Political science

University of Missouri-St. Louis
Bachelor of arts
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Bachelor of arts

Go forth and change the world with an online bachelor of arts in political science from the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL). Available fully online or in a hybrid format, this program introduces you to U.S. and international political systems and theories, as well as the tools for addressing current challenges in your local community and across the globe. 

Understand what it truly takes to make a lasting societal impact through government. Transforming you from dreamer to doer, the online bachelor’s in political science equips you with knowledge about government structure, processes and policy, including not only how they benefit and uphold society and play into international relations but also their blind spots and institutional failures. In the process, you’ll become a more convincing communicator and analyst ready to back your arguments with data, real-world examples and qualitative findings.

In thinking about your career, the online bachelor’s in political science opens up a number of channels to push for a more equitable future. Start in government, nonprofit work, policy or public affairs, or continue growing your skills in law school or another graduate professional program.

Quick facts

Official name

Bachelor of arts in political science


University of Missouri-St. Louis

Program type

Bachelor's degree

Academic home

College of Arts & Sciences | Department of Political Science

Delivery mode

100% online


Higher Learning Commission

Credit hours


Estimated cost


Transfer credit hours


Transfer estimated cost


*This cost is for illustrative purposes only. Your hours and costs will differ, depending on your transfer hours, your course choices and your academic progress. See more about tuition and financial aid.

About the online bachelor’s in political science

UMSL’s Department of Political Science starts our undergraduate program from a theoretical foundation. We strive to impart a strong understanding of the U.S. government’s structure, operations and laws from local through federal levels and how these aspects influence both policy and international relations. Yet, government decisions have consequences. Courses taught by leading political science scholars and educators highlight the effects of leadership and government action on equality, democratization, defense, environmental protection, freedom and society’s most vulnerable citizens. 

From here, we aim to graduate determined problem-solvers equipped with the tools to present and clearly communicate solutions, no matter the careers our students find themselves in. As such, we infuse the online bachelor’s in political science with the fundamentals of scientific inquiry, cause-and-effect relationships and quantitative and qualitative methods, be it research, a nuanced perspective of history and economics or data analysis.

Within this structure, you’ll:

  • Receive a holistic introduction to U.S. and international politics and policy, including the factors involved in and effects of government action, leadership and decisions
  • Think about government in relation to history and its relationship with legal, political and economic systems
  • Explore various ideologies, theories and interpretations, and use this information and your research to assess and propose solutions to political challenges
  • Strengthen your research, analytical and decision-making skills through information gathering and processing
  • Become a stronger written and verbal communicator
  • Have the opportunity to develop a specialization in American politics, international and comparative politics, urban politics, public law, public policy and administration, or gender and politics
Professional carrying a clipboard and looking at a phone.

Career prospects

Pair your passion with the valuable, versatile skills gained by the online bachelor of arts in political science to start or advance your career. Our program’s graduates go onto positions as leaders of public, nonprofit or business organizations in the United States and abroad, including for the U.S. Foreign Service, CIA and U.S. Institute for Peace, and drive change as elected officials, judges, agency heads, attorneys, public affairs executives, educators at K-12 and university levels, foundation officers and policy advocates. 

Potential job titles include:

  • Campaign staff member
  • Campaign manager
  • Government executive 
  • Governmental affairs director
  • Policy specialist
  • Legislative assistant; and
  • Policy analyst.

In thinking long term, your communication, analytical and research skills and extensive political knowledge prepare you for law school or earning a graduate degree in education, public administration or social services.

Burning Glass Technologies. 2021. Salary numbers and employment growth numbers are based on models that consider advertised job posting salary, Bureau of Labor Statistics data and other proprietary and public sources of information for multiple occupations.
employment growth
Burning Glass Technologies. 2021. Salary numbers and employment growth numbers are based on models that consider advertised job posting salary, Bureau of Labor Statistics data and other proprietary and public sources of information for multiple occupations.
median salary

Program structure

Online bachelor of arts in political science students complete 120 total credit hours. Your major involves 39 to 51 credit hours, and you’re further expected to fulfill university and general education requirements. Due to the degree’s international scope, you’ll additionally take courses in a foreign language.

