Welcome to Political Science at Wilkes!
The Wilkes University Political Science Department provides an excellent opportunity for students to study politics and government from many different angles. Whether you are interested in studying American Government, Law, International Relations or Comparative Politics, the Wilkes University Political Science major prepares you for the competitive global job market.
Wilkes' Political Science majors look at government and the law from the inside out, examining the fuel and gears that make the political engine run. Students who want to go to law school or graduate school can get started in a political science program, like the one at Wilkes. Graduates have become lawyers, analysts, and law enforcement officers at state and local levels.
Political science is, in the broadest sense, the study of governments and government procedures – whether these “governments” are sovereign states, international entities, or sub-units of political systems. Thus, political science has many facets. Political scientists are interested in the origins of and the preconditions for government, the growth and evolution of governments, and the decline of government. Political scientists are also interested in how governments are structured, make decisions (as well as the content of the decisions), and manage societal conflicts. In addition, true to their oldest traditions, political scientists retain their concern with the fundamental question of how governments ought to be constituted.
As a Political Science major you will take courses in each of the major sub-fields of Political Science.
- American Politics -The study of US political institutions like the Presidency and Congress
- Public Law - The study of the Supreme Court and the law.
- Comparative Politics - The study of global government and politics.
- International Relations - The study of the relationships between states and other international actors.
- Political Economy - The study of how politics and the economy interact.
- Political Theory - The study of the origins of politics and government.
- Public Policy - The study of policy, including its creation and effectiveness.
Wilkes University offers a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Political Science. A major in Political Science consists of seven core courses (21 credits) and an additional 21 credits of Political Science electives (9 credits of which need to be at the 300-level). Students majoring in Political Science may receive a Pennsylvania Teaching Certificate for teaching Citizenship Education (formerly known as Social Studies) in grades 7-12. Students minoring in Political Science may receive a Pennsylvania Teaching Certificate for teaching elementary school. In addition, a major in Political Science prepares students to work in law, government and law among many career opportunities. A major in Political Science is also easily combined with majors in International Studies, Criminology and History among others.
All Wilkes students, regardless of major, need to take a minimum of 120 hours, which includes 43 hours in the University’s General Education Curriculum.
The Political Science major is 44 hours compromised of the core:
- PS 111 Introduction to American Government
- PS 141 Introduction to International Relations
- PS 151 Introduction to Comparative Politics
- PS 260 Introduction to Political Thinking
- PS 261 Research Methods in Political Science
- PS 265 Quantitative Reasoning for the Social Sciences
- PS 309 Career Mentoring for the Social Sciences
In addition, Political Science majors also choose an additional 21 credits in Political Science with at least 3 courses (9 credits) at the 300-level or higher.
Some examples of electives offered include:
- PS 212 Urban Government and Politics
- PS 213 Political Parties and Political Participation
- PS 221 Introduction to Public Administration
- PS 224 Public Policy Analysis
- PS 232 Criminal Law
- PS 233 Law and Society
- PS 242 International Law and Organization
- PS 251 European Politics
- PS 311 The American Presidency
- PS 312 The US Congress
- PS 331 The Constitution and the Federal System
- PS 332 Civil Rights and Liberties
- PS 345 American National Security Policy
- PS 350 Comparative Politics: Theory and Analysis
- PS 354 Ecotourism Development in Costa Rica
- PS 380 Political Science Senior Project
As a small department at Wilkes, Political Science provides a unique and comprehensive education that equips students for careers in law, politics and government, international affairs and a variety of other career paths.
Flexibility: As a Political Science major, you can easily pursue a double major in any one of a number of majors, including Psychology, Sociology, Criminology, History, or a number of others offered by Wilkes, depending on your area of interest.
Internships: Internships are becoming increasingly popular with Wilkes University Political Science majors. Internships in the Joint Urban Studies (Wilkes-Barre), Luzerne County Courthouse, Washington, D.C., lawyer offices, public interest groups, the United Nations and foreign consulates are available.
Careful Advising: Your academic advisor and other members of the Political Science program are available to discuss the program and explain career opportunities available to you.
