Best Political Science Colleges in the Nation (Graduate Level)

Read about the best political science colleges in the nation for graduate students. See what three top schools have to offer in terms of degree options and areas of specialization, and find a table that lists other schools in the United States that offer graduate studies in political science.

School Overviews

The following resource summarizes the graduate political science programs at three high-ranking institutions, including two Ivy League schools. Individual programs can lead to a Master of Arts (M.A.) or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Political Science.

1. Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

School Highlight: Harvard offers specialized workshops and seminars in political science.

According to U.S. News & World Report in 2013, Harvard University's graduate program in political science ranked first in the nation. Harvard claims the largest endowment of any school in the world, and it is home to the oldest library collection in the United States. As one of the oldest schools of higher education in the United States, the graduate program touts a fusion of the best of traditional and contemporary political science.

2. Stanford University in Stanford, California

School Highlight: The political science program accepts only 12-15 new students each year.

Stanford University's graduate program in political science tied for the second spot among its peers, as designated by U.S. News & World Report in 2013. Most individuals enrolled in the graduate political science program do so with the intention of teaching or conducting research at universities or colleges. The Ph.D. program consists of small graduate seminars that address research issues or analyze published works in the field of political science. Students can choose from among several areas of focus, including American politics, international relations and political theory.

3. Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey

School Highlight: Students share and discuss their research in field seminars.

In 2013, Princeton was tied with Stanford for second place on U.S. News & World Report's list of best graduate programs in political science. While the university does not offer a separate master's degree program in political science, a Ph.D. program is available. Graduate students can specialize in one of several areas, including political theory, public law, comparative politics and international relations. Degree requirements for the doctoral program include seminars, papers and completion of a dissertation. Ph.D. candidates are also required to lead discussion sessions for students in undergraduate political science courses.

Top Political Science Graduate Programs

School Name Distinction Location
Northwestern University Home of the Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies Evanston, IL
University of Chicago Workshops offer opportunities to discuss new research Chicago, IL
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Consistently ranks as one of the top political science programs in the country Ann Arbor, MI
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Approximately 15 students enter the graduate program each year Chapel Hill, NC
University of Rochester Emphasis on quantitative analysis and statistical research methods used in political science Rochester, NY
University of Wisconsin - Madison Student-faculty ratio allows for individual attention Madison, WI
Yale University The department has about 45 faculty membersa New Haven, CT

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