Political Science focuses on how power is gained and used. The following 35 Best Master's Degrees in Political Science build an advanced understanding of power structures in America and beyond. 

An understanding of politics is an understanding of humanity. The field examines the ways in which humans exercise power in a variety of settings, societies, and structures. Political Science programs typically include four subfields: American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and political theory. Others may also include economics, methodology, and public policy. Though Political Science obviously addresses the science of politics, most of the programs listed are Master of Arts degrees. Because political science is a social science, graduate political science programs are typically rooted in the liberal arts. In other words, they often incorporate philosophy, history, and universal principles, relating issues in politics to more significant matters in humanity.

Most of the graduate programs listed take a theoretical, research-based approach to political science. Graduates are therefore prepared for more academic and research-based careers in the public and private sectors. Generally speaking, political scientists examine the inner workings of political systems. They research and analyze political issues, ideas, structures, and trends. According to the 2019 report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, political scientists made a median annual salary of $117,570 in 2018. The demand for political scientists is growing at a projected rate of three percent, which is slower than average. Though political science remains relevant and vital, the number of candidates is expected to exceed the number of available jobs in the field. Master's degree holders may consider moving onto doctoral study to further advance their political science skills, understanding, and prospects. 

Methodology

The staff of Grad School Hub has compiled the following 35 Best Master's Degrees in Political Science for the 2019-20 academic school year based on public data released from educational, commercial, and government databases. Data contributed from sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics, and the U.S. Department of Labor plays a significant role in how graduate degree programs are ranked because institutional transparency is essential for deciding which career path is right for you. Based on this data, GSH organizes information into five weighted categories, which are:

  • Alumni Feedback: 20% 
  • Continued Enrollment: 20% 
  • Degree Selectivity: 10%
  • Graduate Expenses: 25%
  • Projected Annual Salary: 25%

A more comprehensive evaluation of how each category is determined and scored is accessible through our Ranking Methodology page. 

Here are the 35 Best Master's Degrees in Political Science for 2019 – 2020!

#35 – Washington State University

Master of Arts in Political Science

Pullman, WA

Website

Washington State University provides a Master of Arts in Political Science through its School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs. The non-thesis, terminal degree program is designed to be completed concurrently with a certificate in Global Justice & Security Studies. The program aims to prepare students for governmental professions. It is ideal for students interested in pursuing non-academic careers as government practitioners. Each student creates their own specific area of specialization. A minimum of 31 credit hours of study is required. This includes four required courses: Comparative Clinical Justice Systems, International Security, Seminar in Comparative Policing, and U.S. National Security Policy.

Founded in 1890, Washington State is one of the oldest land-grant universities in the western United States. The public research university remains focused on agricultural research. In addition to its main campus in Pullman, the university operates four satellite campuses across Washington state. U.S. News & World Report ranks WSU at No. 140 in National Universities, No. 83 for best value, and No. 70 among public schools. The university's MA in Political Science ranks at No. 81 in the nation.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,584 in-state; $25,820 out-of-state 

#34 – University of New Mexico

Master of Arts in Political Science

Albuquerque, NM

Website

The University of New Mexico provides a Master of Arts in Political Science. The degree program is designed to train students in research methodologies for in-depth research. There are three required courses: Introduction to Empirical Research, Political Science as a Discipline and a Profession, and Statistics for Social Research. All students must also complete a graduate research seminar and a comprehensive exam in the form of a research paper. Students can follow a thesis plan, which involves a written master's thesis and at least 24 credit hours of coursework. The non-thesis option requires a minimum of 32 credit hours of study. 

UNM was founded in 1889 by the New Mexico legislature. In addition to its main urban campus in Albuquerque, the university operates branch campuses in the New Mexico towns of Gallup, Los Alamos, Los Lunas, Rio Rancho, and Taos. The central campus is home to an arboretum, four museums, and a library system that includes libraries specializing in health sciences, informatics, law, and more. U.S. News & World Report ranks UNM at No. 187 in National Universities and No. 100 in Top Public Schools. The university is also listed at No. 81 nationally for graduate-level Political Science.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,633 in-state; $22,586 out-of-state 

#33 – Georgia State University

Master of Arts in Political Science

Atlanta, GA

Website

Georgia State University offers a Master of Arts in Political Science. The program focuses on developing students' independent research, and it lays the foundation for doctoral study or a politics-related career. Students can choose from four concentrations: American politics, general political science, international and comparative politics, and public law. Most coursework is delivered through small, face-to-face seminars, though students may choose to take some courses online. Students can follow a regular methods track, which requires a Research Design and Applied Data Analysis course or advanced methods track requiring courses in research design, quantitative analysis, and either statistical methods or qualitative methods. All students must complete an internship, study abroad program, or another experiential learning project. The curriculum culminates in a thesis or non-thesis research paper.

