Over the past few years, politics has remained at the forefront of public attention and experienced many big events. Individuals with a deeper interest in the events, such as forming personal poll projections, might enjoy a career in political science.
Aspiring political scientists currently enjoy good job prospects. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), political scientists earn a median annual salary of $125,350. Additionally, the BLS projects the need for political science jobs to increase by 6% between 2019-2029.
Keep reading to learn more about the best programs for an online political science degree. Our guide covers frequently asked questions about a bachelor's degree in political science, career outlooks for political science jobs, and available scholarships.
Political Science Questions
Q. Is a bachelor's degree in political science worth it?
Individuals who enjoy researching politics and analyzing data often enjoy political science jobs. Many find the rewarding pay makes earning the degree worthwhile.
Q. What can I do with a bachelor's in political science?
Political science degree-holders work on political campaigns or as political scientists. Some political science majors choose to run for a local or federal office position.
Q. What is the difference between political science and law?
A political science degree prepares learners to enter politics, while a law degree best suits individuals aspiring to become lawyers.
Q. What is the highest paying job in political science?
Political scientists make the highest salary in this field, earning a median $125,350 salary annually.
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Why Get a Degree in Political Science?
Choosing a major aligned with personal interests positions graduates to earn satisfying jobs. Individuals who enjoy learning about politics, making predictions, interpreting data, and testing theories may benefit from earning a political science degree.
Aspiring political scientists who crave flexibility and possess self-discipline might consider pursuing an online political science degree. Online students typically save money on room and board, relocation costs, and commuting expenses. Some schools offer the same reduced in-state tuition rate to online learners. Since online political science degree-seekers do not attend class on campus, they usually do not pay campus maintenance fees.
How Much Does a Political Science Degree Cost?
While contacting a prospective school provides the most accurate degree cost estimate, degree-seekers should compare it to a baseline. National Center for Education Statistics data reveal that bachelor's students spent $28,775 on average for tuition, fees, room, and board in 2019-20. Learners at public institutions spent an average of $21,035 on these same expenses that year.
When budgeting for college, individuals need to factor in living expenses. Pursuing an online political science degree may help individuals save on room and board, as well as commuting costs.
Filling out the FAFSA may lower out-of-pocket expenses. The government uses this information to offer grants and subsidized loans. Learners should also apply for scholarships to reduce the overall cost. We highlight some example scholarships in a further section.
Break down your current financial situation, and receive a college tuition estimate you can afford to pay.
How Much Do Political Science Majors Make?
The BLS offers useful data on the political science profession, including details on salaries for different political science jobs. Political scientists earn a median salary of $125,350. Earners in the lowest 10% make under $62,840 and professionals in the top 10% benefit from a $170,800 salary.
Several factors impact income, including employer type and location. Self-employed political scientists in large cities may earn more than political scientists working for rural local governments. Professionals with more years of experience typically make more than entry-level workers.
Individuals wanting to earn more money may decide to extend their education past a bachelor's degree in political science. Political scientists may also increase their pay by earning certifications, which we discuss in a later section.
Courses in Political Science
Through their studies, political science students learn about policies, political forecasting, and political theories. Many of this major's courses encourage classroom discussions and critical thinking.
A bachelor's degree in political science requires class participation, multiple-choice exams, essays, and presentations. Learners practice presenting research findings, submit articles for publication, and closely monitor current political events. Some programs may require an internship for class credit, but many internships offer a wage in addition to the credit.
In this section, we outline three common political science courses. While not every program offers these exact courses, this list represents a possible curriculum.
American Foreign PolicyStudents learn how the U.S. government interacts with other governments worldwide. Learners examine past and current political events that demonstrate policy in action. Most of the course covers American foreign policy post-9/11. Participants evaluate U.S. and foreign government actions and discuss the common theories behind them.
State and Community PoliticsPolitical science majors learn about local governments through a state and community politics course. Enrollees discover how local campaigns vary from national ones and examine case studies on past political events. The course sometimes focuses on one state's policies. For example, a state politics course at a Californian school might focus on California state law.
Political Parties in the United StatesA political parties course focuses primarily on the similarities and differences between the U.S. Republican and Democratic Parties. Students learn how these two parties evolved over time and about popular leaders from each. The course also examines third parties, like the Libertarian Party and the Green Party.
Certifications and Licensure for Political Science
While political scientists do not need a certification or license to practice, earning certifications allows professionals to demonstrate their expertise. Most certifications require on-the-job experience and a multiple-choice exam. In this section, we list three standard political science designations.
Political science professionals may demonstrate their commitment to supporting laws benefitting all citizens by earning a diversity certification. This credential requires individuals to complete training modules covering unconscious bias, inclusive leadership, and cultural competence. This certification requires a $5,550 class participation fee.
