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2021 Best Colleges for Political Science & Government

Approximately 46,572 political science and government degrees were awarded to students last year in the United States. With so many choices it can be a daunting task finding the right fit. This year's Best Colleges for Political Science & Government ranking analyzed 367 colleges and universities that offer a bachelor's degree in political science and government. We look at over 20 factors to determine the top 15% of colleges for Political Science & Government students.

Choosing a Great Political Science & Government School

Best Colleges for Political Science & Government The political science program you select can have a big impact on your future. This section explores some of the factors we include in our ranking and how much they vary depending on the school you select. To make it into this list a school must excel in the following areas.

Overall Quality is a Must

The overall quality of a school is important to ensure a quality education, not just how well they do in a particular major. To account for this we consider a school's overall Best Colleges ranking which itself looks at a collection of various factors like degree completion, educational resources, student body caliber and post-graduation earnings for the school as a whole.

The lowest ranked school in our list is in the top 10% of our overall quality ranking while the vast majority are in at least the top 5%.

Overall Best Colleges Rank  ( 74 to 1 )
Lowest Ranked Overall
Top Ranked Overall

Better Early and Mid Career Salaries

Political Science & Government graduates from colleges on this list tend to earn more after college than those from other schools. While the average political science and government bachelors degree from U.S. colleges results in an average starting salary of $33,465, graduates of colleges on this list average $46,492.

Starting Salary  ( 41965 to 52034 )
$0
$59,900

Other Factors We Consider

In addition to the above, you should consider some of the following factors:

  • Major Focus - How much a school focuses on Political Science & Government students vs. other majors.
  • Major Popularity - How many other political science and government students choose this school.
  • Accreditation - Whether a school is regionally accredited and/or a recognized political science and government related accrediting body.

Our complete ranking methodology documents in more detail how we consider these factors to identify the best schools for Political Science & Government students.

Best Schools to Study Political Science & Government in the United States

The following list ranks the best colleges and universities for a Political Science & Government degree. Only those schools that rank in the top 15% of all the schools we analyze get awarded with a place on this list.

Top 25 Best Political Science Colleges

#1

Georgetown University

Washington, DC

It is hard to beat Georgetown University if you wish to study political science and government. Located in the large city Washington, Georgetown is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population. This college ranks 55th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of District of Columbia.

For those interested in something more advanced, Georgetown also offers 2 different higher degree levels in political science and government, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Students from the political science and government program at Georgetown University earn $2,608 more than the average college graduate with the same degree when they enter the workforce.

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#2

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA

Harvard University is one of the finest schools in the country for political science and government. Harvard is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Cambridge. A Best Colleges rank of 3 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Harvard is a great school overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Harvard also offers 2 different higher degree levels in political science and government, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Students from the political science and government major at Harvard University make $5,308 above the standard college graduate in this field shortly after graduation.

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Columbia University in the City of New York is one of the finest schools in the country for political science and government. Located in the large city New York, Columbia is a private not-for-profit school with a very large student population. This school ranks 32nd out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of New York.

For those interested in something more advanced, Columbia also offers 2 different higher degree levels in political science and government, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Columbia University in the City of New York political science and government students make $4,608 more than the typical political science student.

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#4

Yale University

New Haven, CT

Yale University is one of the best schools in the United States for political science and government. Located in the medium-sized city New Haven, Yale is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 10 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Yale is a great school overall.

There are approximately 199 political science and government undergraduates enrolled in this degree at Yale. Yale University political science and government majors receive $2,608 more than the standard political science graduate.

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GWU is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Washington. This school ranks 115th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of District of Columbia.

For those interested in something more advanced, GWU also offers 2 different higher degree levels in political science and government, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Graduates of the political science program make about $45,500 for their early career.

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#6

Dartmouth College

Hanover, NH

Located in the remote town Hanover, Dartmouth is a private not-for-profit school with a medium-sized student population. A Best Colleges rank of 15 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Dartmouth is a great college overall.

