Best Colleges and Universities for Political Science Degrees

The best political science degree programs are those with rich histories of influence, proven through the work produced by the program’s faculty and alumni. Beyond demonstrating scholarly impact in the field, the best political science degree programs maximize your opportunities to interact with outstanding political science faculty.

Best Colleges and Universities for Political Science Degrees

A bachelor’s degree in political science is an excellent starting point for a career in law, social activism, public service, and a host of other important fields. As a political science major, you’ll study subjects such as civics, theories of governance, and race relations. Your political science degree will also incorporate foundational courses in both American and world politics as well as relevant courses in the history, philosophy, and sociology disciplines. The best schools for political science are those which are regionally accredited, which offer a full array of political science concentrations, and which give you the chance to work with the best and most influential professors and classmates.

Frequently Asked Questions About Political Science Bachelor’s Degrees

Earning a bachelor’s degree in political science can open numerous professionals doors. For instance, as a political science major, you’ll learn how local, state, and federal governments intersect, how electoral politics work, and how legislation is created. This knowledge could provide you with the tools to take part in policy development, run for elected office, or engage in social activism.

But a political science major can also be an excellent starting point on the way to a Law School degree or a way to enter into public service in a wide range of fields including healthcare, environmental conservation, city planning, and much more. Today, top influencers in Political Science are breaking new ground in countless critical areas, including the relationship between public opinion and political behavior, U.S. foreign policy, the fight against corruption in state building and much more.

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Political science is an excellent interdisciplinary major, touching on history, philosophy, and sociology, as well as incorporating practical subjects such as public survey, demographic analysis, epidemiology, and more. This means you could parlay your degree in political science into a wide range of rewarding careers. There are countless ways to apply your degree through local, state, and federal governance, including public health, technology, commerce, planning, and much more.

It is noteworthy that many of the top-paying professions connected to the political science discipline will require you to earn a master’s degree. For instance, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), those who continue into an advanced degree program can become historians, who earned a median of $63,680 in 2019, urban planners, who made a median of $74,350, and political scientists, who earned a robust median of $122,220 that year.

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Once you’ve declared your major in political science, you will likely be required to complete a set of core courses in a number of related subject areas. While your concentration will give you a chance to choose from a wide range of highly-specialized political science electives, there are several courses that most political science majors will be required to take, including:

  • Introduction to Political Theory
  • U.S. Government and Civics
  • Law, Politics and Justice
  • Modern Political Thought
  • Religion, Politics and Society
  • Race Relations and Politics
  • Democracy and the State
  • World Politics
  • Political Activism and Protest Movements

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Majoring in political science is a great starting point for a number of different career paths. Governance touches on everything in our lives, from economics, education, and environment to security, history and health. Your degree in political science could give you a chance to contribute to the public well-being in any of these areas. Top jobs for political science majors include the following:

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Best Colleges and Universities for Political Science Degree Programs

Frequently Asked Questions About Research Universities, Liberal Arts Colleges, Online Colleges

In pursuing a bachelor’s degree, you will need to choose between three kinds of schools: research universities, liberal arts colleges, and online colleges.

Research universities are colleges and universities whose faculty are active in research and publishing. These schools offer a wide array of doctoral programs, especially in the sciences. They tend to be big, with tens of thousands of students.

Do you prefer a larger university setting, such as largest public university in your state? Research universities are typically big, offering degrees in many different disciplines. Is a big high-powered research environment the thing for you. If not, you should think about a liberal arts college. In deciding on an undergraduate institution, ask yourself what sort of environment will best help you to be happy and excel.

  • Consider whether you are self motivated enough to be a face in the crowd for some classes and largely unknown on campus at a large university. Of course you can find clubs and friends at a large university, but often liberal arts colleges have a more personal quality to them. If you want the community feel, a research university may not fit you well.
  • Are you interested in STEM fields? Research universities have that name for a reason – real research is happening there. This can create an exciting atmosphere for students interested in STEM. Attending a research university can give you a better chance of getting into better programs for graduate degrees, although a lot of that depends on your performance.
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Often referred to as “teaching colleges” liberal arts colleges put a premium on undergraduate studies and offers a broad range of subjects for students to study. A college of liberal arts typically provides smaller class sizes, more direct engagement with professors, and, most importantly, the opportunity to sample a wide range of subject areas on the way to a bachelor’s degree.

  • Do you want your professors to know you? Liberal arts colleges strive to cultivate campus cultures that encourage tight bonds between professors and students. Professors at these schools will typically conduct original research. Yet the best of these schools offer their faculty reduced teaching loads so that they can both be productive researchers and still have plenty of time for students (both in and outside the classroom).
  • Do you want to feel like you know everybody? One of the most enticing features of a liberal arts college is that in very little time, you can feel like you know who’s who, which can create strong friendships, but also more pleasurable walks across campus. While your sports teams may never be on ESPN, it’s more likely that you’ll know the athletes as your peers. Beyond student and faculty relationships, it’s not unusual for the school president and other administrators to learn who you are. When faced with problems with your student account or the need to switch classes, this can be comforting during a stressful moment.
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Online colleges are typically the same colleges and universities you could attend in-person, but for certain degree programs the college or unviersity has made the degree programs available to be completed online. For over 5 million students, online degree programs allow students to earn their degrees in the most flexible format available. Online degrees are as respected as the on-campus degress you could earn from the same schools. There’s usually no disctinction between the two degrees, and your degree and transcript will not say that the degree was earned online. Online degree programs are offered by a vast majority of colleges and universities, and the number of offering continues to grow. Whehter you are searching for an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate, there’s a good chance you can earn your degree online from a respectable online college.

  • Are you a self-driven student? Perhaps the hardest aspect of obtaining an online degree is whether you will be disciplined enough to manage your time and course demands. Many online students report that online college made them more disciplined in all areas of their lives, but the flexible, self-paced learning that makes online colleges attractive can often be the same qualities that make it difficult. If you tend to be a procrastinator, you need to be honest with yourself. You can change your habits and propensities, or you can throw money down the drain.
  • Do you need the flexibility of an online degree program? Most online students study online because of time demands balancing work and life, or becuase the online colleges afford them the chance to attend a better school without moving. If you are serious about earning your degree for career advancement, online colleges make it possible. The most flexible options among online degrees are those that are aynchronous, meaning you don’t have scheduled times to meet with your class online. However, many students seek synchronous online degree programs so that they have some structure – set meeting times, scheduled exams, etc.
  • The good news is that attending an online college doesn’t mean you will miss out on getting to know your professors and classmates. In fact, many online students who have experienced both online and on-campus courses report having easier access to their professors. Since most communication with your professor is expected to be in text – via email or your class learning management system – it makes asking your questions easier. The same students also report that they got to better know the thoughts of their classmates. While in-person course conversations can be dominated by a few extroverts, online courses that require online discussions make it so that you see all of your classmates’ thoughts and questions.

If you interested in an online bachelor’s degree, check out what the best online colleges offer, or search our online degrees for the exact program that interests you. In either case, you will find well respected colleges and universities that offer online degrees.

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The Best Colleges and Universities for Political Science Degrees

Best Political Science Major Research Universities

  1. Harvard University
  2. Columbia University
  3. Yale University
  4. Stanford University
  5. Princeton University

Go to The Best Political Science Major Research Universities

Best Political Science Major Liberal Arts Colleges

  1. Swarthmore College
  2. Williams College
  3. Amherst College
  4. Wellesley College
  5. Middlebury College

Go to The Best political science Major Liberal Arts Colleges

The Best Political Science Schools in Your State

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Learn More About Political Science

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