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EIU Department of Master of Arts in Political Science


The online certificate in Public Planning offers students and professionals in public/nonprofit sectors, campaign management, and lobbying careers with advanced analysis and decision-making tools. The certificate combines coursework in Public Administration and Public Policy with Geographic Information Systems (GIS), providing essential mapping analysis experience. Students interested in careers in urban and regional planning are strongly recommended to enroll in this certificate program.

Our online courses are taught by Political Science and Geography faculty at EIU. We are accessible on campus, via email/video-chat, and via phone. We offer the same mentoring and opportunities to online students as our face-to-face students. 

The certificate requires 9 hours of coursework in GIS:

  • GEO 5810/Introduction to Geographic Information Science (required course)
  • 6 credits from:
    • GEO 4910/GIS Programming
    • GEO 5820/Remote Sensing I
    • GEO 5830/GIS: Building Geodatabases
    • GEO 5870/Remote Sensing II
    • GEO 5880/Geospatial Data Models
    • GIS 5970/Special Topics in Geographic Information Systems

Additionally, students must complete 9 hours in Public Administration and Public Policy:

  • PLS 4763/Environmental Politics & Policy
  • PLS 4793/Civic & Nonprofit Leadership
  • PLS 4893/Budgeting in Government & Nonprofit Organizations
  • PLS 5153/Cities & Urban Policy in the US Federal System
  • PLS 5163/State Governments & Policy in the U.S. Federal System
  • PLS 5543/Proseminar in Public Administration
  • PLS 5843/Proseminar in Public Policy Research & Analysis

Students currently enrolled in the MA in Political Science (both the face-to-face and online options) can enroll in this certificate program, and double-count Public Administration/Public Policy courses--so only 9 additional hours of GIS coursework are required. If you are already enrolled in the MA, you can add this certificate using the Change of Status form.

You can also apply for enrollment in the certificate program, without concurrent MA enrollment. We require applicants to have a minimum 2.75 undergraduate gpa, and submit a professional goals statement, with 2 letters of recommendation. You can begin the process of applying here. Students enrolled in the certificate can count their coursework towards a future MA, though they are not guaranteed admission into the MA program in Political Science.

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Contact Information

Department of Political Science

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

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