Political scientists may get involved in the community and protect voter rights by becoming state registered election officials. These individuals possess the knowledge needed to conduct fair, honest elections. The certification requires eight courses focusing on ballot preparation and design, laws on voter registration, and voting equipment maintenance.
Some political science majors decide to enter the teaching profession. Individuals do not need to major in education to pursue this career. Many states allow individuals to teach at public schools with a teaching certification. The American Board oversees teaching credentials for most states.
Scholarships for Political Science
Learners save money on their online political science degree by applying for scholarships. These awards typically require essays, official transcripts, and multiple reference letters, so students should budget enough time to gather materials. Below, see two scholarships reserved exclusively for political science degree-seekers.
||Who Can Apply
Dr. Aura-Lee A. and James Hobbs Pittenger American History Scholarship
||Students who earn at least 24 credits in American history or the American government may qualify for the Daughters of the American Revolution award. The scholarship requires a minimum 3.25 GPA.
Enid Hall Griswold Memorial Scholarship
||College juniors or seniors pursuing a bachelor's degree in political science should consider applying for the scholarship. The one-time award benefits students attending an accredited school. The Daughters of the American Revolution oversees the scholarship.
Online Bachelor's in Political Science Programs
Copiah-Lincoln Community College
Based in Wesson, Mississippi, Co-Lin provides a fully online AA in psychology. The program caters to distance learners seeking to advance their education after work. Co-Lin's 60-credit associate in psychology program includes interdisciplinary general education coursework in humanities, arts, and sciences. Psychology associate degree enrollees also take core courses in public speaking, mathematics, and composition.
Co-Lin's online psychology program explores personal adjustment psychology and child maltreatment and advocacy perspectives. Psychology elective offerings include child psychology, adolescent psychology, and developmental psychology. Course recommendations for psychology AAs include several Spanish language courses and a computer course.
Applicants submit official transcripts, GED scores or a high school diploma, and ACT scores. Applicants without ACT scores may complete Accuplacer standardized testing.
Co-Lin is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Barton County Community College
BCC in Great Bend, Kansas features an online AS degree with an emphasis in psychology. This associate in psychology serves learners planning to pursue psychology bachelor's programs. To help streamline credit transfer for online learners, BCC participates in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement initiative. BCC offers course-length options for BARTonline students, who comprise 51% of BCC's student body.
This 60-credit, online psychology program requires 15 credits of foundations coursework in composition, communications, and algebra. Learners also must complete 24 introductory credits, including general psychology, sociology, and biology. Psychology students take 21 credits of emphasis-specific courses in abnormal psychology, developmental psychology, and social psychology. Additional required psychology-emphasis coursework includes death and dying, human sexuality, and statistics.
The school admits any applicants who submit evidence of a GED or high school diploma. BCC does not charge an application fee. Some students qualify for Foundations Scholarships. For placement purposes, BCC applicants submit standardized test scores or complete placement testing.
BCC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Finger Lakes Community College
Located in Canandaigua, New York, FLCC runs an AS in psychology. The program emphasizes psychological science skills and strong scientific reasoning. FLCC's program serves learners planning on progressing to a related four-year degree elsewhere. FLCC maintains articulation agreements with four schools, making transfer a simpler process. Many FLCC graduates pursue careers in counseling, social work, or human services.
This 64-credit program entails general education coursework in biology, composition, and mathematics. AS students also fulfill requirements in humanities, arts, and social sciences. Psychology AS enrollees complete six core psychology courses, including abnormal psychology, social psychology, and developmental psychology.
FLCC's psychology students learn APA style and psychology research methods. Participants also examine the ethics of psychology study and practice. Enrollees complete a final semester capstone portfolio, which includes a presentation.
FLCC is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
A public community college resting in the Rio Grande Valley, South Texas College offers a 60-credit online AA in psychology. The program emphasizes skills in critical thinking and cultivates a scientific attitude. Its core curriculum includes several courses in history and government. South Texas College's alignment with core bachelor's in psychology curricula enables easy transfer to four-year colleges.
This Texas college requires several history and government courses. The recommended psychology AA course sequence begins with courses in history, composition, and psychology. Learners progress to electives in required areas such as philosophy, psychology, and arts. Additional required courses include lifespan development, statistics, and social psychology.
Eligible psychology students may join Psi Beta Honor Society and three psychology clubs.
Applicants need a highschool diploma, GED, or satisfactory placement test results. Application requirements include official transcripts. South Texas College boasts a low average net price of $1,610. Military students receive tuition discounts.
South Texas College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Allen County Community College
Established in 1923, Allen maintains campuses in Iola and in Bulingame, Kansas. Allen offers many degree and certificate options. Three quarters of learners study online. Allen's online AA in psychology provides a solid foundation in general education and psychology. The program is compatible with degree requirements for Kansas Board of Regents universities. Enrollees often transfer to four-year programs and pursue careers in social services or counseling.
