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Political science is considered the study of politics. It is also considered the study of power from both domestic and international ideas. Individuals who study political science will gain a grasp of political ideas that affect both everyday life as well as future generations. Many political science students hope to pursue a job in government in order to serve their fellow citizens and make a dependable income.

How an individual chooses to use their degree is a highly personal decision. There is not doubt, however, that a degree in political science can help prepare you for a career in politics. There is no set course of study in order to pursue a career in politics. People from varying backgrounds, who studied in varying fields have become successful politicians. There are, of course, many notable politicians who did study political science before beginning their career. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the first woman every elected to that position, studied political science at Trinity College in Washington D.C. However, President Donald Trump did not study political science, but rather graduated with a business degree from the Wharton School of Business.

Methodology: How We Ranked the Best Political Science Degrees in America

To rank the best political science degree programs, Bachelor’s Degree Center didn’t just go with the obvious choices. BDC editors know prospective students want to program that fits them, and has real, positive career impact. For that reason, we look at overall value, focusing exclusively on accredited, trusted institutions, and ranking according to practical issues like cost, potential salary, and student satisfaction, using data from IPEDS and Niche.

1. Clemson University

Clemson University offers two of the best political science degrees with its Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degree programs in Political Science. Clemson’s BS degree focuses on national, local, and state government levels, including the actions and behaviors of political and special interest groups and the election cycle, from a more advanced quantitative perspective. Clemson’s Bachelor of Arts degree in political science focuses on related humanities and communication skills.

Clemson University was established under the Morrill Land Grant Act in 1889. In addition, Clemson is a sea-grant higher learning institution with a campus that sits alongside Lake Hartwell and near the Blue Ridge Mountains that serves more than 25,300 students.

What We Like: In terms of student enrollment, Clemson University is recognized as the second largest higher learning institution in the state of SC.

Degree: Political Science, BS/BA

2. Boston College

Boston College provides a BA or ALA in Political Science concentration that is recognized among the county’s best political science degrees. Boston College’s political science degree includes coursework in comparative politics and fundamental concepts of politics, plus data visualization, design thinking, conflict resolution/negotiation, applied data analysis, and an integrated political science capstone project, to name a few. In addition, Applied Liberal Arts degree candidates must complete six requirements in six majors – history, English, sociology, philosophy, political science, and interdisciplinary studies.

Boston College was established in 1863 and remains affiliated with the Jesuit, Roman Catholic Church. The school’s main campuses include parts of historic districts, cover more than 300 acres and serve more than 14,400 students.

What We Like: Boston College is comprised of eight college/schools which cover topics like management, education, nursing, social work, law, theology, arts/sciences, and advanced studies.

Degree: Political Science, BA, ALA

3. University of Oklahoma

The University of Oklahoma offers a BA in Political Science that provides students study abroad opportunities through the International Studies college. Students graduating from Oklahoma’s best political science degrees find rewarding work as a policy analyst, elected official, civil service administrator, lobbyist, campaign manager, nonprofit manager, or government official, to name a few. Classes included in Oklahoma’s political science degree program include American politics, public policy, comparative politics, international relations, public administration, and public policy, to name a few.

The University of Oklahoma was established in 1890, nearly two decades prior to Oklahoma reaching statehood. Oklahoma serves, as the flagship campuses and space grant higher learning institution, more than 30,500 students.

What We Like: The University of Oklahoma’s women athletes have won four national softball championships and more than ten national gymnastics championships.

Degree: Political Science, BA

4. University at Albany

The University at Albany Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree program in Political Science that offers degree candidates nine academic concentrations from which to choose. Among the available concentrations from UAlbany’s best political science degrees, a degree candidate can select from American Politics, Public Law, Security and Statecraft, Citizenship, Political Theory, Equality & Inequality, Political Economy, Global Politics, and Law & Institutions.

The University at Albany was established as a normal school in 1844 but is now a member school of the SUNY system. This SUNY school operates three campuses in the capital region in Albany, Guilderland, and Rensselaer. The school’s urban and suburban campuses are home to more than 17,500 students.

What We Like: Students at SUNY Albany have the option of participating in more than 500 study abroad options offered through the state system.

Degree: Political Science, BA

5. University of Nevada Reno

The University of Nevada Reno offers a BA in Political Science that is considered as one of the state’s best political science degrees. Students graduate from UNR’s political science degree program and enter the workforce in government, or teaching, while others pursue an advanced degree in law or education, among others. Degree candidates in UNR’s program have the option of selecting from four minors in American government, public policy, foreign affairs, or general.

