Top Political Science Universities in 2022-2023

Best Political Science Colleges and Universities in the World

About Political Science

Political science is a branch of social science that studies the origin, development, and operations of the political system through qualitative and quantitative research. It helps in better understanding the political institutions, government systems, and political behavior. Political science is an excellent choice for students who want to learn how political systems work as well as those who want to improve their critical thinking and analytical abilities.

Duties of a Political Science Major

Most political scientists typically work full-time in an office setting. They must possess attributes such as good analytical skills, creativity, communication skills, and critical thinking abilities to perform the following duties:

  • Conducting qualitative and quantitative research
  • Analyzing politics, government, political trends, policies, and other political issues like international relations
  • Gathering information on current policies and events using public opinion surveys, economic data, and election results to analyze the data statistically 
  • Developing and testing policies and political theories 
  • Predicting future political, social, and economic trends 
  • Publishing article and research papers on their research 
  • Assessing the impact of laws and policies on government and the public

Popular degrees for pursuing a career in Political Science

Political science has always been in high demand. For those interested in pursuing a career in political science, some of the top schools for political science offer the following degrees.

Bachelor’s Programs

There are two types of bachelor’s degrees offered in political science– B.A. (Bachelor of Arts) or B.S. (Bachelor of Science). The choice of degree depends upon the type of job the student is interested in, for example, political analyst or researcher who deals with statistics or large amounts of mathematical data, a B.S. degree in political science is suitable as it covers more math and science classes. While a B.A. in political science emphasizes more on critical thinking, communication, and all-around learning. The following are a few of the popular bachelor’s degrees in political science: 

  • Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
  • Bachelor of Arts in Historical and Political Studies
  • Bachelor of Science in Political Science
  • Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Political Science
  • Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Diplomacy 
  • Bachelor of Science in Politics and Criminology
  • Bachelor of Science in International Relations
  • Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security
  • Bachelor of Science in Cyber Intelligence and Security
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

Master’s Programs

A master’s degree is typically required to enter the field of political science. After completing a bachelor’s degree in the relevant field, students typically go for an M.A. (Master of Arts) or M.S. (Master of Science) in the following subjects:

  • Public Administration
  • Public Affairs
  • Public Policy
  • International Relations
  • Political Economy

Doctoral Programs

Doctoral degrees are the terminal degrees one can pursue in the field of political science. Students interested in pursuing a career in academia can specialize in one of four major areas of political science:

  • P.h.D in Comparative Politics
  • P.h.D in International Relations
  • P.h.D in Political Theory 
  • P.h.D in National Politics
  • P.h.D in Political Economy

A few of the best universities for political science also offer online degrees. These are designed to help students learn about politics in an engaging and effective online learning environment with the help of video tutorials, quizzes, and more.

Specializations in Political Science

Political science intersects with a variety of subjects of study and has a wide range of applications in a range of organizations. Students can do specializations in subjects like history, law, government, policymaking, policy dynamics, international relations, political theory, statistics, economics, legislative systems, psychology, comparative politics, and more. 

Duration of Programs in Political Science

The duration of political science courses varies by university, however following is an approximate timetable of courses offered by some of the top universities:

Country Bachelor’s Degree Master’s Degree Doctoral Degree
USA and Canada 3-4 years 1-2 years 4-7 years
UK 3-4 years 1-2 years 4-7 years
Australia 3-4 years 1-2 years 4-7 years
Others 3-4 years 1-2 years 4-7 years

Career opportunities in Political Science

Political science is one of the most popular majors sought after by students. It offers diverse career paths in areas such as government service, law, business, policy analysis, teaching, and consulting. The following are some outstanding political science job opportunities for students to consider:  

  • Politician
  • Political scientist
  • Political consultant
  • Political campaign manager
  • Political economist
  • Public policy analyst
  • International policy analyst
  • Market researcher
  • Paralegal
  • Public relation specialist
  • Investigative journalism
  • Public administrator
  • Professor or lecturer 
  • Lobbyist

Average salaries for Political Science graduates

Because there are so many different careers to choose from, the salary options in the field of political science are also extremely variable. The following are average salaries for political scientists around the world. 

Country Average salary in USD/year
USA 1,25,350 (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Australia 89,262 (Source: ERI Economic Research Institute)
Sweden 58,413 (Source: Salary Expert)
Canada 51,810 (Source: Pay Scale)
Germany 43,569 (Source: Pay Scale)
UK 32,789 (Source: Pay Scale)

Top 50 Universities in the world for Political Science based on ranking (Shanghai/QS/THE)

The following table includes a worldwide ranking of some of the best colleges for political science:

