Political Science

Academic Year: 2009 – 2010

The State of Illinois has one of the nation’s more interesting political cultures. Located in Springfield, the hub of Illinois political activity, UIS is able to provide a laboratory for the study of state and local government and politics.

UIS students encounter political science in a setting where practical politics brings theoretical studies to life. Opportunities for experiential learning are available through a legislative internship program for undergraduate majors and through internships and assistantships for graduates. By using electives in particular areas of public policy and professional studies, students are able to develop research skills and acquire broad academic backgrounds reflecting the rich political resources readily available in the capital city.

Students are encouraged to participate in special activities related to their course of study. The Political Science Department is strongly involved in Model Illinois Government and, with faculty and students in International Studies, in Model United Nations. Students and faculty in Political Science also regularly attend several public affairs conferences.


A major in Political Science provides students with a systematic knowledge of political life, helping them evaluate public issues and make decisions through a balanced program of study in which philosophical, empirical, and policy concerns complement one another. The Political Science curriculum offers a flexible course of study that provides a solid foundation for a career in law, politics, public service, research, or teaching.

The department is strong in the study of American national and state politics, politics and law, political philosophy, and political behavior. Individual faculty have special competencies in such topics as policy analysis, voting behavior, legislative politics, civil liberties, political philosophy, public administration, and the role of symbols in politics. Faculty are also active in the UIS Institute for Legal, Legislative, and Policy Studies and participate in several internship programs sponsored by UIS.

Entrance Requirements
The Political Science Department has no special entrance requirements beyond those required for admission to UIS.

Communication Skills
Both the study and the practice of politics require that students/citizens speak, write, and read well. These skills are also critical for successful careers in government, law, and business.

Entering students are assigned an initial faculty advisor when they declare Political Science as their major field of study. After their first semester, when they are acquainted with the faculty and are more knowledgeable about the department and the campus, students may wish to select permanent advisors. The course of study for the B.A. is planned jointly with the academic advisor, so students should consult with their advisors before each registration and from time to time during the term.

One distinct advantage of the program is its location in Springfield, affording opportunities to participate directly in politics. Cooperation between UIS and governmental and private agencies provides many opportunities for experiential learning in public affairs research and politics.

Major Requirements
Undergraduate majors must take five foundation courses: PSC 201 Introduction to the American Political System; PSC 325 Introduction to Political Philosophy; PSC 371 ECCE: Introduction to Comparative Politics; PSC 373 ECCE: Introduction to International Relations; and PSC 451 Empirical Political Analysis. Students who believe that they have had a comparable course at their four-year or community colleges may petition the department to waive the course requirements. Students may petition to count a maximum of four courses as transfer credit toward the PSC major. Students are encouraged to take the foundation courses, including PSC 451, before taking other 400-level courses. PSC 325 Introduction to Political Philosophy is a prerequisite to advanced courses in political philosophy. PSC 371 ECCE: Introduction to Comparative Politics and PSC 373 ECCE: Introduction to International Relations are prerequisites to advanced courses in comparative and international politics. In addition to the foundation courses, students are required to take 16 hours of PSC electives, of which 12 credits must be at the 400 level. This brings the total hours in the major to 32.

Foundation Courses
PSC 201 Introduction to the American Political System 3 Hrs.
PSC 325 Introduction to Political Philosophy 3 Hrs.
PSC 371 ECCE: Introduction to Comparative Politics 3 Hrs.
PSC 373 ECCE: Introduction to International Relations 3 Hrs.
PSC 451 Empirical Political Analysis 4 Hrs.

Political Science electives
(minimum 12 Hrs. at the 400 level) 16 Hrs.

Students should consult with advisors in the major for specific guidance regarding completion of general education requirements.


This special curriculum is designed for undergraduates who wish to prepare for a career in practical politics. It is an accelerated program that makes it possible for a student majoring in Political Science to complete both the upper-division bachelor’s degree requirements and master’s degree requirements in three years.

