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Political Science

Master of Arts

The Master of Arts in Political Science delves into popular topics including American government theory and process, comparative politics, contemporary political institutions, defense and security, domestic and foreign policy, legislative behavior, and political philosophy. In this era of polarization in government, there is a great demand for people who possess knowledge of how government works, as well as the research, writing, and analytical skills needed to evaluate domestic policies at all levels of government. Knowledge gained in this online program can be applied to careers in government, military, the gaining and holding of elected positions, nonprofit administration, or other professions including academia or law where strong interpersonal and communication skills are required.

Program Courses

The curriculum for this program follows industry trends to help ensure relevancy to today's marketplace. Additionally, all of the courses in this program use Open Educational Resources (OER), meaning that there is no cost for course materials to complete this program. View all courses.

Program Objectives

In addition to the institutional and degree level learning objectives, graduates of this program are expected to achieve these learning outcomes:

  • Analyze the fundamental theories and philosophies of government, governance, economy, and civil society and apply them to contemporary political systems.
  • Evaluate the political elements of representative democracy and compare and contrast those elements with other political systems.
  • Assemble and evaluate the appropriate information and data used in the social, economic, foreign affairs, and security policy-making realm.
  • Assess the actors and processes involved in policymaking and evaluate policy implementation outcomes in various sectors to include the social, economic, foreign policy, and security policy domains.

Degree at a Glance


Concentrations are designed to help you group courses together so you can further specialize in your field and pursue a more focused path to degree completion. You will be asked to select a concentration when you enroll in this program.

Explore the concentrations available for this program.


American Politics and Government

Provides insight into the democratic process of government in the U.S. Topics include all three branches of government, as well as freedoms protected by the Constitution, the role of women in changing public policy, and the division of power between federal and state governments.

Sample Courses

  • HIST556 - U.S. Constitutional History
  • MATH530 - Applied Statistics
  • POLS511 - Political Parties and Interest Group Behavior
  • POLS620 - Legislatures and Legislative Behavior
  • POLS630 - The Presidency: Institution and Performance
  • POLS640 - Judicial Politics, Process, and Policy Making
  • POLS650 - Federalism: The American Governance Process

Comparative Government and Development

Uses the comparative method of analysis to study democracies, monarchies, dictatorships, and authoritarian forms of government. Topics include Al Qaeda, the relationship between military and government affairs, mediation between opposing factions, and economics, including the readings of Karl Marx.

Sample Courses

  • IRLS501 - Comparative Political Systems
  • HUMN561 - Society, Class and Wealth
  • MATH530 - Applied Statistics
  • IRLS603 - Politics and War
  • IRLS613 - International Negotiation
  • NSEC608 - Regional Security Cooperation
  • SCMT529 - International Terrorism


This general concentration allows you to select from 19 different concentration courses offered within this program, enabling you to create your own focused area of study. View course catalog for details.

View other concentrations in this program to see sample courses.


International Relations

Discusses various international issues through coverage of international organizations like the Red Cross and the United Nations, as well as the governments of Latin America, Korea, and the Middle East and the use of modern statistical methods and models to solve problems.

Sample Courses

  • LSTD507 - International Law
  • MATH530 - Applied Statistics
  • IRLS500 - International Relations Theory
  • IRLS600 - Strategic Geography and Geopolitics
  • IRLS631 - Government and Security in Korea
  • IRLS655 - Latin American Security Issues
  • IRLS503 - International Organizations
  • IRLS660 - Seminar in Middle East Politics and Security

Public Policy

Discusses a variety of security, economic, foreign, and domestic policy issues at the national, state, and local levels. Topics include budgeting and expenditures, data analysis through statistics, management of large bureaucracies, and the Department of Homeland Security.

Sample Courses

  • MATH530 - Applied Statistics
  • PADM510 - Administrative Theory
  • PADM520 - Public Administration in Society
  • PADM610 - Public Management
  • PADM612 - Public Finance
  • PADM615 - Program Appraisal
  • PADM620 - Local Political Administration
  • HLSS502 - Homeland Security and Defense

Admission Requirements

Please be prepared to submit a legible copy of your valid government-issued photo ID (civilian students) or government issued JST or CCAF transcript (military students) upon request.

An APU admissions representative will contact you with further details about how to submit the required documentation after you complete the enrollment application.

Need help?

Selecting the right program to meet your educational goals is a key step in ensuring a successful outcome. If you are unsure of which program to choose, or need more information, please contact an APU admissions representative at 877-755-2787 or

Graduate Tuition Rates 

Per credit hour: $350 | $325 with military grant*

View Tuition and Fees Details  

*To help minimize out-of-pocket costs, APU offers a tuition grant for U.S. active-duty servicemembers, Guard, Reserve, military spouses and dependents, and veterans. See all military-affiliated student benefits.

Paying for School

Because our university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), (the same as the Ohio State University, Univ. of Chicago, and U.S. Air Force Academy, to name a few), we can accept the following forms of financial aid and payments:

Ways to Save

Transfer Credits 

Accelerate your degree completion by taking full advantage of our transfer credit options, including credit for your previous college courses, military service schools, American Council on Education (ACE) and College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests, and prior learning experiences.  

Employer Contributions

APU has educational partnerships with many employers and associations. Be sure to accurately enter your employer information when you complete our admissions application. Your employer might also offer a tuition reimbursement plan as one of your benefits.

School of Arts & Humanities

School of Arts & Humanities

This program resides in the American Public University School of Arts & Humanities which provides the traditional nuts and bolts programs that can help you acquire the innovative thinking, flexibility, and problem solving abilities that employers value. In fact, our general studies and psychology programs in the School of Arts & Humanities rank in the top-10 most popular programs at APU.

While many college students today choose a direct education path that leads to in-demand careers in science and technology, a solid undergraduate liberal arts education can provide you with a strong foundation to pursue post-graduate programs in a variety of areas. "In my conversations with industry advisory councils, employers emphasize that while they can train new hires in processes and content, they can’t train what the humanities teach, which is effective written and oral communication, teamwork, critical thinking, and professionalism," states School of Arts & Humanities Dean Grace Glass.

At APU, we understand your need for flexibility because most of our students are working adult learners balancing school around work and life commitments. This is why we offer 8-week or 16-week online courses that start monthly. Through an online virtual classroom, you’ll communicate with students and professors in forum communities as you work to complete your weekly written assignments on your own schedule from anywhere in the world. And with our mobile application, you can even work offline and upload your assignments when you reconnect.  

We encourage you to browse the School of Arts & Humanities webpage to learn more about the school and to find a program that’s right for you