Georgia State was established as a night school in 1913. It is now a public state research university and member of the University System of Georgia. Located in Atlanta, it is the largest institution of higher education in Georgia by student enrollment. The university also enrolls one of the nation's largest populations of ethnically diverse students. U.S. News & World Report ranks GSU at No. 187 in National Universities, No. 100 in Top Public Schools, and second in the nation's Most Innovative Schools. The university's graduate Political Science program ranks at No. 72.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,112 in-state; $23,971 out-of-state 

#32 – University at Albany

Master of Arts in Political Science

Albany, NY

Website

The State University of New York at Albany offers a Master of Arts in Political Science. Students must complete a minimum of 32 credits of study to earn the degree. The core curriculum includes data and research courses that equip graduates to move on to doctoral study. An Introduction to Political Inquiry course is required, as well as either Qualitative Methods or Quantitative Research Methods. The curriculum culminates in a required master's capstone in the form of a research project and reports or a written portfolio compilation. Students may choose to fulfill course requirements through a clinical experience, field experience, an internship, or a study abroad experience.

Founded in 1844, the University at Albany was a teacher's college before it joined the State University of New York system in 1948. Today, it is a public liberal art research university in the New York towns of Albany, Guilderland, and Rensselaer. The Downtown campus has historically focused on areas of public policy such as criminal justice and information science. The university contributes to academic research fields such as globalization and homeland security. U.S. News & World Report ranks UAlbany at No. 140 in the nation, No. 82 for best value, and No. 70 among public institutions. The university's graduate Political Science program ranks 72nd in the country.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,011

#31 – George Mason University

Master of Arts in Political Science

Fairfax, VA

Website

George Mason University offers a Master of Arts in Political Science degree program. The program is designed to prepare students to work in government and politics, particularly in research or teaching roles. Students can choose to specialize in American government and politics, comparative politics, or international relations, or to concentrate on global security. The 36-credit curriculum includes four core courses: American Government and Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Political Theory. Students are encouraged to gain hands-on experience through a three-credit internship. To finish the program, students can choose to complete a specialty course and research project or a written thesis.

GMU was founded in 1949 as an extension center of the University of Virginia. It is now an independent institution and a public research university. It operates four Virginia campuses, including the main campus in Fairfax, as well as an international school in South Korea. This research focuses on areas including security and sustainability. U.S. News & World Report ranks GMU at No. 136 in National Universities, No. 67 among public schools, and No. 28 for innovation. The university also ranks at No. 72 in Political Science at the graduate level.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,462 in-state; $35,922 out-of-state 

#30 – University of Texas at Dallas

Master of Arts in Political Science

Richardson, TX

Website

The University of Texas at Dallas provides a Master of Arts in Political Science. The degree program includes advanced study in the social science of citizenship, data analysis, governance, and politics. Students may choose to concentrate on Law and Courts or Legislative Studies. Each student is expected to take a Logic, Methodology, and Scope of Political Science course, and one in either Descriptive and Inferential Statistics or Introduction to Quantitative Methods. Elective offerings include Campaigns and Elections, Civil Conflict, and Refugee and Migration Policy. Students who concentrate in Legislative Studies must complete a six-credit internship, which can be completed in a location such as Austin, Texas or Washington, D.C.

UT Dallas began in 1961 as a research arm of technology company Texas Instruments. It is now a public state research university and a member of the University of Texas System. The university has a main campus in the Telecom Corridor in Richardson, Texas, and another campus in Dallas. It is a Carnegie-listed top-tier research institution that investigates areas such as cybersecurity and brain science. U.S. News & World Report ranks UTD at No. 129 in the nation and No. 61 among public schools. The university also ties at No. 72 in graduate Political Science.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,034 in-state; $36,876 out-of-state 

#29 – University of Missouri

Master of Arts in Political Science

Columbia, MO

Website

The University of Missouri awards a Master of Arts in Political Science degree program. The generalist curriculum includes core research methods courses and seminars in the fields of American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and public policy and administration. Students must complete 30 credits of study, including seven hours of core courses and at least 18 hours of graduate seminars. Course offerings include Human Security, International Conflict, Racial and Ethnic Politics, and Voting and Elections. Students can choose to complete a master's thesis or research paper to culminate the curriculum. In their final semester, students must also complete an oral exam.

Located in Columbia, Missouri, Mizzou is the largest university in the state and a member of the Association of American Universities, a prestigious organization of North America's top research universities. MU is a land- and space-grant institution. Its Research Reactor Center is home to the most powerful university research reactor in the world. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University at No. 129 overall in the United States, and No. 61 among public colleges.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,972 in-state; $27,042 out-of-state 

#28 – University of Utah

Master's Degree in Political Science

Salt Lake City, UT

Website

The University of Utah provides a Master of Arts and Master of Science options in Political Science. Ideal candidates will have an educational background in social science. Students can take seminars in the subfields of American politics, comparative politics, international relations, political theory, or public administration. Each student must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours of graduate course work. This includes courses in Approaches to the Study of Politics and Quantitative Analysis in Political Science. Students have the choice to complete either a master's research thesis or additional coursework and a master's essay, and they must orally defend the finished product.

U of U was established in 1850, partly due to the efforts of Mormon religious leader Brigham Young. Located in Salt Lake City, it is the flagship university of Utah. The school is home to the Hinckley Institute of Politics, which places students in global political internships. The university also hosts the Neal A. Maxwell Lecture Series in Political Theory and Contemporary Politics. U.S. News & World Report ranks U of U at No. 119 overall in the nation and No. 56 among public schools. The university's graduate Political Science programs rank 89th nationally.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,222 in-state; $29,215 out-of-state 

#27 – University of Kansas

Master of Arts in Political Science

Lawrence, KS

Website

The University of Kansas awards a Master of Arts in Political Science degree program. Students can expect to receive individual mentorship, contribute to faculty research, and publish independent papers. The program's Summer Scholarship Research Program offers an opportunity for students to work on a collaborative research project with faculty members. Students must complete a minimum of 30 graduate credits, including required courses in Research Methods and Research Design for Political Science. Students can choose a thesis option involving a written thesis and oral exam, or a non-thesis option with both written and oral exams.

The University of Kansas was chartered in 1863 by the state legislature. In addition to its main campus in Lawrence, the public university operates schools and centers across Kansas. The university is home to the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics, a nonpartisan political institution. U.S. News & World Report ranks KU at No. 129 overall in National Universities, No. 98 in Best Value Schools, and No. 61 among Top Public Schools. The university ranks at No. 65 in graduate Political Science studies.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,148 in-state; $27,358 out-of-state 

#26 – Temple University

Master of Arts in Political Science

Philadelphia, PA

Website

Temple University offers a Master of Arts in Political Science degree program. The program is primarily designed to prepare students for academic and research-based careers relating to political science. It requires a minimum of 30 credits, which can be completed on a full- or part-time basis. Core courses include Government in American Society, Political Statistics, and Topics in Research Design. Faculty areas of specialization include American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and political theory. The curriculum culminates in a seminar research paper. The degree program must be completed within three years. Most graduates of the program intend to pursue doctoral studies.

Temple was founded in 1884 when Baptist minister Russell Conwell began tutoring working class citizens late at night in the basement of his Baptist Temple. These origins are reflected in the university's name and "night owl" mascot. The school has evolved into a public, state-related research university. In addition to its main campus in Philadelphia, TU operates multiple Pennsylvania campuses and international campuses in Rome and Tokyo. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,970 in-state; $29,066 out-of-state 

#25 – University of Nebraska – Lincoln

Master of Arts in Political Science

Lincoln, NE

Website

The University of Nebraska – Lincoln offers a Master of Arts in Political Science degree program. Students have the option to specialize in Environmental Studies, Ethnic Studies, Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, Water Resources Planning and Management, or Women's & Gender Studies. Students can also choose an informal area of focus, such as biopolitics, human rights, security, or political theory. The program requires a minimum of 30-36 credits of study. Courses include Congress and Public Policy, Constitutional Law, a core seminar in American government, and Political Communication. All students must complete a written or oral comprehensive exam. UNL was chartered in 1869 by an act of Nebraska state legislature. It is the state's oldest university and flagship institution. Located in Lincoln, the public research university is the largest institution in the University of Nebraska system. The land-grant institution is known for its pioneering research in agricultural science. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,242 in-state; $25,038 out-of-state 

#24 – University of Oklahoma

Master of Arts in Political Science

Norman, OK

Website

The University of Oklahoma offers a Master of Arts in Political Science degree program. The program is ideal for preparing students for doctoral study or teaching careers relating to government and politics. Students can choose to specialize in American politics, comparative government, international relations, political methodology, political theory, public administration, and public policy. The 36-credit curriculum includes required courses in Introduction to Analysis of Political Data; Intermediate Analysis of Political Data; and Political Science: Survey of a Discipline. Students can choose to finish the program with a master's thesis or a non-thesis research paper, as well as an oral comprehensive exam. Students typically enroll in nine credit hours per semester and complete the program in two years of full-time study.

