Spotlight Visit Day (October 26)

The History & Political Science Department will be taking part in the Humanities & Communication Spotlight Visit Day on Wednesday, October 26, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. At this Spotlight Visit Day, you can learn more about Millikin's History and Political Science programs, sit in on classes and tour program facilities, speak with current students and faculty, and hear about financial aid and scholarship opportunities. 


Program Highlights

Millikin's Department of Political Science is dedicated to developing its students' understanding of the political world at both the domestic and international levels. With an emphasis on theory and practice, students explore their role as active citizens in their community, country, and the world. Through a rigorous curriculum that cultivates competency in both quantitative and qualitative methodologies, we seek to develop the critical thinking and analytical skills essential to our students' long-term professional success. We also seek to instill in our students the responsibilities that civil society demands and are committed to their development as active citizens and leaders of their local, national, and world communities. We are dedicated to the development of the whole student, one who is better able to understand and engage in the development of a more ethical and just society.

Students become life-long learners, active citizens, and leaders, with skills applicable to many career paths. Consequently, our alumni are successful in a wide variety of fields including law, criminal justice, business, advocacy, academia, diplomacy, and electoral politics.

Majors are encouraged to participate in the Washington Semester Program at American University in Washington, D.C.; the programs of the Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars, the United Nations Semester in New York; Study Abroad; and in extracurricular activities such as Model Illinois Government, Model United Nations, Moot Court, and student government.

What can I do with a degree in political science?

  • Identify key questions, fundamental concepts, and theoretical frameworks critical to an understanding of the political world.
  • Identify the fundamental concepts, characteristics, and theories central to American politics.
  • Identify the fundamental concepts, characteristics, and theories central to comparative politics.
  • Identify the fundamental concepts, characteristics, and theories central to the area of international relations.
  • Solve complex problems by demonstrating a mastery of substantive knowledge in the discipline’s main sub-fields.
  • Follow scientific and humanistic methods to design and carry out politically-oriented research projects by utilizing sufficiently advanced social research methods.
  • Communicate effectively political knowledge to general audiences as well as colleagues in the field.

The Millikin Political Science Department welcomes you to contact them for details about the department. For more information about admission to the University or Millikin in general, contact the Office of Admission at 800.373.7733. To contact the Political Science Department directly, call 217.424.6386.

Download the Political Science Major advising sheet.

Plan of Study

Departmental Course Offerings

Courses change each semester, so this list should not be considered a commitment to these individual topics. However, this does represent a list of many of our current and popular courses. The list is provided so that you can begin to imagine your academic career at Millikin in this major.


History/Political Science Course Offerings - Spring 2016


HI 202    Rise of Modern Europe                           Kovalcik              MWF    11:00-11:50      

This course is an introduction to Modern Europe from Napoleon through the Cold War.  Major political, social and economic developments are discussed on a basic level, and the critical questions regarding the History of modern Europe are explored in a lecture format.  By the end of the course every student will be able to identify major figures, events and developments.  They will also be able to form a set of core theses surrounding various European specific themes. 


HI 204    History of US since 1865                        Monroe               TR       11:00-12:15      

This course focuses on the reconstruction era, the frontier west, industrialization and the Populist movement, the nation’s rise to world power, the “Progressive” and New Deal periods, American involvement in the world wars, and post-1945 social, political and economic developments.

              Fulfills MPSL US Studies requirement


HI 204    History of US Since 1865                        Mullgardt             MWF    10:00-10:50      

This course focuses on the reconstruction era, the frontier west, industrialization and the Populist movement, the nation’s rise to world power, the “Progressive” and New Deal periods, American involvement in the world wars, and post-1945 social, political and economic developments.

Fulfills MPSL U.S. Studies requirement


HI205     Scientific Revolutions                             Hartsock              MWF    1:00-1:50          



This course sketches the evolution of views of nature and how best to study and explain it. We will begin with the ancient world and investigate how the ideas and beliefs of the ancients shaped how the medieval viewed science and nature. We will then study the so-called scientific revolution that gave birth to modern science. We will look at what changed – and what didn’t – about how we conceive of and study nature. We will also look at contemporary “revolutions” in science that have fundamentally changed the way we think about the world and our place in it.

Fulfills CAS Historical Studies requirement


HI 210    Violence in America                               Monroe               TR       2:00-3:15                      

Violence has been a fact of American life since the beginning of the United States.  From vigilantism to lynching, from agrarian violence to urban riots and industrial conflict, the course examines the causes of the mayhem including ethnic and religious hatreds as well as racial and gender prejudice.  


HI 210    US 1920s                                             Mullgardt             MWF    1:00-1:50                      

Some call it "The Jazz Age," a decade of gin, sin, and crime. Others say it was an era of modernity, while some claim it was one of tradition. Students explore all aspects of this thrilling time, including the Palmer Raids, the Sacco and Vanzetti Trial, the Harlem Renaissance and the Lost Generation, Mass Culture, Prohibition and Organized Crime.


