48 Best Masters in Political Science

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Does the idea of working on a political campaign excite you? Are you interested in a career in public policy, research, academics, or government? Earning a master's degree in Political Science is a great way to enhance your skills as a researcher and grow your knowledge of government and how it functions. Political science is a multidisciplinary field that utilizes tools from psychology, sociology, economics, law, and more to analyze political activity. Students typically pursue their Masters in Political Science as either a terminal degree or as a first step toward earning a doctorate. 

The 48 Best Master's in Political Science on this list provide students with theoretical and methodological training in political science. In addition, students will develop strong research and writing skills, as most programs require students to write either a graduate thesis or other major paper. Many programs feature small cohorts of students, making it possible for faculty-student interaction and collaboration on research projects. Students can select from several subfields of political science to customize the degree to match their career and educational goals. Traditional subfields include American politics, comparative politics, political science methodology, and international relations.

Students who complete their master's in Political Science will be qualified for positions in government, non-profit organizations, business, and academia. Students holding a master's degree are eligible to teach at the junior college level, while those looking to teach at a four-year college will need a doctoral degree. Entering the field can be a challenge. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicts slower than average job growth for political scientists, but those who do secure a position can expect outstanding pay. In 2018, the median salary for political scientists was over $56 an hour, or the equivalent of $115,000 per year. Job applicants will need to be highly qualified to stand out among other candidates and earning a master's degree from our list of the 48 Best Master's in Political Science can give you a real advantage. 

Ranking Methodology: "It's science!"

The researchers and writers at Best Master's Degrees don't make recommendations based upon preference – we back our rankings with science. Here's a quick breakdown of how we organize ranking data:

  • Finances (40%)
  • Academic Rigor (35%)
  • Student Gratification (25%)

Nearly half of the data used to score each ranking involves finances and are acquired from sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics, the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Education, Glassdoor, and PayScale. Financial data encompasses the cost of tuition, fees, and class supplied; the average price of living; access to financial aid and social services; and lastly, the projected annual salary acquired from degree outcomes and income for loan repayment. The second-largest category of information involves the quality of education, how competitive degree applicants should be for consideration, and how exclusive a degree program is overall. The final 25 percent of collected data is dependent on student and alumni reviews from sources such as PayScale, Rate My Professor, and Students Review. 

Want to Learn More? 

The amount of information available for specific degrees is plentiful, and Best Master's Degrees aims to provide as many resources as we can. Check out our Methodology page for more information and resource links.

 

#48 – University of Hawaii at Manoa

Master of Arts in Political Science

Honolulu, Hawaii
Website

The Master's of Arts in Political Science from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa offers a rigorous and thoughtful degree to help students launch their careers. Students can earn their degree by completing either a graduate thesis or one of the Department of Political Science's culminating experiences. All master's students take at least 30 units, including a graduate seminar and six to 12 hours of thesis research. Thesis students in the program's Plan A will work with at least two faculty members to develop a proposal for a thesis and its defense. Students who chose the Master's Plan B will present a colloquium to the department that includes a high-quality academic research project or paper. Students will develop a three-member faculty committee to evaluate the presentation. Alternatively, students can complete a six-credit internship as a culminating experience. The department does not require students to demonstrate foreign language ability to earn the degree. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,970 / $34,002 
 

#47 – University of Cincinnati 

Master's of Arts in Political Science

Cincinnati, Ohio
Website

The Master's of Arts in Political Science from the University of Cincinnati pairs a rigorous curriculum with numerous opportunities for research and inquiry. The two-year program includes 30 semester credits that must be completed with at least a 3.0 GPA. Students begin the program with a required course in statistics for political science, a graduate colloquium, and research methods along with a design course. Two additional courses above the 7000 level are also required. Students can choose to complete either a master's thesis or an article-length professional paper to complete the degree. Students wishing to earn a Juris Doctor can enroll in the university's four-year, dual-degree program. The Department of Political Science also offers a graduate certificate in public opinion and survey research that may be earned as part of the degree. The program must be completed within five years. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,000 / $27,334
 

#46 – Loyola University Chicago 

Master's of Arts in Political Science

Chicago, Illinois
Website

The Master's of Arts in Political Science from Loyola University Chicago will broaden your understanding of how government functions. Students will learn research design and statistical analysis, while also preparing for meaningful careers in politics, government, and beyond. The 30-hour degree program includes ten total courses from the university's Department of Political Science. Students complete three required methods courses followed by a selection of courses in subfields such as American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and political theory. A comprehensive exam is also included, along with an optional graduate thesis, which can be substituted for six hours of credit. The department offers several programs to enhance student education, including the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research, international study opportunities, and a Chicago-based internship program. The program must be completed in no more than five years.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $44,048

