Every four years, presidential candidates descend on New Hampshire for the first-in-the-nation primary. And every four years, Southern New Hampshire University plays host to these political hopefuls as they shape policies and test their campaigns.
SNHU's online Master of Science in Political Science draws on New Hampshire's rich political legacy while applying a critical, contemporary eye to where politics is headed. You'll get a front-row seat to the political process and exposure to many different perspectives from students and faculty across the country. Learn how to research and analyze data to promote positive changes to policy and gain an understanding of political systems and ideologies.
The 12-course, 36-credit master's in political science online program combines the history of politics with contemporary research. The curriculum aligns with the American Political Science Association's (APSA) Principles for Graduate Education in Political Science. The APSA places equal importance on rigorous analysis and how politics can explain the human experience. You'll study how contemporary political thought, ethical public policy and governmental institutions intersect.
The political science MS program offers opportunities to study American politics, comparative politics, international relations, public law, public policy and political theory. You'll learn how to:
As a private, nonprofit university, SNHU has one mission - to help you see yourself succeed. The benefits of earning your master's in political science online at SNHU include:
Acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the year for our five graduate terms. You can apply at any time and get a decision within days of submitting all required materials. To apply, simply contact an admission counselor, who can help you explore financial options. Your counselor can also walk you through the application process, which involves completing a graduate application ($40 fee) and providing undergraduate transcripts.
Candidates must also submit a professional resume.
According to the American Political Science Association, political science graduate programs can prepare you for many career paths. About 53 percent of political scientists work for the federal government, but there are also opportunities in the business world and at state and local levels. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of political scientists will grow 21 percent through 2022.
The online MS program prepares you to seek employment in various roles, including:
The master's in political science online curriculum follows the American Political Science Association's Principles for Graduate Education in Political Science. After completing seven core courses that combine the history of politics with contemporary research skills, you'll choose four electives covering areas such as campaign management, strategic messaging and judicial politics. The capstone course allows you to apply everything you've learned to a contemporary political issue.
This course is an introduction to the public policy process. Students will develop an understanding of what "political" and "public policy" mean. Topics discussed include why some problems reach the public agenda, why some solutions are adopted, why others are rejected, why some policies appear to succeed while others appear to fail. The course also examines the complexity of policymaking at the national, state, and local levels.
Political science emphasizes the use of research and data to propose and promote positive changes to public policy. In this course, students will examine a variety of contemporary political challenges and issues through the lens of the public good. Students will be asked to conduct research on and propose solutions for common issues that effectively address the issue in a non-partisan manner while using various research methods and tools used across the field of political science.
This course introduces students to graduate-level study of political science including foundational concepts and approaches to the discipline. Students will explore the contemporary role of political science in the United States, common theoretical lenses and methodologies used to study political science, and use of empirical data and research to address problems across the various domains relevant to political science and public policy.
This course focuses on the analysis of key actors in U.S. politics including the presidency, Congress, the judiciary, interest groups, and political parties. Emphasis is also placed on the interaction among the various institutional actors and the influence that internal and external processes, the electorate, and governmental and nongovernmental organizations have on the political system. The course takes a case-study approach to the study of American institutions by examining critical historical developments that have influenced and are reflected by modern governance in the United States.
Contemporary political thought is heavily informed by specific philosophies and ideologies. In this course, students will discern how various political platforms and policies reflect specific political philosophies, as well as the effects of competing philosophies on public processes, policies, and dialogue. Topics covered include pluralism, the role of national and state government, the role of the individual in a democratic society, extremism, justice, and power.
This course examines the functions, behaviors, policies, and roles of various global political systems at the national, international, and transnational levels. Students will analyze the goals of foreign policies, internal conflicts and their reflection on national and international interests, geopolitics and environmental protections, the efficacy of international organizations and diplomacy, and the bearing of these elements on contemporary issues on the international stage.
Political parties, interest groups, and the mass media have been characterized as the "transmission belts" that connect politicians to the public, as well as a vehicle for achieving political objectives. In this course, students will examine how these groups differ in their role and approaches and how they affect public opinion and political decision making. Topics include the history and development of political parties and interest groups, their relationship with governmental and non-governmental institutions, and how they have influenced and are influenced by an ever-changing political landscape.
