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Undergraduate Programs

Major in Political Science

A program of study in Political Science furthers student awareness and understanding of political concepts processes, assists the student in developing critical and analytical abilities, and creates a knowledgeable citizen. Completion of a curriculum in political science provides an individual with a broad background preparatory to a number of careers. Among those are government service, politics, business, teaching, research in political science, and entry into law and other graduate schools. Students may major or minor in political science.

Major in Political Science Beginning Fall 2021

The major in political science requires a minimum of 36 semester hours and leads to a Bachelor of Arts degree. A minor or second major is required. The requirements for a major include the following 15 hours of core courses:

  • PS 110: American National Government
  • PS 250: International Politics
  • PS 275: Introduction to Citizenship
  • PS 499: Senior Seminar in Government (Students are advised to take all core courses before enrolling in PS 499.)
  • PS 301: Using Statistics in Political Science or PS 302: Research Design in Political Science

In addition to the 15 core hours, students are required to take an additional 9 hours selecting one course from each of the following categories: Comparative Politics/Area Studies, Institutions, and Policy & Behavior

For additional information on the Political Science major and full listing of available courses, please visit the WKU Undergraduate Course Catalog.

Minor in Political Science

The minor in political science requires a minimum of 21 semester hours with at least one-half of the hours to be earned at the 300-level or above. The requirements for a minor include the following:

6 hours of core courses: PS 110 (American National Government) and PS 250 (International Politics) or PS 260 (Introduction to Comparative Politics).

In addition to 6 core hours, students are required to select 15 additional hours to complete the minor. No more than three hours total may come from PS 403, 405, 407 and 498. PS 324 and 325 can both be repeated once. Only 3 hours can be used for the minor and 3 hours as general electives.

Major in International Affairs

The major in International Affairs (reference number 702) requires a minimum of 42 semester hours and leads to a bachelor of arts degree. At least 23 hours must be at the 300-level or above. A minor or second major is required. The requirements for a major include the following 21 hours of core courses:

A. PS 250 (International Politics)
B. PS 260 (Introduction to Comparative Politics)
C. PS 357 (U.S. Foreign Policy)
D. PS 497 (Senior Seminar in International Affairs)
E. HIST 120 (Western Civilization Since 1648)
F. ECON 202 (Principles of Economics-Micro) or ECON 203 (Principles of Economics-Macro)
G. GEOG 110 (World Regional Geography)

In addition to the 21 core hours, students also required to take 12 hours of Political Science electives and 9 hours of electives academic disciplines outside of Political Science with no more than 6 hours from one academic discipline.

For additional information on the International Affairs major and full listing of available courses, please visit the WKU Undergraduate Course Catalog.

Students pursuing a degree in international affairs are strongly encouraged to participate in a study abroad program or an international internship experience.

Paralegal Studies

Associate of Arts (AA)

The Associate of Arts Degree in Paralegal Studies requires a minimum of 66 credit hours and is designed to be completed in four semesters/two years of full-time enrollment.

Bachelor of Arts (BA) 

The Bachelors of Arts Degree in Paralegal Studies requires a minimum of 120 credit hours and is designed to be completed in eight semesters/four years of full-time enrollment. No minor is required.


Graduate Programs

Masters of Public Administration


The MPA program is designed to prepare students for careers in the management of public and nonprofit organizations through a curriculum that emphasizes the study of organizational dynamics, the legal, ethical, and political context of public administration, management techniques, and the analysis of public policies. In addition to completing 36 credit hours, students must complete a Capstone course.

Required Core Courses: 18 hours

1) PS 501 – Research Methods in Public Administration provides analysis and descriptions of the logic and procedures necessary for valid political inquiry.

2)PS 530– Public Sector Organizations explores the behavior and problems of public organizations in democratic environments, and links societal values to administration structure and behavior.

3)PS 538 – Public Service Ethics examines the ethical side of public decision making and the values the American political system is designed to promote and protect.

4) PS 541– Human Resources Management in Public Administration provides a systematic survey of public personnel administration in the U.S. and discusses the development of modern personnel systems in the public sector while emphasizing contemporary trends at the national, state, and local levels of government.

5) PS 542–Public & Nonprofit Budgeting provides a study of the financial administration process of government, with emphasis on local government; subjects covered range from budgeting to risk management.