The University of Nevada was founded in Elko under the Morrill land Grant Act in 1874. In addition, UNR is a space-grant higher learning institution that is also the state’s flagship campus. More than 21,500 students attend classes on the school’s urban campuses.

What We Like: The University of Nevada is home to one of the most powerful lasers on any campus in the United States.

Degree: Political Science, BA

6. University of North Dakota

The University of North Dakota offers a BA in Political Science that requires the completion of 120 semester credits earned on the University of North Dakota ‘s Grand Forks campus. Students graduate from the University of North Dakota’s baccalaureate political science degree program enter the workforce as journalists, lobbyists, public relations, intelligence analysts, and attorneys, to name a few. Classes for North Dakota’s best political science degrees include international politics, comparative politics, public policy, introduction to political thoughts, and the American Constitution/Governmental Powers, among many others.

UND – the University of North Dakota (UND) was chartered five years before North Dakota reached statehood in 1883. The University of North Dakota’s campus covers more than 500 acres and serves more than 13,100 students.

What We Like: The University of North Dakota holds the distinction of being North Dakota’s oldest higher learning institution and flagship school.

Degree: Political Science, BA

7. University of Nebraska Omaha

The University of Nebraska Omaha offers BA or BS in Political Science that are both considered among Nebraska’s best political science degrees. Each of the political science degrees offered by UNO offers students five academic tracks from which to choose – Race, Ethnicity & Gender Politics, Government Affairs, Political Theory, Foreign & National Security Affairs, and Law & the Courts. Graduates find rewarding work as elected officials at many levels in government or continue their education in grad or law school, among others.

The University of Nebraska Omaha was founded as a seminary in 1908. Currently, the school operates two primary campuses in midtown Omaha, serving more than 15,100 students vying for a degree offered by UNO’s seven constituent colleges/schools.

What We Like: The University of Nebraska Omaha was created into a public higher learning institution in 1930.

Degree: Bachelor of Multidisciplinary Studies in Political Science

8. Oregon State University

The Oregon State University School of Public Policy offers two of Oregon State University’s best political science degrees with its offers Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science programs. Each of OSU’s political science degree programs can be completed with or without an academic major. Foundational coursework includes political thought, international relations, US government & Politics, and comparative politics, among others. Although not mandated, students enrolled in OSU’s political science degree program are encouraged to complete a thesis, research or capstone project, or internship for up to eight semester credits.

Oregon State University (Oregon State) was established in 1868 under the Morrill Land Grant Act. The university’s college-town campus in Corvallis covers more than 385 acres and serves more than 31,200 students.

What We Like: Oregon State University holds the distinction of being one of four higher learning institutions that are four-grant schools – land-grant, space-grant, sun-grant, and sea-grant.

Degree: Political Science, BS/BA

9. Saint Louis University

Saint Louis University offers a BA in Political Science is considered one of Missouri’s best political science degrees. Saint Louis’s political science undergraduate degree permits candidates to complete their degree abroad on the university’s Madrid campus. Coursework for this degree program includes the option of four concentrations – public policy, public law, international relations (Madrid), or international affairs. Various internships available include options in research, campaigning, political science, the federal government, state/local government, public service, law, or foreign service.

Saint Louis University was founded in 1818. The school operates two campuses – in St. Louis and another in Spain. More than 12,200 students attend classes offered by Saint Louis University.

What We Like: Saint Louis University holds the double distinction of being the second oldest Jesuit higher learning institution and the oldest school west of the Mississippi River.

Degree: Political Science, BA

10. Texas State University

Texas State University’s Department of Political Science offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree program in Political Science considered among the country’s best political science degrees. Coursework for this undergraduate political science degree from Texas State University includes the completion of 120 semester hours, of which 30 semester credits must be taken in residence at Texas State University . Classes include political ideas, public finance, the politics of extremism, administrative law, international conflict, political institutions, the American Government, comparative politics, and modern political theory, to name a few.

Texas State University was chartered as a normal school in 1899. Currently, this state university is also a space-grant university that serves more than 38,100 students.

What We Like: Texas State University holds the distinction of being the only public higher learning institution in the Lone Star State to have a president among its alumni.

Degree: Political Science, BA

11. Northern Arizona University

Northern Arizona University’s School of Politics and International Affairs Science offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree program in Political Science that prepares students for careers in journalism, speech writing, policy analysis, or nonprofit administration, among others. Northern Arizona University ‘s best political science degrees require degree candidates to complete 120 semester credits to meet program requirements. Additionally, students have the option of enrolling in the 3+3 program that combines a baccalaureate political science degree with a Juris doctor legal degree in only six years.

