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2020 Best Colleges for Political Science & Government

Approximately 44,651 political science and government degrees were awarded to students last year in the United States. With so many options it can be a daunting task finding the right fit. This year's Best Colleges for Political Science & Government ranking analyzed 590 colleges and universities that offer a bachelor's degree in political science and government. We look at over 20 factors to determine the top 25 schools 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 good education, not just how well they do in a particular major. To account for this we include a college's overall Best Colleges ranking which itself looks at a host of various factors like degree completion, educational resources, student body caliber and post-graduation earnings for the school as a whole.

Over 80% of the schools in this list are in the top 3% of our overall quality ranking while the lowest ranked school on the list is still in the top 6%.

Overall Best Colleges Rank  ( 53 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. schools results in an average starting salary of $33,465, graduates of colleges on this list average $45,000.

Starting Salary  ( 40020 to 53979 )
$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 colleges for Political Science & Government students.

Best Schools to Study Political Science & Government in United States

Below you'll see a list of the best colleges and universities to study political science and government. Only those schools that rank in the top 15% of all the schools we analyze get awarded with a place on this list. Of the 590 schools analyzed, only 25 earned the distinction of being on this list.

Top 25 Best Political Science Colleges

#1

Georgetown University

Washington, DC
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In DC
$49,100 Median Starting Salary

It's difficult to beat Georgetown University if you want to pursue political science and government as a major. Located in the city Washington, Georgetown is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly large student population. This college ranks 42nd out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of District of Columbia.

There are roughly 316 political science and government undergrads enrolled in this program at Georgetown. Political Science & Government graduates from Georgetown University get a earnings boost of around $4,100 above the average earnings of political science and government majors.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In NY
13.6% Growth in Graduates

Columbia University in the City of New York is among your best bets if you're planning on studying 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 college ranks 26th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of New York.

There are approximately 316 political science and government undergraduates studying this degree at Columbia. Columbia University in the City of New York political science and government students make $6,100 more than the standard political science student.

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#3

Princeton University

Princeton, NJ
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In NJ
$47,900 Median Starting Salary

It's hard to beat Princeton University if you wish to study political science and government. Princeton is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Princeton. A Best Colleges rank of 20 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Princeton is a great school 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. Political Science & Government majors from Princeton University get a earnings boost of approximately $2,900 above the average income of political science and government majors.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In MO
17.1% Growth in Graduates

Washington University in St Louis is one of the finest schools in the country for political science and government. WUSTL is a large private not-for-profit school located in the large suburb of Saint Louis. A Best Colleges rank of 19 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means WUSTL is a great school overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, WUSTL also offers 2 different higher degree levels in political science and government, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In DC
5.5% Growth in Graduates

GWU is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Washington. This college ranks 105th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of District of Columbia.

There are roughly 456 political science and government undergrads enrolled in this program at GWU. Graduates of the political science program earn about $45,500 for their early career.

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#6

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In MA
15.8% Growth in Graduates

Harvard is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the medium-sized city of Cambridge. A Best Colleges rank of 5 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means Harvard is a great school overall.

There are roughly 253 political science and government undergraduates enrolled in this program at Harvard. Political Science & Government graduates from Harvard University earn a boost of about $6,800 above the average income of political science and government graduates.

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#7

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
3rd Most Popular In PA
$51,100 Median Starting Salary

UPenn is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Philadelphia. A Best Colleges rank of 3 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means UPenn is a great school overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, UPenn also offers 3 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 University of Pennsylvania make $6,100 above the standard graduate in this field when they enter the workforce.

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#8

Yale University

New Haven, CT
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In CT
4.4% Growth in Graduates

Located in the city New Haven, Yale is a private not-for-profit school with a large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 4 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means Yale is a great college overall.

There are roughly 181 political science and government undergraduates enrolled in this program at Yale. Yale University political science and government majors receive $4,100 more than the typical political science student.

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#9

Dartmouth College

Hanover, NH
1st Most Popular In NH
$59,900 Median Starting Salary

Located in the town Hanover, Dartmouth is a private not-for-profit school with a medium-sized student population. A Best Colleges rank of 9 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means Dartmouth is a great college overall.

There are roughly 152 political science and government undergrads studying this degree at Dartmouth. Students from the political science and government major at Dartmouth College make $14,900 above the standard graduate with the same degree when they enter the workforce.