Admission to Integrated B.A.-M.A. Program
Students must first be admitted to UIS. Qualifications for admission include a GPA of at least 3.00 for all previous college work and completion of a basic course in American government or PSC 201 Introduction to the American Political System.

Undergraduate Political Science majors may apply for admission any time before registering for the Experiential and Service-Learning Programs internship. However, interested students are encouraged to apply as soon as possible after being admitted to UIS.

Integrated B.A.-M.A. Curriculum
To ensure that students acquire the skills and knowledge needed for effective professional practice in the public sector, three additional courses are required as part of the 32-hour undergraduate major in Political Science: PSC 405 Illinois Government and Politics, PSC 409 Political Parties and Interest Groups, and PSC 451 Empirical Political Analysis.

Students must develop expertise in an area of public policy (i.e., environment, health, or finance) through two significant learning experiences. One of these must be an upper-division or graduate course. The other may be a course or experiential learning in a government position, policy research, or other practical experience in the policy area. Student plans for gaining policy expertise must be approved in advance by the B.A.-M.A. advisor.

The integrated B.A.-M.A. plan includes an enhanced Applied Study Term internship that focuses on political practice. B.A.-M.A. students must have their placements approved by the B.A.-M.A. advisor before registering.

When the student has successfully completed the undergraduate phase of the B.A.-M.A. curriculum, he/she will be admitted to the graduate program. The required internship in the practical politics concentration will be waived — although the student may choose to do an additional internship — and the number of credit hours required for the M.A. will be reduced by eight.


Minor Requirements
To earn a minor in Political Science, students must complete a minimum of 20 semester hours, at least eight of which must be 400-level course work taken at the University of Illinois at Springfield. Required hours vary depending on whether courses are taken at UIS or at a previously attended college, and on the distribution of three- and four-credit classes.

Core Courses
Three of the following six courses:
PSC/LES 201 Introduction to the American Political System 3 Hrs.
PSC/LES 202 Introduction to the American Legal System 3 Hrs.
PSC 325 Introduction to Political Philosophy 3 Hrs.
PSC 371 ECCE: Introduction to Comparative Politics 3 Hrs.
PSC 373 ECCE: Introduction to International Relations 3 Hrs.
PSC 451 Empirical Political Analysis 4 Hrs.

PSC Electives
(minimum two at the 400 level) 11-12 Hrs.


The M.A. degree program is designed to join the basic theoretical pursuits of political science with the practical knowledge needed by effective public officials and political practitioners. The campus’ location in the state capital offers a rich setting for combining theory and practice. The Political Science Department offers sound academic instruction in American state and national politics, public law, international relations, comparative government, and political philosophy. Department faculty augment their academic specialties with a great variety of professional and political experiences. Members of the department have served in state legislatures, as precinct committeepersons, as participants in major civil rights suits, as legislative staff aides, as policy consultants, and in other offices. The faculty encourage students to take full advantage of the academic and professional opportunities offered by UIS and the state capital.

The M.A. degree curriculum is organized to meet the needs of a diverse student body, offering graduate students the option to take a course of study that focuses on either the academic or practical aspect of politics. Because students enter the major with bachelor’s degrees in a variety of social sciences and humanities, the M.A. curriculum is centered in several required courses that provide essential concepts and skills. For that reason, all students who have not taken an undergraduate research methods course are required to take PSC 451 Empirical Political Analysis to prepare them in research and quantitative methods. A range of options in subject-matter seminars, elective courses, and internships allow students to tailor their courses of study to their individual professional aspirations. The department is particularly well organized for students who want to pursue careers in practical politics at the state level or in agencies involved in international policy making, for those who are preparing to teach, and for those who aspire to an advanced degree in political science or law.