Shanghai Ranking QS Ranking THE Ranking University Country Bachelor Programs Master Programs
1 1 4 Harvard University USA Click Here Click Here
2 7 3 Stanford University USA Click Here Click Here
3 4 5 Princeton University USA Click Here Click Here
4 5 7 London School of Economics and Political Science UK Click Here Click Here
5 14 22 New York University USA Click Here Click Here
6 28 9 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor USA Click Here Click Here
7 13 15 Columbia University USA Click Here Click Here
8 8 11 Yale University USA Click Here Click Here
9 3 1 University of Oxford UK Click Here Click Here
10 10 6 University of California, Berkeley USA Click Here Click Here
11 51-100 43 Aarhus University Denmark Click Here Click Here
12 16 41 University of California, San Diego USA Click Here Click Here
13 101-150 NA Texas A&M University USA Click Here Click Here
14 39 20 Duke University USA Click Here Click Here
15 23 101–125 The George Washington University USA Click Here Click Here
16 51-100 14 University of Pennsylvania USA Click Here Click Here
17 14 2 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) USA Click Here Click Here
18 19 10 University of Chicago USA Click Here Click Here
19 26 17 University of Amsterdam Netherlands Click Here Click Here
20 151-200 126-150 Vanderbilt University USA Click Here Click Here
21 51-100 30 The University of Texas at Austin USA Click Here Click Here
22 101-150 39 The Ohio State University – Columbus USA Click Here Click Here
23 101-150 16 University of Wisconsin – Madison USA Click Here Click Here
24 43 35 University of British Columbia Canada Click Here Click Here
25 12 83 Georgetown University USA Click Here Click Here
26 51-100 59 University of Zurich Switzerland Click Here Click Here
27 51-100 97 University of Gothenburg Sweden Click Here Click Here
28 37 25 ETH Zurich Switzerland Click Here Click Here
29 48 72 University of Essex UK Click Here Click Here
30 42 13 University College London UK Click Here Click Here
31 17 70 King’s College London UK Click Here Click Here
32 51-100 51 University of Oslo Norway Click Here Click Here
33 40 NA European University Institute Italy Click Here Click Here
34 101-150 24 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill USA Click Here Click Here
35 151-200 84 Washington University in St. Louis USA Click Here Click Here
36 101-150 74 University of Konstanz Germany Click Here Click Here
37 17 12 University of California, Los Angeles USA Click Here Click Here
38 51-100 32 University of Mannheim Germany Click Here Click Here
39 51-100 75 University of Warwick UK Click Here Click Here
40 24 21 Cornell University USA Click Here Click Here
41 NA 60 Michigan State University USA Click Here Click Here
42 151-200 Pennsylvania State University – University Park USA Click Here Click Here
43 33 42 University of Copenhagen Denmark Click Here Click Here
44 101-150 26 University of Washington USA Click Here Click Here
45 151-200 101-125 Dartmouth College USA Click Here Click Here
46 NA 101-125 Emory University USA Click Here Click Here
47 51-100 77 Uppsala University Sweden Click Here Click Here
48 101-150 75 Stockholm University Sweden Click Here Click Here
49 151-200 55 University of Maryland, College Park USA Click Here Click Here
50 151-200 67 University of Minnesota, Twin Cities USA Click Here Click Here

Top Universities in the USA for Political Science

Shanghai Ranking QS Ranking THE Ranking University Country Bachelor Programs Master Programs
1 1 4 Harvard University USA Click Here Click Here
2 7 3 Stanford University USA Click Here Click Here
3 4 5 Princeton University USA Click Here Click Here
5 14 22 New York University USA Click Here Click Here
6 28 9 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor USA Click Here Click Here

Top Universities in the UK for Political Science

Shanghai Ranking QS Ranking THE Ranking University Country Bachelor Programs Master Programs
4 5 7 London School of Economics and Political Science UK Click Here Click Here
9 3 1 University of Oxford UK Click Here Click Here
29 48 72 University of Essex UK Click Here Click Here
30 42 13 University College London UK Click Here Click Here
31 17 70 King’s College London UK Click Here Click Here

Top Universities in Sweden for Political Science

Shanghai Ranking QS Ranking THE Ranking University Country Bachelor Programs Master Programs
27 51-100 97 University of Gothenburg Sweden Click Here Click Here
47 51-100 77 Uppsala University Sweden Click Here Click Here
48 101-150 75 Stockholm University Sweden Click Here Click Here

Top Universities in Germany for Political Science

Shanghai Ranking QS Ranking THE Ranking University Country Bachelor Programs Master Programs
36 101-150 74 University of Konstanz Germany Click Here Click Here
38 51-100 32 University of Mannheim Germany Click Here Click Here

Academic Requirements for studying Political Science

The following are the eligibility requirements for admission to a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the political sciences as given by the top-performing universities around the world. 

Bachelor’s level 

  • A high school diploma or equivalent with a GPA of 3.0
  • Transcripts
  • Good score in English language proficiency tests like IELTS and TOEFL (minimum score requirement varies from university to university)
  • Letter of Recommendation (LOR) 
  • Statement of Purpose (SOP)
  • Valid passport

Master’s level

  • A GPA of 3.0 or more in bachelor’s degree in political science or a comparable field. 
  • Academic transcripts
  • GRE score of 290 or above
  • Good score in English language proficiency tests like IELTS and TOEFL (minimum score requirement varies from university to university)
  • Letter of Recommendation (LOR)
  • Statement of Purpose (SOP)
  • Valid passport
  • Published research papers (preferable) 
  • Work or internship experience (preferable) 

Frequently Asked Questions

The USA, the UK, Australia, Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Switzerland, and Canada are among well-known countries that offer degree programs in political science.

A political scientist in the USA earns the most money, with an average salary of 125,350 USD/year.

The minimum qualification to become a political scientist is a master’s degree or Ph.D. in political science, public administration, or a comparable discipline. 

Any university or college that provides a political science degree needs to be accredited in order to be able to award degrees to students. Students interested in pursuing a political science degree should look for accreditation from one of the organizations listed below:

  • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)