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#10

Duke University

Durham, NC
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
3rd Most Popular In NC
$47,400 Median Starting Salary

Duke is a large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Durham. A Best Colleges rank of 1 out of 1,727 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 139 graduations last year. Political Science & Government majors from Duke University receive an earnings boost of approximately $2,400 over the average income of political science and government majors.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In CA
7.2% Growth in Graduates

UC Berkeley is a very large public school located in the city of Berkeley. This college ranks 65th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of California.

For those interested in something more advanced, UC Berkeley also offers 2 different higher degree levels in political science and government, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship). Soon after getting their bachelor's degree, political science students generally earn about $40,100 in their early careers.

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#12

University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, IN
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In IN
1.2% Growth in Graduates

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 13 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Notre Dame is a great college overall.

There are approximately 168 political science and government undergraduates enrolled in this program at Notre Dame. After graduation, political science students usually earn about $47,000 in the first five years of their career.

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#13

University of Chicago

Chicago, IL
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
3rd Most Popular In IL
$36,700 Median Starting Salary

Located in the large city Chicago, UChicago is a private not-for-profit college with a large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 8 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means UChicago is a great college overall.

University of Chicago is one of the most popular college to study political science in United States exceeding 146 graduations last year. After graduation, political science students typically earn around $36,700 at the beginning of their careers.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In CA
$36,200 Median Starting Salary

UCLA is a very large public school located in the large city of Los Angeles. This school ranks 49th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

For those interested in something more advanced, UCLA also offers 3 different higher degree levels in political science and government, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship). After graduation, political science students typically make about $36,200 in their early careers.

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#15

Northwestern University

Evanston, IL
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In IL
$47,000 Median Starting Salary

Located in the city Evanston, Northwestern U is a private not-for-profit college with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 10 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Northwestern U is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Northwestern U also offers 2 different higher degree levels in political science and government, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship). Soon after getting their bachelor's degree, political science students usually make an average of $47,000 in the first five years of their career.

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#16

Bowdoin College

Brunswick, ME
1st Most Popular In ME
6.9% Growth in Graduates
$50,400 Median Starting Salary

Bowdoin is a small private not-for-profit school located in the town of Brunswick. This school ranks 25th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of Maine.

There are approximately 101 political science and government undergrads studying this degree at Bowdoin. Bowdoin College political science and government students earn $5,400 more than the typical political science student.

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#17

Davidson College

Davidson, NC
9th Most Popular In NC
10.3% Growth in Graduates

Located in the suburb Davidson, Davidson is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population. This college ranks 39th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of North Carolina.

A favorite choice for political science and government undergraduates, there are approximately 78 individuals studying this degree at Davidson.

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#18

Boston College

Chestnut Hill, MA
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
3rd Most Popular In MA
2.2% Growth in Graduates

Boston College is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Chestnut Hill. This school ranks 58th out of 1,727 colleges 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 for their early career.

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#19

Middlebury College

Middlebury, VT
2nd Most Popular In VT
1.7% Growth in Graduates

Middlebury is a small private not-for-profit school located in the town of Middlebury. This college ranks 41st out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of Vermont.

There are about 59 political science and government undergrads studying this degree at Middlebury.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In NC
16.3% Growth in Graduates

UNC Chapel Hill is a very large public school located in the small city of Chapel Hill. This school ranks 50th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of North Carolina.

There are about 435 political science and government undergrads studying this program at UNC Chapel Hill. After graduating, political science students generally make around $35,800 in their early careers.

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#21

Trinity College

Hartford, CT
4th Most Popular In CT
$40,000 Median Starting Salary

Located in the city Hartford, Trinity Bantams is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population. This college ranks 90th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of Connecticut.

A preferred choice for political science and government undergraduates, there are roughly 70 individuals enrolled in this program at Trinity Bantams. Graduates of the political science program make about $40,000 for their early career.

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#22

Stanford University

Stanford, CA
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
21st Most Popular In CA
21.4% Growth in Graduates

Stanford is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the large suburb of Stanford. A Best Colleges rank of 7 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Stanford is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Stanford also offers 2 different higher degree levels in political science and government, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship).

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In MI
3.1% Growth in Graduates

U of Michigan is a very large public school located in the midsize city of Ann Arbor. This college ranks 35th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of Michigan.

