Top Political Science Colleges and Universities in the U.S.

Check out degree programs in political science, available at some of the top colleges and universities in the United States. Read about levels of study at four high-ranking universities, along with a table that lists other schools in the United States that offer studies in political science.

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School Overviews

Political science is the study of governments, governmental processes and public policies. Subspecialties include political economy, philosophy or theory, as well as international relations. Some of the best U.S. colleges and universities for political science include Harvard University, an Ivy league school. All three schools have received high rankings from U.S. News and World Report and offer undergraduate majors and graduate degrees in political science.

1. Harvard University in Cambridge, MA

School Highlight: Students at Harvard have access to the largest university library in the world, which will serve as a great asset to political science students pursuing their unique research goals.

Harvard University placed second among top national universities in the 2015 edition of U.S. News and World Report. The same publication also ranked Harvard's graduate political science program as the top program in the country for 2013. The Department of Government at Harvard offers a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Political Science, as well as an undergraduate concentration in government. Graduate and law students may enroll in a joint Juris Doctor (J.D.)/Ph.D. program.

2. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

School Highlight: Political science students at Michigan have the opportunity to combine their studies with other fields of interest, such as public policy, public health, economics, and philosophy.

In 2013, the Department of Political Science at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor ranked fourth in the country in U.S. News and World Report's list of top political science schools in the nation, the highest among public institutions included. Serving over 41,000 students annually, it also ranked third in the American politics and third in political methodology specialties for the same year.

The Department of Political Science offers both a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and a Ph.D. in Political Science, with the former separated into four sub-areas of study, including American, comparative or world politics and political theory. Undergraduates also have the opportunity to intern for a semester in Washington, D.C. The Ph.D. program is composed of courses and seminars designed to prepare Ph.D. candidates for writing their dissertations.

3. University of California - Berkeley

School Highlight: Political science students at Berkeley have access to a large and diverse number of research centers and institutes dedicated to relevant issues in political science, including government, law and society, and urban development.

According to U.S. News and World Report's rankings in 2013, the Charles and Louis Travers Department of Political Science at the University of California in Berkeley was the sixth best political science department in the country. As reported by a university survey in the same year, political science was one of the most popular majors. There are approximately 11 concentrations associated with both the B.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science programs, including American, comparative or international politics. Additional areas of concentration include political methodology or philosophy, public law or policy, political modeling and research and behavior in politics. Scholarships and fellowships are offered to undergraduate students through the Travers Program in Ethics and Accountability in Government.

Top Political Science Programs

School Name Distinction Location
Ohio State University Graduate students can choose courses from nine different fields of study in which the department specializes Columbus, OH
Indiana University - Bloomington Students can enroll in the Political and Civic Engagement Certificate Program (PACE) Bloomington, IN
University of California - San Diego Offers a joint Ph.D. in political science and international affairs San Diego, CA
University of California - Irvine Students pursuing a Ph.D. in Political Science can complete an interdisciplinary M.A. in Demographic and Social Analysis or M.A. in Mathematical Behavioral Sciences at the same time. Irvine, CA
Stanford University There is a research honors program for students pursuing a B.A. in Political Science Stanford, CA
Georgetown University Offers unique master's degree programs specializing in fields such as American Government, Conflict Resolution, Democracy and Governance, and Development, Management and Policy Washington, D.C.
University of Chicago Several political science workshops are available to faculty and students Chicago, IL
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