2022 Best Master’s in Political Science Programs

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Click here to find out more about the ranking methodology that we used to compile this list.

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Deciding which college to attend can be a daunting task. For many, it will be the most important decision that they make in their lives. To make an informed decision, you have to consider a lot of variables, such as cost of attendance, financial aid, student/teacher ratio, academics, student life, and more. These factors will either positively or negatively impact the quality of education that you receive.

Do you want to acquire a master’s in political science, but don’t know what institution you should attend? Well, if you are as ambitious as I was in my late teens, then you want to attend a top school, instead of an average or mediocre one. Fortunately, we have already done the legwork for you. To help you find the right school for your interests and goals, we’ve compiled a list of 2022’s best master’s in political science programs.

What institution did we forget? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

  1. MIT, Cambridge, MA

Massachusetts Institute of Technology is one of the country’s premier private institutions of higher education. Established in 1861, this school has 4,547 undergraduate learners. MIT specializes in scientific and technological research and is split into five schools. The masters of science in political science at MIT prepares learners to discover and utilize essential information about how twenty-first-century governments and societies work.

This is a one-year degree program, allowing learners to build proficiency in applied research so that they can move on to successful careers. The school also houses a rigorous PhD in political science, which is geared toward learners who want to pursue teaching careers at the college level. Learners will finish 66 units of study, with intensive preparation in a single discipline chosen by the learner.

This degree program enables learners to finish their studies in just three semesters of study, normally broken down into fall, spring, and summer semesters. This institution has several other top-rated programs in political science as well, including a bachelor’s, a minor, a minor in public policy, a minor in applied international studies, and a five-year degree program in political science.

  1. Stanford University, Stanford, CA

Stanford University is a well-respected privately run institution. Offered within the Department of Political Science, the masters of arts in political science requires learners to incorporate quantitative and qualitative research methods to increase their analytics skills. It prepares learners for an array of contemporary careers.

The masters of arts in political science is designed to be pursued in combination with another doctoral degree from another department, allowing for a multidisciplinary degree program that will prepare learners for career success. For learners seeking a stand-alone degree, the institution also has a master’s in international policy studies. The political science degree program requires 45 units of study

This school is situated just 30 miles from San Francisco and has an idyllic location in the heart of California’s Bay Area. This location makes the institution not only a hub for intellectual development and discovery, providing learners with unique research and career opportunities, but it also gives learners access to spectacular off-campus learning. The school is home to a range of learner organizations and support services, which is part of the reason why it was rated as a top national university.

  1. University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

The University of Florida is one of Florida’s largest public institutions. It has several masters of arts programs in political science offered by the prominent Department of Political Science. The stand-alone masters of arts in political Science is a top choice.

Depending on the specific degree program of study chosen—and whether learners plan to pursue further study leading to an additional certificate—candidates may be able to select between a thesis, capstone, or final examination requirement. Many plans of study require internships normally finished in the summer between academic years.

Along with the masters of arts in political science, the school also has companion certificate programs in concepts such as political campaigning and public affairs. A master’s of arts in international relations is popular for people seeking a more globally focused experience. The department also offers pathways for dual BA/MA and juris doctorate (JD)/masters of arts completion, making it easier for learners to progress toward rewarding careers without having to reapply or take additional classes.

  1. Columbia University, New York, NY

Columbia University gives political science learners access to the real-life learning experience of a lifetime. The masters of arts in political science at Columbia prepares learners with advanced training in political science research methods that they need to become disciplined in areas like formal modeling and quantitative methods.

Learners who select Columbia for their masters in political science benefit from a strong emphasis on political science research and analysis. Graduate learners can take PhD-level classes and get involved in the stimulating intellectual environment of the department. Candidates can participate in co-curricular workshops, research proseminars, and more. When applying, each learner is admitted to a small cohort of only 20 learners; this is the maximum number of learners that Columbia will admit to the degree program each year. Therefore, all learners obtain individualized advising and one-on-one mentoring from department faculty.