Your degree may be completed 100% online or involve a mix of on-campus and online courses. All classes use a semester structure. For a general outline, you’ll take five core courses and at least one subject from the following areas: public law, American politics, public policy and administration, comparative politics and international relations. 

Further grow your understanding of government’s effects on society with electives in history, economics, criminal justice or advanced political science topics. To make the jump into your desired career path and apply what you’ve learned, you’re encouraged to participate in an internship experience. 

Toward the completion of the program, you’ll plan, produce and present a research project focusing on a broad political science topic and reflecting your communications, research and analysis skills.

Course work

The online bachelor’s in political science’s core courses introduce you to:

  • The structure and operation of American government and politics
  • Western and non-western systems of government, including structure, ideologies, economics, processes and social institutions
  • International relations, with emphasis on diplomacy, policymaking, nationalism, war and terrorism
  • Political analysis, including inquiry and practical methods, political theories, research and computer tools.

Review the full curriculum and structure for the online bachelor’s in political science.


100% online

Calendar system



The University of Missouri-St. Louis is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States.

Faculty spotlight

David Kimball.

Professor Kimball’s research and teaching focus on American government, election administration, political parties, public opinion, voting behavior and interest groups. He has participated as an expert in several court cases on election administration, voting rights and redistricting. He is the co-author of three books: Helping America Vote, Lobbying and Policy Change, and Why Americans Split Their Tickets. He is co-editor of Controversies in Voting Behavior.

David C. Kimball, PhD
Professor and Chair, Department of Political Science
Anita Manion.

Professor Manion teaches courses in American politics, public policy, leadership, and gender and politics. Along with her teaching experience, Anita brings broad experience in higher education leadership and administration. Her research focuses on the impact of policy on issues of economic inequality — particularly K–12 and higher education policy. Anita is the political analyst for KSDK news (NBC affiliate) and provides political insight for media outlets in the region. She was the recipient of the 2019 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and the 2020 Excellence in Civic Engagement Award.

Anita Manion, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science
Ruth Iyob, PhD

Ruth Iyob specializes in the study of nationalism, conflict resolution, postcolonial citizenship and remittance economies of the regions straddling the African Mediterranean and the Horn of Africa. Dr. Iyob's publications on Eritrea and the Sudan have received international recognition as well as her research on governance, democratization, gendered citizenship and the international relations of the states of the Horn of Africa. She teaches courses on Comparative Politics, Theories of International Relations, Middle East Politics, International Organizations and Global Problem-Solving and Diaspora Politics. In addition to many published articles, she is the co-author of Sudan: The Elusive Quest for Peace and co-editor of Religious Ideas and Institutions: Transitions to Democracy in Africa.

Ruth Iyob, PhD
Professor and Research Fellow in the Center for International Studies, Department of Political Science
Yuguo Liao.

Yuguo Liao’s primary research interests include organizational theory and behavior, local governance and government performance improvement. Liao is interested in the role of public administration in designing mechanisms, creating structures and building capacities to facilitate productive and accountable public management.

Yuguo Liao, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Political Science and Public Policy Administration
Richard T. Middleton

In addition to his role as a professor of political science at the University of Missouri-St. Louis,  Dr. Middleton teaches in the law school at St. Louis University and operates a solo practice emphasizing immigration law and defense of minor civil infractions. He also serves as a volunteer attorney for the MICA Project of St. Louis, and provides basic legal consultations for clients of the Latino Outreach Project of Crisis Nursery. His publishing credentials include numerous journal articles and book chapters, and three books: Cities, Mayors and Race Relations, Unequal Protection of the Law and Unmastering the Script: Education, Critical Race Theory, and the Struggle to Reconcile the Haitian Other in Dominican Identity.  


Richard T. Middleton, IV, PhD, JD
Professor, Department of Political Science

Learn more about this program

This program is administered by the Department of Political Science