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 Dr. Richard A. Wandling, Political Science Chair

 Prospective Students:

We appreciate 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.

Curriculum and Programs

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 love to follow international issues and world politics, you may decide to go with the 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.).

The Departmental Honors Program is a great opportunity for academically gifted 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.

Our newly approved Option in Civic and Nonprofit Leadership, which goes into effect in Fall 2015, 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, civic leadership, interest groups, 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.

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.

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.

The Political Science Major at EIU has the needed flexibility to consider a Second Major, and each year some PLS Majors take this step.  Related to this, the opportunity to pursue a double-major becomes more flexible for incoming Fall 2015 Majors, since for those students we have reduced the total required hours for the Political Science Major (i.e., for students not selecting an Option) from 46 to 40 credit hours.

We also have majors who pursue Minors in other campus degree programs, such as the Business Administration Minor, the History Minor or the Military Science Minor. 

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.
  • Government simulations in Moot Court and Model Illinois Government.
  • Study Abroad coursework that can be counted toward the Political Science Major along with university degree requirements.
  • 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.
  • 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).

Faculty Excellence

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--which clearly is 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.

An Invitation

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 rawandling@eiu.edu.  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