 

#45 – Colorado State University

Master of Arts – Political Science

Fort Collins, Colorado
Website

Prepare for a career in government affairs with the Master of Arts – Political Science from Colorado State University. The program readies students for careers at the local, state, and federal levels of government, as well as careers in international relations, public policy, and more. Two variations of the degree are offered. Students selecting the 30-credit thesis plan will complete 21 graduate credits through coursework, along with a graduate thesis and thesis presentation. Students in the 36-credit non-thesis plan will complete at least 24 graduate credits through coursework along with the preparation and presentation of a professional paper. Students can gain working experience through several internship opportunities at public and non-profit organizations. Students are also encouraged to apply for competitive graduate assistantships that are designed to offset tuition costs and provide a monthly stipend.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,707 / $29,608

 

#44 – University of Alabama

Master of Arts in Political Science

Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Website

Take your career to the next level with the Master of Arts in Political Science from the University of Alabama. The degree is offered in two plans. Students in Plan I will earn 30 semester hours through coursework with an additional six hours coming from thesis research, a written comprehensive examination, and an oral examination defending the thesis work. Plan II includes 36 semesters of coursework along with a written comprehensive examination. The program can be customized by selecting courses in fields including American politics, comparative politics, international relations, public policy and administration, and political theory. With approval, transfer students may be able to earn as many as 12 hours of graduate credit for work completed at other schools. To apply, applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited university and submit scores from the Graduate Record Examination.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,780 / $29,230 

 

#43 – University of Mississippi 

Master of Arts in Political Science 

Jackson, Mississippi
Website

The Master of Arts in Political Science from the University of Mississippi provides an in-depth study of contemporary politics and government. Students will be exposed to theories and research methods designed to prepare them for meaningful careers or further study at the doctoral level. The 30 credit hour program can be taken as either a thesis or non-thesis program. Thesis students will earn 30 graduate-level semester hours that include six hours of methods and tools courses and a thesis worth six credit hours. Students will also take an oral examination to complete the program requirements. Non-thesis students substitute a written comprehensive examination in the student's subfield for thesis work. Three focus areas are available, including American Politics, Comparative Politics, and International Relations. The degree must be completed within four years of the date of enrollment.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,660 / $24,614

 

#42 – Wayne State University

Master of Arts in Political Science

Detroit, Michigan
Website

Develop strength as a political expert with the Master of Political Science from Wayne State University. The degree program helps students develop scholarship skills through research, professional conferences, and participating in scholarly publications. Students earn a minimum of 33 to 34 semester credit hours, with 12 to 15 credits earned in major coursework and the remaining balance earned through electives. There are also required courses in statistics and research methods. Major fields include American government and politics, public policy, political theory, urban politics, and world politics. The program concludes with a comprehensive examination in the student's major field. Students also complete an essay or a thesis based on original research. To gain admission to the program, students will need a minimum 3.0 GPA on their upper-division undergraduate coursework, along with a score on the Graduate Record Examination. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,097 / $27,991 

 

#41 –Washington State University

Master of Arts in Political Science

Pullman, Washington
Website

The Master of Arts in Political Science from Washington State University prepares you for a hands-on career in government affairs. The degree is offered as a non-thesis program and qualifies students to pursue careers in federal, state, or local government. Students will also gain skills in research and teaching. The program includes a minimum of 32 credits, with at least 27 credits earned through graded coursework. Students will complete required courses in International Security, National Security Policy, Comparative Criminal Justice Systems, and a seminar in Comparative Policing. Students also earn 15 credits through electives. To apply for admission, students will need to submit a Graduate Record Examination score, and all international applicants must verify English language proficiency.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,584 / $25,820 

 

#40 – University of Illinois at Chicago

Master of Arts in Political Science

Chicago, Illinois
Website

Expand your knowledge of political theory with the Master of Arts in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Students have the opportunity to customize their degree plans by selecting from a range of interdepartmental concentrations in gender and women's studies, Latin American and Latino studies, survey research methodology, and violence studies. The program includes 34 semester hours, with at least 18 credits earned through required coursework and the balance from elective courses. Students will complete mandatory classes in data analysis, theories in democracy and representation, research and design, and independent research. A thesis or project is not required. Successful applicants will need a minimum 3.0 GPA in the final 60 hours of undergraduate study, along with three letters of recommendation, and a Graduate Record Examination score. Students can expect to earn their degrees in two years. All degrees must be completed within five years of beginning. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,764 / $26,980 

 

