Message from the Chair
Dr. Richard A. Wandling, Political Science Chair
We are pleased that you are considering Political Science at Eastern Illinois University— whether you are a high school student making one of the biggest decisions of your life, a community college student preparing to transfer to a four-year institution, a currently enrolled four-year college/university student contemplating transferring to EIU, or an already enrolled Eastern student thinking about us for your major or minor.
Programs and Options
I will start by highlighting Political Science curriculum options at Eastern. The first program to noted is the B.A. in Political Science, which is designed as a flexible program that also covers the key fields in the study of politics — from comparative politics and international relations on through American politics and government, public law, public administration and political theory. If you pay close attention to international issues and world politics, you may decide to go with our long-standing International Studies Option, which enables you to concentrate on comparative politics and international relations courses while including coursework in Economics and History along with foreign language competency at the intermediate level (e.g., Spanish, French, German, etc.).
Our new Option in Civic and Nonprofit Leadership is ideal if you are strongly committed to pursuing careers in a broad range of fields such as local nonprofit management,state and local government agencies, interest groups, advocacy organizations, and international NGOs. Students who select this Option will be able to choose between either a U.S. Leadership and Advocacy Track or a Global Leadership and Advocacy Track.
The Departmental Honors Program is a great opportunity for students with a strong scholarly research orientation. This program features a multi-semester research project that culminates in writing an Undergraduate Honors Thesis during the senior year. Along the way, Departmental Honors students also take one of our 5000-level graduate seminars, which provides an excellent opportunity to experience what graduate school will be like.
We also offer the Political Science Designation in the Social Science Teaching Major Program — a program that prepares students to teach a wide range of social science courses, from politics and government on through History, Economics, Geography, Psychology and Sociology/Anthropology.
Minoring and Double-Majoring
Each year, many Political Science majors also select the interdisciplinary Pre-Law Minor to assist them with academic preparations for law school, and the department also is an active partner in the interdisciplinary Criminology Minor for students considering careers in law enforcement, probation, domestic security or criminal justice administration. Our majors also pursue other interdisciplinary minors which work well with political science--e.g., Environmental Studies, Women's Studies, Africana Studies, Latin American Studies, Asian Studies and Film Studies. We also have majors who pursue Minors in other campus degree programs, such as Business Administration, History, Communication Studies and Military Science.
The Political Science Major at EIU has the needed flexibility to consider a Second Major, and growing numbers of PLS Majors are taking this step. In fact, we have just streamlined the credit hour requirements for the Political Science B.A. program to enhance our major's flexibility for students interested in double-majoring. We recognize that students have a definite advantage after their undergraduate studies if they are broadly trained, and one way of sending this message is the double-major.
Applied and Experiential Learning Opportunities
Political Science students at EIU have a rich variety of opportunities in applied learning and educational and professional development. These include:
- Internships ranging from the courthouse and private law firms on through legislative staffing positions and a variety of government offices and agencies.
- Study Abroad coursework that can be counted toward the Political Science Major along with university degree requirements.
- Government simulations in Moot Court and Model Illinois Government.
- Student associations such as the Political Science Association, Pi Sigma Alpha (the Political Science Honorary Society) and Phi Alpha Delta (the Pre Law Honorary Society).
- Independent studies on a special topic while being directed by a faculty mentor, and also working directly with your professors on research projects that culminate in poster and paper presentations at academic conferences along with university and college research forums and competitions. For example, in recent years our undergraduate students have presented their research at professional conferences such as the Illinois Political Science Association, the Midwest Political Science Association and National Council on Undergraduate Research.
Like Eastern Illinois University, we stand out for the high quality of our professors. The Political Science Department’s professors have a wide range of research and teaching specializations and interests, and they are strongly committed to striking the right balance between research and teaching. Our professors regularly publish their research and scholarship in a number of academic venues — from authoring books on through publishing in scholarly journals and edited volumes. We also encourage our majors and minors to work directly with faculty members on scholarly projects, which is a great way for students to experience first-hand the excitement of investigation of a research question or problem.
In the classroom itself--Eastern’s highest priority — we are committed to challenging our students to develop skills in critical thinking, research, analysis, writing and verbal communication. And it must be noted that EIU's Political Science professors are known among both current majors and our alumni for their accessibility to students and their commitment to our majors' intellectual and professional development.
Should you have any questions or need more information, I encourage you to contact our department. You can reach us at 217-581-2523 , or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be glad to hear from you, and please know that we welcome you to consider scheduling an on-campus visit with us.
Dr. Richard Wandling
Professor and Department Chair