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Best Online Master’s Degrees in: Government

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Explore a Master's Degree in Government

The U.S. government is a complex and expansive system. Learning the ins and outs of it can lead to a successful career. If you're interested in a high-level career in government, you may want to consider earning an online master's degree in government. A bachelor's degree is often required to get into a master's degree program.

Once enrolled in a program, earning a master's degree usually takes around two years, in addition to the time it takes to earn a bachelor's degree. However, the amount of time it takes you to earn your degree will also depend on other factors, such as your ability to successfully complete each course, whether you are a full-time or part-time student, and the specific requirements of your program.

Class Curriculum

A master's degree program in government will teach students about the history, development, and modern structure of the U.S. government, covering each branch and level of government. Programs will have varying curricula, but here are a few of the more common courses found in a government degree program:

  • American Political Thought. In this course, students will learn about the founding principles and philosophy of American government and the U.S. political system. The course will also cover political culture as it relates to the condition of the country's democracy.
  • Bureaucratic Politics. This course will focus on the relationships bureaucracy has with politics, the government, society, and policy making. Students will also learn about current controversies, political issues, and bureaucracy's effect on democratic thought.
  • Theory and Practice in Speechwriting. This course will teach students about the content and structure required for an effective speech. Students will study historical speeches, analyze the impact they had on the public, and discover why they were so effective.

Master's degree programs in government tend to be writing intensive. Many of your assignments will require you to research and write papers and reports about various topics, such as the role of the executive branch, checks and balances in U.S. government, political theories, the development of the modern legislative process, democracy, and the authority of Congress.

Building a Career

An online master's degree in government will give you a thorough understanding of the multiple branches and levels of government, their history, development, structures, roles, and authorities. This knowledge can be used in a variety of careers, including running for elected office. Some of the most popular career choices for government majors are working as a historian, or a public relations manager or specialist, such as a lobbyist, policy consultant, or speechwriter. However, even though your degree will qualify you for these positions, it does not guarantee employment.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides occupational information about historians and public relations managers and specialists. According to the BLS, historians earn an average of $53,520 a year, and the occupation is expected to have an 18% increase in employment through the year 2020. The BLS shows that public relations managers and specialists earn an average of $52,090 a year, and the occupation is expected to have a 23% increase in employment through the year 2020. Keep in mind, though, that your income may differ from the national averages depending on factors such as the level of government you work in, your industry, your location, and your amount of experience.