Do you have aspirations of becoming President one day? Maybe being a future congressman or city councilman? Perhaps you want to work in a college environment and teach students and about government or law studies. Getting a Master's Degree in Political Science will help you achieve your dreams in these areas and more. It will also educate you about life in the public sector and show you how leaders acquire and maintain power. Obviously, students want to go to a school that offers some value, which is why this article showcases the most affordable graduate school programs for political science.
Taking classes online allow students to have more freedom in doing their coursework while also taking care of other part-time or full-time priorities, such as working a job or being a parent. The political science field offers a wide variety of subject areas dealing with the government as well as analyzing political activities, political thoughts, and political behavior. It's also a discipline that combines history along with current events and analysis. There are a number of concentrations students will be able to choose from, such as American and International Politics and Studies, U.S. Government and Law, Public Policy and Administration, Education at the post-secondary level, Philosophical Studies, and Economic Studies. The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook states that political scientists received an average pay of $117,570 per year in 2018. Those working jobs in the federal government received the highest pay, upwards of $126,000 average per year. Most people associate political science with being a politician or being involved in government, but there are a wide variety of jobs students can obtain with a master's degree that tie into other fields, such as journalism, financing, and work with non-profit organizations.
All that being said, here are the 10 Best Affordable Online Master's in Political Science.
#10 – University of Illinois at Springfield
Online Political Science Master's Degree
The University of Illinois at Springfield offers an online Master's Degree in Political Science which is made for those students who are interested in a career related to the political field or in law. Students have the option of focusing in American National and State Politics, Comparative Politics/International Relations, Political Theory, or Public Law. The curriculum requires students to complete 40 credit hours of classwork, with eight coming for core courses, 28 coming from electives and the final four coming from a closure exercise. The courses are more targeted for students seeking teaching careers at the secondary, community college, or university level in Political Science. It also caters to those who are planning to continue their education and receive their doctorate degree. The office of admissions requires students to hold a bachelor's degree that includes courses in political science and a GPA of 3.0 or higher. UIS is ranked no. 55 among Best Value Schools in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,772 (in-state); $15,857 (out-of-state)
#9 – Liberty University
MS in Political Science
Liberty University offers an online MS Degree in Political Science which allows students to delve into a life of politics and government. Students will learn about major influences in the political system and how different issues around the world impact each other. To receive an MS, students must 36 credit hours of coursework, 21 coming from core courses, nine coming from cognate classes, and the final six coming from elective or thesis courses. Some of the courses that students will take are Cover Market and Market Failure, Effects of Public Policy on Economics, Past Political Philosophers, American Foreign Policy, and International Governments. To be entered into the program, students must complete an application and submit official transcripts to the admissions office. LU is a religious university that also teaches students the importance of living a life through Christ. The university is ranked No. 13 in for "Top Master's in Political Science programs", according to Best College Reviews.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,217
#8 – University of Southern Mississippi
MS in Political Science (IDV Emphasis)
Long Beach, MS
The University of Southern Mississippi provides an online Master's Degree in Political Science with an emphasis in IDV. This program studies the International Development from an interdisciplinary view and provides students with the skills needed in research, reading, and writing. In order to receive the MS, students must complete 54 credit hours of coursework. Twelve hours of credits are to come from core classes, twelve hours in dissertation courses and the rest are to come from the elective bank of classes. Students can choose an emphasis in Political Development, Security Studies, Economic Development or Social/Cultural Development. There is also a comprehensive exam the student must take when completed with the coursework that centers around the emphasis area and has a written and oral component to it. The office of admissions requires students to submit their GRE or GMAT scores, three letters of recommendation, official transcripts, a professional writing sample, a resume, and a personal research statement of 1,000 to 1,500 words. USM was ranked among the top 20 of the Most Popular National Universities, according to U.S. News & World Report.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,108
#7 – University of West Florida
Master's Degree in Political Science
The University of West Florida offers an online Master's in Political Science which prepares students for a future career in the political arena. Students have the choice of choosing a concentration in Political Science or Security and Diplomacy. Students are required to complete 33-credit hours with 18 credits coming from core courses and an average grade of B or higher by end of their work. Also, six semester hours may be taken from electives outside of the political science program. Students are to also complete a thesis or non-thesis option. The non-thesis option includes a comprehensive exam, both oral and written, while the thesis option includes a discussion of how the study fits into their emphasis. The office of admissions requires students to submit a GRE, have a GPA of 3.0 or higher, submit a sample research paper, and complete a group of supplemental questions included on the graduate application. UWF ranks No. 4 in "The Best Online Master's Degrees in Political Science", according to TheBestSchools.org.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,088 (in-state); $22,166 (out-of-state)
#6 – Eastern Illinois University
MA in Political Science