Opportunities Outside The Classroom: These include study abroad, trips to Washington DC to watch Supreme Court arguments, law school visits among many others.
For more information contact:
Thomas J. Baldino, PhD
Thomas J. Baldino is a Professor of Political Science at Wilkes University. His teaching and research interests include legislative politics, parties and elections, and Pennsylvania government and politics. He was a faculty associate to the Legislative Office of Research Liaison of the PA House of Representatives. He has held leadership positions with the Northeast Political Science Association and the Pennsylvania Political Science Association, and currently serves as the associate editor of Commonwealth, the journal of the Pennsylvania Political Science Association. He has published scholarly articles and authored many conference papers, and with Kyle L. Kreider, he has publishedOf the People, By the People, For the People: A Documentary Record of Voting Rights and Electoral Reform (2010) andU.S. Election Campaigns: A Documentary and Reference Guide (2011). He is currently at work on Pennsylvania Government and Politics: Unlocking the Keystone State with Paula Holoviak to be published by Penn State University Press in the fall of 2016.
Dr. Baldino serves as the advisor to Sigma Pi, the Wilkes University chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society. Dr. Baldino was honored by the national office as one of the five best chapter advisors at schools with enrollments under 5,000, and the chapter has twice been recognized as one of the five best chapters at schools with enrollments under 5,000. The chapter’s members organize various activities during the year, including guest speakers and trips to Washington, DC. In addition, Dr. Baldino coordinates the Public Administration major.
Kyle L. Kreider, PhD
Kyle L. Kreider is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Wilkes University. His teaching and research interests include the Supreme Court, civil rights and civil liberties, and courts’ use of social science. He has co-authored two books with Thomas Baldino,Of the People, By the People, For the People: A Documentary Record of Voting Rights and Electoral Reform (2010) andU.S. Election Campaigns: A Documentary and Reference Guide (2011). Currently, Dr. Kreider and Dr. Baldino are working on their next book, Minority Voting in the U.S. (2015). In addition to teaching and research responsibilities, Dr. Kreider also serves as Wilkes University’s Coordinating Pre-Law advisor.
Dr. Kreider serves as the University’s Coordinating Pre-Law Advisor and Faculty Advisor to the Pre-Law Society (both of which are open to students of all majors) and often takes students on trips to law schools so they can sit in on a class, helps prepare students for the LSAT, and brings in lawyers and others involved with the law to meet with students. He also helps to place students in law-related internships, with judges, lawyers and other legal careers. In addition, Dr. Kreider, along with Dr. Baldino, Combined have taken groups of students to Washington, D.C., and Harrisburg, PA to visit governmental institutions and meet with University alumni. A highlight of a recent trip to Washington D.C. included meeting Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Andrew P. Miller, PhD
Andrew P. Miller is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Coordinator of International Studies. He teaches courses in comparative politics and international relations and specializes in the politics of Latin America. His last book, Ecotourism Development in Costa Rica: The Search for Oro Verde (2012) looks at the role of ecotourism as a development strategy in Costa Rica. His next book, Neoliberalism, Globalization and Ecotourism Development: The Transferability of the Costa Rican Model of Development. due for publication in 2016 examines the development of ecotourism in Nicaragua, Panama and Belize.
Dr. Miller has established two international programs for student travel, both in Costa Rica. Each Spring, Dr. Miller leads a group of students to San Marcos de Tarrazu, Costa Rica where they learn about international trade in coffee while completing a number of community service projects. In addition, every other Summer, Dr. Miller leads a groups to the Guanacaste province of Costa Rica to assist local officials in better developing their ecotourism industry. Dr. Miller is also the Director of the Wilkes University Model United Nations team which includes a yearly trip to New York to represent a UN member state at the meeting. In 2015 Wilkes represented Nicaragua.
Andreea Maierean, PhD
Andreea Maierean joined the department in 2014 after receiving her Ph.D. in Political Science at Boston University. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Political Science. Dr. Maierean previously studied in Bucharest, Romania at the National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, in Trieste, Italy at the University of Trieste, in Budapest, Hungary at Central European University and in Vienna, Austria at the Institute for Human Sciences. Her research and teaching interests broadly include post-communist transitions to democracy, transitional justice and environmental policy. Her doctoral dissertation is a comparative study of lustration, a process that involved the disqualification of certain categories of former communist officials and secret police collaborators from public positions under the new regime. Dr. Maierean's current two research projects examine the impact of corruption on voter turnout and the relationship between shale gas policies and democratic governance.