Founded in 1890, is the flagship university of the state of Oklahoma. It has a main campus in Norman, as well as additional Oklahoma campuses in Oklahoma City and Tulsa and an international center in Arezzo, Italy. The Norman campus is home to two significant museums, including the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. In recent years, OU has enrolled the most freshman National Merit Scholars of any higher education institution in the nation. The university is also noted for its enrollment of international students and the historical science holdings of its Bizzell Memorial Library.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,538 in-state; $26,919 out-of-state 

#23 – University of North Texas

Master's Program in Political Science

Denton, TX

Website

The University of North Texas offers both Master of Arts and Master of Science degrees in Political Science. The Political Science degree program is designed to prepare students for academic careers in public service or the private sector. Each student must complete at least 30 credit hours of study. This includes two required courses: Quantitative Political Research Methods and Seminar in Political Science Scope and Methods. Students must also choose two of the following areas of study: American government and public law, comparative government and politics, international relations, methodology, and political theory. Students can culminate the program through either a master's thesis, an oral defense, or a written field exam. 

UNT was founded in 1890 as a private teachers college. Today, it is a public state research university. In addition to its main campus in Denton, the university has a satellite campus in Frisco. UNT previously served as home to the academic journal American Political Science Review. The university is also noted for its unique jazz studies program, of which singer Norah Jones is a graduate. U.S. News & World Report ranks UNT at No. 56 in Political Science at the graduate level.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,852 in-state; $20,812 out-of-state 

#22 – George Washington University

Master of Arts in Political Science

Washington, DC

Website

George Washington University offers a Master of Arts in Political Science through its Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. The degree program explores national and international politics, with emphases on American politics, comparative politics, and international relations. MA students take courses with doctoral students and study the same material. Students must follow a track in American politics, law and politics, and world politics. In addition to mastering their chosen track area, students take basic statistical research techniques courses. Students must complete 33 graduate credits of coursework and pass a comprehensive exam in their track area. 

GWU was chartered in 1821 by an act of United States Congress. The university was named after first president George Washington, who historically aspired to establish a university in the nation's capital. Today, the private research university is the largest institution of higher education in the District of Columbia. It is located blocks from the White House and the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. The campus also houses the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The Princeton Review often ranks GW among the nation's top "Most Politically Active" universities. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University at No. 63 in National Universities and No. 37 for innovation. The graduate Political Science program ranks at No. 40 in the nation.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $55,230

#21 – University at Buffalo

Master of Arts in Political Science

Buffalo, NY

Website

The State University of New York at Buffalo offers a Master of Arts in Political Science. The degree program is designed to prepare students for doctoral study or careers in advocacy, government, and politics. All students must complete 30 credit hours of study. Required core courses include Basic Statistics for Social Science and Introduction to Political Inquiry. Students must also take core courses in two of the following fields: American politics, comparative politics, international politics, and public law. Students can choose to take eight courses and complete a master's thesis or to take nine courses and complete a research project paper. 

SUNY Buffalo was founded in 1846 and is now a public research university with the largest student enrollment, research funding, and endowment in the system. It is also is the largest public university in the state of New York in terms of student enrollment. The university is a member institution of the prestigious Association of American Universities. U.S. News & World Report ranks SUNY Buffalo at No. 89 in National Universities and No. 38 among public institutions. The university's graduate Political Science is ranked No. 65 in the nation.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,099 in-state; $27,769 out-of-state 

#20 –American University

Master of Arts in Political Science

Washington, DC

Website

The American University offers a Master of Arts in Political Science through its School of Public Affairs. The degree program is designed to build students' expertise in campaign management, political process analysis, and public affairs advocacy. Each student must complete 33 total credit hours of approved graduate work. The program offers three areas of concentration: American politics, applied politics, and comparative politics. Students must complete a comprehensive exam in their selected concentration area. Two research courses are required across all concentrations: Introduction to Quantitative Methods in Political Science and Political Analysis. Students are expected to complete the degree program within two years of full-time study. 

American was chartered in 1892 by an Act of Congress and is now a private research university affiliated with the United Methodist Church. In 2018, The Princeton Review ranked it No. 1 in Top Colleges with the Most Politically Active Students. The university is also one of the top five producers of personnel for the U.S. Foreign Service and other government agencies. U.S. News & World Report ranks AU at No. 78 in National University and No. 64 in Best Value Schools. The university's School of Public Affairs ranks 14th at the graduate level.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $48,459

#19 – Arizona State University

Master of Arts in Political Science

Tempe, AZ

Website

Arizona State University offers a Master of Arts in Political Science. The degree program has incoming cohorts of less than five students, which allows students opportunities for individualized mentorship and work alongside faculty members. The program is designed to prepare students for applied, research, or teaching careers in political science, or for doctoral study. The only core course is three credits in Empirical Political Inquiry. All students must also take a Polimetrics elective course. Students can choose to focus on American politics, comparative politics, or international relations for their other elective requirement. The degree requires 30 credit hours of study, plus a culminating portfolio or master's thesis. 

