Due to the growing interest in public policy, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the field of political science will grow by 21% by 2022, meaning individuals who earn an online political science degree will have an even easier time finding work.
One of the great features of a political science degree is that, since it doesn't require lab work or much hands-on experience, a multitude of schools offer programs online. Students can take classes in a 100% distance education format, venturing into the great outdoors only to attend clubs or work in internships. The growth of online colleges presents a particularly great opportunity for adult learners who want to return to school. What's more, past work experience can be a great asset to political science majors who aspire to get involved in government and public administration.
To get you started, we've assembled a useful list of the 9 cheapest online colleges that offer political science degrees. In order to do this, we scanned the U.S. Department of Education's College Navigator database to find the most affordable accredited schools offering an online political science degree. These schools are so affordable that even the most expensive (listed first) is only about $12,000 a year, and the least expensive (listed last) is less than $7,000 annually! For the purposes of this selection, we ranked public schools according to the average of their in-state and out-of-state rates, but of course the price you pay will depend on your residency. We researched dozens of schools to produce this list, and in the process verified that all these institutions are not only cheap, but also fully accredited and reputable.
Cheap Online Political Science Degree Program Ranking
9. National University
Online Bachelor of Arts Political Science
National University takes an ethical approach to politics, preparing students not just to prattle off the details of policies, but also to act as responsible and effective leaders in a representative system. This attitude is crucial in a time when political science has become an incredibly controversial field open to endless criticism. The online college provides a solid foundation of knowledge while also training students in the finer points of research and analysis. From the very beginning of the online political science degree curriculum, students of the major learn to think about politics in a global context and examine not just the American system, but also the policies of Europe, the Middle East, and more. Reviews of National on College Prowler suggest that students consider their academic experience both meaningful and valuable.
7. University of Wisconsin Whitewater
Political Science BA or BS Online
The University of Wisconsin "e-Campus" affords unique opportunities to students who want to go to college online. With all the resources of a large university, students can take advantage of both great web-based programs and affordable tuition. The curriculum is based on a solid foundation of government and public policy knowledge, but also encourages learners to conduct research and build analytical abilities. It also covers all four established areas of political science: theory, international relations, public administration, and American government. UW is classified as a "high research activity institution" by the Carnegie Foundation and is ranked 37th internationally by QS World Rankings, receiving 5 stars. Talk about a top online college!
Tuition: $7,578/yr (In-state) $15,151/yr (Out-of-state)
6. University of North Alabama
B.A. or B.S. in Political Science Online
The University of North Alabama offers both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in both Political Science and History. The online college versions of these degrees are very similar to what a student could expect on campus; classes are small, faculty are highly qualified, and the curriculum is designed to be completed in four years. The affordable online political science degree classes have a strong emphasis on history and prepare students for graduate-level work or law school. Students can also combine their accredited online political science degree with classes in the social science or education program and graduate with the credentials to teach high school in Alabama. UNA has a great reputation, and U.S. News & World Report considers it both a top public school and one of the best universities in the South.
Tuition: $7,078/yr (In-state) $12,670/yr (Out-of-state)
5. Fort Hays State University
Online Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
Fort Hays State University, an accredited online college, describes itself as "Forward thinking. World ready." The school offers a plethora of online degrees for distance learners, including a B.A. in Political Science. Future politicians, diplomats, lawyers, and nonprofit learners can all benefit from a program grounded in both the theory and practice of government. Students also get to explore a specialized area of interest and take on internships as a way to enhance their learning experience. While affordable for all students, FHSU is a particularly cheap online college for in-state students, at less than $4,500 a year. The university actually as a bigger virtual campus than online presence, and its 6-month placement rate is an astounding 95%!
Tuition: $4,358/yr (In-state) $12,821/yr (Out-of-state)
4. Troy University
Online Political Science Major
The Political Science program at Troy is available through its innovative online college, "e-Troy." Students take both general education courses and foundational classes in politics, such as "Political Theory," and "The Art of Political Science Research." Future lawyers and government officials can then specialize in American Politics and Public Administration or International Politics. Those who have chosen to major in another area can still secure a minor in Political Science as a way of bolstering their academic resume. Although the accredited online college program mainly appeals to adult learners, e-Troy also offers an ACCELERATE option that is ideal for students still in high school. Forbes, U.S. News, and Princeton Review have all recognized Troy for its excellence, and the Institute of International Education has named it a top destination for international students.
3. Columbia College
Bachelor of Arts in Political Science Online
Columbia College is an expansive institution with locations throughout the country, as well as a reputable online college. The online college offers a B.A. in Political Science that covers such interesting topics as equality and justice, democracy and the constitution, and the structure of government. Although the cheap online political science degree takes place through distance education, Columbia sets itself apart as a top online college by offering both internship opportunities and a host of political organizations; for example, students can join either the Mock Trial team or Model U.N. The university boasts a long list of distinctions, including recognition by Princeton Review and U.S. News. GetEducated.com also rated it a "Best Buy," and Military Times considers it a "Best for Vets."
2. Thomas Edison State College
BA in Political Science Online
Thomas Edison State College is an institution truly oriented to the online college students. Designed for adult learners, programs such as the B.A. in Political Science are highly flexible and generously accept transfer credits in the form of past academic and work experience. Poli sci students at this accredited online college have the unique opportunity to choose courses in a range of disciplines, including American or Comparative Politics, Constitutional Law and Legal Process, International Studies, Urban Politics, Political Economy, and more. As one of the best online colleges available, TESC has been considered a "bright start" in distance education since the 1990s, with accolades from sources as diverse as The New York Times and GetEducated.com.
Tuition: $5,700/yr (In-state) $8,395/yr (Out-of-state)
1. American Military University
Online Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
As one might expect, with a name like "American Military University" it's no surprise that this online college is a favorite of the armed forces and is rated highly by Military Times. Many veterans gravitate toward degrees in history and political science, and so AMU offers a B.A. in both areas to fill this need. The school encourages students to engage in thoughtful discussions through the interactive online portal, as well as to engage in research and study world issues and current events. Students who are looking for a cheap online political science degree will find it hard to beat AMU's rock-bottom tuition prices, as the price tag for a year of school clocks in at less than $7,000.
About the Author:
Iris Stone began her writing career when she started working as a freelance writer and researcher in 2011. Her freelance business soon took off and she now owns and operates a writing and editing firm that works with clients all across the country. Despite the time it takes to run a business she still does much of the writing herself, and her work has included a variety of content related to education policy, colleges and universities, academic programs, and graduates' careers. Her interests actually span far beyond writing, and she is currently studying to be a physicist! Check out her Google+ Profile.