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Best Political Science Colleges in the Nation (Graduate Level)

Several highly rated political science programs are offered through Ivy League schools. However, public colleges and universities throughout the nation also offer top-ranked programs that confer a Master of Arts (M.A.) or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Political Science.

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Top Political Science Schools with Graduate-Level Programs

1. Stanford University in Stanford, California

Founded in 1891, Stanford University became one of the first schools to offer graduate studies in the western United States. The school now offers graduate degrees through 91 programs and departments. Stanford's graduate program was tied for the top spot among political science programs by U.S. News & World Report in 2009. Most individuals attending the graduate political science program do so with the intention of teaching or doing research at universities or colleges. The Ph.D. program consists of small graduate seminars that address research issues or analyze works published in the field of political science. Students can choose among several areas of focus, including American politics, international relations and political theory.

2. Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey

Princeton University was founded in 1746, making it one of the oldest colleges in the United States. The university offers degrees in social and natural sciences, engineering and the humanities. In 2009, Princeton was one of three schools tied for the top place on U.S. News & World Report's list of best political science graduate programs. The school offers an M.A. as part of its Ph.D. program; however, no separate M.A. 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.

3. Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Established in 1636, Harvard University is one of the oldest schools of higher education in the United States. Today, students at the university can obtain degrees from programs in 12 schools. U.S. News & World Report ranked Harvard's graduate program in political science first in the nation in 2009, along with the programs at Stanford and Princeton. Harvard's program offers students the opportunity to study American, international and comparative politics as well as political theory and methodology.

List of Good U.S. Political Science Colleges with Graduate-Level Programs

School Name Distinction Location
Harvard University Offers specialized workshops and seminars in political science Cambridge, MA
Northwestern University Allows students to work with faculty and students in other departments through the Interdisciplinary Cluster Initiative Evanston, IL
Princeton University Students share and discuss their research in field research 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 a Ph.D. as well as an M.A. in Political Science and 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 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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