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Political Science


Department of Political Science


 

The Political Science Department graduates the third highest number of political science/government majors in the state, and is listed in the top twenty of all WKU majors. Political Science majors are some of the brightest and most dynamic students on campus. They gain experience in the international arena through their participation in the model U.N. conferences and study abroad, and are active in mock trial national competitions. Students in our department also intern for congressmen at the state and national level, giving them experience in the political field before they graduate. The Department strives to prepare our students for their choice of post-graduate options, including graduate school, professional school, or the job market.

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.

 


Refer to WKU's Undergraduate Course Catalog  for current information on all the majors and minors offered in the Political Science department. 

 

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.

Certificate in Political Communication

The certificate in Political Communication allows for exploration of the role that communication plays in political systems by combining studies in the fields of communication and political science. The certificate is designed for students preparing for careers as legislative aides, political consultants, campaign managers, speechwriters, or lobbyists. Students who complete the certificate will have a foundation of communication skills and theory with a working knowledge of the political system.

Housed in the Potter College Dean's Office, the certificate program consists of 15 hours of required and elective courses that complement both a student's major/minor and career aspirations.

Students are required to take PS 375, Fundamentals of Political Campaign Management and PS/COMM 488, Senior Seminar in Political Communication. Students will select one course from a list of Political Science courses and 2 courses from a list of Communication Studies courses. Students should contact the Political Science or Communication Department for specific information on designing a certificate program. 

 
Effective May 15th 2019, students  will no longer be able to enroll in the Political Communication Certificate program

 

Contact:
Dr. Scott Lasley
Political Science Department Head
Email:  Email:scott.lasley@wku.edu
Office: Grise Hall - 304
Phone Number: 270-745-2799
 

Dr. Helen Sterk
Communication Department Head
Email: Email:helen.sterk@wku.edu
Office: FAC 132
Phone Number: 270-745-3957

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:

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)

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 9 additional hours in political science from PS 200, 267, 299, 300, 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 15 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. COMM 463; ECON 380, 385, 386, 496; FIN 433, 436; FLK 340, 350; FREN 323, 427; GERM 202, 335; GEOG 278, 425, 455, 464, 465, 466, 467, 485; HIST 299, 324, 335, 360, 365, 370, 425, 438, 439, 461, 462, 465, 471, 472, 494; JOUR 354; MGT 316, 403; MKT 324; RELS 302, 303, 304, 305, 306, 308, 324; SPAN 372, 373.

 

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.


Refer to WKU's Undergraduate Course Catalog  for current information on all the majors and minors offered in the Political Science department.

 

Internships

The Political Science Department can help match students with internships in local, state, or federal government agencies. The Department offers a number of internship opportunities for its undergraduate majors and minors as well as graduate students. These require close coordination among the student, work supervisor, and the Department's internship coordinator. It is important to discuss a possible internship with the appropriate departmental coordinator prior to enrolling in it. These are usually unpaid positions, requiring 15 hours of work per week. 3 hours of credit are awarded under PS 498/598. 

Recent political science students have interned at organizations such as the Barren River Area Development District, Barren River Area Safe Space, and the Center for Accesable Living. Other examples of past internships include students who have interned in political offices and campaigns within the state and in Washington DC.

Kentucky Legislative Intern Program

The Kentucky General Assembly selects about 24 interns statewide for its sessions in the spring of even years. Interns are selected in the winter of odd years. They live and work in Frankfort from mid-December through May while the General Assembly is in session. Interns are paid, and receive 15 hours of credit under PS 490, 491, 492, and 493. 

Note: The Political Science Department does not award academic credit for clerical or "go-fer" job experiences, whether paid or unpaid. Nor does it award academic credit for working as "clerks" in law offices. However, the Department does encourage students interested in legal careers to work for a law firm, and the Department can sometimes assist in finding positions.

 

Contact Dr. Scott Lasley for more information.

Scott Lasley
Professor & Department Head
Email:  Email:scott.lasley@wku.edu
Office: Grise Hall - 304
Phone Number: 270-745-2799

 

Careers

We encourage our students to go beyond a Bachelors degree. Many political science students are interested in going to law school and some want to pursue advanced degrees in the field. We can help you on your quest for any of these goals. Whether you are looking for an academic or research position or career in government, the law, business, journalism and communications, teaching and or a career with a non-profit organization-- in the private or public sector-- we can help.

 

Here are a few useful links:

Office of Personnel Management

U.S. Government Websites


News:

 

 

 Political Science Podcast 


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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 4/17/19