Make It McKendree Web Banner

Political Science & International Relations Degree

Political Science Program

Political Science or International Relations Degree

Interested in government and global issues?

Request Information

Given the pervasive influence of politics on our daily lives, a political science or international relations major is indispensable for you to critically analyze the world around you. You will learn:

  • Ideas of political philosophy
  • Policy debates
  • Social science research design skills

You will then apply the knowledge and skills of the discipline to explore the many challenges of our contemporary world and to develop your own values.




Why a B.A. Degree in Political Science or International Relations?

The bachelor’s degree in Political Science or International Relations is perfect for students who are interested in government and its relationship with citizens, foreign powers, and today’s major global issues. Through exciting research and internship opportunities, study abroad programs, and a capstone experience, these degree programs will expand your horizons and prepare you for a wide range of careers.




Photo of Holman LibraryAbout the Political Science or International Relations Major

Housed under the Division of Social Science, the B.A. in Political Science and B.A. in International Relations equip students with the skills to critically analyze the world around them and explore the many challenges of contemporary society.

B.A. in Political Science:

Designed to expose you to the philosophical and practical problems of political organization, action, and governance.

2023-2024 Program Catalog

B.A. in International Relations:

Designed to analyze contemporary areas of global governance, including war, human rights, trade, terrorism, and many other issues.

2023-2024 Program Catalog

Minors in both Political Science and International Relations are also available.




Photo of McKendree's Entryway MonumentWhy McKendree?

McKendree University provides you with interactive learning opportunities through our small class sizes, experienced faculty, and unique internship experiences that move you beyond the classroom. We are committed to your success in the degree programs we offer, the internships and extracurricular activities that will set you apart, and the college experience you’ll get here. Just 25 minutes from downtown St. Louis, Missouri, McKendree University is located in historic Lebanon, Illinois, and affords students a host of enriching cultural, career, and entertainment opportunities.



Program Highlights


  • Unique opportunities to conduct research with faculty members, present papers at national academic conferences, and gain real world experience through exciting internships.

  • Clubs like Model United Nations and the Public Affairs Forum enable you to meet others and enhance your resume.

  • Study Abroad program includes opportunities at over 80 universities around the world.



Photo of McKendree Seal MarkerEmployment Opportunities

Graduates in Political Science and International Relations have found employment in a wide array of career fields, including local, state, or national government, law, transnational government or non-governmental organizations, labor and industrial relations, city management and urban planning, political consulting and campaign management, social interest lobbying, and journalism.

Here are some examples:


Max Aviles (Class of 2017), a Pickering Award winner, M.S. in International Relations at the University of California-San Diego, works as a diplomat at the US State Deparatment.

Mesa Spotttedcorn (Class of 2017), double major in computer information systems, works on cyber security at the US State Department.

Meagan Musgrave (Class of 2011), M.S. in Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University, works as a Payments Industry Relations Representative at the Federal Reserve Bank in Chicago.

Michael Collins (Class of 2007), M.A. in Security Studies at Texas A&M University, works as an Infrastructure Preparedness Specialist at the Argonne National Laboratory.

Kimberly Murphy (Class of 2013) works as a Network Specialist at the Department of Defense.


Gregory Mennerick (Class of 2006), J.D. at St. Louis University School of Law, is a Corporate Attorney at Thompson Coburn LLP.

Rebecca (Lindstrom) Wohltman (Class of 2009), J.D. at St. Louis University School of Law, is an Associate Attorney at Mathis, Marifian & Richter, Ltd.

Erin Conner (Class of 2008), J.D. at St. Louis University School of Law, is an Assistant States Attorney for St. Clair County.

Reggie Cloyd (Class of 2012), J.D. at University of Illinois Law School, is an Associate Attorney at Tressler LLP.

Ian Reynolds (Class of 2013), J.D. at St. Louis University School of Law, is a Law Clerk at Emerson.

Non-Governmental Organizations

Lance Allen (Class of 2019), Senior Organizer, For Our Future.

Tony Mitchell (Class of 2010), J.D. in Health Law at St. Louis University, works as a Manager of Health Policy at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Shaun Randol (Class of 2003), M.A. in Security Studies at the New School, is the founder, editor, and publisher of The Mantle.

Samantha Leonard (Class of 2009), J.D. at the University of Wisconsin, is a Legal Research Adviser for the American Civil Liberties Union.


Paul Woodruff (Class of 2007), M.A. in Public Administration at St. Louis University, is Vice President of Community Development at St. Louis Community Credit Union.

Steven Loftus (Class of 2008), works as a Systems Engineer at Camber Corporation.

Darius Miller (Class of 2002), J.D. at St. Louis University School of Law, is a Vice President at Wells Fargo Advisers.


Aron Durant (Class of 2020), is an intelligence officer in the US Navy.

George Fust (Class of 2008), is a Military Intelligence Officer in the US Army and an Instructor at the United States Military Academy at West Point.


Michael Butler (Class of 2016), is a marketing organizer at Cors Strategy.

Kent Strang (Class of 2005), is a Grassroots and Program Director at Americans for Prosperity, Illinois & Missouri.