#39 – University of New Mexico

Master of Arts in Political Science

Albuquerque, New Mexico
Website

Gain skills in research and writing while expanding your experience in political science with the Master of Arts in Political Science from the University of New Mexico. The program is available as a 32 credit hour thesis plan or a 24 credit hour non-thesis plan. Students will be exposed to research methodologies giving them the tools to pursue independent, in-depth research. Required classes include Statistics for Social Research, Political Science as a Discipline and a profession, and an introduction to empirical research. Students also take at least one graduate research seminar and pro-seminars in at least three concentrations. Available concentrations include American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Public Policy, and Methodology. All students will also write a research paper to satisfy the requirements for a comprehensive examination. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,633 / $22,586 

 

#38 – University of Utah

Master of Arts or Master of Science in Political Science

Salt Lake City, Utah
Website

Select from advanced study or research options in the Master of Arts or Master of Science in Political Science from the University of Utah. The 30 semester hour program begins by exposing students to core concepts in quantitative analysis and approaches to the study of politics. Students can add depth to their academics through graduate seminars in international relations, comparative politics, American politics, public administration, and political theory. Students are required to demonstrate foreign language proficiency to meet requirements for the Master of Arts degree. Master of Science candidates will complete additional research courses totaling six semester hours. All students will complete a master's paper in the form of either an essay or research thesis. The successful oral defense of the paper is required to earn the degree. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,222 / $29,215

 

#37 – University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Master of Arts in Political Science

Knoxville, Tennessee
Website

The Master of Arts in Political Science from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville prepares students to study at the doctoral level or seek career advancement. The program is divided into two options. In option I, students earn 30 credit hours of coursework and write an M.A. thesis, worth no more than six hours. In option II, students complete 36 hours of coursework and must pass a written comprehensive examination. The program starts with core coursework in research, methods, and quantitative analysis. Students focus their studies by selecting a primary and secondary concentration area from choices in Traditional and Normative Theory, Empirical Theory and Research Methodology, American Government and Politics, Public Administration, Comparative Government and Politics, or International Relations. Students may request departmental approval to add a secondary concentration from outside of political science. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,006 / $31,426 

 

#36 – University of Missouri 

Master of Arts in Political Science

Columbia, Missouri
Website

Study cutting-edge topics in politics with the Master of Arts in Political Science program at the University of Missouri. Students will benefit from extensive methodological training in quantitative research techniques. The 30-hour program includes a seven-hour core focusing on advanced research and analysis methods. Students can choose a major field from areas including American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Public Policy and Administration. Students will work closely with faculty to select an advisory committee that provides guidance and directs the student's research thesis or paper. The committee also conducts the program's required comprehensive oral examination. Students completing the thesis will be able to qualify for admission to doctoral programs. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,972 / $27,042 

 

#35– Georgia State University 

Masters of Arts in Political Science

Atlanta, Georgia
Website

Offering a choice between in-person and online classes, the Masters of Arts in Political Science from Georgia State University is a convenient way to advance your career. Degree concentrations in American politics, general political science, international and comparative politics, and public law are available. Students will develop skills to conduct independent research, and the department's strong emphasis on the interaction between students and faculty creates many opportunities for collaboration. The 30-hour program includes two methods tracks. The regular methods track focuses on research design and data analysis, while the advanced methods track adds topics in quantitative analysis, statistical methods, and qualitative research methods. Students also complete an experiential learning project that can include an internship or paid employment, and may also choose to write a research thesis. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,112 / $23,971

 

#34 – George Mason University

Master of Arts in Political Science

Fairfax, Virginia
Website

Gain the skills to advance in a career in government or academics with the Master of Arts in Political Science program from George Mason University. The degree is designed to give students a deep understanding of the complexities of government along with robust analytical and research skills. Students will complete 36 credits through an education plan developed in collaboration with faculty advisors. The program has required core coursework that explores topics in American politics, theory, comparative politics, and international relations. Students customize their degrees by selecting from concentrations in International Security, American Government and Politics, Comparative Politics, and International Relations. The degree concludes with either a three-credit project or six-credit graduate thesis. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,462 / $35,922 

 

#33 – University of Texas at Dallas 

Master of Arts in Political Science

Richardson, Texas
Website

Build the knowledge needed to pursue a career in government with the Master of Arts in Political Science from the University of Texas at Dallas. Dive into the subjects of politics, citizenship, and governance, while building skills in data analysis in this 30 credit hour program. Students earn 15 semester credits through the required core courses and develop a concentration area with 15 additional credits earned through prescribed electives. The degree program includes three tracks. The political science track offers a traditional emphasis on American politics, comparative politics, international relations, political institutions, or law and courts. Constitutional law studies track focuses on the role of the judicial system. The legislative studies track is designed to provide a deep understanding of the legislative process. To apply, students will need a minimum 3.0 GPA on their baccalaureate degree in addition to three letters of recommendation and a minimum score of 300 on the verbal portion of the Graduate Record Examination. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,034 / $36,876
 

