Political science is the study of government systems, both in theory and in practice. A master's degree in political science can lead to many career paths, including positions in government, international organizations, non-profit organizations, journalism, research and education. While there are numerous degree programs to choose from in political science, some schools stand out from the crowd.

Harvard University

Harvard University houses the largest university library in the world, so students have access to a vast array of academic and research resources. The Department of Government offers a master's degree program in political science, but only as part of the larger Ph.D. program. Students can focus on American politics, political theory, comparative politics and international relations. They can also explore areas such as quantitative methods, formal theory and political economy. As students near graduation, the University's Office of Career Services offers career development assistance, helping match students with open opportunities and setting up meetings with potential employers.

Duke University

The graduate program at Duke University is ranked among the top ten political science programs in the country. Students focus on areas of study that include political institutions, political economy, security, peace and conflict, political behavior and identity, political methodology and normative political theory and philosophy. Students are also encouraged to pursue studies in other departments to build personalized curriculum with courses such as history, philosophy or economics. The university offers an exchange program with many schools in Europe, so students can achieve an international/global view of their political studies.

New York University

Students attending The Wilf Family Department of Politics at New York University (NYU) can earn one of three master's degrees, including a Master of Arts in international relations, Master of Arts in politics and a Master of Arts in international relations and journalism. Coursework includes seminars and workshops, and students are required to complete a thesis. The program also takes advantage of its New York City location to assist students with internship placements at major political and non-profit organizations. "US News and World Report" ranked NYU's program the 15th best graduate program in political science in 2013.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The Department of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) offers a one-year intensive program that is usually completed over three consecutive fall, spring and summer semesters. It is a research-based program that focuses on the political challenges of modern societies around the globe. The program stresses the importance of field work, and offers courses in conjunction with Harvard University. Students must chose a concentration in one of five fields of study including American politics, comparative politics, international relations, models and methods or security studies, and complete a thesis in their area of concentration.

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