ASU operates five campuses across the Phoenix metropolitan area, including the main campus in Tempe, and four learning facilities throughout Arizona. It is counted among the nation's top research universities. U.S. News & World Report ranks ASU at No. 115 in National Universities, No. 52 among public schools, and first in innovation. The university is ranked at No. 51 in graduate-level Political Science.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,822 in-state; $28,336 out-of-state 

#18 – Syracuse University

Master of Arts in Political Science

Syracuse, NY

Website

Syracuse University offers a Master of Arts in Political Science through its Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. The degree program is designed to prepare students for doctoral study or careers in journalism, law, or public policy. The program offers seven areas of specialization, including but not limited to American politics, law and courts, political theory, and security studies. Students must complete a total of 30 credits, including a methodology course such as Formal Theories of Church or Qualitative Political Analysis. The degree can be earned within one year. MA students are also eligible to complete a graduate certificate in an area such as civil society organizations, conflict resolution, or the European Union and contemporary Europe.

Syracuse began as a theological seminary in Lima, New York, before its official establishment in 1870. Today, it is a private research university in Syracuse, New York. Though it was founded by members of the Methodist Episcopal Church and maintains a relationship with the church, the university identifies itself as nonsectarian. The university's political alumni include journalist Megyn Kelly and former vice president Joe Biden. U.S. News & World Report ranks Syracuse at No. 53 in National Universities and No. 51 in Best Value Schools. The university's graduate Political Science program ranks at No. 49 in the nation.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $51,853

#17 – Rutgers University

Master of Arts in Political Science

New Brunswick, Newark, and Camden, NJ

Website

Rutgers University offers a Master of Arts in Political Science degree program. The program prepares students for doctoral programs or careers relating to civic engagement. To accommodate working students, the program is designed to be completed on a part-time basis with courses meeting one evening a week. Students can choose to specialize in the American political system or international relations. Students may want to add a concentration in women and gender studies. The MA curriculum also covers topics in comparative politics, constitutional law, political theory, and research methodology. The degree requires 30 graduate credits of study. Rutgers University was founded in 1766 as a result of the efforts of Dutch Reformed Church ministers. It is the eighth-oldest college in the country, and one of the nation's nine colonial schools created before the American Revolution. As of 2018, the public university is the largest college institution in the state of New Jersey. A multi-campus institution, Rutgers has campuses in the New Jersey towns of Camden, Newark, and New Brunswick. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,974 in-state; $31,282 out-of-state 

#16 – University of Houston

Master of Arts in Political Science

Houston, TX

Website

The University of Houston offers a Master of Arts in Political Science where students can choose to finish a 30-credit thesis with a written research thesis or a 33-credit non-thesis option with a bibliographic essay. Students are encouraged to choose one of four concentrations: American politics, comparative politics, political analysis, or political theory. Students alternatively have the option to create their own concentration.

UH was founded in 1927, initially offering night classes in a high school. Today, it is a state research university and the third-largest university in Texas by student enrollment. Located in Houston, UH is the primary institution of the University of Houston System. The university conducts interdisciplinary research in areas including artificial intelligence and space exploration. U.S. News & World Report ranks UH at No. 171 in National Universities and No. 91 among public schools. The graduate Political Science program is ranked 51st nationwide.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,913 in-state; $21,273 out-of-state 

#15 – University of Iowa

Master of Arts in Political Science

Iowa City, IA

Website

The University of Iowa offers a Master of Arts in Political Science through its College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The degree program is typically only offered as a step toward the doctoral program. After the first year of the program, an evaluation committee reviews each student's research and writing skills. The committee then decides whether the student should proceed to the doctoral program or to seek the non-thesis MA as a terminal degree. The degree program requires a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate credit. The program does not require students to write a master's thesis. Instead, a final exam committee reviews each student's academic record and may waive the student's last oral exam requirement. 

Established in 1847, Iowa is the oldest university in the state of Iowa. It was the first public university to open as a coeducational institution, enrolling both men and women. Located in Iowa City, it is the flagship university of Iowa and the state's second-largest university by enrollment. A space-grant research university, UI is a member of the Association of American Universities. The university is particularly noted for developing the Master of Fine Arts degree program and for its prestigious Iowa Writer's Workshop. U.S. News & World Report ranks UI at No. 89 in National Universities, No. 88 in Best Value Schools, and No. 38 in Top Public Schools. The university's graduate-level Political Science programs rank at No. 37 in the nation.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,267 in-state; $31,233 out-of-state 

#14 – University of California, Riverside

Master of Arts in Political Science

Riverside, CA

Website

The University of California, Riverside awards a Master of Arts in Political Science. The degree program emphasizes skills in conducting research, not just analyzing it. MA courses are provided in a joint capacity with the department's Ph.D. program. The degree program is ideal for students who plan to go on to pursue a doctoral degree in the field. Most students complete 36 units of study culminating in a comprehensive exam. Students must complete an exam in one of five areas, including but not limited to American politics, comparative politics, and international relations. Students who demonstrate advanced independent research competence may be permitted to choose a supervised thesis option instead. 