Eastern Illinois offers an online Master's of Arts Degree in Political Science with an option in Public Administration and Public Policy. This degree offers students a career path in a number of different political or public jobs, such as a job in state, local, and regional government agencies, public policy research, budget analysis, human resource management, and more. Students must complete 32 semester credit hours to receive their master's degree. Six credits must come from proseminar classes, six from Public Policy and Administration electives, six from Political Science electives, six core courses and then the rest from additional coursework offered. Students who apply are asked to submit official transcripts, have a bachelor's degree, and have a GPA of at least 2.75. The GRE is not required in order to apply. EIU is ranked No. 5 in "Top Public Schools" according to U.S. News & World Report.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,008 (in-state); $16,794 (out-of-state)
#5 – American Public University
Master of Arts in Political Science
Charles Town, WV
American Public University offers an online Master's in Political Science which further enhances students knowledge on the American government, politics, domestic and foreign policy, legislative rules, and political philosophy. Students need to complete 36 credits in order to receive their MA. The average program length for completion is between 18 months and two years. Students have the option of completing a 12-credit concentration in American Politics and Government, Comparative Government and Development, International Relations, Public Policy, or a General Concentration. Students also must complete 18 core classes as part of their studies, as well as six credits from electives and final program requirements. The office of admissions requires students to submit official transcripts and fill out an application in order to be considered for the MA program. APU is ranked as a Top 5 value choice school according to Washington Monthly.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,300
#4 – Sam Houston State
Master of Arts in Political Science
Sam Houston State provides an online Master of Arts in Political Science program which aims to benefit those students wanting to go to law school, wanting to teach at the post-secondary level, continuing towards a doctorate degree, or for those preparing for a career in the public sector. The program includes two different routes: a thesis option, which requires the completion of 30 hours of coursework and a written thesis, or a non-thesis option which requires the completion of 36 hours of coursework and a written comprehensive exam. There's also an 18-hour certificate program which is for those who already have a master's degree in a different field of study. Students applying must supply the office of admissions with an application, a statement of intent, two references, a writing sample, and official transcripts. Applicants must also qualify by having a GPA of 3.0 or higher. SHS was ranked No. 1 in Online Master's Degree Programs in 2018 by Chron.com.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,391 (in-state); $12,861 (out-of-state)
#3 – University of Nebraska at Omaha
MS in Political Science
The University of Nebraska at Omaha offers an online MS in Political Science which allows students to explore careers in politics, non-profit organizations, law, journalism, intelligence, government, international organizations, and education. Students have the option of taking either a thesis or a non-thesis path, both of which take up to two years to complete. Completion of the MS program requires 30 completed semester hours which includes three to four content seminars which must be taken. Students must also take four electives in either political science or a related field and complete either a thesis or a capstone project for the non-thesis track. Content seminars involve content in American Government, Leadership, International Relations, Comparative Politics, Constitutional Law, U.S. Foreign Policy, and Political Theory. Students can choose to complete a concentration in International Affairs or go for a certificate in either Intelligence and National Security or Global Information Operations. The office of admissions requires students to possess a bachelor's degree, have a 3.0 GPA or higher, submit official transcripts, acquire two letters of recommendation, and provide an academic writing sample. According to Universities.com, UNO is ranked No. 3 in "Best Political Science Programs in Nebraska."
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $4,950 (in-state); $13,824 (out-of-state)
#2 – Texas A&M University
Masters of Arts in Political Science
College Station, TX
Texas A&M University offers an online Master of Arts in Political Science which provides students with extensive education in public life and politics. Students can take a concentration in either American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Political Theory, or Public Policy Administration. Students will be required to choose either a thesis or non-thesis plan. Those who choose the thesis plan will need to complete 30 hours of coursework along with a thesis and oral presentation. The presentation, however, is not required if a student holds a GPA of 3.5 or higher. Those who choose the non-thesis track must complete 36 hours of coursework and pass a comprehensive examination. Twenty-four credits must be Political Science credits. The office of admissions requires students to complete a political science application along with a graduate school application, official transcripts, their GRE results, three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose and interest, and an academic writing sample. TAM's Bush School of Government & Public Service was recently ranked No. 16 in Top Public Affairs Schools, according to U.S. News & World Report.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $3,774 (in-state); $11,704 (out-of-state)
#1 – Sul Ross State University
Master of Arts in Political Science
Sul Ross State University offers an online Master of Arts in Political Science which aims to serve students who are interested in teaching at the collegiate level or preparing them for a career in the political, public, and/or governmental field. In order to complete the MA degree program, students must choose either a thesis or non-thesis path. For those going the thesis path, 30 semester hours are required with a minimum of 18 credit hours in Political Science. They must also take six credits from seminars in American History, European History, and Problems in Business Administration. For non-thesis students, 36 semester hours are required with 18 hours coming from Political Science coursework. Non-thesis students must also complete a comprehensive exam in order to complete the program. When applying, students must submit official transcripts and scores from their GRE or GMAT. According to AffordableSchools.net, SRSU was ranked in the Top 30 of the Nation's 30 Most Attractive Yet Affordable Campuses."