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.

#15 – Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Online Master’s in Political Science

Blacksburg, Virginia

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,116

Virginia Tech’s fully asynchronous and online master’s in political science degree allows students the flexibility to continue their education on their own terms. Students can design a course of study that meets their personal and professional interests, exploring subjects like transnational migration, public ecology, political behavior, and women and globalization. All students must also complete a research-based thesis as a capstone to their graduate studies, giving students the opportunity to work closely with three faculty advisers of their choosing. To apply, you must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, maintain a 3.0 undergraduate GPA, and submit scores from the GRE.

#14 – Walden University

Online Master’s in Public Policy

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Website

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.

#13 – University of North Carolina

Online Master’s in Public Administration

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

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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.

#12 – University of Illinois

Online Master’s in Political Science

Springfield, Illinois

Website

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.

#11 – Grand Canyon University

Online Master of Public Administration with Emphasis in Government and Policy

Phoenix, Arizona

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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.

#10 – University of Missouri

Online Master’s in Public Affairs

Columbia, Missouri

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Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,506

The University of Missouri’s 100% online master’s in public affairs makes it easy to continue your education without interrupting your career. The program features fully asynchronous coursework in subjects like public service and democracy, organizational dynamics and leadership, and collaborative governance. Students can also choose to specialize in areas such as human resources management in the nonprofit sector of public budgeting and taxation. Each class runs for nine weeks, and most students earn their degree in under two years. While you must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, you do not need to submit entrance exam scores in order to apply.

#9 – University of West Florida

Online Master’s in Political Science

Pensacola, Florida

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,062

At the University of West Florida, students can earn their master’s in political science online or on campus. However, the online program does feature synchronous coursework, meaning you must participate in lectures and discussion sections at specific times each week. Along with classes in areas like comparative politics and international relations, students can also opt to study research methods in order to prepare to write a thesis on a topic related to political theory or a public policy issue. Students who forego the thesis option can sample from a rich slate of electives or pursue a formal concentration in security and diplomacy. To apply, you must hold a bachelor’s degree and submit GRE scores.

#8 – Liberty University

Online Master’s in Public Policy

Lynchburg, Virginia

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Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,000

Liberty University, an accredited and Christian institution, offers an affordable and fully online master’s in public policy. Through asynchronous coursework in areas like economics, governance, and political philosophy, students can earn an advanced degree on their own schedule and from the comfort of their own homes. The program also features concentrations in campaigns and elections, Middle East affairs, and public administration, helping prepare you for more specialized leadership roles in the field. Students can begin working towards their master’s at one of three start dates, and most graduate in as few as 18 months. To apply, you must hold a bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 undergraduate GPA.

#7 – California State University

Online Master’s in Public Administration

Northridge, California

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Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,835

Through an exploration of both the theory and practice of public management, California State University’s online master’s in political science degree can position you for advancement in government and nonprofit careers. This fully accredited and asynchronous program allows students the option to complete coursework whenever and wherever they choose, making it deal for working professionals. In addition to foundational classes in public policy, constitutional law, and political theory, students can also pursue a concentration in either criminal justice policy and administration, healthcare administration, or public and nonprofit management. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 2.75 undergraduate GPA, but this program does not require the GRE.

#6 – University of Colorado

Online Master of Public Administration

Denver, Colorado

Website

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.

#5 – American Public University System

Online Master’s in Political Science

Charles Town, West Virginia

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,600

Students at American Public University can earn their master’s in political science online, giving them the freedom to balance their graduate studies with a full-time job or family obligations. This fully accredited program features core coursework in subjects like international political systems, public policy, and diversity in American politics, with optional concentrations in American government, comparative government and development, and international relations. The program allows students to enroll in new courses each month, and most graduate in two years or less. To apply, you must hold a bachelor’s degree, though APU does not require GRE scores or charge an application fee.

#4 – University of Nebraska

Online Master’s in Political Science

Omaha, Nebraska

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,836

At the University of Nebraska Omaha, you can pursue an affordable and highly flexible online master’s in political science degree. Students can follow a research-intensive thesis track or choose to focus more intently on practice, taking classes in the structure of American government and leadership theory instead. In addition, the program’s online and asynchronous coursework gives students the option to watch lectures and complete assignments entirely on their own schedule. Finally, students can customize their learning by concentrating in international affairs or jointly pursuing a graduate certificate in either intelligence and national security or global information operations. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 undergraduate GPA.

#3 – Ashland University

Online Master’s in American History and Government

Ashland, Ohio

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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

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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

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $1,167

Regent University offers an affordable, accredited, and fully online master’s degree in government, helping to equip its students with the skills and knowledge needed to take on leadership roles in the public sector. Taught from a Christian perspective, the program features coursework in areas like constitutional law, public policy initiatives, foreign policy, and American political thought. Each course lasts eight weeks, and students can begin their studies at any one of eight start dates throughout the year as well. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree, though Regent does not require prospective students to submit entrance exam scores.