complete a senior seminar. Applicants must hold a high school diploma and submit SAT or ACT scores, and admitted students can begin in fall, spring, or summer semesters. There are several financial aid options available, including scholarships and work-study programs.

22

Pennsylvania State University-World CampusUniversity Park, PA

Degree Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
Admissions Rate 61%
Default Rate 7%
Retention Rate 53%
Graduation Rate 40%
Online Enrollment 100%

Students in Penn State’s World Campus political science degree online analyze political theories of the U.S. and international relations. This 120 credit program develops strong critical thinking skills and research-based writing. Coursework includes contemporary political ideologies, international relations, public policy in the American states, society and cultures in modern Israel, rights in America, the politics of terrorism, and politics and the media. Online courses are delivered via Skype and Blackboard Collaborate learning management system to facilitate discussions. Applicants must hold a HS diploma or GED. Admitted students can begin in the fall, spring, or summer semesters, and a minimum of 36 credits must be earned at Penn State. Students are encouraged to apply for financial aid.

23

Eastern Kentucky UniversityRichmond, KY

Degree Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
Admissions Rate 71%
Default Rate 13%
Retention Rate 74%
Graduation Rate 41%
Online Enrollment 21%

Regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Eastern Kentucky University offers a political science degree online. This 100% online bachelor’s degree prepares graduates with an advanced understanding of U.S. and global politics. The focus on decision-making and critical-thinking skills encourages students to apply theory to real-world political situations. Classes include research and writing in political science, politics and religion in the U.S., politics of sex, public human resources, law and politics of civil liberties, and comparative politics. Students must also complete a final capstone course. Online learners work closely with academic advisers to individualize their curriculum to meet their interests. Courses are offered in accelerated eight-week terms and students can choose from six start dates throughout the year.

24

University of North AlabamaFlorence, AL

Degree Bachelor of Science in Political Science and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
Admissions Rate 58%
Default Rate 15%
Retention Rate 76%
Graduation Rate 38%
Online Enrollment 15%

The Department of Politics, Justice, and Law at the University of North Alabama offers a political science online degree program that prepares graduates for careers in law, municipal agencies, nonprofits, and federal, state, or local government. Coursework includes political theory, world politics, comparative politics, scope and research, public policy, and U.S. government. The political science major requires 36 hours and six required courses, and students select either a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science. The entire program can be completed in four years. Applicants must have a high school diploma and submit SAT or ACT scores. Students are encouraged to apply for financial aid in the form of loans, payment plans, scholarships, and grants.

25

Kennesaw State UniversityKennesaw, GA

Degree Bachelor of Science in Political Science
Admissions Rate 59%
Default Rate 9%
Retention Rate 78%
Graduation Rate 42%
Online Enrollment 7%

Kennesaw State offers one of the best political science degree online programs. With an emphasis on empirical and normative research methodologies, distance learners study the formal institutions of government, public policies, and political processes. Kennesaw graduates are prepared for careers in federal, state, and local government, interest groups, campaign management, business, and more. Specific classes may include political ideologies, campaigns and elections, urban affairs and problems, race, gender, and the politics of difference, and great political thinkers. KSU online classes are delivered via Desire2Learn, and students are encouraged to apply for additional internships and cooperative study programs. Applicants must hold a minimum GPA of 2.5 in 17 units of high school coursework and submit SAT scores. Tuition for online learning is the same for nonresidents and residents of Georgia.

What Will I Learn in an Online Political Science Program?

While every school creates its program independently, most political science degree online schools have similar curricula. However, this should not be taken for granted; review the course listing of any program that you’re considering. We’ve listed five courses below that are commonly required for online political science degrees.

  • Politics and the Media

    Analysis of cultural representations of politics across various forms of media. Class topics include media theory and theoretical assessment of history and politics. Students also analyze case studies and conduct research.

  • American Government

    An introduction to the U.S. government systems, functions, and politics, including study of important historical developments. Students examine the ways politics and policy are shaped by public opinion, political parties, special interest groups, and individual participation.

  • International Relations

    An introduction to the core methodologies and ideologies of international relations study, this class emphasizes international cooperation, war and diplomacy, the nature of the international sphere, and key current events that affect relations among international actors.

  • Comparative Politics

    This course examines organizations and behavior of existing political systems across the globe. Students explore each system’s major issues, instability drivers, internal structure, leadership, governing institutions, and citizen political participation.

  • Great Political Thinkers

    An introduction to the authors of key concepts in the development of Western political theory, including Marx, Machiavelli, Plato, and Aristotle. Class discussion explores issues of power, equality, justice, and freedom.

What Can I do with an Online Political Science Degree?

Graduates of political science degree online schools are qualified for interesting, engaging careers in many industries. For example, government agencies — and the organizations adjacent to them — particularly value expertise in international affairs and U.S. politics. In other sectors, applicants who demonstrate excellent analytic skills can land lucrative jobs, as the table shows below.

Job Outlook and Salary for Political Science Graduates

Salary Growth by Experience for Political Science Professionals

As with most careers, salary increases are commensurate with experience, and those with an online political science degree can expect the same. As you plan your postgraduate career, consider that jobs calling for advanced data analysis skills are particularly well compensated, as the table below demonstrates.


To determine the best online bachelor’s in political science programs, we looked at the most important factors prospective students, mainly common predictors of future success and a school’s commitment to online programs. This boils down to admissions rate, student loan default rate, retention rate, graduation rate, and the percent of students enrolled in online classes. All data points are taken from information provided by colleges and universities to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Each factor is weighted evenly in order to give an objective view and determine the best online bachelor’s in political science programs. To calculate our rankings, we looked at a school’s ranking when organized by a single factor, and then averaged each category’s ranking to find an overall score: Admissions Rate (20%) + Default Rate (20%) + Retention Rate (20%) + Graduation Rate (20%) + Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes (20%) = Final score.