Online Colleges for Political Science

Individuals seeking to make an impact on the world should consider majoring in political science -- which, according to the American Political Science Association (apsanet.org, 2013), is "the study of governments, public policies and political processes, systems, and political behavior." Those who go on to become political scientists specialize in one of many aspects of this wide-ranging profession, such as American politics or international relations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov, 2012) predicts that the field should grow due to increased interest in headline-makers such as environmental, humanitarian and immigration policies. Graduates holding online degrees in political science may find themselves lobbying those organizations' varied interests in Washington, D.C. Political science majors aren't limited to becoming political scientists, however. Earning an online degree in political science could serve as a solid foundation for becoming a teacher or tackling more advanced studies, such as law school.

What to Expect While Earning Your Online Degree in Political Science

Online colleges offering degrees in political science are often extremely accessible for anyone with a busy schedule. Classes may include video-recorded lectures, online message-board discussion groups and real-time tutoring sessions with teachers via instant messenger, audio chat or webcams.

Online degrees in political science provide students with an in-depth education in the historical, legal, philosophical and sociological elements of politics. The required coursework in online degree programs is generally comparable to on-campus degree programs. Online degree programs may include classes in comparative politics, public policy and statistics. Political science courses also hone a student's proficiency in mathematics, statistics, quantitative research methods, and the latest research technology. Programs may also offer course credit for students who complete an internship with a government department or political office.

Students should have good critical thinking skills and the ability to analyze complex information. Written and oral communication skills are also typically crucial in order for to convey the results of their research to others.

Career Outlook for College Graduates in Political Science

Attending online colleges for degrees in political science may lead to a variety of future career opportunities. According to the American Political Science Association (apsanet.org, 2013), this includes jobs in campaign management and polling, international and nonprofit organizations, journalism, electoral politics, law, teaching and research.

As of May 2012, The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that political scientists' median national salary was $102,000 per year. The BLS also notes that political science career opportunities are expected to rise by 8 percent nationally from 2010 to 2020, a slower-than-average rate (bls.gov/ooh, 2012). According to the BLS, most political scientists work for the federal government, while a majority of the remainder are employed through scientific research, consulting services, academic institutions and civic organizations (bls.gov/oes, 2013).

Graduates who choose to go on to law school and successfully become licensed attorneys can expect 10 percent national job growth from 2010 to 2020, slightly worse than average due to the fact that paralegals and accounting firms are beginning to handle some of the same legal services (bls.gov/ooh, 2012). In terms of salary, lawyers earned a median national annual wage of $113,530 as of May 2012 (bls.gov/oes, 2013).

Online degrees in political science can lead graduates in many different directions. No matter what type of career or online degree in political science is pursued, the chance to make a change in the world could be within a click of the mouse.


  1. "Careers in Political Science," American Political Science Association, 2013, http://www.apsanet.org/content_6457.cfm
  2. "Lawyers," Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-13 Edition), Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/lawyers.htm
  3. "Lawyers," May 2012 Occupational Employment and Wages, Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 29, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes231011.htm
  4. "Political Scientists," Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-13 Edition), Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/political-scientists.htm
  5. "Political Scientists," May 2012 Occupational Employment and Wages, Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 29, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes193094.htm
  6. "What is Political Science?" American Political Science Association, 2013, http://www.apsanet.org/content_9181.cfm

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