This capstone course is the culminating experience for the M.S. in Political Science program. The aim of the capstone is to assess students' ability to synthesize and integrate the knowledge and skills they have developed throughout their coursework, rather than introducing new concepts. This course is structured to support student success in fulfilling program requirements.
Choose four of the following:
Legal issues related to communication and media in the U.S. are rapidly changing in an age where technology and the distribution of mediated messages are ubiquitous. Thus, this course contends with the major legal, ethical, and policy issues related to mass media communication particularly focusing on those issues that impact digital and public communication. Concepts related to the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, libel, obscenity, censorship, right to privacy, intellectual property, and the governance of media and digital technology will be explored. Additionally, this course asks students to contend with many ethical issues and philosophies pertinent to media and communication in the interest of articulating a personal ethical framework as a graduate communication student and practitioner.
This course aims to prepare students for a variety of leadership roles in dynamic organizations and environments. Students will analyze key aspects of leadership, relationships, and organizations such as: organizational culture, conflict in interpersonal and organizational settings, organizational roles and socialization, power in personal and professional relationships, and group communication theories. Students will contend with these concepts from a personal standpoint by using examples from their own relationships and workplaces to apply best practices and improve their own communication and leadership skills. Additionally, this course takes a systems theory approach to organizations and teams, looking at the interrelationship of events, people, and ideas and the systemic impact of small and large changes.
This course is designed to provide an academic foundation to applied strategic management in public service. Identifying the factors that differentiate public service from the private sector, strategic planning and the implications those differences have for managers. Emphasis is placed on applied strategic planning and management including how to create a mission statement, conduct a SWOT analysis, conduct a stakeholder analysis, writing goals and objectives, and how to design and implement a performance measurement and management system. Current approaches to strategic management used by federal, state, local, and non-profit organizations are emphasized.
This course is designed to demonstrate the challenges and strategies for governance and administration in an institutional environment of fragmented authority and dispersed power. It defines the balance of shared powers between the layers and institutions of government poses and the considerable challenges to policymakers and administrators. Major dimensions of intergovernmental relations: the vertical dimension of federal, states, and local governments, that cooperate, coordinate, and compete for shares of power, and the horizontal dimension in which sub-governments interact with one another. The course examines the structure of American political institutions, the nature of complex policymaking, governance by networks, and the consequences of competition between governments.
State and local governments play an important role in the formation and implementation of public policies. In truth, state and local governments have a larger effect on the daily lives of most U.S. citizens than the Federal government. This course examines the politics, institutions, and policy processes of state and local governments. Topics covered include large urban settings where larger social, political, and economic demands and constraints lead to more complex and dynamic political systems in comparison to rural settings which have much different issues to contend with.
This course is designed to familiarize students with the processes whereby individuals, groups, or communities may become disenfranchised from opportunities within society as well as the modes of power available for various minority communities. Topics include the study of political theory and policy regarding access to resources based on factors such as social class, education, race, and gender, among others. Specific focus will be made on developing strategies for avoiding exclusionary practices in the public realm.
The campaign management course involves a study of the strategic processes by which campaign decisions are made including planning, development, roles and responsibilities of team members, execution, implementation, and analysis of field data. Students will take both a theoretical approach as well as develop action plans for hypothetical campaigns. This course prepares students to develop the strategic tools necessary for campaign leadership and management through an examination of lessons learned in effective and non-effective campaigns.
This course involves an integrated and advanced study in historical and contemporary theoretical approaches to campaigns and elections. Topics for investigation include fundraising, recruitment and capacity planning, use of various communication tools such as social media, long-term strategies of staying on message, and analyzing audience and public speaking scenarios, among others. Emphasis will be placed on the impact of these factors on how messages are interpreted through historical case studies. Students will also be engaged in recommending strategies for addressing these concerns.
Tuition rates for SNHU's online degree programs are among the lowest in the nation. We offer a 25 percent tuition discount for active-duty service members and their spouses.
Application Fee ($40), Graduation Fee ($150), Books (course-by-course)
Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges as well as several other accrediting bodies. More...