How To Get A Political Science Degree

This post provides steps, guidelines, and extra tips for aspiring political science students to get a degree whether at the undergraduate or postgraduate level. Some of the best schools for political science were also highlighted to give you options on where to apply.

Here is how to get a political science degree irrespective of your location or the school you are applying to. These steps and guidelines are effective as they were provided by students who have used them and are now political science undergraduates in their respective colleges. Read on to find the steps on how to get a degree in political science.

As a student who likes to keep up with current events and has a strong desire for debate, you might want to look into a career in the political sciences. If you are also eager to make an impact on the world and have an effective idea that you think can solve major political issues, then a career in political science is right for you.

Also, a political science degree is an option for high school student that hates math and science but still want to earn a degree.

But these aren’t all the reasons to pursue a career in political science, there may be other reasons for you, maybe even personal. But whatever the reason may be, it all boils down to getting an education, a degree in political science and you have come to the right place where we have provided all the right guidelines for you to simply follow and earn a sit among the toughest critical thinkers in the world.

According to College Consensus, preparing for a career in politics is three parts luck and one part planning. Achieving success in a career like politics depends on your personality attributes such as ambition and shrewdness, and being at the right place at the right time.

Also, as a prospective who wants to enter the political science field, you don’t need to earn exactly a political science degree. Other undergraduate degrees prepare you for a career in the political sciences like public administration, international law, economics, business administration, public health, public policy, international business, and criminal justice.

All of these fields or disciplines offer degrees that equally prepare you for careers in political science. You just need to enter a field where you feel is best for you or you have solutions and ideas to tackle problems within that field. You can apply to law schools to earn a degree in public policy, international law, or criminal justice. There are also online courses on criminal psychology that you can start taking to prepare yourself for careers in criminal justice.

And if it is the political business part that you would like to tackle, you should start checking out MBA degrees to enroll because this will also set you up as a business leader where your chances of making an impact will be higher.

Before we get on, there are also other interesting articles we have published like the one on special education courses for teachers and the easiest degrees to get a job with. If you are aspiring to study abroad, there are some scholarships in Norway for international students and tuition-free universities in Canada for international students where you can apply to cut down on the cost of your studies.

What is Political Science?

Political science is a branch of social science and the scientific study of politics that deals with the systems of governance and power, and the analysis of political activities, political thought, political behavior, and associated constitutions and laws. It constitutes four subdisciplines: comparative politics, international relations, American government and politics, and political theory.

The discipline focuses on the theory and practice of government and politics at the local, state, national, and international levels.

Political science directly deals with the theory and practice of political systems, although the skills learned in class are transferable to a variety of fields. A degree in political science is flexible, it can serve as a launching pad for a career in business, the media, education, or charity work.

Students in this discipline develop research, communication, and data analysis skills that are widely applicable in both the public and private sectors.

political science degree

How To Get A Political Science Degree

It typically takes at least a master’s or doctoral degree to become a political scientist or someone who analyzes and suggests policy. Graduates with a BA or BS can find entry-level administrative, communication, or analyst jobs in a firm, nonprofit, or organization in the public sector.

Whichever of the degrees you want to get, the guidelines provided here, if followed properly, will see you through getting your degree the easy way.

·       Find A Suitable College for the Program

So, you are interested in acquiring practical and theoretical knowledge in political science and then a degree. The first step is to start putting a list of suitable college options that offer the program. Irrespective of where you are in the world, a simple Google search can show you the best colleges and universities that offer a political science degree.

Whether you want an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or Ph.D. degree in political science this is also something you will need to consider when searching for a school. You want to look for a school that, not just offers this program, but also is suitable for you.

This means that you need to look at the environment if it is okay for you, look up the curriculum and facilities, search for alumni who have graduated from the program at that particular school to see how they are doing, and also look up how recognized the school you are applying for is. All of these data can be found on the school’s website. If you are an international applicant, also check if the program accepts international students.

A very important thing to check is the cost of the program at the school. How much is the tuition fee? Is it affordable? Are there scholarships and other financial packages? What is the cost of living in that area? These are questions you should use to determine the financial aspect of any school you will be applying to.

Just conduct overall research on the school and the program before considering applying there, and when you find a suitable institution, you can then proceed to the next step.

·       Meet Admission Requirements

After finding a suitable college to apply for a political science degree program, you are wondering why the next step isn’t to start your application, this is because you cannot apply to any academic program without, first of all, satisfying the entry requirements set by the school. You see, schools set these requirements to evaluate and know the kind of students that are coming into their institutions.

These evaluations are done by the school board or admissions office and it is because they want to know you personally and academically is why they put these requirements in order. So, before applying to a university or college, irrespective of the program, check the admission requirements to be sure you meet them.