UC Riverside traces its roots to the UC Citrus Experiment Station, which focused on pest control and regulators in California citrus growth. The campus is located in Palm Desert in suburban Riverside, California. The university consistently ranks highly in ethnic and economic diversity. It is a designated land- and space-grant institution. U.S. News & World Report ranks UC at No. 85 in National Universities and No. 35 in Top Public Schools. The university's Political Science department is ranked No. 48 at the graduate level.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,827 in-state; $42,819 out-of-state 

#13 – University of Georgia

Master of Arts in Political Science & International Affairs

Athens, GA

Website

The University of Georgia offers a Master of Arts in Political Science & International Affairs. The degree program is administered by the university's Departments of Political Science and International Affairs. It is designed to examine the political realm and develop students' analytical skills. The program offers students the option to specialize in American politics, comparative politics, international relations, or political theory, though specialization is not required. Students can choose to follow a thesis degree plan, which requires a minimum of 30 credit hours of coursework. The non-thesis program option requires a minimum of 33 credits, plus either a comprehensive field exam or research paper presentation. 

Founded in 1785, UGA is one of the oldest public universities in the United States. The main campus in Athens is a designated historic district. The university also has satellite campuses and learning locations throughout Georgia. It also operates residential learning and research centers in Washington, D.C. and internationally in Costa Rica, England, and Italy. U.S. News & World Report ranks UGA at No. 84 in Best Value Schools, No. 46 in National Universities, and No. 13 among public schools. The university's graduate-level Political Science studies are ranked No. 45 in the nation.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,830 in-state; $30,404 out-of-state 

#12 – Michigan State University

Master of Arts in Political Science

East Lansing, MI

Website

Michigan State University awards a Master of Arts in Political Science through its College of Social Science. The degree program is designed to prepare students for doctoral study, and it is expected that each MA student will complete the doctoral program at Michigan State. The non-thesis degree program requires the completion of at least 30 graduate credits. Each student will complete two substantial research papers. The department offers major fields of study in American politics, comparative politics, international relations, public policy, and political thought. It provides the same areas as minor fields, although research methods are offered as a minor field instead of public policy. 

MSU was founded as an agricultural college in 1855. The university served as a model for the land-grant universities created under the Morrill Act. MSU has since grown into a public research university and one of the largest universities in the United States by enrollment. It is a land- and sea-grant institution and a member of the Association of American Universities. Located in East Lansing, Michigan, the university's campus houses a botanical garden, planetarium, and leading rare isotope research facilities. U.S. News & World Report ranks MSU at No. 85 in National Universities and No. 35 in Top Public Schools. The university's graduate studies in Political Science rank at No. 29 in the nation.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,460 in-state; $39,766 out-of-state 

#11 – Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Master of Science in Political Science

Cambridge, MA

Website

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers a Master of Science in Political Science degree program. The program explores modern societies and governments and develops students' skills in public policy. It prepares students for applied research careers in the world of political science. The program consists of at least 66 units of study. Students must choose one of six intensive fields of focus, with options including but not limited to models and methods, political economy, and security studies. Students can take two of the required six graduate subjects through cross-registration at Harvard University. All candidates must complete and defend a master's thesis.

MIT was founded in 1861 to emphasize laboratory learning in applied science and engineering. The private university is a respected leader in innovation, as MIT has contributed major research and developments in modern science, engineering, math, and technology. It is a member of the Association of American Universities. The campus is located along the Charles River in Cambridge, Massachusetts, near Harvard University. U.S. News & World Report ranks MIT at third in value, innovation, and overall in the nation. The university is ranked ninth in the country in graduate-level Political Science.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $51,832

#10 – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Master of Arts in Political Science

Chapel Hill, NC

Website

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill awards a Master of Arts in Political Science. The degree program is designed to train students to become professional political scientists. The graduate coursework is mostly qualitative, with an emphasis on research, teaching, practice, and administration in political science. Each student is required to write a master's thesis and complete an oral exam for the thesis defense and on the student's major field of interest. Potential areas of study include American politics, comparative politics, and international relations. Course offerings include Mock Constitutional Convention; Race, Immigration, and Urban Politics; and United States National Elections.

