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 three 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 Overview

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.

Top U.S. Schools with Political Science Programs

1. Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Harvard University placed first among top national universities in the 2011 edition of U.S. News and World Report. The same publication also ranked Harvard's graduate political science program as one of the top programs in the country for 2009, sharing a 3-way tie with Princeton and Stanford.

The Department of Government at Harvard offers a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Political Science, as well as an undergraduate major in government. In addition, the Harvard Kennedy School of Government offers several graduate degree programs related to political science. These include a Master in Public Policy, a Master in Public Administration, a Ph.D. in Political Economy and Government and a Ph.D. in Social Policy. Graduate and law students may enroll in a joint Juris Doctor (J.D.)/Ph.D. program.

2. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

In 2009, the Department of Political Science at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor ranked the highest among public institutions included in U.S. News and World Report's list of top political science schools in the nation. Serving over 41,000 students annually, it also ranked first 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

According to U.S. News and World Report's rankings in 2009, the Charles and Louis Travers Department of Political Science at the University of California in Berkeley was one of the top-rated political science departments 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.

List of Ten Good U.S. Political Science Colleges and Universities

School Name Distinction Location
Ohio State University The Dreher Colloquium in American Political Institutions Columbus, OH
Indiana University - Bloomington The Political and Civic Engagement (PACE) program Bloomington, IN
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor The Michigan in Washington (MIW) program for undergraduates Ann Arbor, MI
University of California - Berkeley The Travers Program of Ethics and Accountability in Government Berkeley, CA
University of California - San Diego The joint Ph.D. in political science and international relations San Diego, CA
Harvard University The new J.D./Ph.D. joint program Cambridge, MA
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 The research honors program for students pursuing a B.A. in Political Science Stanford, CA
Georgetown University Eleven unique master's degree programs, including six leading to a joint M.A. and a Ph.D. in international relations or comparative government Washington, D.C.
University of Chicago Ten political science workshops available to faculty and students Chicago, IL
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  • School locations:
    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
      • Cultural Studies
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
        • International Relations, General
      • Public Administration
      • Religious Studies
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History

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