6) PS 560–Public Policy Theory demonstrates the theoretical approaches to the analysis of public policy, policymaking, and policy implementations and to such topics as health and welfare, poverty, education, and urban affairs.


PS 562 – Public Policy Implementation & Evaluation examines the various approaches and techniques for evaluating public problems.

7) PS 590 – Capstone in Public Administrationserves as the culminating event for the MPA degree; the capstone experience gives students the opportunity to relate the many different elements of the graduate program to one another and to reinforce the practical applications of the different concepts and perspectives learned.

PS 500 - Workshops in Public Administration emphasizes important and changing topics relevant to people working in the public, not-for-profit and private sectors. (1.5 hours, may be repeated for credit)

PS 512 - Kentucky Government and Politics Traces the government and political development of the state from its constitutional beginning to the present. Primary focus is on the major factors and issues in the state's political development within the context of the national government setting.

PS 520 - Elements of Public Administration is an introductory survey of governmental administration; emphasizes relationships between political issues and the practice of administration in areas such as organizational structures, personnel and financial management, control and accountability, and ethical issues.

PS 526 – Local Government Administration provides a foundation and understanding of local government administration for students and future practitioners in public administration.

PS 549 - Special Problems in Public Administration provides a seminar approach to contemporary problems in public organizations reflecting political/managerial developments; topics reflect both student and professional needs.

PS 550 - Cultural Competencies for Public Administrators provides a specific set of skills so that practitioners in public administration can communicate and interact productively with a diverse and changing workforce and citizenry

PS 554 - Cross-Sector Collaboration & Conflict explores the importance of intersectoral relationships (between the public, nonprofit, and for-profit sectors) to good public governance.

PS 564 - Nonprofits & Public Policy explores the connections between nonprofit organizations and public policy

PS 566 - Environmental Politics & Public Policyexplores the politics surrounding the creation, implementation, and evaluation of environmental policy.

PS 580 - Directed Study allows for faculty guidance of student research in one or more selected fields of political science.

3 hours internship

All MPA students are required to complete an internship with an approved public service organization. Students who are currently employed or have previous relevant employment experience in a public or nonprofit organization may have the internship requirement waived and instead complete a field-based research project. The internship (or field-based research project) requirements are fulfilled as part of the Capstone experience in PS 590.

Students who wish to complete additional internship opportunities can enroll in PS 595 or PS 598:

PS 595 - Washington Internship and Seminar offers an individualized internship and/or seminar experience in Washington, D.C. tailored to the student's area of interest.

PS 598 - Internship in Public Administration provides work experience in a public sector or non-profit agency combined with faculty direction.


Certificate in Local Government Administration

The Department of Political Science now offers a graduate certificate in Local Government Administration. The certificate can be taken by itself or in conjunction with the pursuit of the master's in public administration or a graduate degree in another field. Course credits earned in the certificate program can be applied to the MPA. It is possible for students to complete their MPA with an emphasis in Local Government Management and receive the graduate certificate without completing additional coursework.

While local governments are facing greater demands, they have limited resources to meet these increased expectations. Enhanced professionalism and efficiency play a central role in the ability of local government and local government officials to address these challenges. The graduate certificate in Local Government Administration will help develop skills and knowledge needed to increase the effectiveness of local governments.

The Local Government Administration Certificate highlights the basics of local government administration, while also addressing emerging trends in areas like e-governance. The certificate requires 12 hours and can be earned online within a period of one year.

Required Courses (6 hours)

PS 526 Local Government Administration
PS 528 Civic Engagement & E-Governance

Elective Courses (6 hours)

PS 520 Elements of Public Administration        
PS 512 Kentucky Government & Politics
PS 550 Cultural Competencies for Public Administrators      
PS 554 Cross-Sector Collaboration & Conflict
PS 562 Public Policy Implementation & Evaluation       

While in the MPA Program and with proper planning you can earn two graduate level credentials at the same time - a Graduate Certificate in a specialized area and a Master’s Degree. Often, earning a Certificate while you pursue a Master’s Degree will save you some or all of the hours that would normally go to earning the Certificate. To learn more about what Certificates you can earn, click here!

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 Your Future Begins Here

The Political Science Department prepares students from diverse backgrounds to be productive leaders in their communities by sharing knowledge, encouraging excellence in research and practice, and fostering an environment of professionalism. 

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 Last Modified 11/10/22