Best Colleges for Political Science

What are the best universities for Political Science? Can anyone speak to specifics about this, like experience from their own college career?

Very Much!

There are so many great places. What type of school might you be interested? What kind of credentials/scores do you have?


Depends on what you’re interested in – both in terms of subfield (political theory, international relations, comparative politics/area studies (and which area), American politics, law) and methodology (heavily quantitative, more theoretical, more sociological/anthropological, policy-oriented). Another element would be whether you’re looking for internships and, if so, what kind and where. Finally, what do you hope to do with a poli sci degree (law school, grad school, work (and, if so, what kind – e.g. advocacy, campaigning, public service). If you can say more about sone of these things, you may get more useful feedback.

Hobart & William Smith is strong in PS and notably (for a small college) offers defacto tracks in four subfields: American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations and theory.

Hamilton offers a different mix with concentrations in basic Government, World Politics and Public Policy.

As stated by previous posters, however, there are many great places, and this will not come down to an option between two or three schools.

People are still applying to HWS after the 2014 incident? Interesting.

Also most schools considered ‘good’ usually have good political science programs. So think about fit over the ‘strength’ of one department over another.

UC Berkeley, Yale, Georgetown, and Stanford.

^^ The case at HWS was seriously disturbing, and information regarding it should be disseminated where appropriate. The same can be said about cases at the University of Montana, Amherst College, et al.

For bread-and-butter liberal arts majors such as PS, in my opinion it’s better to look for good colleges than to try to identify the very best undergraduate departments.

Students often change majors. Even if you don’t, it’s unlikely you have a clear, well-informed preference for one PS sub-specialty over another (e.g. political theory v. international politics). The same university is unlikely to be equally outstanding in every one of those areas.

For what it’s worth, USNWR does publish a ranking of graduate PS programs, with sub-specialty rankings. That may give you some idea of which schools are relatively strong in what areas.

^Agree with @tk21769. General liberal arts and sciences majors tend to be good at most good colleges, and besides, you will spend most of your coursework taking classes outside of your major. Undergrad is about breadth - not depth, so you don’t need to pick a school that’s excellent in a specific subspecialty.

Thanks for the help everyone! I will definitely delve deeper into my research, but this is a fantastic start! Thank you to all!!!

@International95 - Are people are still applying to UC Berkeley, USC, Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth, Swathmore, Carnege Mellon, University of Chicago, BU, University of Virginia and Emerson, too? Interesting…

Your offhanded comment about HWS makes you sound small and uninformed because you obviously haven’t bothered to find out what the HWS community has done in response to that horrible incident. If this was an issue that truly concerned you … you wouldn’t have made that remark because you would’ve known better by simply following up. Instead, you chose to condemn a fine college that was absolutely devastated by what happened .

Let me take a moment and remind you of something… a horrible tragedy can happen anywhere. Every school ( including the colleges on the Government Case List above and colleges mentioned in Merc81’s post ) should be afforded the opportunity to recover and bring about change - Why is HWS singled out or treated differently than other schools? Is there a second set of rules I’m unaware of ? If not, you should go over to the Dartmouth, Princeton and Harvard threads and remind everyone there that they have cases pending, too and if you’re too lazy to find out yourself- ask them what their community has done about it and ask why people still apply. That should go over big.

My nephew attends Hobart and I have a lot of respect for him and for how his community has moved forward. Put another way : They’ve done more in the aftermath of this horrible incident than most schools would and I admire their efforts greatly. You should, too .

That said, HWS is an excellent college for PS.

The usual suspects: Georgetown, GWU, American, Tufts, Macalester, NYU, UVA,
Less well-known but nevertheless good: Goucher, Dickinson, Occidental, Willamette, HWS, Spelman/Morehouse, Howard, GMU, JMU, Fordham, UMaryland, Haverford.