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2014′s 15 Best Online Colleges for Political Science

A political science major will study politics and government from an academic perspective. In classes, students will examine revolutions, political parties, voting behavior, and public policy. Their scope of study will include geographic areas beyond the United States, including regions such as the Middle East, East Asia, and Latin America. This liberal arts major could be the right fit for political junkies, aspiring lawyers, and future politicians. And as one of the most popular liberal arts programs, it prepares students for careers in a number of varied fields.

Political science, commonly referred to as “Poli-sci,” deals with current events and sophisticated statistical analyses. Political science students will take classes in areas such as comparative government, political economy, foreign policy, and political philosophy. Classes may cover everything from the “rise of Asia” to the public opinion and voting behavior during a particular presidential campaign. In these classes, students will be expected to write papers (and perhaps a senior thesis) and participate in class discussions, activities that will develop their communication and analytical skills. They will have to be able to analyze otherwise dense readings and understand key points. Political science majors develop a broad skill set that is attractive to employers in a number of fields; a successful poli sci student knows how to think both critically and creatively.

While a degree in political science prepares students for a number of fields, it easily lends itself to the pursuit of careers in law, government, and academia, and internships throughout school can be instrumental in landing jobs upon graduation. Some political science majors will pursue a graduate degree, which is necessary to become a political scientist who conducts public surveys or analyzes election results. Others will go on to law school, and still others work as consultants for political organizations, think tanks, and related industries.

At the graduate level, an M.A. and a Ph.D. in political science are both offered and usually reserved for those who plan to pursue careers in academia. The vast majority of these scholars will teach at colleges and universities while establishing careers as writers and researchers. The employment of post-secondary teachers is expected to increase as fast as the average growth rate for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, though competition for teaching spots specifically in political science may be fierce. New graduates may have more luck finding work as part time lecturers or adjuncts. However, keep in mind that these job projections are only estimates, as a graduate’s job outlook will often depend on his or her qualifications, skills, and employer.

Other political science graduates may pursue graduate degrees in political science in conjunction with degrees in journalism and law instead of focusing primarily on teaching. But no matter the field a student plans to pursue, a degree in political science cultivates a broad set of skills that are essential to career success.

Rankings

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Rank School Name Average Rating
1 American Public University 12.30
2 National University 12.67
3 Columbia College 13.64
4 Regent University 16.20
5 Ashford University 18.41
6 Walden University 20.41
7 Kaplan University 20.50
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