In this article, we list the top ranked and most affordable online master’s in political science degree programs for 2017.

A master’s in political science, politics, or government can open the door to job opportunities within a highly competitive market. Most graduate political science programs are designed to equip students with knowledge and understanding of the inner-workings of government and societies in our modern time. Courses generally include comparative politics, international relations, and security issues. Online master’s in political science programs are available for those who need to maintain a balance with work, life, and educational obligations. Some of the most highly regarded institutions are now offering online graduate degrees in political science or related programs.

Methodology

We reviewed approximately 58 accredited colleges and universities offering online master’s in political science or related degree programs as per NCES College Navigator. From these we selected institutions with rankings from major publications like Forbes magazine, The Princeton Review, and U.S. News and World Report. This group was narrowed to 20 by choosing the most affordable institutions based on recent in-state graduate tuition rates published by College Navigator. We listed our schools in order of affordability.

Below are the resulting selections for our top 20 most affordable online master’s in political science degree programs for 2017.

#20 – The George Washington University

Online Master’s in Political Management

Washington, DC

Website

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Top-ranked institution! The George Washington University offers an online master’s in political management program that is accredited and flexible.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $27,851

Looking for an accredited online master’s in political science program? The George Washington University offers an online master’s in political management degree that may be obtained from any location. The program is designed for working students who require flexibility when it comes to their education. The program is not considered a political science or public policy program, but rather focuses on the engagement of campaigns, elections, policy implementation, and revolution. Hands-on experiences and applications are provided instead of focusing studies strictly on theories. The George Washington University is a nationally ranked institution. In fact, major publications like U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as the 56th best national university. Many of the school’s online master’s degree programs have also earned high rankings.

#19 – Pennsylvania State University

Online Master’s in Public Administration

University Park, Pennsylvania

Website

pennsylvania-state-university-online-masters-degree-programs-in-political-science

Penn State offers an online MPA that appeals to those interested in online master’s in political science degree programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $20,270

While not an online master’s in politics, the online MPA program at Pennsylvania State University offers elective courses in government administration and policy analysis. The program is designed for busy students with an interest in criminal justice, political science, and public policy. All courses are delivered online and include governmental fiscal decision-making, introduction to public policy analysis, organizational behavior, public organization and management, and research methods. Penn State is ranked by major publications like Forbes magazine, The Princeton Review, and U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News lists the school as the 50th best national university and 14th top public school in the country.

#18 – Norwich University

Online Master of Arts in Diplomacy

Northfield, Vermont

Website

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Norwich University’s online master’s in diplomacy is one of the most affordable online political science degree programs on our list.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $19,675

The master’s in diplomacy at Norwich University may appeal to students interested in earning an online master’s in political science. The diplomacy program offers a holistic approach to the understanding of global affairs. Four concentrations are available, including cyber diplomacy, international commerce, international conflict management, and international terrorism. All coursework may be completed in just 18 months. Courses include economics and the international system, law and the international system, and studies in cyber systems. A comprehensive exam and optional thesis track, or residency, are also part of the program requirements. Norwich University is regionally ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 80th best regional university in the North.

#17 – Southern New Hampshire University

Online Master’s in Political Science

Manchester, New Hampshire

Website

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SNHU’s online master’s in political science degree can be completed in just 15 months.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $18,810

Southern New Hampshire University offers an online master’s in political science degree program that is designed for busy and working students. Affordable tuition rates, 24/7-access to online coursework, and no GMAT or GRE requirements are just some of the pros of the online master’s in political science degree at SNHU. Students work at their own pace and have the option of completing their degree in as little as 15 months. Online courses include American governmental institutions, foundations of public policy, political parties and interest groups, and research and analysis in political science. U.S. News and World Report ranks the university as the 101st best regional school in the North.

#16 – Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Online Master’s in Political Science

Blacksburg, Virginia

Website

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Virginia Tech’s online master’s in political science degree program is highly ranked.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,116

Virginia Tech offers an accredited online political science master’s degree program that is identical to the highly respected residential master’s on the Blacksburg campus. According to the program website, Virginia Tech’s online political science master’s has one of the lowest student-to-faculty ratios (7:1). A total of 30 credit hours are taken entirely online with courses that cover topics like contemporary political theory, public policy analysis, research methods, and US foreign policy after 9/11. Virginia Tech is ranked nationally by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks the school as the 74th best national university in the country.