#32 – University at Albany 

Political Science Master of Arts Degree Program

Albany, New York
Website

The Political Science Master of Arts Degree Program from the University of Albany is an ideal way for students to earn a terminal degree or take the first step toward a Ph.D. The 32-credit program provides students with a deep understanding of data and research. The program offers a required core that presents topics in political inquiry and either qualitative and quantitative research methods depending on the student's preference. By selecting a total of 20 elective credits students can design the program to meet their specific academic and career goals. The program concludes with a master's capstone. The capstone can be a research project that results in a final written paper or a portfolio comprising of several shorter works. The master's capstone will be completed under the supervision and approval of the student's faculty advisor. Internships, field experiences, and study abroad opportunities are also available for credit. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,011

 

#31 – University of Oregon

Master's Program in Political Science

Eugene, Oregon
Website

Qualify for a career in higher education teaching and research in two years with the Master's Program in Political Science from the University of Oregon. Traditionally offered as a pathway to a Ph.D., the master's degree program can be completed as a terminal degree in specific cases. Students must contact the university's director of graduate studies directly to learn more. Students are required to earn a minimum of 45 credits, 30 of which are in the student's major. Students will take two graduate seminars on topics ranging from political behavior and political theory to state-society relations and international political economy. Students completing the program as a Master of Arts degree will be required to demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language. The Master of Science program includes a nine-credit thesis requirement. Participants will gain skills in quantitative and qualitative research methods by completing the program's methods requirement. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,898 / $35,478 

 

#30 – University of Kansas

Master of Arts in Political Science

Lawrence, Kansas
Website

The Master of Arts in Political Science from the University of Kansas equips students with the research and scholarship skills to exceed in a range of careers. Students benefit from individual faculty mentoring due in part to the program's medium size and numerous teaching opportunities. Students complete 30 graduate credit hours beginning with the program's required courses in research design and methods. Students complete the remaining 24 credit hours through a selection of eight graduate-level electives. With approval, up to six credit hours may be completed outside of the Department of Political Science. Students can select either thesis or non-thesis options for the degree. Students writing the thesis may allocate up to six credit hours toward research and writing. An oral examination and thesis defense are also required to graduate. Students in the non-thesis option complete both a written and oral master's examination after finishing coursework. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,148 / $27,358 

 

#29 – Temple University 

Master of Arts in Political Science

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Website

The Master of Arts in Political Science from Temple University helps students open the doors to a career in academia. Accordingly, the program places a strong emphasis on both teaching and research. Students can complete the program on a full-time or part-time basis, and all classes start after 3 p.m. at the university's main campus. Students will be prepared to enter Ph.D. programs or add to their credentials as teachers in the public and private sector. Students will build a foundation in research and statistics in the program's core, before choosing among specialization areas in American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and political theory. Students will complete a total of 30 credit hours, including the culminating seminar paper. The department offers non-matriculated access to classes for students interested in previewing the program prior to admission. Interested students should contact the Office of Continuing Studies for more information. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,970 / $29,066

 

#28 – City University of New York 

Master of Arts Program in Political Science

New York, New York
Website

The Master of Arts Program in Political Science from the City University of New York offers a convenient and flexible way to develop skills in politics and government. The majority of courses are offered in the late afternoon or evening, giving students time to pursue additional activities. The 30-credit program covers several subfields, including American politics, comparative politics, international relations, political theory, and public policy. Students can also focus on the university's unique writing politics specialization, which helps students become skilled writers of political analysis and commentary. Students will earn six credits through required core coursework in research design and a seminar in political science. The remaining 24 credits will be selected from courses in political science and related subfields. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,640 / $22,440

 

#27 – University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Master of Arts in Political Science

Lincoln, Nebraska
Website

The Master of Arts in Political Science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln offers unique fields of specializations enabling students to meet their academic goals. Students can select from specialization areas in environmental studies, ethnic studies, human rights and humanitarian affairs, water resources planning and management, and women's and gender studies. The program is offered in three distinct options. Students can earn 30 credits and complete a graduate thesis worth an equivalent six to ten credits in Option I. In Option II, students earn 36 credit without completing a thesis. This option adds up to two minor subjects worth nine credits. Option III is coursework-based only and does not include a thesis or minor requirement. Students may change options at any time during their studies with department approval. All students will be required to pass either a written or oral examination to earn the degree.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,242 / $25,038

 

