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The Department of Political Science offers a comprehensive curriculum with courses that cover each of the sub-fields of the discipline: American Government and Politics, Public Policy and Public Administration, Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Empirical Political Methods. 

In addition, the department offers several tracks that enable students to focus on a particular area of politics with advanced courses relevant to their particular intellectual and career interests. Our offerings are especially rich in four areas:

  • American Politics and Policy
  • Pre-Law and Legal Studies
  • International Relations, Comparative Politics, and National Security
  • Elections & Campaigns

Integrated into these concentrations are learning opportunities outside the classroom and beyond the WVU campus. These include political simulations, Model United Nations, internships in state and national government, a nationally ranked Debate Team, and several study abroad programs tailored to political science interests.

The Department of Political Science is one of the most robust and popular academic programs in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. 

The Department has around 350 undergraduate students, and there are also about 100 students majoring in the affiliated International Studies Program. At the graduate level, between thirty and forty students are typically in residence in its M.A. and Ph.D. programs. The Department has a full time faculty of twenty professors. These professors hold Ph.D. degrees from nationally prominent Political Science departments at the following Universities: 

  • University of California at San Diego
  • Florida State
  • George Washington University
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Kentucky
  • Louisiana State
  • Michigan State
  • Ohio State
  • Penn State
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • Rice University
  • University of Rochester
  • University of Texas at Austin
  • Vanderbilt
  • University of Washington
  • Washington University in St. Louis,
  • West Virginia University.

The Department’s faculty have been recognized for both their teaching and research

Department faculty have been regularly recognized by the Eberly College for Outstanding Teaching, and four faculty members have received the premier campus teaching award—the WVU Foundation Award for Outstanding Teaching. The teaching skills and innovations of two faculty members have been recognized at both the state and national levels, while a third has held a teaching fellowship through Harvard University. One faculty member holds one of the College’s three Eberly Professorships for Outstanding Teaching. This faculty member has been a highly successful advisor in preparing WVU students for successful national competition for the Rhodes and Truman Scholarships.

The prominence of the faculty’s research is reflected in its collectively having published in nearly all the major journals in Political Science and related fields, including:

  • American Political Science Review
  • Journal of Politics
  • American Journal of Political Science
  • Judicature,  Law and Society
  • International Studies Quarterly
  • Foreign Policy
  • International Organization
  • Comparative Politics
  • Comparative Political Studies
  • British Journal of Political Science. 

Political Science faculty have been recognized as Eberly College Outstanding Researchers, and the research of two has been recognized by the University’s Benedum Distinguished Scholar award. Several faculty serve on the editorial boards of major journals and/or hold offices in the discipline’s professional organizations. Two faculty members hold named professorships for primarily research: the Eberly Professorship in Political Science and the Barnette Professorship in Political Science.

Welcome From the Chair

Welcome to the Political Science Department at West Virginia University. We look forward to working with you and helping you achieve your academic and professional goals.

— John C. Kilwein

Read Letter from the Chair