Graduate Studies

Political Science

"I was a graduate assistant through the Political Science Department. This opportunity allowed me to work with the department more as I gained useful experience. The position provided me financial support as I obtained my master's degree. Due to the excellent education provided to me at Western Illinois University, including internship opportunities, I was set up for success because of the program. Within a month of graduation, I accepted a position as a Legislative Assistant in the Wisconsin State Assembly. I am forever grateful for the education that I received at Western Illinois University and the professors that proved to be very help along the way. In addition, there are many great organizations on campus that helped to further my success." -- Patrick Kanarowski, M.S. in Political Science, December 2018

Program Overview

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.

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.

Our Faculty

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.

Possible Careers

Budget analyst
Campaign consultant
City manager
City planner
Community college instructor
Elected official
Federal executive
Foreign service officer
International aid worker
Legislative or Congressional staffer
Policy analyst

Extracurricular Activities

Graduate students are eligible to participate in department clubs and organizations, including the annual Model UN and Model Illinois Government simulations.

Quick View

Degrees Available:

  • M.A.


  • Macomb

Required GPA:

  • Cumulative: 2.75 or
  • Last 2 years: 3.0

Admission Requirements:

  • Transcripts
  • Three Letters of Recommendation
  • Writing Sample

Interesting Facts: Fall 2023

  • Currently enrolled: 6
  • International: 4
  • Minority: 2
  • Students with Assistantships: 5

Department Contact Information:

Morgan Hall 422