#26 – University at Buffalo 

Master's of Arts in Political Science

Buffalo, New York
Website

The Master's of Arts in Political Science from the University of Buffalo provides students the training to pursue careers in academia, politics, or government. The 30 credit hour program includes either eight courses and a master's thesis worth six credits, or nine courses and a research project paper worth three credits. The program exposes students to core concepts in political inquiry and basic statistics for social science. It then progresses into core topics in comparative politics, international politics, American politics, and public law. An optional comprehensive examination is available, and students will need departmental approval to sit for the test. Students will also receive ample faculty and departmental guidance when completing the thesis or research project. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,099 / $27,769 

 

#25 – University of Oklahoma

Master of Arts in Political Science

Norman, Oklahoma
Website

Get a deep understanding of the functions of government with the Master of Arts in Political Science from the University of Oklahoma. The program prepares students for further study at the doctoral level or provides ideal graduate education for secondary school teachers. Students who enroll in at least nine hours each semester can typically complete the program in two years. Students will develop skills in research and data analysis through the program's required courses. Students will add a major emphasis by selecting from fields of study, including American government and politics, comparative politics, public administration, public policy, international relations, and political theory. Students also complete a secondary emphasis, which may include the program's optional research methods emphasis. Students also have the choice to complete either a comprehensive exam and thesis or a non-thesis research paper. To qualify for admission, applicants will need at least 24 hours of the undergraduate experience in political science, along with three letters of recommendation and a score on the Graduate Record Examination.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,538 / $26,919 

 

#24 – University of Florida 

Master of Arts in Political Science

Gainesville, Florida
Website

Pursue a variety of career and academic goals with the Master of Arts in Political Science offered by the University of Florida. All graduate students begin their studies with the department's conduct of inquiry and political data analysis courses. Students can select the general degree program, focus on international relations, or earn the degree with an additional certificate in political campaigning or public affairs. The general program covers 36 semester hours and can be completed as a joint M.A./Juris Doctor program. The international relations option also includes 36 semester hours and covers topics in international relations theory, international political economy, and international security. Both options may be completed with a thesis or a comprehensive examination. The remaining two options allow students to earn the degree with a certificate in political campaigning or public affairs. These options include a required internship and a comprehensive final examination. No thesis is required for the certificate programs. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,381 / $28,659 

 

#23 – University of North Texas

Master's Degree Program in Political Science

Denton, Texas
Website

Whether you're an academic or a professional seeking career advancement, the Master's Degree Program in Political Science from the University of Texas will give you a strong background in the methods and theory of politics. Students can complete the program as either a Master of Arts or Master of Science degree. Students will complete a minimum of 30 hours, which culminate in either the oral defense of a Master's thesis or a comprehensive written examination in the student's major field. The program starts with two required methods classes, including political science scope and methods and qualitative political research methods. The program requires students to select two areas of study of an outside minor. Available study areas include American government and public law, comparative government and politics, international relations, political theory, and methodology. All outside minors must be approved by the student's advisory committee. To earn the Masters of Science degree, students will complete at least six hours of research and methods courses beyond the required coursework.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,852 / $20,812 

 

#22 – George Washington University

Master of Arts in Political Science

Washington, D.C.
Website

Train for a career in politics in the nation's capital with the Master of Arts in Political Science from George Washington University. Students will study the fine details of government at national and international scale by selecting a major field in American politics, comparative politics, or international relations. Students may also select one of these majors for their minor field, in addition to minors in public policy, political theory, and research methodology. To apply, students must submit three letters of recommendation and a score from the Graduate Record Examination. International applicants will be required to demonstrate English language proficiency.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $55,230

 

#21 – Arizona State University 

Political Science, Master's of Arts

Tempe, Arizona
Website

A deep commitment to student mentorship is what distinguishes the Political Science, Master's of Arts program offered by Arizona State University. Incoming cohorts are made up of five students on average, allowing for ample opportunities to work directly with faculty. Students will build expertise in research methods while progressing through a 30 credit hour curriculum. A three-credit required course in Empirical Political Inquiry kicks off the program, which includes specialty fields in American Politics, comparative politics, and international relations. Students may select either a thesis or portfolio for the program's capstone experience. To qualify for admission, applicants will need a minimum 3.0 GPA in the final 60 hours of the student's bachelor's degree along with a score on the Graduate Record Examination. The degree must be completed within six consecutive years and with a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,822 / $28,336 

 

#20 – Syracuse University 

Political Science, Master of Arts

Syracuse, New York
Website

The Political Science, Master of Arts offered by Syracuse University delivers key insights for students seeking careers in academia, law, journalism, or public policy. Students can shape their degrees by selecting from several fields of study, including American politics, comparative politics, international relations, political theory, public administration and policy, security studies, and law and courts. Beyond these fields of study, students can also elect to earn an accompanying graduate certificate in Civil Society Organizations, Conflict Resolution, the European Union and Contemporary Europe, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Middle Eastern Affairs, Security Studies, or more. Students will earn a minimum of 30 graduate credits, including at least one methodology course. The degree can be completed in one year.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $51,853

