The Bachelor’s Degree

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, comparative and international politics, and political behavior. Individual faculty have special competencies in such topics as public opinion, elections and election reform, voting behavior, legislative politics, state politics and policy, human rights, women’s rights, sexuality and politics, globalization, critical theory, international political economy, and American foreign policy. Faculty are also active in the UIS Institute for Legal, Legislative, and Policy Studies and participate in several internship programs sponsored by UIS.


Entering students are assigned to an undergraduate college advisor when they declare Political Science as their major field of study. They will also be assigned a faculty advisor. After their first semester, when students are acquainted with the faculty and are more knowledgeable about the department and the campus, they may wish to select a specific faculty advisor. The course of study for the B.A. is planned jointly with the college advisor, so students should consult with their advisor before each registration and from time-to-time during the semester.

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.

Grading Policy

The Political Science department has no grading policy different from that used by the UIS campus.

Honors in Political Science

Students with at least 15 completed hours in Political Science courses with a minimum 3.50 GPA in those courses may apply for participation in the department’s honors program. To graduate with Honors in Political Science, students must successfully complete an independent research project in PSC 486 Honors Closing Seminar. Students in the department’s honors program are also able to take a graduate-level course in Political Science as an elective. (Please be aware that any graduate-level course counted toward credit in a student’s undergraduate degree cannot later be counted toward a graduate degree.)

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.

Degree Requirements

Following is a list of required courses. Students who believe that they have had a comparable course at their four-year or community colleges may submit a Student Petition  to department to waive the course requirements. Students may submit a Student 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.

Core Courses
PSC/LES 201 Introduction to the American Political System 3
PSC 325 Introduction to Political Philosophy 3
PSC 371 ECCE: Introduction to Comparative Politics 3
PSC 373 Introduction to International Relations 3
PSC 451 Empirical Political Analysis 3
PSC 485 Closing Seminar 2
or PSC 486 Honors Closing Seminar
Political Science electives 1
Must be at the 300- and 400-level. 15
Total Hours 32

Students should consult with academic advisors in the major for specific guidance regarding completion of general education requirements. Students seeking a double major in Political Science and Legal Studies may count cross-listed courses with a Legal Studies (LES) prefix as electives in Political Science and may count cross-listed courses with a Political Science (PSC) prefix as electives in Legal Studies. These students may also use PSC 451 toward the Legal Studies’ requirement LES 472.

Engagement Experience/ECCE

Political Science students are required to complete a minimum of 10 semester hours of Engaged Citizenship Common Experience (ECCE) requirements in the areas of U.S. Communities, Engagement Experience, and ECCE Speaker Series.

In political science, all majors must complete six hours of Engagement Experience – an internship program which emphasizes improvement of the student’s ability to learn from experience, career assessment, relationships between theory and practice, and realistic appreciation of public affairs. The PSC department requires that students use six hours of ECCE credit toward the Engagement Experience. Students fulfill this requirement by enrolling in IPL 300 for six credit hours.

Students must also take a three hour U. S. Communities Course as a part of completing ECCE requirements.

If a student can justify a different distribution of the 10-hour requirement, (s)he may claim an exception to the rule by petitioning the Political Science department.