Why Study Political Science?
What’s the Political Science Major Like?
The study of political science involves several fields and concentrations. At Eastern, majors take courses from each field, including American politics, comparative politics, international relations, public administration, public law, and political theory. Our students also take several foundation courses to prepare them for their advanced courses and for doing research. Besides the general major in Political Science, opportunities for Political Science majors include:
- The Major in Political Science with an International Studies Option
- A Public Administration Concentration
- The Departmental Honors Program, which is available to students with superior academic achievements and abilities
- The Social Science Teaching Major with a Designation in Political Science
- Interdisciplinary Pre-Legal Studies and Criminology Minors
- The M.A. in Political Science Program
- And for other interested non-majors, there is a Minor in Political Science.
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, thus providing numerous opportunities for active student learning. Most advanced classes also require research papers or projects. These communication, research, and writing skills are highly valuable in today's job market.
What do Political Science Students do?
Our majors are involved in numerous activities on campus and in the community. The department offers government simulations in Moot Court and Model Illinois Government, and students involved in these simulations regularly receive recognition at the state and national levels. 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. Also, many of our majors enjoy getting involved in student government and other organizations on campus. Our majors have held positions such as Student Body President, Speaker of the Student Senate, and Vice President for Academic Affairs.
The Department also has additional opportunities for students to learn about the study of Political Science. The political science faculty encourage students to present their research papers or posters on campus and at off-campus conferences. To this end, the department has created the Political Science Student Research Support Fund to assist students with travel, lodging and registration costs associated with professional and student conferences. For example, in Spring 2013 undergraduate majors made research persentations at the Midwest Political Science Association Annual Conference (Chicago) and the Annual Conference for Students of Political Science. Internships also are available to students at sites such as legislative offices, government agencies, and law firms. And the department works with the university’s Study Abroad Office to promote international studies for its majors. Above all, the department has an excellent graduate school and law school placement record, including the opportunity to pursue a Masters in Political Science at EIU immediately following graduation.
What can you do with a Political Science degree?
Just about everyone who has studied political science has been asked this question. You don’t have to be a politician—although our major is a great foundation for building a career in politics. And you don’t have to be a lawyer, though a degree in Political Science is great preparation for law school.
Political Science majors pursue careers in a variety of fields, ranging from government to the private sector. Furthermore, the broad scope of the political science major allows our graduates flexibility in a changing job market.
Some Examples of EIU Political Science Alumni Job Titles, to illustrate the rich variety of career paths available to students with a Political Science Major
- Caseworker/district office manager for Congressional Representative
- Investigator, Internal Revenue Service
- Foreign Affairs Officer, U.S. State Department
- Special Agent, Federal Bureau of Investigation
- Committee Staffer, Illinois House and Senate Democrats and Republicans
- Budget Analyst, Illinois Office of Management and Budget
- Personnel Liaison, Illinois Office of the Governor
- Campaign Finance Director, congressional campaign
- Management Analyst, state government department
- County/Regional Planner
- City Personnel Services Director
- Transportation Liaison, county government league
- City Administrator
- Police Officer
- Legal Researcher, Law Publishing Firms
- Attorney positions in Private Law Firms; State’s Attorney offices; Public Defender offices; and Legal Advocacy organizations
- Circuit Court Judge
- Vice-President, health care supplies corporation
- Product Support Manager, manufacturing firm
- Corporate Logistics Analyst
- Human Resources Manager, corporation
- Financial Advisor, investment firm
- Sales Manager/Representative positions
- Government Relations Officer, corporation
- Social Sciences Teacher, high school
- Instructor, community college
- Professor, university
- Fund Development Officer, public university
- Reporter/Political Analyst, newspaper
- Lobbyist, State government
- Educational Leadership Consultant, national sorority office
- Organizer, labor union
- Public Affairs Associate, non-profit organization