 

#19 – University of Houston 

Master of Arts – Department of Political Science

Houston, Texas
Website

Focus on your particular interest within the field while earning a graduate degree with the Master of Arts – Department of Political Science from the University of Houston. The program has several concentrations, among them, are American Politics, Comparative Politics, Political Analysis, and Political Theory. Under some circumstances, students may request to design their own concentration with the permission of the graduate director. Students completing the degree's thesis option will earn 30 hours through graduate coursework. Students selecting the non-thesis option will complete 33 graduate hours of coursework in addition to a bibliographic essay that analyzes a well-defined area of political science literature. Full-time students enrolling in three courses per semester can expect to graduate in two years.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,913 / $21,273 

 

#18 – Boston University 

Master of Arts in Political Science

Boston, Massachusetts
Website

Study politics and governments at an advanced level with the Master of Arts in Political Science from Boston University. The degree is available as part of the university's Ph.D. in Political Science program. Students will enroll as Ph.D. students and may request to be awarded the Master of Arts degree upon completion of required credits and the passing of qualifying examination as the master's level. To apply, students must have completed a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Students will work with a faculty advisor to develop a plan of study for the 32 credit program. Students may enroll in no more than 18 credits per semester and must complete the degree within three years of enrollment. The department also offers an accelerated Bachelor of Arts/Master of Arts degree program, which allows students to graduate with a master's degree in just four years. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $53,948

 

#17 – American University 

Master of Arts in Political Science

Washington, D.C.
Website

Gain practical experience to accelerate your career with the Master of Arts in Political Science from American University. Located in the nation's capital, students have many opportunities to build skills in campaign management, public affairs advocacy, and political analysis. The program offers students the flexibility to customize their degree by selecting from concentrations in American politics, comparative politics, and applied politics. The applied politics options offer an in-depth examination of American public policy, public affairs, and advocacy covering a broad range of topics. The degree consists of 33 credit hours with at least 18 credits coming from 600-level courses. Students will also sit for a three-hour written comprehensive examination in their area of concentration. Prerequisites for the examination include two research courses and the completion of the program's concentration courses. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $48,459

 

#16 – Purdue University 

Master of Arts Degree in Political Science

West Lafayette, Indiana
Website

The Master of Arts Degree in Political Science from Purdue University prepares students to launch a professional career or continue their studies at the doctoral level. Students select from several areas of their interest for their major field. The department's areas of interest cover American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and public policy. Students also select a minor field, which can be a cognate topic or a custom-designed subject area developed with faculty approval. The department recognizes several related minor areas from outside the department, including American Studies, Women Gender and Sexuality Studies, African American Studies, Political Economy, Political Psychology, and Political Communication. Exceptional students are frequently invited to continue their studies with the department's Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Political Science. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,992 / $28,794

 

#15 – Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey 

Master of Arts in Political Science

Newark, New Jersey
Website

The Master of Arts in Political Science from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, affords students an opportunity to build a strong background in government and political affairs. Students will learn critical thinking and writing skills that will enable them to launch careers in a number of areas, including government, non-profits, and the private sector. Courses meet once a week in the evening, allowing many students to attend part-time while maintaining employment or other responsibilities. Specializations are available in the American political system or international relations, and students may take additional elective courses in political theory, constitutional law, comparative politics, and research methodology. An optional women's and gender studies concentration is also available in conjunction with the master's degree. Students enrolled in the university's Juris Doctor program may apply up to 12 credits in relevant law courses toward the 30 required credits for the master's degree.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,974 / $31,282 

 

#14 – University of Iowa 

Political Science, Master of Arts

Iowa City, Iowa
Website

Begin your path toward an advanced education in politics with the Political Science, Master of Arts program from the University of Iowa. The graduate program requires at least 30 semester hours of graduate credit. Students must pass all classes with a 3.25 GPA, and may complete the degree without a thesis. Students will be tasked with developing a plan of study that must be approved by the student's advisor and the department's executive officer. The program concludes with a final oral examination that may be waived for exceptional students. After the student's first year, an evaluation committee will assess the student's writing ability and determine whether the student qualifies to continue on to the program's doctoral pathway. To apply, students must have earned a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited American college or university with at least a 3.0 GPA. International applicants will be required to demonstrate English language proficiency.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,267 / $31,233 

 