HI 210    Ireland in America                                 Sampson             TR       11:00-12:15      

IN 250

The purpose of this course is to examine the Irish immigration to the United States. In doing so we will, by necessity, have one foot in Ireland and one in the United States. It is important to understand the factors that drove the Irish to leave their country and come to this one, the policies that created numerous rebellions, uprisings, and vigilante actions in Ireland, the customs and world views that both hindered and helped in countless decisions to emigrate, and the challenges, opportunities, hostilities, triumphs, and tragedies that awaited those emigrants in the United States.


HI 305    Ancient Philosophy                                Hartsock              TR       9:30-10:45                    


A contemporary philosopher said, “All philosophy is a footnote to Plato.” Certainly, Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics are the keys to understanding much of the intellectual roots of the western tradition. We will read some of the major texts of these philosophers in their historical context as they attempt to answer the questions, Who am I and what is the nature of the Good and the Right? What is my role in society? What is knowledge and how do we acquire it? What is a well-run state? What is the self? And how should I live?

Fulfills CAS Historical Studies requirement


HI 310    US in Cold War                                      Mullgardt             MWF    11:00-11:50                  

This course addresses the role of the United States in the Cold War and its impact on the nation. It examines the Cold War's origins, key moments in foreign policy (both overt and covert), and domestic developments in the United States including the Civil Rights movement, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Kennedy assassination, Vietnam and the antiwar movement, the Counterculture, the 1970s, and the Reagan administration.


HI 310    American Civil Rights Movement              Monroe               W        2:00-4:30          

The course takes an expansive view of the Civil Rights movement and consequently begins with the abolition movement and chronologically continues through the struggle against Jim Crow and lynching to the formation of the NAACP and then the post-World-War-Two civil rights movement.  We will emphasize black agency, how black Americans fought to establish full civil, social, and political rights, paying particular attention to black leaders such as Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois, Booker T. Washington, Ida B. Welles, Thurgood Marshall, and Martin Luther King, Jr., among others.   


HI 310    Public History                                        Kovalcik/ Dolan    T         6:00-10:00        

This course is an introduction to the concept and practice of Public History.  Students will define the discipline by studying and practice various forms of Public history.  More specifically the course will examine local history museums, public displays of history (including monuments, buildings, living history displays, etc.) and commercial uses of history.  Each student in this course will produce a form of Public history.  


HI 360    Medieval Culture & World Controversies    Kovalcik              MWF    2:00-2:50          

This course is an examination of key intellectual developments as it relates to the medieval study of the Bible.  From the Council of Nicea to the Reformation there were numerous interpretations and re-interpretations of sacred Scripture.  Many of these interpretations were controversial.  At the very least they set the course for not only religious history, but European society as a whole.  It is the goal of this course to understand these controversies in context and identify the key reasons for social, religious and political change. 


HI 360    Colonialism, Resistance, and Nation        Sampson             TR       2:00-3:15          

                Building in Our World: Case Studies of the Indian Subcontinent and Ireland

Colonialism, the conquering and exploitation of lands and societies by a foreign invading power, was a dominant factor around the globe in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries and well into the 20th. Although the “empires” once ruled from foreign capitals have largely disappeared, the residual impacts of colonialism linger in many societies, creating problems and divisions that continue to pose challenges to those affected peoples, their neighbors and the world community.  It was once said with accuracy that the “sun never sets on the British Empire,” reflecting Great Britain’s dominance of peoples from one end of the globe to the other. The British raised control, exploitation, and repression of nationalism to new levels of efficiency—but at what cost for those societies once they achieved independence.  The nations of the Indian subcontinent—Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan—and Ireland—the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland—provide classic case studies of the continuing impacts of British policy long after (with the exception of Northern Ireland) the last English soldier departed.  To some degree the tactics and institutions used by Great Britain differed between the Indian subcontinent and Ireland, but the end result was remarkably similar—the creation of deep-rooted antagonisms among the respective populations, economies struggling at times to succeed, and conflicts that continue to demand the world’s attention. The clashes that continue to rage around the world centered on divisions of religion, race, and class resonate in the examples used for this course.  Exploring the roots of these conflicts will involve lectures, films, and the examination of primary sources.


HI 360    Holocaust & Genocide                            Kovalcik              MWF    1:00-1:50          

This is an introduction to the history of the Holocaust and Genocide in the 20th century.  The basic format is lecture with a special emphasis on the history of the Holocaust, 1933-1945.  However, there will also be significant study of Genocide as a modern development, its incarnation in the 20th century and the current world issues surrounding Genocide. 


HI 400    Seminar: The Long Sixties                      Mullgardt             W        2:00-4:45                                  

This course covers what historians currently call “The Long Sixties,” or 1955-1975.  It will cover the historiography of this period, and requires close and careful reading of secondary and primary documents.  A seminar paper based on primary and secondary materials, as well as class participation, constitute the bulk of assessments. 


PO 105   The American Political System                Lusvardi              MWF    9:00-9:50                      

This course emphasizes the theoretical underpinnings and practical understanding of the national policy process and institutions of government. The course also provides students with adequate preparation for further work in the major by emphasizing the understanding of specific political issues, the manners through which the process works (and does not), explores the inplications of current political events, and investigates the ways in which political scientists measure and analyze political issues.


