Department of Political Science
Learn. Engage. Lead.
Political Science Major
Political Science explores topics related to political behavior, the law, and governance both in the United States and internationally. Political Science is fundamental to understanding your rights and responsibilities as a citizen and to understanding international politics and law. Undergraduate study of politics includes courses on American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and political theory. These courses introduce you to political concepts, political behavior, policy issues, and structures of government within societies and among nations. Coursework in the major will help develop valuable analyticl communication skills. 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.
While at WKU, we encourage our majors to Learn, Engage, and Lead. The world is their classroom. Many students study abroad, while others present original research at conferences across the United States. We offer opportunities to participate in Mock Trial, Model United Nations, and Campus YMCA Congress. Many of our students have earned national recognition for their accomplishments.
Major 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: American National Government
- PS 499: Senior Seminar in Government (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: Concepts of Political Science
- PS 250: International Politics
- PS 260: Intro to Comparative Politics
- PS 301: Research Methods/Political Behavior
- PS 330: Political Theory
- PS 435: American Political Thought
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.
For a full list of Political Science courses, visit WKU's Undergraduate Course Catalog.
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.
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.
Professor & Department Head
Office: Grise Hall - 304
Phone Number: 270-745-2799
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:
Wells Fargo Grant Awarded to WKU Department of Political Science and Kentucky Mu...
Date Posted: December 12, 2019
International Affairs Students Present Research at ISA-Midwest Conference
Date Posted: December 11, 2019
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.
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.