Northern Arizona University was established in 1899. The university’s small-city campus in Flagstaff is home to more than 30,100 students. More than 7,400 students attend classes online or throughout the state at a facility other than the main campus in Flagstaff.

What We Like: Northern Arizona University offers its Flagstaff campus students a four-year tuition guarantee.

Degree: Political Science, BA

12. Ball State University

Ball State University’s Department of Political Science offers two of Indiana’s best political science degrees with its Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts programs. Internship opportunities available in each of Ball State University’s political science baccalaureate degree programs include political campaigns, nonprofits, state legislatures, and advocacy groups, among others. This poly science degree offers candidates three academic options – international studies, political science, and economics, with 120 semester credits required for both undergraduate degrees in political science from Ball State University.

Ball State University was founded as a public higher learning institution in 1918 that was once a teacher’s normal school. The Muncie campus covers more than 1,000 acres that serve more than 17,000 students.

What We Like: The Industrial tycoons – the Ball Brothers – are considered founders, which is the reason the school is named in their honor.

Degree: Political Science, BS/BA

13. Lewis University

Lewis University’s College of Education and Social Sciences offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree program in Political Science that prepares students for rewarding careers in public affairs, law, lobbyism, politics, journalism, or nonprofit organizations, to name a few. Coursework for Lewis University’s best political science degrees includes western political thought, comparative government, American national government, and parties/interest groups in America, to name a few. Students enrolled in Lewis University may take advantage of a variety of study abroad opportunities in Africa, Asia, Europe, or Latin America.

Lewis University was established in 1932 as a Lasallians higher learning institution. The university’s Romeoville campus is home to more than 4,400 students vying for one of the 80 academic offerings.

What We Like: Chicago’s archdiocese chartered Lewis University, named for one of the original architects and founding members.

Degree: Political Science, BA

14. Ohio University

Ohio University offers a BA in Political Science that is considered among the Midwest’s best political science degrees. Coursework for this undergraduate political science degree program includes themes in global political, international relations, American voting behavior, political theory, the politics of law, and engaging politics, to name a few. Students can opt to enroll in Ohio University’s undergraduate political science degree with a pre-law concentration or honor program. Each year, about 400 students enroll in one of the political science degree programs offered by Ohio University.

Ohio University (Ohio U) was founded in 1804 and is a space-grant, public higher learning institution. The school is a member of the University of Ohio system and operates a main campus overlooking the Hocking River, plus a variety of educational facilities through the state serving more than 26,500 students.

What We Like: Ohio University is the tenth oldest school in the nation, but the oldest in the state.

Degree: Political Science, BA

15. South Dakota State University

South Dakota State University offers two of South Dakota’s best political science degrees with its Bachelor of Science (BS) and Bachelor of Arts (BA) programs in Political Science. Internship opportunities for degree candidates enrolled in South Dakota State University’s undergraduate political science degree include Daktronics, political campaigns, and the South Dakota legislature, to name a few. Students can opt to minor in leadership, global studies, legal studies, journalism, or nonprofit organization management.

South Dakota State University was chartered as a land grant school under the Morrill Land Grant Act in 1881 but is also a sun-grant school. The university’s 200+ acre campus in Brookings serves more than 12,200 students.

What We Like: South Dakota State University is recognized as the largest of all higher learning schools in the state of South Dakota and was founded prior to South Dakota reaching statehood.

Degree: Political Science, BS/BA

16. University of Wisconsin Milwaukee

The University of Wisconsin Milwaukee offers a BA in Political Science that is recognized as one of the state’s best political science degrees. Coursework for the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee’s political science degree includes political data analysis, international politics, comparative politics, political theory, political research, plus a required research requirement. Available minors include history, sociology, international relations, or economics. Internships in the past have been with the City of Milwaukee, the county executive’s office, both political parties, and both Wisconsin senators, among others.

The University of Wisconsin Milwaukee was established as a teacher’s school in 1885. The school’s urban campus in Milwaukee serves more than 25,600 students vying for degrees offered b the school.

What We Like: The University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee is the second largest higher learning institution in the state.

Degree: Political Science, BA

17. Park University

Park University offers a BA in Political Science that can be completed on-campus or through a hybrid delivery. Park University’s best political science degrees require the completion of 122 semester hours. Students graduate from Park University’s undergraduate program prepared to enter the workforce as a teacher, a legislative assistant, a public relations or political consultant, to name a few. Students enrolled in Park University’s degree program can opt for an academic concentration in international politics or American politics.