There are roughly 170 political science and government undergraduates enrolled in this program at Dartmouth. Graduates from the political science and government degree program at Dartmouth College earn $13,408 more than the typical graduate in this field when they enter the workforce.

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#7

Duke University

Durham, NC

Duke is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Durham. A Best Colleges rank of 2 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Duke is a great college overall.

Duke University is one of the most popular school to study political science in United States with over 140 graduates last year. After graduating, political science students usually make an average of $47,400 at the beginning of their careers.

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#8

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

UPenn is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Philadelphia. A Best Colleges rank of 9 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means UPenn is a great college overall.

University of Pennsylvania is one of the most popular school to study political science in United States with over 169 graduates last year. Political Science & Government majors from University of Pennsylvania receive an earnings boost of around $4,608 over the typical earnings of political science and government majors.

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#9

Princeton University

Princeton, NJ

Princeton is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in the small city of Princeton. A Best Colleges rank of 1 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Princeton is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Princeton also offers 2 different higher degree levels in political science and government, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. After graduating, political science students typically earn an average of $47,900 at the beginning of their careers.

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#10

Northwestern University

Evanston, IL

Located in the small city Evanston, Northwestern U is a private not-for-profit school with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 12 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Northwestern U is a great college overall.

There are approximately 154 political science and government undergraduates studying this degree at Northwestern U. After graduating, political science students usually make about $47,000 in their early careers.

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#11

University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, IN

Located in the large suburb Notre Dame, Notre Dame is a private not-for-profit school with a large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 14 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Notre Dame is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Notre Dame also offers 2 different higher degree levels in political science and government, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Soon after getting their bachelor's degree, political science students typically earn about $47,000 in the first five years of their career.

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#12

New York University

New York, NY

NYU is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of New York. This college ranks 130th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of New York.

For those interested in something more advanced, NYU also offers 2 different higher degree levels in political science and government, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Soon after graduation, political science students typically make about $47,200 in the first five years of their career.

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UC Berkeley is a fairly large public school located in the midsize city of Berkeley. This college ranks 69th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of California.

There are roughly 512 political science and government undergraduates enrolled in this program at UC Berkeley. After getting their bachelor's degree, political science students usually earn an average of $40,100 at the beginning of their careers.

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#14

Bowdoin College

Brunswick, ME

Bowdoin is a small private not-for-profit school located in the town of Brunswick. This college ranks 30th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Maine.

There are about 108 political science and government undergraduates enrolled in this program at Bowdoin. Bowdoin College political science and government students receive $3,908 more than the typical political science graduate.

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#15

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY

Located in the small city Ithaca, Cornell is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 17 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Cornell is a great college overall.

With 152 undergrads, Cornell University is one of most popular schools to study political science in United States. After graduating, political science students generally earn about $45,100 in their early careers.

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#16

Boston College

Chestnut Hill, MA

Boston College is a large private not-for-profit school located in the small city of Chestnut Hill. This college ranks 61st out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Massachusetts.

For those interested in something more advanced, Boston College also offers 2 different higher degree levels in political science and government, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Students who graduate from the political science program earn about $44,600 in the first couple years of their career.

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#17

Colgate University

Hamilton, NY

Colgate is a small private not-for-profit school located in the town of Hamilton. A Best Colleges rank of 29 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Colgate is a great school overall.

A popular choice for political science and government undergraduates, there are about 97 students enrolled in this program at Colgate. Graduates from the political science and government major at Colgate University get $6,708 more than the typical college graduate with the same degree when they enter the workforce.

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UNC Chapel Hill is a fairly large public school located in the city of Chapel Hill. This school ranks 60th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of North Carolina.

There are roughly 461 political science and government undergraduates studying this program at UNC Chapel Hill. After graduating, political science students generally make an average of $35,800 in the first five years of their career.

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#19

American University

Washington, DC

The American University is a large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Washington. This college ranks 164th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of District of Columbia.

With 171 students enrolled, American University is one of most popular schools to study political science in United States. Graduates of the political science program report average early career income of $42,900.

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#20

Brown University

Providence, RI

Brown is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the midsize city of Providence. A Best Colleges rank of 13 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Brown is a great college overall.

