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Political Science

administrative contact

Ronny Thompson
phone: 304-293-3812

program contact

John C. Kilwein
phone: 304-293-9576

Program Details

Program Description

Political Science offers students a chance to explore the dynamics of control that shape our world, here in America and internationally. What leads people to take political action? Why do political events unfold a certain way? What are the moral and ethical questions that surround politics? These and other vital questions are explored and explained through political theory, using scientific methods to gather evidence to test those theories, and learning to create effective communication to share those results.

Political Science is a dynamic part of WVU’s John D. Rockefeller IV School of Policy and Politics. Students earning the Bachelor of Arts in Political Science choose an area of emphasis that allows them to focus on the course work that best suits their interests and professional goals. Students may elect to complete a General focus, exploring courses that expose them to the full range of the discipline of Political Science and other social sciences. Or, students may choose an emphasis in American Politics and Policy, Pre-Law and Legal Studies, Government and Business, International Relations, or Comparative Politics, and National Security.

Students enrolling in the American Politics and Policy Emphasis take courses that prepare them for work in government, nonprofit organizations, political parties and selected private business. This area emphasizes training in American political institutions, political behavior and selected policy areas (such as environment, civil rights and national security) and statistical techniques.

Students selecting the Legal Studies emphasis are required to take a variety of substantive and skills courses that are recognized as valuable background for the study of law. This specialized curriculum is drawn from several departments, including English, philosophy, statistics, accounting, sociology and anthropology and psychology

Students enrolling in the Government and Business emphasis take courses that enable them to develop extensive knowledge of government and politics, extensive knowledge of government as it relates to business, and introductory knowledge of business principles and practices. Students in this emphasis will target jobs in either the public or private sectors.

Students choosing this area of emphasis specialize in several main subfields of the discipline, including international relations, foreign policy analysis, and foreign and comparative governments. This emphasis is one of two options available to students interested in international relations. The Department of Political Science, in cooperation with other departments, also offers the interdepartmental major in international studies, which is headed by a faculty member in the Department of Political Science. This major offers an extensive treatment of international affairs from the perspective of a variety of disciplines. The International Relations, Comparative Politics, and National Security area of emphasis, on the other hand, is offered exclusively by the department.

Career Profile

Career opportunities for a graduate in Political Science include city manager, lawyer, diplomat, educator, labor relations specialist, political consultant, public recreation director, public health official, urban planner, journalist, law enforcement officer, lobbyist and much more.

Whether selecting a career in public service, criminal justice, government, business or international affairs, students graduate with an impressive and readily adapted skill set. In addition, all of the areas of emphasis in political science are suitable for preparing students for graduate or professional school.

English Language Proficiency

All applicants whose first language is not English must provide proof of English language proficiency. WVU accepts either the TOEFL or the IELTS for this purpose. Please see Office of Admissions - English Language Proficiency for more information.

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Prospective students should apply online at:


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