  1. University of Georgia, Athens, GA

The masters of arts in political science and international affairs is offered dually between the Department of Political Science and the Department of International Affairs. This degree program offers pathways for learners who wish to develop the analytic skills they’ll need to become masters of the content.

Learners can concentrate in a discipline of choice, and they can choose between a thesis pathway, which requires 30 credit hours of classwork, or a non-thesis choice, which requires 33 hours of classwork.   The faculty who teach in this degree program are second to none and are regarded as some of the most productive in the nation. Instructors have won numerous awards for research and teaching.

  1. UNC at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC

UNC–Chapel Hill was established in 1789 and has a sizeable undergraduate enrollment of nearly 19,000 learners—most of whom live on the 729-acre campus. Split into several schools and colleges, UNC has a dynamic degree in political science. This degree program prepares professional political scientists to perform political and administrative duties along with those in research and education.

Within the Political Science Department, the institution has additional focuses on Latin American studies. The coursework of this graduate degree exposes learners to the problems, literature, and skills necessary for all academic components of political science. Learners are required to defend their thesis, both orally and in writing, before graduation.

This degree program serves as an excellent gateway for multidisciplinary communication in and with Latin America. The department offers funding for learners to engage in multidisciplinary working groups, along with research workshops, study abroad, and summer fellowships. The institution offers learners several ways to succeed, such as through an honors degree program, groundbreaking research and study abroad chances in over 70 countries, and more.

  1. University of Rochester, Rochester, NY

A privately run institution established in 1850, the University of Rochester is a suburban school in western New York. This school has over 250 distinct learner organizations and is rated as one of the country’s top-tier research institutions. Offering nearly 100 distinct graduate and bachelor’s degree programs, this school receives top marks for its academic quality. The master’s in political science leads to doctoral studies in the PhD degree program in political science. This degree takes a selective approach to the study of politics. Learners learn how to develop a formal theory along with how to examine quantitative evidence.

  1. Binghamton University, Vestal, NY

Binghamton University is a major institution within the state institution system of New York; this school is well-known for its retention rates and first-class programs. This school has dozens of academic programs along with plenty of things for learners to do outside the classroom. Binghamton has both a PhD and an MA in political science. Both programs are multidisciplinary and allow learners to collaborate with other departments, professionals, and learners. This degree program has two potential paths. One requires a master’s thesis, while the other entails a holistic exam. It has both a masters of arts and doctoral programs to a field of bright, successful graduate learners.

  1. Rutgers University, Newark, NJ

Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, manages several campuses around the state. The Newark campus has an exceptional master’s of arts in political science offered by the Department of Political Science. Rutgers, which was established in 1908,  has dozens of other academic programs along with hundreds of distinct extracurricular activities to its sizeable learner body.

This degree program requires 30 credit hours of study and prepares learners with the writing and critical-thinking skills they will need to engage in a democratic society civically. It prepares learners for careers or doctoral studies in political science, public policy, administration, political science, criminal justice, and more. Learners may select from concentrations in the American political system or international relations.

Along with the concentration options listed above, learners in this degree program may choose to finish an additional concentration in women and gender studies. This degree can also be finished concurrently as a juris doctor (JD)/masters of arts in political science that enables a maximum of 12 credits in law classes to be applied toward the credit requirement for the master’s degree.

  1. University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI

The University of Wisconsin – Madison was established in 1848 and has a sizeable undergraduate enrollment of just over 32,000 learners. The Department of Political Science has a graduate degree program that leads to a doctor of philosophy in political science. This is a holistic degree program, admitting only learners who intend to continue to PhD studies.

This degree program is respected by both the national and international communities. With first-class faculty and a diverse spectrum of approaches to teaching concepts in political science, this degree program is led by professors who teach in other subjects also. This degree comprises at least 30 credit hours, with no final formal examination required. Learners also have access to such diverse centers and programs on-campus as the Center for Jewish Studies, the African Studies Program, and the international studies major. This enables for intensive advancement of multidisciplinary approaches to learner research.