There are about 90 political science and government undergrads studying this degree at Brown. Graduates of the political science program state that they receive average early career wages of $44,300.

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#21

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD

Johns Hopkins is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Baltimore. A Best Colleges rank of 20 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Johns Hopkins is a great school overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Johns Hopkins also offers 2 different higher degree levels in political science and government, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Graduates of the political science program earn an average of $44,700 in their early career salary.

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Located in the suburb College Park, UMCP is a public college with a fairly large student population. This school ranks 117th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Maryland.

For those interested in something more advanced, UMCP also offers 2 different higher degree levels in political science and government, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship). Grads of the political science program report average early career income of $40,200.

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#23

Emory University

Atlanta, GA

Located in the city Atlanta, Emory is a private not-for-profit college with a large student population. This college ranks 34th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Georgia.

For those interested in something more advanced, Emory also offers 2 different higher degree levels in political science and government, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Students who graduate from the political science program make about $42,500 for their early career.

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U of Michigan is a very large public school located in the city of Ann Arbor. This school ranks 38th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Michigan.

There are roughly 300 political science and government undergrads studying this program at U of Michigan. Students who complete this degree report average early career income of $40,600.

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#25

University of Rochester

Rochester, NY

University of Rochester is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Rochester. This college ranks 56th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of New York.

University of Rochester is one of the most popular school to study political science in United States exceeding 68 graduates last year. Soon after getting their bachelor's degree, political science students usually make around $43,800 in the first five years of their career.

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Rest of the Top Best Colleges for Political Science & Government

#27

Amherst College

Amherst, MA
#28

Northeastern University

Boston, MA
#30

Villanova University

Villanova, PA
#31

College of the Holy Cross

Worcester, MA
#32

Williams College

Williamstown, MA
#33

Trinity College

Hartford, CT
#34

Bucknell University

Lewisburg, PA
#35

Hamilton College

Clinton, NY
#37

University of Chicago

Chicago, IL
#38

Boston University

Boston, MA
#39

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN
#40

University of Virginia - Main Campus

Charlottesville, VA
#42

Wake Forest University

Winston-Salem, NC
#45

Syracuse University

Syracuse, NY
#48

Barnard College

New York, NY
#49

Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL
#50

Connecticut College

New London, CT

Additional Award Winners

This section shows the rest of the schools awarded a Best Colleges for Political Science & Government badge. Showing in this list means the school was ranked in the top 15% of the 367 different United States political science and government schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
51 University of Washington - Seattle Campus Seattle, WA
52 Washington and Lee University Lexington, VA
53 University of California - Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, CA
54 Ohio State University - Main Campus Columbus, OH
55 University of California - San Diego La Jolla, CA

Honorable Mentions

Here are some additional great schools for Political Science & Government students that almost earned our Best Colleges for Political Science & Government award.

Rank College Location
56 Tufts University Medford, MA
57 Gettysburg College Gettysburg, PA
58 College of William and Mary Williamsburg, VA
59 University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst, MA
60 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
61 Indiana University - Bloomington Bloomington, IN
62 Bates College Lewiston, ME
63 Brandeis University Waltham, MA
64 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
65 University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign Champaign, IL
66 Fordham University Bronx, NY
67 University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN
68 University of Richmond University of Richmond, VA
69 Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
70 Colby College Waterville, ME
71 University of California - Irvine Irvine, CA
72 Lafayette College Easton, PA
73 Rutgers University - New Brunswick New Brunswick, NJ

Political Science & Government by Region

View the Best Colleges for Political Science & Government for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

One of 13 majors within the Social Sciences area of study, Political Science & Government has other similar majors worth exploring.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Economics 48,297
Sociology 37,611
General Social Sciences 19,694
International Relations & National Security 15,207
Anthropology 11,703

View All Political Science Related Majors >

Notes and References

  • The bars on the spread charts above show the distribution of the schools on this list +/- one standard deviation from the mean.
  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to UKWiki at English Wikipedia. More about our data sources and methodologies.

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