Virginia Tech ranks No. 2 in the nation for best online master’s degrees in political science, according to the Guide to Online Schools.

The organization released its rankings this spring based on tuition and mid-career salaries of alumni.

Methods for determining the list include researching tuition rates and using data provided by PayScale that reflected the reported median mid-career (at least 10 years of experience) salaries of alumni from schools, according to the Guide to Online Schools website.

For consideration, schools must be regionally accredited and offer at least one fully online degree in a given subject for the ranked degree level. The Guide to Online Schools only considered schools with reported PayScale salaries.

When Virginia Tech’s online master’s program in political science launched in 1998, it was the first such program created in the United States, said Timothy Luke, a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech and chair of the Department of Political Science.

The program includes the same requirements and curriculum as the on-campus master’s program.

“Both the online and on-campus programs have been recognized as high quality, with high return-on-investment scores,” said Luke.

Andrew Scerri, director of graduate studies and an associate professor in the Department of Political Science, said the online master’s program can also lead to an array of training opportunities.

“The online master’s program offers students opportunities to gain education and certificate-level training in the areas of environmental politics and policy, security studies, political analysis, and information policy,” said Scerri.

To learn more about the political science master’s programs at Virginia Tech, visit the program website.

— Written by Andrew Adkins