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EIU Department of Political Science

About the Program

Studying Political Science at Eastern Illinois University

At EIU Political Science majors select courses from a variety of fields: comparative politics and international relations; American politics, public policy and public administration; and public law and political theory.  Our students also take several foundation courses, such as Political Science Research and Introduction to Public Policy, to prepare them for advanced courses and for doing research on politics, government and policies.

We have a variety of programs available to Political Science students, with students able to select among the following:

  • The B.A. in Political Science
  • Political Science Major with an International Studies Option
  • The Option in Civic and Nonprofit Leadership for Political Science Majors, with students choosing between two Tracks:
    • U.S. Leadership and Advocacy
    • Global Leadership and Advocacy
  • Departmental Honors Program
  • Social Science Teaching Major with a Designation in Political Science
  • Minors in Political Science and Civic and Nonprofit Leadership, along with department participation in Interdisciplinary minors such as Pre-Legal Studies, Criminology, Women’s Studies, Latin American Studies, Africana Studies, Environmental Studies and the recently created Rural Studies Minor.

We are particularly excited about implementing the new Civic and Nonprofit Leadership Option.  We view this option as a great opportunity for our majors to broaden their educational background and professional credentials for taking on the challenges, issues and problems of a rapidly changing world.  Students who select this Option will take classes in Civic and Nonprofit Leadership, Human Resource Management in Government and Nonprofits and Budgeting in Government and Nonprofits, while tailoring their program to their academic and professional goals through opting for one or the other of two tracks: (a) U.S. Leadership and Advocacy and (b) Global Leadership and Advocacy.

Students say that they love the small class sizes and personal contact they have with the Political Science faculty at Eastern.  Our classes encourage debate and discussion and provide numerous opportunities for active student learning.  We value applied, experiential learning such as internships, government simulations, independent studies and Study Abroad.  Also, our majors take a Capstone course that focuses on fusing student knowledge and investigative interests with research methods and strategies.  A highlight of the capstone course is the end-of-semester research project posters session.  The end result is students who leave campus with the communication, research, and writing skills that are so valuable in today’s ever-changing economy, globalized society and complex political environment.

Political Science Majors--Actively Engaged and Civic Minded

Our majors are actively involved both on campus and in the community.  The department offers government simulations in Moot Court and Model Illinois Government, which provide a window into the realities and challenges of the worlds of law, politics and policymaking.  Students also can join the Political Science Association to get involved in campus activities related to government and politics.  Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honorary Society, is available for students who develop a record of academic excellence, and pre-law students may join the Pre-Law Society.

We also stand out for the number of our majors who assume campus leadership positions in student government and other university organizations, and our majors also participate in a variety of service activities (e.g., alternative spring break).  And speaking of the campus leadership area, there's a pretty good chance that one of the top officer positions in EIU Student Government will be held by a Political Science Major--e.g., Reginald Thedford as President in AY 2014-15 and Shirmeen Ahmad as President in the 2015-16 academic year.  These students not only are applying their political science knowledge and skills but also getting excellent experience in the leadership arena.

Other Opportunities for our Majors include:

  • Research paper and poster presentations  such as at Showcase EIU and off-campus conferences (e.g., the Illinois Political Science Association, the Midwest Political Science Association and the National Council of Undergraduate Research).
  • Independent Study projects under the direction of Political Science professors-- as one more example of EIU’s strong commitment to faculty mentoring of undergraduate students.
  • Internships such as with legislative staff, government agencies, law offices and non-profit organizations.
  • EIU Study Abroad  for credit that counts toward university and Political Science Major degree requirements.
  • Excellent graduate school and law school placement records, including the opportunity to pursue a Masters in Political Science at EIU immediately following graduation.

What can you do with a Political Science degree from Eastern Illinois University?

            Just about everyone who has studied political science has been asked this question.  Political Science majors pursue employment in a variety of fields, ranging from government to the private sector, along with ever-increasing opportunities for positions and careers in non-profit and advocacy-based organizations.  Furthermore, the broad scope of the political science major—including the skills acquired in critical thinking, research and analysis, writing, and verbal communications—means that our graduates rank high on flexibility in a changing and sometimes uncertain job market.  In sum, political science majors do well, whether they are moving on to graduate studies or law school or directly entering the workforce upon graduation.

 Examples of job titles of EIU Political Science graduates:

  • District office manager for Congressional Representative
  • Revenue Officer,  Internal Revenue Service
  • Foreign Affairs Officer, U.S. State Department
  • Special Agent, Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Human Resource Specialist, federal government agency
  • Committee Staffer, Illinois House and Senate Democrats and Republicans
  • Budget Analyst, Illinois Office of Management and Budget
  • Personnel Liaison, Illinois Office of the Governor
  • Management Analyst, state government department
  • Legislative Liaison, state government department
  • County/Regional Planner
  • City Human Resource Department Director
  • Director of Planning and Programming, county government league
  • City Administrator
  • Social Sciences Teacher, high school
  • Political Science Instructor, community college; Professor, university
  • Fund Development Officer, public university
  • Director of Constituent Relations, state public university
  • Government Relations/Public Relations Director, state school officials association
  • Educational Leadership Consultant, national sorority office
  • Adult Education Advisor, community college
  • Budget and Data Analyst, private university
  • Organizer, labor union
  • Public Affairs Associate, non-profit organization
  • Reporter/Political Analyst, newspaper
  • Police Officer
  • Legal Assistant, law firm
  • Legal Researcher, Law Publishing Firms
  • Attorney positions in Private Law Firms; State’s Attorney offices; Public Defender offices; and Legal Advocacy organizations
  • Terrorism Research Analyst, state police department
  • Product Manager, online sales network firm
  • Product Support Manager, manufacturing firm
  • Corporate Logistics Analyst
  • Human Resources Manager, corporation
  • Financial Advisor, investment firm
  • Sales Manager/Representative positions
  • Vice-President, health care supplies corporation
  • Government Relations Director, major regional energy corporation

For the most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor political science job statistics, click here


Related Pages

Contact Information

Department of Political Science

Eastern Illinois University
600 Lincoln Avenue
Charleston, IL 61920
Fax: 217-581-2926

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