Checking admission requirements saves you time, stress, and finance. Rather than just applying to any school anyhow, you can check their requirements and know right there and then whether it is for you. Whatever you see will help you make better-informed decisions. And you need to understand that entry requirements to programs vary by certain factors which are:

  • Universities and colleges
  • Degree type and
  • Student’s residency status.

When you check the requirements for a political science program of a school and you do not meet them, you can check other schools, they vary. For instance, the University of Pennsylvania might require undergraduate applicants to have a high school GPA of 3.0 for the political science program while the University of Chicago might require a 2.8 GPA for the same program.

If you are going for an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate in political science the requirements also vary and it also varies from international students and domestic students. Armed with this knowledge, you should know the right thing to search or ask for when you want to begin your application.

Although the requirements vary certain requirements are general, below are basic entry requirements into the political science degree program and what you should expect.

For Bachelor Applicants:

  1. You must have earned your high school diploma, GED, or its equivalent
  2. Obtain a minimum of C in English, math, and any other two social science subjects at the high school level.
  3. Submit high school transcripts
  4. SAT or ACT scores may be required
  5. Be involved in extra-curricular activities
  6. International students who are non-native English speakers must take an English language proficiency test like TOEFL or IELTS.

For Masters Applicants:

  1. You must have completed and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science or a related field like business administration, economics, etc.
  2. A minimum GPA of 3.0 on a scale of 4.0 on your bachelor’s degree is safe and can get you entry into some universities but getting a higher GPA will increase your chances.
  3. Submit transcripts from high school and previously attended institutions
  4. GRE may be required.
  5. Gain some work experience or be involved with an organization that has made an impact on society to increase your chances of getting accepted.
  6. International students who are non-native English speakers must take an English language proficiency test like TOEFL or IELTS.

While a bachelor’s degree is a compulsory prerequisite for all master’s programs, there are certain steps you can take to get a master’s degree without a bachelor’s even for political science. Also, you can look up the best universities in Canada for masters where you can pursue a masters degree in political science if Canada is your dream country to study the course.

For Doctorate Applicants:

  1. You must have completed and earned a master’s degree in political science or a related field with a high GPA.
  2. Professional work experience is required.
  3. International students who are non-native English speakers must take an English language proficiency test like TOEFL or IELTS.

These are the entry requirements for each of the degree types, certain documents will also be required such as:

  1. Recommendation letters
  2. Statement of purpose
  3. Essay
  4. Professional CV or resume.
  5. Document of financial proof
  6. A personal or online interview may be required.

Satisfy all requirements and get your documents ready then you can begin the next step.

·       Start the Application Process

Now that you have your documents ready and have satisfied all entry requirements, you can now begin the application process. It is usually done online, irrespective of location, and since you have all documents ready, the process shouldn’t take up to 10 minutes.

Before you begin applying for admission, you should check the application dates, deadlines, and fees. To make your admission process more flexible, you could apply with early action or early decision.

·                Meet Program Requirements

Do not confuse this with admission requirements. Program requirements are grades and credits students need to get or satisfy to graduate from that program. When you apply for a master’s degree in library science and get accepted, it is now left to you to work and satisfy the program requirements necessary to graduate and earn your degree.

Program requirements vary from school to school, but the duration of the program is typically the same. 3-4 years for the bachelor’s degree in political science, two years for a master’s in political science, and 4-8 years for Ph.D. in political science, depending on how it takes students to finish their dissertation through independent research.

·                Other Helpful Tips

The following are tips to increase your chances of getting admitted into a political science program:

  1. Apply earlier, and this is why you need to go for early action or early decision, to increase your chances of acceptance.
  2. Exceed the required GPA and other required grades
  3. Write a strong essay or statement of purpose
  4. A background in political science will boost your chances
  5. Gain work experience in the field or related
  6. Be involved in your community and make an impact in the political aspect.

These are the steps and extra tips to apply to get a political science degree. But this will be incomplete if some of the top schools offering the program are not mentioned.

Best Universities for Political Science Degree

From personal findings and results from the World Wide Web, below are some of the best universities and colleges offering degrees in political science that you may want to consider applying for:

1.     Harvard University

Harvard is the best university in the world, its prestigious academic offerings precede it, and are the dream school of so many. Its Department of Government is responsible for training undergraduate students in political science while its Graduate School of Arts and Sciences confers a Ph.D. in political science.

Eight presidents of the US including John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama and more than 20 US state governors graduated from this department.

2.     Stanford University

Stanford is another prestigious university listed among the top best in the world, its academic offerings both in teaching and research are second to none. The school houses a Department of Political Science under the School of Humanities and Sciences that offers admissions in the undergraduate majors, masters, and Ph.D. in the political science program.

Alumni from the department include Monica Adibe business analytics at Doximity, Duane Beasley attorney, Andrew Blotky global director of internal communications at Facebook, and Akilah Carter Davis Barclays investment banking associate.