#15 – Walden University

Online Master’s in Public Policy

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Website

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One of the more affordable online master’s in political science or related degree programs is at Walden University.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,609

For those interested in an online master’s in political science or related degree program, Walden University offers a master of public policy that addresses public policy issues and the challenges faced by government agencies. All classes are delivered online and taught by university professors. There are also a number of specializations designed to help students meet their career goals. Some of the specializations include global leadership, health policy, law and public policy, local government management, and terrorism. Walden has earned recognition from major publications like U.S. News and World Report in recent years. In fact, many of the school’s master’s degree programs have been ranked.

#14 – University of North Carolina

Online Master’s in Public Administration

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Website

University of North Carolina - Online Master's Degree Programs in Political Science

UNC offers an accredited and affordable online master’s in public administration.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,074

University of North Carolina offers an online MPA that may appeal to individuals interested in online masters in politics degree programs. The web-based program format is perfect for working students or those who require a balance between life obligations and education. Students gain access to coursework on their own schedules rather than having to attend traditional classes on campus. While the degree focuses on public administration, electives allow students to explore areas in government, economic development, and political theory. Online courses may include professional communications, public administration and values, and public service leadership. UNC is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 30th best national university and the 12th best value school in the country.

#13 – University of Illinois

Online Master’s in Political Science

Springfield, Illinois

Website

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The online master’s in political science degree program at University of Illinois is 100% online!

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,532

The University of Illinois offers an affordable online master’s in political science degree program that is designed for working students and those in need of flexibility while attending classes. The program is 100% online and offers four areas of emphasis to help meet personal and professional goals. Areas of emphasis include American national and state politics, comparative politics, political theory, and public law. Classes include methods of inquiry, national security issues, political parties and interest groups, and women and emerging public politics. The university is regionally ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 63rd best regional university in the Midwest.

#12 – Grand Canyon University

Online Master of Public Administration with Emphasis in Government and Policy

Phoenix, Arizona

Website

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Grand Canyon University’s online MPA offers an emphasis in government and policy.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,124

Grand Canyon University offers an online master’s program that may appeal to those interested in an online master’s in political science degree. Students may earn a master of public administration with an emphasis in government and policy. Courses are delivered entirely online and are eight weeks in length. Required courses include leadership and organizations, policy studies, public budgeting and financial management, public governance, and servant leadership. U.S. News and World Report ranks the institution as a best national university. In fact, the most recent edition of Best Colleges ranks many of the school’s graduate programs as some of the best in the country.

#11 – University of Missouri

Online Master’s in Public Affairs

Columbia, Missouri

Website

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University of Missouri’s 33-credit hour online MPA appeals to those interested in political science degrees.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,506

Those interested in an online master’s in politics or public affairs program may be interested in the accredited MPA at University of Missouri. The 33-hour degree program is offered entirely online and designed for those with a passion for public service. Classes include collaborative governance, economic analysis for public policy, organizational dynamics and leadership, public policy processes and strategies, and research methods and inquiry in public affairs. The university is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the most recent edition of Best Colleges ranks the school as the 111th best national university in the country. Also, the political science graduate school has received recognition.

#10 – University of West Florida

Online Master’s in Political Science

Pensacola, Florida

Website

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University of West Florida’s online master’s in political science is designed for working students.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,062

The University of West Florida’s Department of Government offers an online master’s in political science program that is delivered fully via distance education. The program requires 33 semester hours and successful completion of a comprehensive exam or thesis. Online courses include comparative politics, international relations, political science research methods, political theory, and the study of politics. An online civics educator certificate is also available and requires 12 additional semester hours. The University of West Florida is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a best national university. Many of the school’s graduate and online graduate programs have earned recognition by major publications like U.S. News.

#9 – Liberty University

Online Master’s in Public Policy

Lynchburg, Virginia

Website

Liberty University-online-masters-degree-programs-in-political-science

Liberty University’s online master’s in public policy is a top-ranked program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,000

One alternative to an online master’s in political science is the master’s in public policy. Liberty University offers this unique degree program entirely online. Four specializations are available, including campaigns and elections, international affairs, Middle East affairs, and public administration. Online courses include applied public policy research methods, foundations of American governance, introduction to geopolitics and international diplomacy, and political philosophy. Liberty is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as a best national university. Several of the school’s online graduate programs have also earned top 100 rankings in the most recent edition of Best Colleges.

#8 – California State University

Online Master’s in Public Administration

Northridge, California

Website

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California State University offers an affordable online MPA degree designed with the working student in mind.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,835

California State University offers an MPA degree that may appeal to those interested in an online political science master’s degree program. The program is designed for mid-career professionals whose interests and career trajectories require advanced education. Courses are delivered entirely online and include communication in public organizations, organization theory and human behavior, public budgeting and financial administration, research methods for public administration, and strategic management. The school is ranked by major publications like Forbes magazine and U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks the school as the 68th best regional university in the West and the 20th top public school.

