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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.

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School Overview

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.

Top U.S. Schools with Graduate Programs in Political Science

1. Stanford University in Stanford, California

One of the first schools to offer graduate studies in the western United States, Stanford University's graduate program in political science tied for the top spot among its peers, as designated by U.S. News & World Report in 2009. 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.

2. Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey

In 2009, Princeton was one of three schools that tied for the top 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 transitional M.A. credential is available for Ph.D. candidates. 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.

3. Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

According to U.S. News & World Report in 2009, Harvard University's graduate program in political science ranked first in the nation, a distinction it shared with Stanford and Princeton universities. At one of the oldest schools of higher education in the United States, graduate students can pursue coursework in American, international and comparative politics, as well as political theory and methodology.

List of Ten Good U.S. Political Science Colleges Offering Graduate Programs

School Name Distinction Location
Harvard University Offers specialized workshops and seminars in political science Cambridge, MA
Northwestern University The Interdisciplinary Cluster Initiative allows students to work with faculty members and peers in other departments Evanston, IL
Princeton University Students share and discuss their research in field seminars Princeton, NJ
Stanford University Political science program accepts only 12-15 new students each year Stanford, CA
University of Chicago Workshops offer opportunities to discuss new research Chicago, IL
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Offers flexibility and an interdisciplinary approach to political science Ann Arbor, MI
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Offers an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Political Science, as well as an M.A. in Political Science with a certificate in Latin American studies 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 Most Ph.D. classes are small and conducted as seminars New Haven, CT
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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics