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Political Science and Public Administration (PSC, PAD)

For information, please contact the chairperson, 989-774-3442, 247 Anspach Hall,

Why Study Political Science, International Relations or Public and Nonprofit Administration?

The Department of Political Science and Public Administration offers three majors and minors: political science, international relations, and public and nonprofit administration. Therefore, students choosing one of these distinct but closely-related areas of study have a wide variety of backgrounds, interests, and career goals. Coursework in each area provides students with the opportunity to obtain a broad education in liberal arts as well as training for specific career paths. Students will learn to think critically, write well and speak with confidence and are exposed to a variety of methods of examining information, from textual analysis to the use of statistical software to analyze data. Finally, all students will be encouraged to develop analytic and deliberative skills that will prepare them to become engaged citizens in a pluralistic, global society.

Political science explores how people participate in collective decision-making to identify and solve issues of shared, public concern. Given both the historical and current exclusion of some people from the governing process, political science also often includes an examination of perennial normative questions, such as what constitutes a just society. Thus, many political science majors or minors are interested in learning more about lawmaking and legal processes, which is good preparation for a legal career, including gaining admission to law school. Others choose to focus their studies on campaigns and elections and become engaged in the melee of modern political campaigns and social movements. All students develop an appreciation of political institutions and processes that help us better understand the functioning of government and the role that individuals play in determining outcomes that shape the future.

Majoring or minoring in international relations provides students with the expertise needed to confront significant challenges facing the international community and individual nation-states in today’s global economy. Students develop an understanding of complex international security issues, the functioning of international organizations, and threats to the protection of human rights and the global environment. They also gain cultural competency through valuable knowledge of these international issues and the study of comparative politics. Those planning careers in international governmental and nongovernmental agencies; private business overseas; and the Foreign Service would be well served by the international relations major or minor.

The Department also offers a major and minor in public and nonprofit administration. Coursework in this area will prepare students for employment in a variety of public service settings, from government organizations to nonprofit agencies and international bodies. This preparation will ensure effective and accountable decision-making as students lead, manage, and serve in the public sector. The knowledge skills and experience of majors and minors in this area are, ultimately, intended to increase the likelihood of successful public governance via respect for citizens and clients.

These majors and minors are also complementary to a large number of other majors at CMU, including management, world languages and cultures, history, military science, integrative public relations, journalism, philosophy, psychology, sociology, interpersonal and public communications, and recreation, parks and leisure services administration. The Department participates in a number of interdisciplinary programs, such as public affairs, Latin American studies, women’s studies, sustainability and environmental policy and European studies. Undergraduate Certificates in Citizen Engagement, Public Policy Analysis, Public & Social Entrepreneurship, Political Advocacy and Elections, Lawmaking and Legal Processes, International Nongovernmental Organization Administration, International Security Studies, Governance of Nations, and Global Governance and Advocacy are also offered. Finally, the Department has a strong internship program, providing students with on-the-job training in real life settings throughout Michigan, at the national level and in international organizations.

Political Science and Public Administration at CMU

Faculty in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at CMU specialize in a wide variety of topics, including but not limited to US national political institutions and processes, American state and local government, public administration, public policy, international relations, comparative politics, political theory, and nonprofit leadership. The courses offered in the department reflect these research interests, allowing students to take courses on a wide variety of topics. The department hosts the Griffin Endowed Chair in American Government. The Griffin Chair, a person with a distinguished record of public service and an extensive background in Michigan politics, teaches courses each year focusing on Michigan state politics and policy and provides students with a behind-the-scenes look at current state politics. The chair holder focuses on stimulating political interest among CMU students as well as preparing future Michigan political leaders.

Degrees in Political Science or Public Administration

The Department of Political Science and Public Administration offers B.A. and B.S. degrees in political science, international relations, and public and nonprofit administration. The Political Science minor and Public Administration minor are also offered at the undergraduate level. At the graduate level, the Department offers a Master of Public Administration degree, and courses contributing to several other graduate programs. See the Graduate Bulletin for more information.

The Faculty

Larry Adamitis, Prakash Adhikari, Jeremy Castle, Edward Clayton, Thomas Greitens, So Hee Jeon, David K. Jesuit, Sterling Johnson, Sharon Kukla-Acevedo, Emma Powell, Nancy Quarles, David Rutledge, Kyla Stepp, J. Cherie Strachan, Lawrence Sych

The Programs

Political Science Major

Political Science Minor

International Relations Major

Public and Nonprofit Administration Major

Public Administration Minor

Public Affairs Minor (Interdepartmental)

Sustainability and Environmental Policy Minor (Interdisciplinary)

Undergraduate Certificate in Citizen Engagement

Undergraduate Certificate in Global Governance and Advocacy

Undergraduate Certificate in Governance of Nations

Undergraduate Certificate in International Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Administration

Undergraduate Certificate in International Security Studies

Undergraduate Certificate in Lawmaking and Legal Processes

Undergraduate Certificate in Political Advocacy and Elections

Undergraduate Certificate in Public and Social Entrepreneurship

Undergraduate Certificate in Public Policy Analysis

Certified Nonprofit Professional

The purpose of the Nonprofit Leadership Student Alliance (NLSA) of Central Michigan University purpose is to support students pursuing professional careers in the field of Nonprofit Administration. The alliance supports students in the development of nonprofit leadership skills and encourages community involvement. Membership in NLSA will open doors for future nonprofit leaders by encouraging innovation, implementation, situational awareness, adaptability and verbal ability. Members will have the opportunity to attend the Alliance Management Institute in January to earn the Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) credential and network with experienced nonprofit leaders. The four components of certification include coursework, internship or professional nonprofit experience, attending the national conference, and leadership and service activities. For more information, please see or contact the Department of Political Science and Public Administration.