  1. University of California, Riverside, CA

A state-run institution established in 1954, the University of California – Riverside is part of the California state system. This school has increased its enrollment in the last quarter of a century, with enrollment nearly tripling and surpassing 23,000 undergraduates to-date. The political science MA is offered by the award-winning Department of Political Science. This degree program emphasizes the development of skills that candidates will need to carry out original research.

All classes in this degree program are offered dually with the PhD degree program in political science, making it a perfect choice for learners who will one day pursue doctoral studies. Two plans allow learners to finish their studies—one requires 36 units of study and a holistic examination, while the other requires a thesis. This degree program enables learners to carry out vital, cutting-edge research alongside faculty and staff. The school is rated among the best political science programs in the United States for its scholarly productivity. While the campus community is comprised almost entirely of commuter learners, the University of California has plenty of ways for learners to get involved. The school has several research centers, along with over 300 distinct learner organizations and activities.

  1. Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA

Boston College is a privately run institution that was established in 1863. The school was established by the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and maintains a Roman Catholic Jesuit affiliation. Boston College has a master’s of arts in political science that takes most learners two years to finish. The Department of Political Science has several related programs, including those in international studies and Islamic civilization and societies.

This degree prepares learners with the skills necessary to carry out scholarly work at the postgraduate level, enabling them to pursue positions as professionals in the field of political science along with to enter into doctoral study. Learners may conclude their studies with either a holistic examination or a thesis. This 30-credit degree program requires learners to take at least one class in three of the four major fields of political science.

This school is one of the most well-respected and highly rated institutions; it has highly-rated graduate programs within many of its schools and encourages undergraduate and graduate learners alike to benefit from the more than 200 distinct organizations and clubs the school has to offer.

  1. SUNY Buffalo, Buffalo NY

The SUNY Buffalo is one of the largest schools in the state institution system of New York. This suburban school situated just outside downtown Buffalo, has a total undergraduate enrollment of 21,020 learners. This institution has a profound tradition of groundbreaking research and overall academic excellence. The masters of arts in political science helps prepare learners for government, advocacy, political, or academic careers.

Each learner has the choice between a holistic examination or a master’s thesis. Learners may also select to finish a research project paper, but this is expected to be carried out with faculty guidance. Master’s learners can transfer a maximum of six credits from other institutions, making it easy to finish their studies. While most learners can finish their studies in just two years, this degree program can be extended for a maximum of four years for learners who need extra time. The institution also has dual JD and PhD programs so that learners can finish several degree paths within one rigorous class of study. The school has well over 300 distinct graduate and bachelor’s degree programs to select from, giving political science learners the chance to learn in a highly multidisciplinary format.

  1. Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

Established in 1855, Michigan State University, was the first land-grant institution in the country, serving as an example for other schools that followed shortly after. The masters of arts in political science is offered within the College of Social Science. It is designed to prepare learners for doctoral studies. Known formally as the masters of public policy, this degree prepares learners for careers in nonprofit planning or government work.

Learners have several options in how they finish their degrees at Michigan State. They can carry out a plan of study that is either with or without a thesis, with the non-thesis choice, including two additional research papers. Along with the masters of arts in public policy, Michigan State has related programs in international planning studies, social work, and urban and regional planning. A PhD is also available.

This degree program is just one of many highly rated graduate programs. Class sizes are small, with graduate learners enjoying a low learner-to-faculty ratio of 16:1. Learners at Michigan State are highly satisfied with the quality of their education; the retention rate is well over 90 percent.

  1. University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

The University of Iowa offers learners access to over 500 distinct clubs and organizations, along with a staggering number of off-campus adventures to select from. This school also has several programs in political science, including minors, bachelor’s degrees, and graduate programs. The masters of arts in political science serves as an excellent preliminary step toward the PhD in political science. This degree program requires at least 30 semester hours of graduate credits. Although no thesis is required, every learner’s record is reviewed by a final examination committee before graduation.

This political science degree has six areas of concentration: formal theory, political theory, research methods, international relations, American politics, and comparative politics. As a major national research institution, this liberal arts college has received international recognition for its achievements in the arts, sciences, and humanities. Learners can select from over 200 areas of study and 500 distinct learner groups, giving them access to leadership and engagement chances both inside the classroom and out.

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