PO 235   Intro to Criminal Justice System              Rueter                 TR       5:00-6:15          

This course introduces students to the criminal justice system, by reviewing and understanding the roles of the three main components; police, courts and corrections.

PO 321      Modern Terrorism: IRA to ISIS              Notariano            TR       11:00-12:15                  

This course is a survey of terrorism in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries with an emphasis on the post-World War II era. We will explore the various ways that terrorist groups are organized by examining internal documents and case histories of these secretive organizations. We will analyze the strategies groups use to pursue their goals and how these strategies are shaped by the political environment in which they operate. The course concludes with a discussion of the successes and failures of current counterterrorism efforts and how governments can do more to exploit the weaknesses of terrorist organizations. 


PO 323   International Conflict and Security           Notariano            TR       2:00-2:50

This course is a comprehensive overview of how countries around the world provide security to citizens. We will draw on international relations theory to explain the need for—and provision of— military, political, economic, and societal security.  We will explore contemporary security challenges that include the international arms trade, transnational organized crime, and migration. The course concludes with a discussion of how countries and international organizations are likely to protect citizens and society in the future.

PO 321   Global Political Economy:                       Notariano            TR       9:30-10:45        

                   Economic Development                    

This course explores why the current political solutions used to fight global poverty have failed to improve the lives of the poor around the world. We will assess new and innovative approaches to studying poverty and promoting economic development.  This course emphasizes the perspective of the poor and the challenges they face in their daily lives. Novel solutions to fighting poverty emerge as we shift the focus of development economics away from the state and toward the individual.  


PO 334   Civil Liberties & Constitution                    Sanders              W        5:00-7:50          

This course introduces students to the civil rights and liberties provided by the United States Constitution, focusing on understanding (1) the language of the Constitution, (2) the historical significance and evolution of the Constitution, (3) differing perspectives with regard to Constitutional interpretation, and (4) current and recent Constitutional issues addressed by the Supreme Court.


PO 360   Sex, Power, and the Political Process:      Lusvardi              MWF    10:00-10:50                  

                  Gender and Politics

This course explores the role of gender in contemporary American politics. The course investigates the roles that women and men play in modern politics - voting, running for office, serving in office; and how women and men experience these roles in different ways. The course also focuses on major areas of public policy as they disproportionately affect women. Some policy issues to be studied include the feminization of poverty, women's health, employment discrimination, prostitution, and trafficking protections.

Counts toward the Gender Studies Minor


PO 361   Washington Internship/Practicum            Lusvardi                                    

An internship experience, in Washington, DC, is available to students of all majors. This course combines practical experience and training within an academic framework through a placement in an agency or organization. Students must complete an internship contract. Student performance is evaluated by a reflective portfolio and agency supervisor. This course is taught in Washington when students study at The Washington Center or American University. This course fulfills political science internship requirement.


PO 365   Political Simulation: Model IL Government                          Lusvardi           TR         9:30-10:45                    

This course is associated with the Model Illinois Government (MIG) program offered by a consortium of Illinois universities, colleges, and community colleges dedicated to the teaching of state government. The major activity of MIG is a student-directed four day simulation each spring at the Capitol Complex in Springfield. At the simulation, students assume roles of state legislators, executive branch officials, lobbyists, journalists, and staffers. Study in preparation for the participation learning activities of this course will be through lectures, readings, discussions, guided research, and role playing. The participation activities of this course will familiarize students with the operation of Illinois General Assembly by examination of and involvement in the simulated process of bills becoming laws.


PO 366   Appellate Legal Reas-Moot Crt.                Money                 MWF    2:00-3:50                      

This course will rely heavily on a simulation model in which we conduct mock appellate hearings in class. Students will role-play as both attorneys and judges. This course will employ the closed case methods this is used at most moot court competitions. Each closed case file will include numerous items, including: a statement of the facts of the case, the rulings by the lower courts, select court case precedents, and specific federal and/or state statutory and/or constitutional language. This course involves no research that goes beyond the materials provided in the closed case files. On the basis of this material and this material only, students will complete a range of assignments designed to engage students in the central aspects of appellate legal reasoning including legal brief writing, oral argumentation and judicial opinion writing.


PO 410   Professional Development                      Lusvardi              W        1:00-1:50          

This class is designed to prepare the political science student for entry into the job market, or further study at the graduate level. Taught by the political science faculty, this class meets once a week and addresses the issues of relevance to the political science professional. Topics of relevance to postgraduates, including graduate exams, graduate applications, and resume and interview preparation will be discussed. Students will prepare a career portfolio, individually designed to meet their specific needs, in which professional and graduate school materials will be collected. Portfolio will be fully assessed at the end of the semester.                                    


PO 450  Senior Thesis                                         Lusvardi                                                

To complete a senior thesis a student is expected to produce a substantial original piece of research. The student will defend the written work and present the work at Millikin or in a regional conference. Open only to advanced juniors and seniors whose paper proposal has been approved by the faculty of the department.