Facebook Pixel Courses | Western Kentucky University Skip to main content


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.

The major in political science requires a minimum of 33 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 18 hours of core courses:

  • PS 110
  • PS 499 (Students are advised to take all core courses before enrolling in PS 499.)
  • Four of the following six courses ( one of which must be PS 250 or PS 260): PS 201, 250, 260, 301, 330, 435.

In addition to the 18 core hours, students are required to select 15 additional hours to complete the major. At least 17 credit hours in the major must be at the 300-level or higher. No more than 6 hours total can come from PS 403, 405, 407 and 498. PS 324 and 325 can both be repeated once. Three hours of credit from PS 324 and 325 can be used for the major, and three hours from each can be used as general electives.

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 requires a minimum of 45 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:

  1. 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)

Students are advised to take all core courses before enrolling in PS 497.
In addition to the 21 core hours, students are required to select 12 additional hours in political science from PS 200, 267, 299, 301, 303, 350, 355, 360, 361, 362, 363, 365, 366, 367, 368, 449, 450, 457, and 460. Students may also
enroll in PS 403, 405, or 407 for a total of three hours. (Note: PS 200 is cross-listed as HIST 200, GEOG 200, and SPAN 200 and can be taken only once.)

The remaining 12 hours of electives should be chosen from the following courses with no more than 6 semester hours from one academic discipline. Students should consult the appropriate department and course catalog for prerequisites. AFAM 343, ANTH 120, ANTH 360, COMM 463, ECON 380, FIN 433, FIN 436, GEOG 330, GERM 202, HIST 299, MGT 303, MGT 316, MKT 324, RELS 305, SOCL 240, SPAN 373. Other courses may meet this requirement with approval from International Affairs faculty.


Additional baccalaureate degree requirements for students pursuing a major in international affairs:

Students are required to take a modern language through the intermediate level (201 and 202). For modern languages not taught at Western Kentucky University, students should consult with the Department of Modern Languages for transfer and testing information.

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 management, management techniques, and the analysis of public policies. In addition to completing 39 credit hours, students must pass a comprehensive examination which is offered each semester, including summer.

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, policy-making, 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.

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 510 - Problems in National Government includes research, reports, and discussion of selected aspects of national government.

PS 511 - Seminar in State Government explores selected problems of state governments and their sub-units.

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 524- Administrative Law involves the study of the development of and trends in administrative law with emphasis on the problems caused by the exercise of quasi legislative judicial powers by administrative agencies, including the rights, duties and liabilities of public officials, relief against administrative action, jurisdiction, conclusiveness and judicial control.

PS 528 - Civic Engagement and E-Governance provides a foundation and understanding of civic engagement and e-governance for students and future practitioners in public administration.

PS 543 - Politics and Administration in Rural Communities is a study of political and administrative institutions, processes and issued associated with local governments in rural communities.

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 Policy explores 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

Internship requirement can be satisfied by one of the following options with consent of MPA academic adviser:

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.

PS 595 or PS 598 can be substituted with:

PS 597 - Professional Seminar in Public Administration incorporates principles and techniques in the practice of public administration. Case studies and contact with field professional will be emphasized.

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!

Political Science Podcast



 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. 

Start your application now.


Support our Program

We believe in the importance of the quality of education. Graduates have gone on to serve in a variety of local, state, federal and nonprofit organizations, and many have successfully became leaders in their communities. Show your support by gifting to our program and students. 

Donate Now


Some of the links on this page may require additional software to view.

 Last Modified 1/8/20