#7 – University of Colorado

Online Master of Public Administration

Denver, Colorado

Website

university-of-colorado-online-masters-degree-programs-in-political-science

The online MPA at University of Colorado appeals to anyone interested in an online political science master’s degree program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,804

University of Colorado is the only accredited institution to offer graduate public affairs degree programs ranked in the top 12% of all programs nationwide. The program is designed for students who are interested in an online master’s in politics or related degree program that explores government, nonprofit, and public service topics. There are two concentrations available for students who want to delve deep into specific areas of public administration. Concentrations include homeland defense and nonprofit management. Also, students take courses in economics and public finance, ethics and leadership, and policy process and democracy. The University of Colorado is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a best national university.

#6 – University of Southern Mississippi

Online Master’s in Political Science

Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Website

University of Southern Mississippi - Online Master's Degree Programs in Political Science

From the American presidency to feminist thought — University of Southern Mississippi’s online master’s in political science covers a wide variety of topics.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,090

The University of Southern Mississippi offers an accredited online political science master’s degree that may be obtained without setting foot in a classroom. All classes are delivered online and taught by the same professors who teach on the Southern Miss campus. Online courses include comparative studies in European politics, feminist political theory and jurisprudence, human rights, organization and management, topics in political philosophy, and the American presidency. Six hours of research methods courses, including political analysis, are also required. University of Southern Mississippi is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 220th best national university.

#5 – American Public University System

Online Master’s in Political Science

Charles Town, West Virginia

Website

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APU’s online master’s in political science is highly affordable.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,600

American Public University offers an affordable online master’s in political science degree that takes approximately two years to complete. Five concentrations are available for those who want to tailor their degree to fit career goals and personal interests. Concentrations include American politics and government, comparative government and development, general, international relations, and public policy. All courses are delivered online and include homeland security operations, judicial politics, law and public policy, and research methods. The university is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as among the best regional universities in the South.

#4 – University of Nebraska

Online Master’s in Political Science

Omaha, Nebraska

Website

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University of Nebraska offers a highly affordable online master’s in political science degree.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,836

The online master’s in political science program at University of Nebraska offers classes taught by the same faculty who teach on the Omaha campus. In fact, the program is identical to the on-campus program but features a thesis or non-thesis track. Students may also add a graduate certificate onto their degree in global information operations, intelligence and national security, and international affairs. Online courses include American government and politics, leadership theory and application, political theory, and research methods. The institution is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks the school as the 111th best national university and 51st top public school. Also, several of the school’s online degree programs have also earned recognition.

#3 – Ashland University

Online Master’s in American History and Government

Ashland, Ohio

Website

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Ashland University offers a 15-month online master’s in American history and government.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,713

Ashland University offers an online graduate degree program that appeals to online political science master’s degree seeking students. The program focuses on the study of history and government and is designed for busy and working students who have the desire to teach social studies or work in various government agencies. There are 15-month and 27-month completion times available, depending on whether the student wants to attend on a full-time or part-time basis. Online courses include Civil War and Reconstruction, gender and equality in America, the American Revolution, and the rise of modern America from 1914-1945. Ashland University is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 214th best national university.

#2 – Western New Mexico University

Online Master’s in Interdisciplinary Study – Political Science

Silver City, New Mexico

Website

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Western New Mexico University’s online master’s in political science degree program is one of the cheapest on our list.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $4,500

Western New Mexico University offers several online graduate degree programs that may appeal to those seeking an online political science master’s degree. Students may earn a master’s in interdisciplinary study with a graduate certificate in political science. Students take classes in American constitutional development, border issues in US/Mexico relations, politics of post-communism, and politics of the Middle East. The program has both a global and American politics focus. There is also a thesis option for those interested in carrying out research in their political science concentration. In recent years, Western New Mexico University has earned rankings from major publications like U.S. News and World Report.

#1 – Regent University

Online Master’s in Government – Political Theory

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Website

regent-university-online-masters-degree-programs-in-political-science

The most affordable online master’s in political science degree program on our list is offered at Regent University.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $1,167

Regent University is the most affordable online master’s in political science degree program on our list. Students may earn a master’s in government – political theory by completing a total of 30 credit hours. The program may be completed in as little as 18 months, depending on eligible transfer credit. Online courses include American politics, Christian foundations of government, history of political theory, international politics, Islamic political thought, and research methods. Regent is accredited and ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the most recent edition of Best Colleges lists Regent as a best national university.

This concludes our ranking of the top ranked and most affordable online master’s in political science degree programs for 2017.

GSH Staff
November 2016