Online Master’s Degree in Government

Government leads and controls nations, states, and municipalities, and it creates and carries out legislation that affects American society on multiple levels. Students seeking a masters degree in government, or in American government, are generally interested in political science, public policy, democracy, and the inner workings of Congress and the various bureaucracies that regulate American society. An online masters degree in government allows students to take courses in American politics from the comfort of their own homes or any other location with a reliable Internet connection, accessing their online courses at a time of day that fits best with their schedules. An online masters degree program in government generally takes 1 to two years of full-time work to complete, while part-time students may take three to five years to complete the program. However, program length varies by school and other factors, such as whether a student transfers in prior graduate credits or must complete prerequisite courses.

Classes for an Online Masters Degree in Government

The types of courses a student takes while enrolled in an online masters degree in government will depend on the concentration the student chooses. For instance, a student specializing in public administration will take significantly different courses than a student specializing in political theory. In general, however, courses will help build an in-depth understanding of the history and theories behind American government, and build a student’s skills in social policy analysis and research methods. While course work varies from program to program, a student may encounter the following courses:

  • Constitutional Law and Policy
  • Congressional Leadership
  • Campaign Management and Strategy
  • Political Organizations and Behavior
  • Governmental Research Methods

An online masters government degree typically concludes with a thesis and/or an internship. A master’s thesis is a substantive research project in which a student explores a relevant research question in political management, public administration, public policy, or related area, and produces a document of publishable quality. This thesis is typically defended in front of a faculty panel. Internships, on the other hand, are opportunities to apply what you learn in class in real-world political campaigns, political organizations, or government agencies. Students select an internship site with the approval of faculty and/or program director.

A Career as a Graduate with an Online Masters Degree in Government

Students who earn a masters degree in government can go on to pursue careers in a variety of areas, including government, nonprofits, consulting, international organizations, think tanks, policy analysis, political media, and business. Others may pursue a doctorate in pursuit of careers in research and academia. Others find work in the offices of U.S. senators and members of Congress. Many people with graduate degrees in government and related areas go on to become policy analysts, whose responsibilities include everything from gathering information, studying the potential effects of certain policies, making recommendations, and disseminating information to politicians, government officials, and the public, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Others may pursue careers as legislators, elected officials who write laws at the local, state, and federal levels. While most legislators have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, according to the BLS, a masters degree in an area like public administration or government could be helpful in preparing people for political responsibilities. Other potential careers include regional campaign manager and other campaign staffers, political affairs manager, political editor, political organizer, and more.


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