#13 – University of California, Riverside

Master of Arts in Political Science

Riverside, California
Website

Students seeking high-level training in political science will find multiple opportunities for research in the Master of Arts in Political Science from the University of California, Riverside. The program's courses are listed in conjunction with the program's Ph.D. program, giving students the chance to seamlessly pursue their Ph.D. in the future. Students may select two options for completing the program. In Plan I, students will work with a faculty member to develop a thesis. The plan is limited to students who can exhibit the ability to carry out independent research projects. Most students will opt for Plan II, which includes 36 graduate units and a comprehensive examination in either comparative politics, international relations, American politics, mass political behavior, or political theory. Required graduate courses will cover topics in political inquiry and quantitative methods, giving students the ability to design and carry out original research projects.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,827 / $42,819 

 

#12 – University of Georgia

Master of Arts in Political Science & International Relations

Athens, Georgia
Website

Expand your career opportunities with a dual-focus degree with the Master of Arts in Political Science & International Relations from the University of Georgia. The program is cooperatively operated by the Departments of Political Science and International Affairs and offers students specializations in international relations, comparative politics, American politics, and political theory. Students, however, are not required to select a specialization. The program requires a minimum of 30 credit hours and can be completed in one of two fashions. The MA Thesis Program of Study requires 30 credit hours made up of 18 credits of graduate seminar, nine credits of methodology courses, and three credits of thesis work. The MA Non-Thesis Program of Study includes 36 credit hours and students must either complete a portion of the Ph.D. comprehensive examination or present and defend an article-length paper to a two-member faculty committee. A Fast Track Ph.D. is available for qualified students.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,830 / $30,404 

 

#11 – Boston College

Master of Arts in Political Science

Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
Website

The Master of Arts in Political Science from Boston College exposes students to a broad and in-depth curriculum in the theory and practice of government and politics. The program totals 30 credits and comprises ten courses, with at least one take in each of the four primary fields of Political Science: American politics, comparative politics, international politics, and political theory. When students enroll in three courses per semester, they can expect to receive their degrees in two years. A comprehensive examination covering at least two subfields is required to complete the program. Students may waive the examination by writing and defending a graduate thesis. Students writing a thesis will complete eight courses instead of the standard ten-course plan. Students wishing to gain additional writing experience can choose to take Advanced Directive Study with a supervising faculty member and will develop a final paper project based on previous coursework. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $55,464

 

#10 – Binghamton University State University of New York

Master of Arts in Political Science

Binghamton, New York
Website

Develop the critical thinking skills for a wide range of careers with the Master of Arts in Political Science from the Binghamton University State University of New York. The program develops skills through teaching and research based on systematic evidence and quantitative analysis. MA students select a specialization in one substantive area, including American politics, comparative politics, or world politics. Students will complete either a master's thesis or a comprehensive examination. Due to the program's small size, students and faculty frequently collaborate on conference papers and articles. To qualify for admission, students must have earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Three letters of recommendation and a Graduate Record Examination score are also required. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,808 / $9,853 / $26,648 

 

#9 – Michigan State University 

Political Science – Master of Arts

East Lansing, Michigan
Website

Begin your journey toward a doctorate with the Political Science – Master of Arts from Michigan State University. Students are admitted to the program with the expectation that they will proceed to doctoral studies at MSU. Students will receive a strong foundation in the knowledge base and research methods of political science through the department's four areas of concentration, including American politics, comparative politics, international politics, public policy, political thought, formal theory, and research methodology. The program is only offered in a non-thesis format. Students will learn 30 credits, which 24 of those credits distributed among graduate-level Political Science courses. An additional six credits may come from related disciplines with written faculty approval. The university also offers a dual Juris Doctor-Master of Arts program, and graduate assistantships may be available. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,460 / $39,766 

 

#8 – Northeastern University 

Master of Arts in Political Science

Boston, Massachusetts
Website

Earn your graduate degree in a way that's convenient for you with the Master of Arts in Political Science from Northeastern University. Located on the school's Boston campus, the program can be completed in just one year by students studying on a full-time basis. Part-time enrollment is also available, and selected courses can be completed online. The university offers a number of concentrations within its M.A. program, including American government, international relations, comparative politics, and public policy. Additional concentrations in security studies, European studies, and Middle Eastern studies are also available. Students have several opportunities for experiential learning, directed study, internships, and research opportunities through the program's thesis requirement. To apply, students will need a bachelor's degree from an accredited university. Three years of professional experience may be substituted for a Graduate Record Examination.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $51,522

 

#7 – Massachusetts Institute of Technology 

Master of Science in Political Science

Cambridge, Massachusetts
Website

The Master of Science in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology helps students build a suite of skills to succeed in a wide range of politically-oriented careers. Students will gain experience in applied research, preparing them for careers in government, business, and public policy. The 66-unit program can be specialized with concentrations in American politics, comparative politics, international relations, models and methods, political economy, and security studies. Students take courses in at least six graduate subjects, four of which must be taken at the institute's Political Science Department. The remaining subjects may be taken at MIT or at Harvard University through a special partnership. Students can expect to complete the program in three semesters and will write and defend a master's thesis with the approval of two faculty members. For students seeking an academic career, the institute also offers a Ph.D. in Political Science.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $51,832