Our majors have also attended graduate school at:

  • St. Louis University
  • Harvard University
  • University of Kansas
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • University of California-San Diego
  • Claremont Graduate School
  • Syracuse University
  • University of Kentucky
  • Texas A&M University
  • Monterrey School of International Studies

Our majors have attended law school at:

  • St. Louis University
  • University of Wisconsin
  • Washington University
  • University of Illinois
  • Southern Illinois University




What Our Students & Alumni Are Saying


Quotation Graphic

Being a part of the Political Science program at McKendree prepared me for graduate work at Carnegie Mellon University, the top ten policy school, through a curriculum focused on political theory and government structure. The small class sizes and individual instruction from professors gave me the confidence to pursue my own research, which has resulted in the publication of two of my articles in academic journals.”

~ Meagan Musgrave '11, Digital Marketing and Data Analytics, Federal Reserve

Quotation Graphic

My McKendree education taught me how to critically evaluate arguments, data, and current events using proper research techniques and cogent, clear writing. I was prepared for my career in national security because I understood how to analyze data and reach logical conclusions on day one. The opportunity to engage my peers and professors in discussion of key events in politics has been invaluable to me in my career. The writing and research focus was also a major advantage for me when I went back for my MA. I was already aware of the key principles and major theories in my field.”

~ Ken Herman '06, Deputy Chief, Crisis Response, Joint Staff Directorate of Intelligence


Quotation Graphic

My experience in McKendree’s International Relations program allowed me to explore a variety of interests while maintaining a common relationship to Political Science. The flexibility of the program and strong foundation of my McKendree education are largely responsible for my decision to pursue a graduate degree and career in International Relations.”

~ Whitney Baillie '11, Program Analyst, National Nuclear Security Adminsitration

Quotation Graphic

McKendree's International Relations program prepared me intellectually for graduate studies at Webster University in Vienna, Austria, where I graduated summa cum laude. I went on to intern in the UNODC and OSCE, before researching for a leading think tank in Brussels. I just started my PhD in UIUC, already having over 30 publications and 400 citations.”

~ Zak Kilhoffer '13, Ph.D. Student, University of Illinois


Quotation GraphicSitting in a seminar in my M.A. in International Affairs program at The New School University in NYC I had the thought: "I've been here before." Though the subject differed, McKendree's political science seminars more than prepared me for the next level of education. My education and mentorship at McKendree continue to inform the way I think about and approach the world, personally and professionally. McKendree is one of the best investments I've ever made."

~ Shaun Randol '03, Editor-in-Chief, Digital Publications


Quotation Graphic

“I had an amazing experience as an undergraduate student at McKendree. The coursework not only gave me a strong foundation in computing and writing, but also afforded me the opportunity to explore my academic interests in business administration and international relations. I have built invaluable relationships with the faculty and my peers, where I felt both supported and challenged. This combination of diverse interests and opportunities provided me the opportunity to achieve my career goals. At McKendree, you really have an opportunity to make your mark!”

~ Mesa Spottedcorn '17, US State Department


Quotation Graphic

McKendree University truly gave me the foundation in understanding the political landscape that would shape my current path forward into Government Affairs arena. The coursework fed my curiosity for understanding global issues and their potential solutions. The in depth classroom discussions also challenged my personal bias by constant exposure to diverse thoughts and curious debate. For that, I am forever grateful to the McKendree Political Science facultty for pushing me and giving me the tools to be a change maker in today’s society.”

~ Tony Mitchell '10, Director, State Government Affairs, Gilead Sciences


Quotation Graphic

My McKendree education molded my cultural intelligence and my communication skills, which helps me to make a difference at my work. The IR classes gave me the tools to understand complex global issues, and how they affect us at an individual level. I learned to build consensus by taking part in Model UN, and I improved my public speaking by taking part in speech and debate.

~ Nishant Timilisina '11, Senior Cloud Systems Adminsitrator, RedMaine Technology 


Quotation Graphic

The culture, curriculum, and teaching methods of the McKendree political science program were instrumental in developing the knowledge and skills for me to become an attorney. Plus, I had a great time, created long lasting friendships, and I continue to see the benefits of the program as my career continues.

~ Ian Reynolds '13, General Counsel, National Association of Electrical Distributors


Quotation Graphic

If you are thinking about going to law school and becoming a lawyer, McKendree’s Political Science program is the program for you. Throughout my college days, I learned how to research, write, and communicate effectively. I would not be where I am without the help of all of the teachers and staff at McKendree.

~ Reggie Cloyd '12, Associate Attorney, Dinsmore & Shohl



Interesting Courses


  • United States Foreign Policy
  • Campaigns and Elections

  • Constitutional Law
  • International Law



Club Information / Honor Societies


  • Study Abroad - Learn more about how your trip of a lifetime is within reach!

  • Model United Nations - For more than 50 years, McKendree’s Model UN program has given students the chance to have fun and earn scholarship money at the same time. Participate as a delegate in college-level simulations and chair committees in our on-campus program for area high schools.

  • Pi Sigma Alpha (National Political Science Honor Society)



Related Programs



Faculty Research


  • Dr. Ann Collins publishes research primarily on race riots. Her books include The Dawn Broke Hot and Somber and All Hell Broke Loose.

  • Dr. Brian Frederking publishes research primarily on the United Nations Security Council. His books include The Politics of Global Governance, Renegotiating the Liberal Order, The United States and the Security Council, and Resolving Security Dilemmas



Your Student Success Support Team





Key Faculty


Ann Collins

Ann Collins, Ph.D.

Carnegie Hall 214
(618) 537-6897



Brian FrederkingBrian Frederking, Ph.D.

Carnegie Hall 216
(618) 537-6913