A major in political science prepares students for a variety of careers including:
Federal Government: The federal government is a huge enterprise, and opportunities for employment are many and varied. Positions in the international/foreign service areas are very competitive but highly coveted.
State and Local Governments: Employment opportunities at the state and municipal levels are expanding rather than contracting, as these two levels of government grow to meet the mandates of the federal government or to accept the return of responsibilities to the states as the federal government moves to decentralize social programs.
Interest Groups and Associations: Lobbyists for special interests are needed and pays very well.
International Organizations: Many non-profit international organizations (UN) look to hire talented young people with varied backgrounds to administer programs or work in the field.
Business: The very best MBA programs in the country restrict their enrollment to students who have not majored in business.
Non-Profit and Not-for Profit Organizations: United Way, the Red Cross, Boy/Girl Scouts, etc.
Journalism: Take note of how many journalists have Political Science degrees!
Political Consulting: With the rise of the technological campaign, the career opportunities for those who wish to serve as media consultants, polling specialists, or campaign strategies for candidates or office holders are booming.
Teaching: Political Science has been a traditional major for those seeking a career as a secondary school social studies teacher.
Class of 2008, Attorney at Marshall, Parker and Weber
At Wilkes, I majored in political science and minored in International Studies. I graduated in 2008. After graduating from Wilkes, I attended law school and business school at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, respectively, earning a JD and MBA. Currently, I’m an attorney in Wilkes Barre practicing elder law at the firm of Marshall, Parker & Weber. I help the ever growing population of seniors in northeastern Pennsylvania with a wide range of legal issues associated with aging such as estate planning and long-term care planning.
Majoring in political science helped me grow as a writer and independent thinker. As an attorney, the ability to communicate effectively is paramount. It was during my time as a political science student at Wilkes that I was challenged to hone my writing skills and the resulting benefit has served me well in both my subsequent academic and career endeavors. What I enjoyed the most about Wilkes was the interaction with my classmates and professors. I always felt comfortable speaking with the professors in the political science department and appreciated their availability to interact with me outside of the classroom. I really believe this one on one interaction was the biggest perk to attending Wilkes and think that it helped me connect with the material and greatly enriched my experience as a political science major.
Class of 2009, Social Studies Teacher and Coach Pittston Area High School
I was a Political Science Major with minors in secondary education and special education k-12. After I graduated from Wilkes I became a learning support teacher with the Pittston Area School District.I am currently a 9th grade social studies/special education teacher with the Pittston Area School District. Coaching football and baseball. My major helped prepare me to teach the current curriculum that I follow. I learned many things about political systems in both the United States and the world. What I liked the most about Wilkes was the great interaction amongst faculty and students. The professors at Wilkes University go above and beyond to help prepare their students for careers after college.
Class of 2008, Investigator for the United States Department of Labor
I majored in Political Science and International Studies, graduating in 2008. After I graduated from Wilkes, I was not sure, exactly, what career path I wanted to explore and tried my hand at a few things. I attended graduate school to pursue research interests, but I realized I was happier in a position that allowed me to assist and interact with people directly. I then took a job as a caseworker with a community organization, during which I worked with children experiencing behavioral and emotional challenges. In 2012, I accepted a position with the United States Department of Labor where I am an Investigator in the Wage and Hour Division.
Although I did not realize it as I sat in the classroom, my studies prepared me for my career more than I could have imagined. Without an understanding of our legislative branch and the courts, I could not fully appreciate the path labor regulations take before I ultimately interpret and apply them as a compliance officer. Every day, I interact with people of various cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. The International Studies curriculum illustrated how events occurring across the world impact what we observe at home. The cultural understanding and global awareness I obtained at Wilkes helps me better serve the workers of America.
Adam Szumski, Class of 2010
Application Specialist with New World Systems
I majored in Political Science major with minors in Policy Studies and Communication Studies, graduating in May 2010.
