6 Most Popular Colleges for Political Science Majors

The top undergraduate programs for future government leaders, and how much they cost.

By Heather Fishel | February 17, 2017

If you’re interested in getting into government, look for colleges and universities close to the D.C. area.

From famous senators to beloved presidents, every government great started their career in college. Political science students learn what it takes to lead and how government officials make decisions.

Before you select the school that will mold you into a future leader, you might be interested in which ones have the best government departments. Here are the six most popular colleges for political science majors and their typical tuition.

Most schools offer degree programs in both international and American politics.

6. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: $40,732

MIT is known for its excellent architecture, engineering, and computer science programs. Political science may not sound like a subject that fits into the MIT world – but it’s a department that’s just as impressive as all the others. The political science department got its start within the MIT economics and social science program. Originally dedicated to international studies, today the program studies American politics along with comparative and international political economy.

Political science courses at MIT are challenging and interdisciplinary. The department works closely with other departments, particularly when it come to research and technology. Students learn political philosophy and theory, public policy, and how political systems work throughout the world. If research is an important component of your education, MIT’s political science department will meet your needs. Majors are required to participate in research courses and select a concentration. Before graduation, students complete their concentration with a lengthy research project.

5. Duke University: $43,623

Political science is one of the most popular and largest departments at Duke University. Undergraduate students can choose from four subdivisions and six concentrations, giving majors the chance to try a variety of specializations. No matter the area, students investigate specific political systems, effects on citizens, and relationships between countries.

As upperclassmen, majors pursue their interests with independent study courses. These courses allow students to interact one-on-one with a faculty member of their choice and explore a single subject. Excellent internships are offered through the political science department – students can intern in Washington, D.C. or even embassies throughout the world. There’s also an honors program within the department that encourages students to research and write a journal-length paper designed for publication.

4. The University of Chicago: $44,574

The University of Chicago’s Department of Political Science is considered a pioneer in the field. The program has produced countless political minds, including Herbert Simon – the first political scientist to win a Nobel Prize. Designed to prepare students for masters and doctorate programs, the department emphasizes connections between nations and understanding how different nations are run.

It’s not just about history, though. Political science is as rigorous as any other major, and the university is proud of that fact. Students are encouraged to research topics that haven’t been studied previously, and to seek answers that provoke. Whether they choose to write a thesis or conduct research, all University of Chicago graduates leave the program with experience in professional research. Whether you’re interested in a government career or law school, the political science department at University of Chicago will ensure you have the necessary academic skills.

3. University of Michigan: $6,400 (residents), $19,464 (non-residents)

Political science in the U.S. got its start at the University of Michigan. Michigan was one of the first schools to create a separate department for political science in 1910. Now, with over 1,000 undergraduate students, the major has grown in both popularity and scope. The university is nationally recognized for its comprehensive program, as it educates students in a wide range of political fields.

From urban development and political interactions to city government and war, Michigan faculty members instruct undergraduates in a number of concentrations. Every faculty member is skilled in debate analysis as well as political theory. Students are encouraged to choose a specialization as early as sophomore year. This allows majors to spend their years at Michigan studying something they truly love. Additionally, there are a number of political science-related organizations on campus. With groups such as the undergraduate political science association, the honor society Pi Sigma Alpha, and even a journal, students can get involved any way they please.

2. Yale University: $42,300

Yale’s position as an Ivy League school means it’s known for excellence in every aspect of education. Political science is no exception – the department faculty includes some of the greatest political scientists alive. The program is so competitive that undergrads can’t become a political science major until the end of their sophomore year, if not later. Before gaining entrance into the department, students must consult with an advisor and the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Yale is one of the best political science research institutions throughout the world. Because of this, the department is filled with international students seeking degrees that cannot be earned in their own nations. Undergraduate students have the opportunity to interact with government leaders and even participate in conferences and lectures held by world leaders. When it comes to choosing courses, political science students are left to create their own program. This ensures students can study whatever concentration they choose.

1. Harvard University: $37,576

Harvard is the best of the best when it comes to colleges in the United States. The Harvard Government Department is perhaps equally well known for producing some of the top undergraduate students. Government is viewed as a major that can be combined with many disciplines at Harvard. Not only can students incorporate philosophy, history, or sociology with the major, but they can also study topics such as globalization, human rights, and the U.S. presidency.

With 570 undergrads, the government department offers students the flexibility to take courses that fit their interests. No matter their interests, Harvard encourages students to try out a few majors before selecting one – meaning students cannot choose a major until second semester sophomore year. Once in the government program, majors can choose a concentration in one of the four areas offered: American politics, political theory, comparative politics, or international relations.

Quick Facts

  • If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to become a CIA or FBI agent, political science is the answer. Students who major in political science are prime candidates for CIA and FBI internships.
  • The East Coast is a haven for political science schools. If you’re interested in getting into government, look for colleges and universities close to the D.C. area.
  • Most schools offer degree programs in both international and American politics; so don’t worry if a college doesn’t have a specific international or American department. Sometimes, the concentrations are included under the one BA degree of political science.

People Who Read This Article Also Read:

5 Top Colleges for International Relations Majors
6 Most Popular Colleges for Pre-Law Majors
Political Colleges
Politics on Campus

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