"After graduating from WIU I accepted a position as a Special Agent with the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security. I am responsible for the multi-million dollar security programs and ensuring that diplomacy can be conducted in a safe and secure environment. My job requires frequent liaison with foreign governments, consulting with Fortune 500 companies doing business overseas, and working with every imaginable government agency over the course of a day. My career has brought me to over 40 countries and allowed me to witness historically significant events first hand.
My graduate studies in political science greatly advanced my career with the Department of State. The graduate faculty at Western Illinois University is the right mix of intellectual theorists and real world professionals who equipped me with the skills to overcome just about any career hurdle. The academic challenges equipped me with the intellectual curiosity necessary to quickly learn complex political and security situations when I arrive in a new country. Other faculty members shared their experience in Federal and State government bureaucracies and prepared me for what I would see outside the ivory tower. The faculty to student ratio is such that each student was taught as an individual and is truly integrated into the department. Faculty members are always available for questions or concerns, readily exchanging thoughts and ideas. I believe that prospective students will find a graduate education in Political Science at Western as valuable as I did." -- Fred Nelson, 2000
"There are several reasons I chose the IR-Comparative Political Science program at WIU. First of all, pretty much all of the Sr. Officers have two or more Master's degrees or equivalent academic training. While I am not in management, I felt that the second Master's would better round out my educational background and help me to better understand the depth and background on how these professionals arrive at their decisions. Second, our organization operates globally. I found WIU's program to fit my criteria for academic programs that would help me to better understand international politics. And lastly, because I'm employed full-time, the WIU program was flexible enough to allow me to work towards this degree part-time." --Yancy Bolden, '11
The Department of Political Science at Western Illinois University offers an intensive program of study and guided research to qualified applicants holding a Bachelor’s degree. The department curriculum is designed to provide graduate students with a broad and solid foundation in political science suitable for building careers in teaching, government service, politics, community development, and continued study at the doctorate level.
Community college instructor
Foreign service officer
International aid worker
Legislative or Congressional staffer
Why Choose Political Science at WIU?
The graduate program in Political Science provides educational and career opportunities in at least four broad fields: (1) government employment, (2) legal training, (3) teaching, and (4) international relations.
Government Employment – Roughly one-sixth of the
labor force in the United States works for the government, either at the
local, state, or federal levels. The Political Science graduate program
can prepare students for many governmental positions, including
administrative officer, budget analyst, city manager, city planner,
environmental management specialist, and criminal investigator. In
addition, the MA degree in Political Science provides preparation for
persons seeking positions with interest groups that represent diverse
issues before the government.
Careers in Law – A degree in Political
Science is a typical career path component in preparation for law
school. Many Political Science undergraduate and graduate students
attend law school upon completion of their degrees. Indeed, as a
curriculum, students in law schools have long ranked Political Science
as the number one most popular major.
Careers in Teaching – Political science is an
integral part of the curriculum of high schools, colleges, and
universities. Moreover, in most states, courses in American government
and civics are mandated in all public and private schools within their
respective jurisdictions. It is not surprising that many of our
graduates are teaching at the secondary level, while others, after
completing graduate degrees, teach in colleges and universities.
- Careers in International Relations – For students interested in careers in international and comparative politics and business, opportunities are expanding as countries become increasingly interdependent. Our graduates have been successful in securing positions with the U.S. State Department, the Department of Defense, international organizations, and multinational corporations.
Graduate students are eligible to participate in department clubs and organizations, including the annual Model UN and Model Illinois Government simulations.
The 12 graduate faculty of the Political Science department are experts in a variety of fields and have doctorates from some of the finest universities in the world. Several have received awards recognizing their excellent teaching, research, and service to the University. Many members of the faculty have experience working in the political world in addition to their academic credentials and research. Faculty work closely with graduate students in small classes and when advising graduate research projects and theses.
Some of our Graduates
- Cumulative: 2.75 or
- Last 2 years: 3.0
- Three Letters of Recommendation
- Writing Sample
Interesting Facts: Fall 2014
- Currently enrolled: 28
- International: 5
- Minority: 10
- Male: 21
- Female: 7
- Students with Assistantships: 14
Department Contact Information:
Morgan Hall 422