After Wilkes I attended University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) to attain a Master of Public Administration (MPA). Thereafter I worked briefly as a performance measurement analyst with the International City/County Manager's Association (ICMA) and as a budget analyst with Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.Currently I am an Application Specialist with New World Systems, a Michigan-based company that provides ERP solutions exclusively to the public sector. I travel to new clients, lead the configuration of their financial software to meet their needs, consult on business efficiencies, and train government staff on the use of the system's many features.
The political science major prepared me by strengthening my writing and critical thinking skills. Take for instance, the hours I contemplated the simple but demanding question on one of Dr. Miller's take-home exams: "What is democracy?" I had to take a step out of my own experiences with a system I take for granted every day and apply a holistic, world view of the institution. I also prepared by exposing myself to a wide breadth of disciplines in my undergraduate and graduate studies, both hard skills (statistics, accounting, research methods, geographic information systems) and soft skills (political philosophy, constitutional law, organizational communications). Finally, I sought out several internships that allowed me to put these skills into practice. I'd encourage all students to seek out internships as they progress in their major, and not to be afraid to reach out to an organization you are interested in even if they don't have a posted intern position. That's how I landed my best internship experience!
The social sciences professors at Wilkes University are incredibly knowledgeable and personable; they go out of their way to make themselves available outside of class and bring a range of expertise to the University. I had the opportunity to help two professors gather resources for a publication, while some classmates had the chance to travel with professors to counties we debated about in international relations courses. The political science program gave me the flexibility to fine tune my studies to my particular interests in local governance and statistics and challenged me to view all sides of the public issues we grapple with today and tomorrow.
Justin Paul Richards
Class of 2008, Assistant District Attorney, Luzerne County Pennsylvania
I majored in Political Science and minored in Criminology, graduating in 2008
After I graduated from Wilkes I attended law school at the Dickinson School of Law of the Pennsylvania State University. While at Dickinson, I was on the Editorial Board of the Penn State Law Review, clerked for the Cumberland County Court of Common Pleas, Pennsylvania Governor's Office of General Counsel Executive Office, and the Pennsylvania Department of General Services Office of Legal Counsel. I graduated from Dickinson in 2011. Following my graduation, I was employed for nearly two years at a small personal injury law firm before working as both a solo practitioner and an adjunct college professor for another year. I am currently an Assistant District Attorney for the Luzerne County District Attorney's Office in Wilkes-Barre, PA.
My Political Science major at Wilkes University prepared me for my current job in that it provided my first opportunity to study the law and our structures of governance. My poli-sci classes introduced me to the study of the Constitution and the fundamental rights and liberties established therein. My classes also provided me with a foundation in studying the United States Supreme Court and how our highest Court has interpreted and shaped those rights--the very same rights that are implicated in my work as a prosecutor each and every day. My Political Science major also prepared me for my current position in that the rounded education I received helped lay the foundation for understanding not only the rights and lives directly affected by my work and the system within which I function, but also the broader societal implications my work visits upon our community, region, and state.
I enjoyed the Political Science major, and did so for many reasons. The first that comes to mind is the scope of the major. The Political Science program at Wilkes University provided a broad educational foundation in areas including, among others, the law, policy, politics, international relations, statistical research, and--most importantly--critical and analytical thinking. Such a wide-ranging foundation has prepared me for my career as an attorney, and is capable of preparing students for success across an array of career paths both related and disparate to my own. I believe that, aside from the breadth of the major itself, another reason I enjoyed the major was the group of intelligent, capable, and thoughtful professors who both taught me and guided me through my studies. I maintain a working relationship with my professors even today, and continue to appreciate the knowledge, experience, and insight they brought to the table in each and every class--knowledge they were only too happy to share, experience that truly informed our discussions and debates, and insight upon which I fondly reflect in both my career and personal life.
The Wilkes University Political Science major provided me with a solid base upon which I have built the beginning of what I hope to be a fruitful and fulfilling career. I am proud to have graduated as a Political Science major from Wilkes University, and believe my having done so has served as one of the cornerstones that will endure in supporting both me and my career.