Park University was founded as a private higher learning institution in 1875. The Parkville campus serves more than 11,100 students and sits upon land donated by the school’s namesake George S. Park. Parkville is renowned for its work for tuition programs, with students working at the school in lieu of payment.

What We Like: The school’s campus sits atop a bluff that overlooks the Missouri River.

Degree: Political Science, BA

18. Virginia Commonwealth University

Virginia Commonwealth University offers a BA in Political Science that is considered as one of the best political science degrees in the DC area. This undergraduate degree offers degree candidates several academic emphases in civil rights, politics & government, US government, international relations, comparative politics, human security, and public policy. Classes for this degree include political theory, comparative politics, US government, how to draft an argument, international relations, plus other baccalaureate requirements for a total of 120 semester credits.

Virginia Commonwealth University (Virginia Commonwealth) was founded in 1838 as a public higher learning institution and medical college. The university’s urban campus covers more than 100 acres and serves more than 31,000 students.

What We Like: many buildings on Virginia Commonwealth University’s campus are registered as historic structures, including the provost’s building.

Degree: Political Science, BA

19. Wichita State University

Wichita State University offers a Bachelor’s in Political Science that prepares graduates for rewarding careers in public service, teaching, a think-tank, academic research, journalism, or as a springboard to law/graduate school. Students enrolled in Wichita State University’s best political science degrees include classes in international law, civil liberties, introduction to international relations, American Politics, comparative politics, politicoethical data analysis, plus a senior thesis to meet program requirements of 120 semester credits.

Wichita State University was established as Fairmont College in 1895. The school operates a main campus in Wichita plus four additional academic facilities in Derby, Maize, downtown Wichita, plus the advanced dentistry campus. More than 15,900 students attend classes offered by Wichita State.

What We Like: Wichita State University was initially developed as an all-women’s higher learning institution.

Degree: Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science

20. Simmons University

Simmons University School of Political Science and International Relations offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree program in Political Science that is considered as one of the best political science degrees in the Northeastern United States. Coursework for Simmons University’s undergraduate political science degree program includes comparative foreign policy, feminism, and capitalism, and congress and the presidency, to name a few. Students graduate from this baccalaureate degree program and enter the workforce as political consultants, policy analysts, legislative assistants, or public relations consultants, among others.

Simmons University was founded in 1899 as an all-women’s higher learning institution. More than 4,700 undergraduate and graduate degree students attend classes offered by Simmons University. The school’s campus is located in the Back-Bay section of Boston near Fenway Park and Boston University.

What We Like: Simmons University graduated its first African American student in 1914.

Degree: Political Science, BA

21. Suffolk University

Suffolk University offers a baccalaureate degree in Political Science & Legal Studies that is recognized among the country’s best political science degrees. Available concentrations for Suffolk University’s baccalaureate degree in political science and legal studies offer three academic tracks in political theory, American politics, or public policy & law. Classes for this 126 semester credit degree program include an intro to American Politics, comparative politics, data analysis, research methods, public policy writing, plus a political science internship domestically or internationally in London, Brussels, or Edinburgh.

Suffolk University was founded in 1906 as a private higher learning institution dedicated to law and research. The school’s downtown Boston location (in Beacon Hill) serves more than 7,400 students.

What We Like: Notable alumni from Suffolk University include members of the US Congress, state/federal judges, and mayors.

Degree: Political Science & Legal Studies

22. Marian University

Marian University offers a BA in Political Science that is recognized among the best political science degrees in the state of Indiana. Students enrolled in Marian University’s undergraduate political science degree program offers concentrations in international affairs, law studies, or political leadership & engagement. Coursework for this Marian degree program includes 128 semester credits in applied political science statistics, comparative politics, international relations, leadership & political activism, women and politics, and senior political science seminar, among others.

Marian University was established by the Sisters of St. Francis in 1851 as a normal school. Currently, this private higher learning institution serves more than 3,300 students from its Indianapolis campus, located only a few miles to the north and west of downtown Indianapolis.

What We Like: Marian University operates am Ecolab – which is a wetland forest on the northern portion of the campus.

Degree: Political Science, BA

23. Southeastern University

Southeastern University offers a BS in Political Science that is considered among the Sunshine State’s best political science degrees. Degree candidates enrolled in Southeastern University’s baccalaureate degree program are required to complete 121 semester credits to meet program requirements, of which 48 credit units must be from the political science curriculum. Classes for this degree include the US constitution, the US government, the American presidency, the judicial process & politics, plus political science practicum and capstone, among others. Students graduate from Southeastern University’s political science degree program to find rewarding work as a city manager, politician, human rights advocate, or campaign manager, to name a few.

