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Political Science

  • Overview
  • Careers
  • New Freshmen
  • New Transfer
  • Illinois State Students

Students in Political Science at Illinois State University have some of the greatest opportunities for learning and growth, both as individuals and within the field as a whole. The Department of Politics and Government provides a variety of resources for its majors, an assortment of different student organizations, small class sizes, and full-time faculty teaching all levels of coursework.

Why Study Political Science?

Political Science students study the manner in which people organize, administer and operate their governing institutions. They investigate issues concerning international relations, the use or abuse of power, and the right and privileges of citizens.

Related Majors

Related Skills

  • Good leadership skills
  • Oral and written communication skills
  • Research skills
  • Experience in interacting with diverse populations
  • Team skills
  • Ability to work independently

Being Successful in the Field

  • An undergraduate degree in political science is good preparation for graduate or professional study in areas such as psychology, law, or business.
  • Research the prerequisites of the area of interest and tailor program of study to meet curricular and skill needs.
  • Become familiar with the government application process for opportunities in federal, state, or local government.
  • For careers in politics, be prepared to volunteer extensively before being hired or elected as an employee or official. Begin by working with the campaign or official of choice while in college.
  • Many elected public officials begin careers in other fields (law, medicine,business) before campaigning for office.

Related Fields


  • Public Policy
  • Research
  • Regional Planning
  • City or Town Management
  • Intelligence
  • Foreign Service
  • Law Enforcement
  • Legislative, Executive, or Judicial Services
  • Program Administration


Federal, state, and local government


  • Complete an internship in government or related area.
  • Serve in model United Nations.
  • Become involved in student government.
  • Participate in cross-cultural groups and organizations.
  • Write for campus publications focused on national and international affairs.
  • Develop skills in computers, statistics, and data analysis.
  • Acquire foreign language competency and travel experience for international positions.
  • Supplement curriculum with business courses.
  • Earn a graduate degreein political science or public administration for advancement.
  • Volunteer with the staff of a government official. Participate in local or national campaigns.



  • Law firms
  • Corporations
  • Federal, state, and local government
  • Private practice
  • Special interest groups
  • Universities


  • Develop excellent research, writing, analysis, and communication skills.
  • Planto attend law school and earn a law degree.
  • Obtain specialized certification for paralegal positions.


  • Elected or Appointed Leadership
  • Campaign Management
  • Staff Administration
  • Special Interest Advocacy


  • Legislative, executive, or judicial officials
  • National, state, or local government
  • Political action committees
  • Special interest group
  • Political parties
  • Campaigns (national, state, or local)


  • Volunteer for national or local campaigns. Gain experience through internships in government.
  • Obtain leadership roles in campus organizations.
  • Seek leadership roles on the regional or national level.
  • Become involved in campus political organizations, student government, campus publications, or community service projects.
  • Take courses in statistics, computer science, environmental protection, or public policy.
  • Develop a network of personal contacts. Be prepared to begin a political career as a volunteer before moving to full-time or paid positions.


  • Administration
  • Management
  • Public Relations
  • Fund Raising


  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Foundations
  • Professional associations
  • Special interest groups


  • Gain experience through volunteering or completing an internship.
  • Supplement curriculum with courses in business, psychology, sociology, or social work.
  • Obtain leadership roles in campus organizations.
  • Develop strong written andoral communication skills.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and experience in a specialty area (e.g., public health, environment, urban issues).


  • Sales
  • Human Resources
  • Management
  • Advertising
  • Public Relations


  • Product and service organizations
  • Retail stores
  • Hotels
  • Restaurants
  • Manufacturers
  • Financial companies
  • Insurance companies
  • Print and electronic media
  • Other business corporations


  • Develop strong analytical, verbal, writing, and computer skills.
  • Acquire a business minor or add business as a double major.
  • Gain experience in an area of interest through internships or other employment.
  • Obtain leadership roles in campus organizations.
  • Demonstrate excellent interpersonal skills.


  • Editing
  • Reporting
  • Circulation
  • Sales


  • Newspapers (national, local, or trade)
  • Wire services
  • Magazines
  • Internet sites
  • Large corporations
  • Political parties
  • Political action committees


  • Obtain summer or part-time work experience with a newspaper or magazine.
  • Complete an internship in journalism.
  • Choose writing intensive coursework.
  • Become proficient in desktop publishing and photography.
  • Develop excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Join the college newspaper, yearbook, or other publication staff. Become a student member of professional associations.
  • Createa portfolio of published writing samples.
  • Obtain experience in and knowledge of a specialty area of interest.

Other Professions

  • Academic Advisor
  • Admission Officer
  • Archives Technician
  • Area Manager
  • Attorney
  • Attorney General
  • Circuit Judge
  • Congressional Aide
  • Congressional Liaisons
  • Consumer Advocate
  • Defense Intelligence Agent
  • Foreign Correspondent
  • Lawyer
  • Lobbyist
  • Mayor
  • Military Officer
  • Newspaper/Magazine Journalist
  • Paralegal
  • Peace Corps/VISTA Worker/Volunteer
  • Penologist
  • Policy Analyst
  • Political Consultant
  • Political Scientist
  • Politician
  • Presidential Advance Person
  • Probation Officer
  • Parole Officer
  • Professor
  • Public Administrator/Manager
  • Public Opinion Interviewer
  • Researcher
  • Survey Worker
  • Social Studies Teacher
  • Technical Writer
  • Writer/Author

Career Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Laurenn York  110 Student Services Building  (309) 438-0735 

Internship Coordinator

Name Office Email Phone
Nancy Lind  427 Schroeder Hall  (309) 438-8063 

Applying to Illinois State

Illinois State's preferred filing period for freshman students for the fall semester is September 1-November 15. Applying early is encouraged, as the University must limit enrollment due to space at the University and in specific majors/programs. Visit the Office of Admissions to apply today!

Plans of Study and Progress Tracking

This information is based on requirements for the academic year(s) indicated. Students should consult the catalog year they were admitted under for their academic requirements.

Applying to Illinois State

Illinois State's preferred filing period for fall transfer students is September 1-January 15. For the spring semester, the preferred filing period is from April 1-August 1. You are encouraged to apply early in the preferred filing period for best consideration for admission into competitive majors. Visit the Office of Admissions to apply today!

Minimum GPA


Middle 50% GPA

2.37 - 3.15

Required Courses


Recommended Courses

  • Introduction to Politics (POL 100)
  • United States Government and Civic Practices (POL 106)
  • International Relations (POL 151)
  • Politics of Africa, Asia, Latin America (POL 140)

Plans of Study and Progress Tracking

Academic Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Erik Rankin  Schroeder Hall 401A  (309) 438-8638 

Middle 50% GPA

2.37 - 3.15

Plans of Study and Progress Tracking

Application Period

Applications are always available.

Application Information

Current students can use the Apply to Your Program tool on

Academic Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Erik Rankin  Schroeder Hall 401A  (309) 438-8638 
2016-08-03T11:23:40.188-05:00 2016