The UNC campus spreads through downtown Chapel Hill, North Carolina. It marks one corner of the region's Research Triangle, along with Duke University and North Carolina State. UNC is counted among the nation's "Public Ivy" universities, meaning it offers a quality of education comparable to those provided by the private Ivy League. U.S. News & World Report ranks UNC at No. 30 in National Universities, eighth for best value, and fifth among public schools. The university is ranked at No. 11 in graduate-level Political Science.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,987 in-state; $35,170 out-of-state 

#9 – Binghamton University

Master of Arts in Political Science

Vestal, NY

Website

Binghamton University provides a Master of Arts in Political Science. The degree program offers two tracks: one that culminates in a written thesis and another that culminates in a comprehensive exam. Each track trains graduates for careers in areas such as journalism and policy analysis, as well as in academia and research. Each student must choose a focus area in American politics, comparative politics, or world politics. The department's faculty research areas include campaigns and campaign finance, human rights, international relations, foreign policy, political parties, and religion. Political Science students are also offered opportunities for interdisciplinary learning through other departments. The program has small class sizes and carefully planned course sequencing.

Binghamton was established in 1946 to serve veterans returning from World War II. Originally a two-year satellite school of Syracuse University, it has since become a public research university. It is one of four members of the State University of New York system. It operates campuses in the New York towns of Binghamton, Johnson City, and Vestal. U.S. News & World Report ranks SUNY Binghamton at No. 80 in National Universities, No. 62 in Best Value Schools, and No. 32 in Top Public Schools. The university ranks at No. 51 for graduate-level Political Science.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,853 in-state; $26,648 out-of-state 

#8 – Northeastern University

Master of Political Science

Boston, MA

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Northeastern University offers a Master of Political Science through its College of Social Sciences & Humanities. The degree program trains students in areas including American government, comparative politics, international relations, and public policy. The program also offers signature concentrations in European Studies, Middle East Studies, and Security Studies. The program requires a course in Quantitative Techniques and provides the option for students to complete a co-op work experience and experiential integration. The program can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis in as little as one year. Graduates of the program are prepared for doctoral study or careers in government, nonprofits, or the private sector.

Established in 1898, Northeastern traces its origins to The Evening Institute for Young Men, which was housed in a YMCA in Boston. Today, the private university has satellite campuses in California, Canada, North Carolina, and Washington. Noted for its cooperative education program, NEU consistently ranks at the top of the Princeton Review's "Best Schools for Internships" list. U.S. News & World Report ranks NEU at No. 72 in Best Value Schools, No. 44 in National Universities, and No. 8 in Most Innovative Schools. The university's Political Science department is ranked No. 81 at the graduate level.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $51,522

#7 – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Master of Arts in Political Science

Champaign and Urbana, IL

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The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign provides a Master of Arts in Political Science. The degree program admits a small group of students each year. It requires 32 graduate credit hours of study and a master's research paper. Students can choose a thesis or non-thesis option. The non-thesis option requires a research project and independent study. Course offerings include Campaigning to Win; Democracy and Identity; and Sex, Power and Politics. Most students publish research articles while enrolled in the program. The degree program can usually be completed within three semesters. Graduate students also have the option to pursue a graduate teaching certificate. 

Founded in 1867, U of I is one of the land-grant institutions created under the Morrill Act. Formerly an industrial school, it is now a public land-, sea-, and space-grant research university. The school is also noted for housing the country's second-largest university library holdings. U.S. News & World Report ranks U of I at No. 46 in National Universities and No. 13 in Top Public Schools. The university's Political Science studies are ranked No. 24 nationally at the graduate level.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,094 in-state; $31,664 out-of-state 

#6 – Texas A&M University

Master of Arts in Political Science

College Station, TX

Website

Texas A&M University provides a Master of Arts in Political Science through its College of Liberal Arts. The degree program is designed to build broad-based preparation in political science through creativity and research. Students can follow a thesis plan, which requires 30 credits of study, a written research thesis, and a final oral exam. Alternatively, they may select a non-thesis plan, which requires 36 credits – with a minimum of six in a supporting field – and a comprehensive exam. 