For those interested in something more advanced, U of Michigan also offers 2 different higher degree levels in political science and government, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship). Students who graduate from this program state that they receive average early career earnings of $40,600.

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#24

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In FL
$29,300 Median Starting Salary

Located in the city Gainesville, U of F is a public school with a fairly large student population. This college ranks 73rd out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of Florida.

There are about 327 political science and government undergraduates studying this degree at U of F. Grads of the political science program state that they receive average early career wages of $29,300.

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#25

College of the Holy Cross

Worcester, MA
6th Most Popular In MA
5.3% Growth in Graduates
$44,400 Median Starting Salary

Holy Cross is a small private not-for-profit school located in the midsize city of Worcester. A Best Colleges rank of 24 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means Holy Cross is a great school overall.

With 94 undergraduates, College of the Holy Cross is one of most popular schools to study political science in United States. Graduates of the political science program make around $44,400 for their early career.

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Rest of the Top 50 Best Colleges for Political Science & Government

Additional Award Winners

This section shows the rest of the colleges awarded a Best Colleges for Political Science & Government badge. Showing in this list means the college was ranked in the top 15% of the 590 different United States political science and government schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
51 Wake Forest University Winston-Salem, NC
52 Texas A&M University - College Station College Station, TX
53 Rutgers University - New Brunswick New Brunswick, NJ
54 Howard University Washington, DC
55 University of Washington - Seattle Campus Seattle, WA
56 Syracuse University Syracuse, NY
57 St Lawrence University Canton, NY
58 Rice University Houston, TX
59 College of William and Mary Williamsburg, VA
60 University of Wisconsin - Madison Madison, WI
61 George Mason University Fairfax, VA
62 Pomona College Claremont, CA
63 Barnard College New York, NY
64 University of Connecticut Storrs, CT
65 Whitman College Walla Walla, WA
66 University of Delaware Newark, DE
67 Boston University Boston, MA
68 Southern Methodist University Dallas, TX
69 Ohio State University - Main Campus Columbus, OH
70 Elon University Elon, NC
71 Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
72 Santa Clara University Santa Clara, CA
73 Lafayette College Easton, PA
74 Wesleyan University Middletown, CT
75 Emory University Atlanta, GA
76 Swarthmore College Swarthmore, PA
77 Citadel Military College of South Carolina Charleston, SC
78 Union College New York Schenectady, NY
79 Providence College Providence, RI
80 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
81 Kenyon College Gambier, OH
82 California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo, CA
83 Virginia Tech Blacksburg, VA
84 University at Albany Albany, NY
85 Smith College Northampton, MA
86 Vassar College Poughkeepsie, NY
87 Tulane University of Louisiana New Orleans, LA
88 Bucknell University Lewisburg, PA

Honorable Mentions

These are some additional schools worth mentioning that are also great but just didn't quite make the cut to earn our top Best Colleges for Political Science & Government award.

Rank College Location
89 Grinnell College Grinnell, IA
90 University of San Francisco San Francisco, CA
91 University of California - Santa Cruz Santa Cruz, CA
92 Indiana University - Bloomington Bloomington, IN
93 Hamilton College Clinton, NY
94 Northeastern University Boston, MA
95 Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
96 University of Rochester Rochester, NY
97 University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst, MA
98 University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN
99 University of Colorado Boulder Boulder, CO
100 Hobart and William Smith Colleges Geneva, NY
101 Pepperdine University Malibu, CA
102 James Madison University Harrisonburg, VA
103 Bryn Mawr College Bryn Mawr, PA
104 Fordham University Bronx, NY
105 Spelman College Atlanta, GA
106 DePauw University Greencastle, IN
107 Loyola University Chicago Chicago, IL
108 University of Georgia Athens, GA
109 Willamette University Salem, OR
110 Whittier College Whittier, CA
111 University of Oregon Eugene, OR
112 Stony Brook University Stony Brook, NY
113 University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT
114 University of Mary Washington Fredericksburg, VA
115 Trinity University San Antonio, TX
116 Presbyterian College Clinton, SC
117 Lehigh University Bethlehem, PA
118 Furman University Greenville, SC

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
The 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 47,528
Sociology 37,615
General Social Sciences 19,123
International Relations & National Security 14,908
Anthropology 12,008

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.

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