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A Message from the Chair

Welcome to the Department of Political Science website! We appreciate that you are considering our program — 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, or an already enrolled Eastern student thinking about us for your major or minor.

Let me start by highlighting Political Science curriculum options available to you at Eastern. First, we have the regular major in Political Science, which is designed to meet the educational needs of a wide variety of students by exposing them to 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.

Beyond the general major, the Public Administration Concentration is ideal for you if you are strongly committed to pursuing a career in government administration or program management at the federal, state or local levels.

If you love to follow international issues and world politics, you may decide to go with the International Studies Option, which has a strong interdisciplinary focus since it also includes coursework in Economics and History along with foreign language competency at the intermediate level.

The Departmental Honors Program is a good match for academically gifted students who have a strong research orientation that includes the desire to undertake a multi-semester research project that culminates in writing a thesis.

We also wish to bring your attention to other interesting curriculum options. Our department offers a Political Science Designation in the Social Science Teaching Major Program — a program that prepares students to teach a wide range of social science courses, including History, Economics, Geography, Psychology and Sociology/Anthropology along of course with government and politics courses.

Each year, a good number of our Political Science majors also select the interdisciplinary Pre-Law Minor to assist them with academic preparations for law school, and the department is an active partner in the interdisciplinary Criminology Minor for students considering careers in law enforcement, probation, domestic security or criminal justice administration.

We also encourage our majors to consider other interdisciplinary minors in which we offer courses, such as Environmental Studies, Women's Studies, African American Studies, Latin American Studies, Asian Studies and Film Studies.

Beyond the above curriculum options, students have a number of other learning and educational development opportunities as Political Science majors. These include:

  • Internships ranging from the courthouse and private law firms on through legislative staffing positions and a variety of government offices and agencies.
  • Government simulations in Moot Court and Model Illinois Government.
  • Research and writing competitions such as the College of Sciences Scholars in Undergraduate at Eastern Awards and Social Sciences Writing Awards.
  • 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).
  • The opportunity to do independent studies on a special topic while being directed by a faculty mentor, and also to receive conference travel funding support through the department’s own Political Science Student Research Support Fund.

Above all, we must draw your attention to 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 a healthy balance between research and teaching.  Our professors regularly publish their research and scholarship in a variety of academic outlets — from authoring books on through publishing in scholarly journals and edited volumes. And there are opportunities for students to work directly with faculty members on their scholarly projects, which is a great way for students to experience first-hand the excitement of investigation of a research question or problem.

With respect to the classroom — which is Eastern’s highest priority — we are committed to challenging our students to develop their skills in critical thinking, research, analysis, writing and verbal communications. Furthermore, 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, do not hesitate to contact our department. You can reach us at 217-581-2523 , or send me an e-mail at rawandling@eiu.edu.  We will be glad to hear from you. 

Best wishes,
Dr. Richard Wandling
Department Chair