 

#6 – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 

Master of Arts in Political Science

Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Website

Develop the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in the modern workplace with the Master of Arts in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Graduate candidates will explore the literature of political science while gaining experience as teachers and researchers. Students are required to write and defend a master's thesis and also sit for an oral examination in the student's major subject. With additional coursework, students may add a graduate certificate in Latin American Studies to their degree plan. Students have access to research opportunities at the university's Center for European Studies, Center for Slavic Eurasian, and Eastern European Studies, and the Louis Harris Data Center. To qualify for admission, applicants must possess a bachelor of arts degree or equivalent and submit a score from the Graduate Record Examination. Graduate fellowships and assistantships are also available. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,987 / $35,170 

 

#5 – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 

Master of Arts in Political Science

Champaign, Illinois
Website

The Master of Arts in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign allows students to strengthen their research skills in a rigorous academic setting. Students will earn 32 graduate hours, 24 of which will come from 500-level graduate courses for students selecting the programs thesis option. The non-thesis option includes between 24 and 32 graduate hours and a master's paper. A concentration is not required. Students seeking a teaching career can add an optional Graduate Teaching Certificate or Advanced Graduate Teaching Certificate to their degree. Students who are enrolled in the university's Ph.D. program in Political Science can typically complete the requirements for the master's degree in three semesters. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,094 / $31,664 

 

#4 – Texas A&M University

Master of Arts in Political Science

College Station, Texas
Website

Gain the skills, tools, and knowledge to become a qualified researcher or practitioner with the Master of Arts in Political Science from Texas A&M University. The engaging curriculum challenges students and prepares them for a wide range of careers through a mixture of research and theory. Thesis and non-thesis options are available. Thesis students will complete at least 30 semester hours of credit, with no more than six hours coming from thesis research. Students with a GPA lower than 3.5 must also pass an oral examination. In the non-thesis plan, students will earn 36 hours through coursework, 24 coming from the Department of Political Science, and six from a supporting field. All non-thesis students must pass a comprehensive examination as well. Students will develop their degree plan with the assistance of the graduate committee and graduate advisor. To earn a master of arts degree, students will also be asked to demonstrate reading knowledge of at least one foreign language. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,870 / $37,495 

 

#3 – Stanford University

Master of Arts in Political Science

Stanford, California
Website

The Master of Arts in Political Science from Stanford University is an advanced degree program available to students pursuing it in combination with a doctoral degree or one of the university's professional degrees. The degree program requires the completion of at least three-quarters of the residence as a graduate student and 45 units of credit. At least 25 units must be taken in Political Science graduate seminars at the 300 level and above. The balance of units must be taken in courses above 100, with no more than ten credits coming from directed reading. Concentrations in international relations, American politics, political theory, comparative politics, and political methodology are available. Students often pursue the degree in combination with another master's degree from other departments, including statistics, economics, and beyond. The university also offers a similar degree with the Fred Dorsey Master's In International Policy. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $51,354

 

#2 – Columbia University 

Master of Arts in Political Science

New York, New York
Website

Begin the path toward a rewarding career with the Master of Arts in Political Science from Columbia University. Students will have access to Ph.D. level courses to build the research and analytical skills needed to succeed. Students begin their studies with the university's proseminar aimed at introducing them to faculty research projects and the various subfields of political science. The program consists of at least five courses in the Department of Political Science and a research component focusing on either quantitative methods or formal modeling. Students can complete the degree in two full-time semesters. Students may select from concentrations in American politics, comparative politics, international relations, or political theory, and no graduate thesis is required. Students also build research tools and will be required to demonstrate reading skills in a foreign language, or take a sequence of courses in research analysis or modeling.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $59,430

 

#1 – Duke University 

Master of Arts in Political Science

Durham, North Carolina
Website

The Master of Arts in Political Science from Duke University prepares the leaders of tomorrow to take on global challenges. Students in the M.A. program attend seminars along with Ph.D. students and work under the guidance of expert faculty. Students select either a thesis or non-thesis option in the 30-credit program. Thesis students will earn 24 credits from graded courses while completing six credits of ungraded research. Non-thesis students earn all credits through graded coursework and two original research papers. Non-thesis students also take a comprehensive oral examination to earn their degrees. Students take courses in two major fields, with options including normative political theory and philosophy, political behavior and identities, political institutions, political economy, political methodology, or security, peace and conflict. Additionally, students must demonstrate foreign language skills or take classes in statistics or formal theory. The university also offers the degree jointly with a Juris Doctor.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $55,695