ACADEMIC POLITICS CONCENTRATION. The Political Science curriculum ensures that competence is coupled with understanding. Courses in the academic politics concentration examine political structures, historic changes in political structures and the larger human meaning of competence in the areas of electoral and legislative systems, law and civil liberties, political philosophy, international relations, and comparative politics. Students are also encouraged to seek appropriate instruction from faculty in public administration, economics, legal studies, and women and gender studies, among other areas.

This field is important to students who are seeking teaching careers at the secondary, community college, or university level, or who plan to study toward the doctorate. Sound academic course work and the hands-on experience are both important political science experiences for in-service teachers and for those preparing to teach. Interested students can combine course work in several subfields of particular interest to teachers of world politics, American government, Illinois history and government, and other aspects of civic education. Students may also arrange special teaching internships.

Graduate students in Political Science may also shape their M.A. programs to the special requirements of advanced degrees. Students who anticipate entering law school can tailor a program that draws on the resources of legal studies. For those interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in political science, the subject-matter seminars offer graduate preparation in the standard fields required for doctoral study.

For those interested in international affairs and comparative politics, the department offers a special combination of courses and practice-related experiences. Internships are available in selected agencies of Illinois government that have international policies and programs. Because Political Science is a part of the campus’ interdisciplinary committee on international studies, students are encouraged to take courses on international subjects in several academic departments.

PRACTICAL POLITICS CONCENTRATION. A concentration is offered for those who wish to specialize in practical politics. Students are expected to sharpen the skills and understanding required of thoughtful and effective practitioners in elective and appointive public service. Instruction involves consultation with experienced representatives of government and government-related endeavors in the capital. Students learn political and policy research, organizing and lobbying skills, campaign techniques, and an array of analytical approaches to policy making in partisan and nonpartisan settings.

Practical knowledge is intelligence in context. All graduate students in Political Science have opportunities to enhance their skill and understanding in actual political settings. The department has developed a broad range of internship experiences with legislative staffs and agencies, legislative liaisons, lobbyists, public interest groups, political consultants, and campaign organizations. These learning experiences ensure that M.A. students are effective learners both in the classroom and in the field and that they can transfer their learning from one setting to another, as the professional practice of politics requires.

Admission to the Program
The program encourages diversity among its graduate population and so admits students who have been trained in most undergraduate fields of study. For those lacking a strong undergraduate background in political science, history, or the social sciences, admission is conditional upon completion of two or more courses designated by the program committee. Prospective students who do not hold a B.A. degree should investigate the requirements for alternative admission discussed in this catalog.

Communication Skills
Successful performance in practical politics and political science requires ability to write and speak persuasively and to present sophisticated information and complex subject matter directly and plausibly. Completion of PSC 501 Introduction to the Graduate Study of Politics will verify satisfaction of the communication skills requirement.

On admission to the program, students are assigned an initial advisor. After a semester a student may select his or her permanent academic advisor. This faculty member assists the student as thesis advisor, supervisor for internships and practice units, and academic counselor in devising an appropriate program of study. The advisor also monitors student progress in satisfying the requirements of the degree.

Students must have a grade average of B to qualify for the M.A. degree. A maximum of eight semester hours of C may be applied toward the degree so long as each hour of C is balanced by an hour of A. In no circumstances, however, may a grade lower than B in PSC 501 Introduction to the Graduate Study of Politics be counted toward the degree. For students choosing the CR/NC option, a CR represents work equivalent to B, meaning that grades of CR may be counted toward the master’s degree.

Program Requirements
The M.A. in Political Science is a 40-hour program with a required 28-hour minimum of 500-level courses.

Students may apply credits earned from the Graduate Public Service Internship or the Illinois Legislative Staff Internships for program internship requirements.

Electives may be selected from a wide range of courses in Political Science and related disciplines. Students may take up to 12 semester hours of 400-level courses for graduate credit. When they take 400-level courses, graduate students are held to a higher standard of performance and must complete additional requirements.

Further information on program requirements may be found on the Political Science webpage .