This four-semester, 64-credit associate in psychology begins with coursework in algebra, social science, and composition. Learners also take women's studies, history, and public speaking. During their final semester, enrollees complete various electives.
Allen's open admissions policy admits all applicants who complete admission requirements. These requirements include standardized test or Accuplacer test scores and transcripts or GED scores. Allen enrollees pay an average net price of $7,850. Some eligible students receive grants or scholarships, and 36% of students receive loans.
Allen is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Georgia Military College
A state-funded junior college based in Milledgeville, GMC offers online AA and AS in psychology degrees. These programs combine liberal arts coursework with psychological science principles and concepts. Many associate degree graduates transfer to bachelor's programs in psychology or seek entry-level jobs in social services-related fields.
The AA in psychology includes 25-56 quarter-credits of concentration credits. It also requires 70-73 quarter-credits of core coursework in composition, mathematics, humanities, and sciences. The AS degree entails similar coursework, but requires only 65-69 core credits. Psychology course offerings include educational psychology, psychology of adjustment, and abnormal psychology. Psychology students also complete courses in psychology research methods and human development.
Applicants submit official transcripts or GEDs. Associate degrees in psychology average $13,230-$14,550.
GMC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
North Central State College
A public community college located on Ohio State University's campus in Mansfield, Ohio, NC State provides an online AA in psychology that prepares enrollees for further psychology education. To ensure smooth transition to bachelor's programs in Ohio, NC State's psychology degree meets Ohio Transfer Module and Transfer Assurance Guides' requirements.
Psychology AA enrollees complete 20 required courses in general education and psychology. General education coursework covers the standard bases of mathematics, sciences, and humanities. Participants also take foreign language courses and English courses that cultivate written and oral communication skills. Psychology coursework covers social psychology, abnormal psychology, and personality theory.
NC State offers rolling admissions. Applicants receive notification of admission within three days of completing the online application. NC State's online students may utilize various support services, including tutoring, career development, and advising. This school also provides technical support, disability services, and testing services for online learners.
NC State is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
East Georgia State College
A public college within the University System of Georgia, EGSC in Swainsboro serves many online learners in rural Georgia's coastal plain. EGSC's online AA in psychology degree can help learners transfer to four-year schools. Graduates often seek work in mental health fields. Other graduates find jobs in government, business, or ministry.
The psychology curriculum includes 46 credits in five core general education areas, 12 credits in psychology, and six elective credits. Core coursework covers mathematics, composition, and public speaking. Learners also take various courses from the humanities, arts, and sciences. Psychology coursework includes an introduction to general psychology, abnormal behavior, and psychological adjustment. EGSC offers elective options in French, Spanish, and statistics. Electives also include sociology, social problems, and marriage and family.
EGSC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Sinclair Community College
Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio, features an online psychology AA program that meets Ohio Transfer Module requirements. Graduates often transfer to bachelor's programs in related fields. Some AA graduates enter the workforce directly, obtaining entry-level jobs in mental health, education, or community service fields.
Associate in psychology students complete required software applications, composition, and first-year experience courses. Participants also take electives in arts and humanities, social and physical sciences, and mathematics. Required psychology coursework covers general psychology, social psychology, and human development. Learners also take personality psychology and abnormal psychology courses.
Sinclair offers both synchronous, asynchronous, and hybrid distance learning options. Some learners opt for FlexPace courses that enrollees can complete at their own pace. Applicants must complete placement tests. Sinclair's optional Get Started days help prospective students complete all application steps (including placement testing and academic advising) in one visit.
Sinclair is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Oklahoma's largest two-year college, TCC serves around 25,000 learners per semester. About 40% of TCC students attend classes online. TCC enrollees can pursue an associate in psychology online that transfers to four-year schools. TCC's psychology program teaches learners to employ psychological principles in addressing various social issues. This associate in psychology also provides foundational knowledge of psychology research methods, writing conventions, and ethics.
General education requirements for this 60-credit AA degree include public speaking, humanities, and composition. Learners also take courses in science and U.S. history. TCC learners enjoy more curriculum options and choices than many students at smaller schools. The psychology curriculum includes an introductory psychology course and a developmental psychology course. Enrollees choose three additional psychology courses from 13 psychology elective options.
Psychology course offerings include child psychology, conflict resolution, and human sexuality. Additional courses cover death and dying, brain and behavior, and social psychology. Associate in psychology enrollees may participate in TCC's social sciences club.
TCC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Tessa Cooper is a freelance writer and editor who regularly contributes to international and regional publications focused on education and lifestyle topics. She earned a bachelor’s in public relations from Missouri State University and is passionate about helping learners avoid high student loan debt while pursuing their dream major. Tessa loves writing about travel and food topics and is always planning her next meal or vacation.