The political science program at Illinois College seeks to develop knowledgeable citizens who are capable of making critical decisions and providing leadership in a 21st century world. Courses are designed to give students an understanding and awareness of political systems, processes, behaviors, and a basic knowledge of research methodologies used in the discipline. Faculty in the political science program, stress the development of critical thinking, awareness of the world around us, and communication skills as key to success in the field.
What opportunities are available for students?
Illinois College students have benefited from the college’s affiliation with The Washington Center which coordinates seminars and internships in our nation’s capitol. Internships are available in a wide range of governmental agencies, private institutions, corporations, and other Washington-based organizations. Semester internships generally last ten weeks.
The Illinois College Explorers program offers a wide variety of internships through the state of Illinois. The internships generally last over the course of the summer and students receive a stipend, and free housing for their work. In the past, students who have participated in this program worked at the New Salem State Historic Site, the Illinois State Museum Research and Collections Center, and the Abraham Lincoln Library.
The distinctive BreakAway program provides opportunities for students to experience different cultures, environments and ideas though short-term, experiential learning trips. Each trip has a topical focus and is led by a team of faculty members representing academic disciplines relating to the trip’s theme. The political science faculty have led BreakAway trips to Birmingham and to Memphis, to study the Civil Rights Movement, and to Denver, to participate in the Democratic National Convention and witness political processes first-hand.
Model United Nations strives to enrich the knowledge of its members in the arenas of economics, human welfare, global politics, and environmental causes. Each semester, the students are given the opportunity to travel to the American Model United Nations, and the Midwest Model United Nations. Erin Laytham (2007) states, “Model UN is a great opportunity to gain a better understanding of other nations and the inner workings of the United Nations.”
Phi Alpha Delta (PAD) is the world’s largest legal fraternity, founded in 1902 as a professional service organization. The goals of PAD are to advance ideas of liberty and equal justice, to further develop the virtues of compassion and courage among attorneys, and to foster integrity and professional competence among members. Illinois College members visit law schools, participate in mock trials, and meet with practicing lawyers.
Pi Sigma Alpha is the national political science honor society that recognizes outstanding performance in the study of political science. To be considered for membership a student must:
:: Be of junior or senior standing
:: Be in the top 1/3 of the class
:: Have completed 10 hours in political science with at least 3 of those at the 300+ level
:: Have a 3.0 GPA in courses in political science
Students interested in political parties find a home in the College Democrats, the College Republicans, or the College Independents. These organizations sponsor a wide variety of campus events, including voter registration drives, political debates, and guest speakers.
What opportunities are available after graduation?
Political science graduates go into the job market and graduate studies well equipped to think, to communicate, and to learn. Many students with a degree in political science are working in the fields of education, law, politics, journalism, and various levels of government. A number of our graduates are attending law school at St. Louis University, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, and University of Illinois-Champaign Urbana.