3.     Princeton University

Princeton is one of the Ivy League universities popularly known among the top best higher institutions in the world. Princeton Politics is the department that offers degree programs in political science leading to undergraduate and graduates degrees.

Notable alumni from the department include Jared Polis governor of Colorado, Robert Mueller III former US Attorney and director of FBI, Tony Marx president and CEO of the New York Public Library, and Deborah Schildkraut professor of political science at Tufts University.

4.     Yale University

Another of the Ivy League colleges and one of the most popular universities on earth. Yale is a leader in research and teaching contemporary political science. Its Department of Political Science offers undergraduate majors and graduate degrees leading to masters and Ph.D.

Alumni include George Bush, Bill Clinton, Abd al-Karim al-Iryani the foreign prime minister of Yemen, Dick Cheney former VP of the US, Lee Hong-Koo former prime minister of South Korea, and 7 former US senators.

5.     Columbia University

Columbia University is one of the Ivy League universities and one of the best for a political science degree. Its Department of Political Science is the first of its kind in the country founded in 1880 and has produced leaders and prizewinners and still doing so. Bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. degree programs in political science are offered by the department.

These are the top 5 best universities for a degree in political science, other universities offer programs that you can check out on your own at a later time. These schools are:

  • The London School of Economics and Political Science
  • The Australian National University
  • MIT
  • Sciences Po
  • Leiden University
  • Duke University
  • UCLA
  • University College London
  • The University of Oslo
  • Aarhus University
  • The University of Notre Dame
  • The University of Zurich
  • HSE University
  • The University of Birmingham
  • Gothenburg University

5 Best Online Political Science Degree Programs

If you are looking to earn a political science degree online from the comfort of your home, some of the best schools are curated here to guide you.

  • A or B.S in Political Science by OSU Ecampus
  • UCF Online BA in Political Science
  • Online Political Science Degree (BA) at SNHU
  • Online B.S. in Political Science at UNG
  • BA in Political Science at The University of Texas, Permian Basin

1.     B.A or B.S in Political Science by OSU Ecampus

Oregon State University or OSU has an Ecampus that offers a wide range of online degree programs. The Ecampus also offers an online political science degree program leading to a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science through OSU’s College of Liberal Arts.

The program is 180 quarter credits which are equal to 120 semester credits and the cost per credit is $346 with 4 start terms per year. The program is completed 100% online and accepts students from any part of the world.

2.     UCF Online BA in Political Science

The University of Central Florida UCF provides an online political science degree leading to a Bachelor of Arts (BA). The program consists of 120 credit hours and costs $161.19 per credit hour for in-state students and $365.86 per credit hour for out-of-state students.

Other related online programs are BS in legal studies, BA in legal studies, and BA/BS in criminal justice.

3.     Online Political Science Degree (BA) at SNHU

Southern New Hampshire is offering one of the best online political science degrees leading to a Bachelor of Arts (BA). The program consists of 120 credit hours and costs $320 per credit, students can transfer up to 90 credits, no application fee, SAT/ACT scores are not required, and 24/7 online access to the classroom.

4.     Online B.S. in Political Science at UNG

You can pursue a Bachelor of Science in Political Science completely online at the University of North Georgia which ranks #36 among the best southern universities by the US News & World Report. The online political science program is designed for working adults, place-bound learners, and traditional-age students.

The cost of the program is $4,976 per year. The school also offers an online Master of Arts in International Affairs.

5.     BA in Political Science at The University of Texas, Permian Basin

The University of Texas at Permian Basin is offering a 100% online Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. It is a 120 credits program that cost $327.34 per credit hour and additional fees may be added. The program can be taken from any location as it prepares you for careers in attorney, journalism, political consultant, and many more.

Other schools offering an online political science degree program include:

  • Liberty University
  • The University of Memphis
  • Columbia College
  • The University of North Alabama
  • Penn State World Campus
  • National University
  • Kennesaw State University
  • Central Michigan University
  • Troy University
  • Fort Hays State University

You can check out the online political science programs of these schools on your own.

Political Science Degree – FAQs

Is an online political science degree worth it?

There is no difference between a political science degree getting online the one getting on-campus. They are both worth the same.

What is the salary of political scientists?

The average annual salary of a political scientist is $122,510.

What can you do with a political science degree?

When you earn a degree in political science, you can pursue careers as a lobbyist, political scientist, lawyer, political consultant, professor, government official, diplomat, policy analyst, attorney, public relations specialist, etc.

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Thaddaeus is a lead content creator at SAN with over 5 years of experience in the field of professional content creation. He has written several helpful articles for Blockchain projects in the past and even recently but since 2020, he has been more active in creating guides for students who want to study abroad.

When he's not writing, he's either watching anime, making a delicious meal, or definitely swimming.

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