Texas A&M opened in 1876 as the first public institution of higher education in Texas. It has since grown into the largest university in Texas and the second-largest in the United States by student enrollment. Located in College Station, the university is the founding member of the Texas A&M University System. The public research university is a designated land, sea, and space grant institution. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,870 in-state; $37,495 out-of-state 

#5 – Boston College

Master of Arts in Political Science

Chestnut Hill, MA

Website

Boston College provides a Master of Arts in Political Science through its Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences. Each student must complete ten courses, totaling 30 credits of study. This includes a course in three of the four fields of Political Science: American politics, comparative politics, international politics, and political theory). Students may take two to three courses in other university departments. The curriculum culminates in a comprehensive exam. Students may alternatively choose to culminate their program with a final paper project or to take eight courses and complete a master's thesis. The program spans two years of study. Established in 1863, Boston College was the first Jesuit institution of higher education in the Boston area. The university's research centers include the Center for Corporate Citizenship and the Weston Observatory. Located in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, the main campus is a historic district featuring early collegiate gothic architecture. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $55,464

#4 – University of Wisconsin – Madison

Master of Arts in Political Science

Madison, WI

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The University of Wisconsin – Madison does not admit students for terminal master's degrees in Political Science. It does, however, offer a Master of Arts in Political Science as a step toward the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Political Science. The MA degree requires a minimum of 30 credits of study, all of which must be completed in residence. Course requirements include Empirical Methods of Political Inquiry and Political Science as a Discipline and Profession. No formal assessments or exams are required. The Department of Political Science contains subfields of American politics, comparative politics, international relations, political methodology, and political theory and philosophy. The program also offers students opportunities to participate in advanced interdisciplinary research in the field. 

UW – Madison was established when Wisconsin achieved statehood in 1848. Located in Madison, the public research university is the state's official university and the flagship campus of the University of Wisconsin system. U.S. News & World Report ranks UW at No. 49 in National Universities and No. 15 in Top Public Schools. The university is ranked at No. 15 in graduate-level Political Science.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,555 in-state; $36,805 out-of-state 

#3 – Columbia University

Master of Arts in Political Science

New York, NY

Website

Columbia University offers a Master of Arts in Political Science degree program. The program is designed to train students in theory and research methods in political science. Each student builds their program of study around a specific area of interest. The program is built around the four subfields of American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and political theory. Many faculty members work in more than one of these subfields, and some focus on areas such as methodology or economic theory. Most master's students choose a primary and secondary subfield to build their program around. The program does not require a thesis. It is designed to be completed in two semesters of full-time study.

George II of Great Britain chartered Columbia in 1754. After the Revolutionary War, the university became headed by alumni Alexander Hamilton and John Jay. Located in Upper Manhattan, the private Ivy League research university often considered one of the best universities in the world. Columbia research developments include the laser, the first evidence for continental drift and plate tectonics, and the initial phase of the Manhattan Project. U.S. News & World Report ranks Columbia sixth for best value and third overall in the nation. The university is ranked seventh nationally in graduate-level Political Science.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $59,430

#2 – Duke University

Master of Arts in Political Science

Durham, NC

Website

Duke University offers a Master of Arts in Political Science through its Trinity College of Arts & Sciences. The degree program explores advanced analytic and methodological approaches to political science. Master's students focus on two fields of political science, with options including but not limited to Political Behavior & Identities; Political Economy; and Security, Peace & Conflict. The Political Science department's MA and Ph.D. students work alongside each other in the same seminars and have equal access to faculty mentorship. Students also receive expert guidance in writing their research theses. Students are also encouraged to take advantage of Duke's MELD program, which offers opportunities for training and paid internships. Graduates are prepared for doctoral study or careers in the public and private sectors.

Duke's modern campus covers three sub-campuses in Durham, North Carolina. The university also operates a marine lab in Beaufort and locations in China and Singapore. In recent years, the Wall Street Journal has consistently ranked Duke as a top college for graduate outcomes. U.S. News & World Report ranks Duke at No. 16 in innovation, No. 13 for best value, and eighth overall in the nation. The university's Department of Political Science is also ranked seventh nationally at the graduate level.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $55,695

#1 – Stanford University

Master of Arts in Political Science

Stanford, CA

Website

Stanford University allows students to pursue a Master of Arts in Political Science along with a doctoral degree in any academic department. The MA degree requires the successful completion of 45 units of credit, including at least three graduate seminars in Political Science. Students can choose from the Political Science fields of American politics, comparative politics, international relations, political methodology, and political theory. The master's degree does not require a thesis. Once the MA requirements are met, students can advance to doctoral study in their desired field. Political Science Ph.D. graduates are equipped for academic and research-based careers in the field.

Stanford was founded in 1885 by politician Leland Stanford and his wife, Jane. It was initially located on the couple's farm in Palo Alto, California. Today, it is a private research university in Stanford, California, near Silicon Valley. The university often ranks among the top universities nationwide and is noted for its entrepreneurial spirit and success in fundraising. It is also one of the leading producers of company founders and personnel for the United States Congress. U.S. News & World Report ranks Stanford at seventh overall in the nation and fifth for both best value and innovation. The university's graduate-level Political Science studies are ranked first in the country, particularly in the areas of American politics, international politics, and political methodology. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $51,354