Master’s Closure Requirement
Every graduate degree candidate is required to complete a closure exercise demonstrating mastery of some area within the major field of study. Political Science students have three options for fulfilling this requirement: 1) comprehensive examination, 2) participant/observer case study, and 3) master’s thesis.

Students must enroll for four hours’ credit in PSC 590 Closure Exercise for one of the options listed above. Campus policy requires that students be enrolled in at least one semester hour of master’s closure exercise each semester after they have begun their graduate closure exercise until that exercise is completed. For PSC students, this means that if the case study/thesis is not completed by the end of the initial four hours of enrollment in PSC 590, students must register for PSC 591 (zero credit hours, one billable hour) in all subsequent fall and spring semesters until the exercise is completed.

Concentration in Academic Politics (40 Hrs.)
Foundation Seminars:
PSC 501 Introduction to the Graduate Study of Politics 4 Hrs.
PSC 502 Methods of Inquiry 4 Hrs.
PSC 503 Graduate Research Methods 4 Hrs.

Subject Matter Seminars: (three required)
PSC 511 Seminar in American Politics 4 Hrs.
PSC 512 Seminar in State Politics 4 Hrs.
PSC 513 Seminar in Politics and Law 4 Hrs.
PSC 514 Seminar in Political Philosophy 4 Hrs.
PSC 515 Seminar in International Relations 4 Hrs.
PSC 516 Seminar in Comparative Politics 4 Hrs.
PSC 517 Seminar on Congress 4 Hrs.
PSC 518 Seminar on Public Policy 4 Hrs.

Internships: (not required, may do one as an elective)
PSC 520 Internship in Teaching Process 4 Hrs.
PSC 521 Internship in the Electoral Process 4 Hrs.
PSC 522 Internship in the Legislative Process 4 Hrs.
PSC 523 Internship in the Executive Process 4 Hrs.
PSC 524 Internship in International Policy 4 Hrs.

Electives 8-12 Hrs.

PSC 590 Closure Exercise: (choose one) 4 Hrs.
Comprehensive Examination
Participant/Observer Case Study

Concentration in Practical Politics (40 Hrs.)
Foundation Seminars:
PSC 501 Introduction to the Graduate Study of Politics 4 Hrs.
PSC 502 Methods of Inquiry 4 Hrs.

Subject Matter Seminar:
PSC 511 Seminar in American Politics or PSC 512 Seminar in State Politics 4 Hrs.

Advanced Seminars:
PSC 562 Practical Politics Seminar in Political Campaigns or
PSC 563 Practical Politics Seminar in Lobbying or
PSC 564 Practical Politics Seminar in Policy Formation,
Analysis and Presentation 4 Hrs.

Internships: (choose one, no more than two)
PSC 520 Internship in Teaching Process 4 Hrs.
PSC 521 Internship in the Electoral Process 4 Hrs.
PSC 522 Internship in the Legislative Process 4 Hrs.
PSC 523 Internship in the Executive Process 4 Hrs.
PSC 524 Internship in International Policy 4 Hrs.

Electives 12-16 Hrs.

PSC 590 Closure Exercise: (choose one) 4 Hrs.
Comprehensive Examination
Participant/Observer Case Study


Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts, Undergraduate Minor


Adriana Crocker, Hilary Frost-Kumpf, Richard Gilman-Opalsky, Ronald Michaelson, Tim Miller, Christopher Mooney, Calvin Mouw, Ali Nizamuddin, Jason Pierceson, Stephen Schwark, John Transue, Pinky Wassenberg
Associated Faculty: Peter Boltuc, Heather Dell, Charles Wheeler
Emeritus Faculty: Craig Brown, Larry Golden, Hugh Harris, Naomi B. Lynn, Kent Redfield, Robert Sipe, Jack Van Der Slik
Adjunct Faculty: Erik Dillman, William G. Hall, Chris McDonald


Phone: 217/206-6646
Email: PSC@uis.edu
Website: www.uis.edu/politicalscience