Can I Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science Online?
Because your personal or business schedule might preclude you from attending classes on campus, schools may offer you the opportunity to earn your degree in an online format. By contacting the political science or public affairs department of a postsecondary institution, you can find out if online degree programs are available. Online programs are very similar in content and offer the same value as one you might find on campus.
|Online Options||Bachelor’s programs available fully online and are similar to on-campus programs|
|Technical Requirements||Computer with high-speed Internet access; up-to-date browser, operating system and DVD-ROM|
|Program Structure||Law, politics and government classes; possible specialization area; foreign language courses; possible in-person internship; in-person program orientation|
|Career Areas||Policy analysis, public relations, journalism, public administration; master’s degree required to be a political scientist|
|Mean Salary (2018)*||$115,300 (for political scientists)|
|Career Outlook (2016-2026)*||3% growth (for political scientists)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Do I Need for Online Participation?
In general, you must have a computer with high-speed Internet access. You may also need to be equipped with an up-to-date operating system, browser and DVD-ROM. Programs may be delivered asynchronously, so that you can log on to them at your convenience. Most of your communication with professors and classmates will take place via a course management system such as Blackboard.
What Makes Up a Program?
Typical courses you might encounter include state and local politics, foundations of political science, political theory, constitutional law, branches of government, public policy and international relations. You might be able to specialize in an area such as public administration, American politics or international politics. Some programs also have a foreign language requirement.
You may have the opportunity to serve an internship with an organization that has been approved by your faculty adviser. Internships cannot be completed online. In addition to your online courses, a school may require you to make a certain number of visits to campus for orientation purposes.
What Can I Do Once I Graduate?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that the majority of positions as a political scientist require you to hold a master’s degree or higher (www.bls.gov). In light of this, a political science bachelor’s degree can be good preparation for graduate study in a wide variety of fields.
However, there are some occupations for which a bachelor’s degree might be sufficient. These include public administration, policy analysis for organizations, community service, journalism, public relations and non-profit consultancy positions. With additional training and certification, you can become a middle or secondary school teacher.
The American Political Science Association (APSA) publishes journals dealing with political science careers and also carries an online list of resources that might help you locate a suitable position (www.apsanet.org).
The BLS projected that employment for political scientists would grow by 3% from 2016-2026. Employment opportunities for all types of middle and secondary school teachers were projected to increase 8% over the same time period.
As of 2018, the mean annual salary for political scientists was $115,300. Mean annual wages for teachers ranged from $62,030 for middle school teachers to $64,340 for secondary school teachers.