Southeastern University was established in 1935 and remains affiliated to the Assemblies of God Church. The university’s campus covers more than 75 acres and serves more than 6,800 students.

What We Like: Southeastern University was developed initially as a bible college in Alabama.

Degree: Political Science, BS

24. Abilene Christian University

Abilene Christian University’s Department of Political Science & Criminal Justice offers two of Texas’s best political science degrees with its Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degree options in Political Science. Students graduate from Abilene Christian University’s undergraduate political science degree program to find rewarding work as a mediator, lobbyist, political correspondent, state legislator, politician, campaign staffer, or polling analyst, to name a few. Internships for this baccalaureate degree program from Abilene Christian University are available at all levels of government, political student groups, plus a comprehensive list of study abroad opportunities. The Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice will begin offering a minor in legal studies next year.

Abilene Christian University (Abilene Christian) was established in 1906. The university’s urban campus in Abilene serves more than 5,100 students and covers more than 200 acres. ACU has a student-to-faculty ratio of 15:1.

What We Like: Of May 2019 graduates, 96 percent were employed or enrolled in graduate or professional school within six months.

Degree: Political Science, BS/BA

25. Lesley University

Lesley University offers a BA in Political Science that requires students to complete 121 semester credits over a four-year period. Lesly University’s best political science degrees prepare graduates for work in nonprofits, politics, advocacy organizations, government agencies, journalism, and mediation, among others. Classes for this baccalaureate degree program include US politics, political philosophy, elections and democracy, US foreign policy, social policy, psychology, power & politics, plus an internship in political science, among others. This degree covers six fields of study in political behavior, public policy, US politics, comparative politics, international relations, and political theory.

Lesley University was established as a private institution of higher education in 1909. The school’s campuses in Cambridge – in Harvard Square, Porter Square, and Cambridge Common covers more than 15 acres and serves more than 6,300 students.

What We Like: Lesley University is comprised of academic schools and colleges covering art/design, education, arts/sciences, and the threshold program.

Degree: Political Science, BA

What Should I Know About Political Science Careers?

What is a degree in political science? If you are considering political science as your major, then these may be a few of the questions that are floating around in your mind right now? According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, most Americans who hold a political science degree are employed by the US government. Although a government job may sound secure, it should be noted that the BLS also reports that outlooks for this profession are not looking great. In fact they report that projected employment is declining and competition is increasing. This trend is estimated to continue through the year 2024. Currently the annual estimated salary for politicians holding a political science degree is $122,000.

Things to Consider

Because of the fact that government jobs are becoming increasingly more competitive, a individual considering a degree in political science should consider obtaining a master’s degree in political science as well as a bachelor’s. A master’s degree in political science would be considered an entry level academic credential. Many people who pursue successful political careers hold a doctorate. Investing in your education can pay off well in the end, though.

People who find the most success in this field are those who are passionate about government and making a difference. If you are not passionate about these things, you may find that the time and investment necessary in order to be successful is overwhelming.

For those who do feel passionately about their communities and their federal government as a whole, this is the best field of study to pursue in order to make the biggest difference in your future job role.

Types of Jobs for Political Science Degree Holders

To say that you can become a politician with a political science degree is pretty vague. Let’s get more specific about what types of careers you can pursue.

Lobbyist– These are individuals who work on the government level to bring important issues to the forefront. They interact on a regular basis with government officials in order to help them hear the real issues of the people. They can have a powerful affect on laws and legislation.

Lawyer– Lawyers who specialize in political matters can greatly benefit from a political science degree. This gives the lawyer an edge on how certain laws and precedents affect our communities and our country.

Professor– Many political scientist go on to become professors of political science. This is a powerful way to have an influence on your community and your country as you help to educate the next generation of leaders.

Political consultant– A political consultant is an individual who is hired by local governments to advise them on important topics that can affect citizens.

Government official– This is probably the most common type of job to hold once you have earned your political science degree. A government official can vary in levels from community based to federal government. All community officials have a huge impact on their fellow citizens as they help to shape laws and policies.

Legislative assistant– A legislative assistant is an individual who assist with legislation in many ways. These individuals can assist with drafting new laws, as well as completing essential duties in the legislative process.

A political science degree is a powerful degree option which can open the door to many interesting job opportunities.

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