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 Department Of History & Political science

The History Program,  is committed to the principle that the investigation of the broad and diverse panorama of the human experience over time fosters principles of freedom, reason, and tolerance in society. Faculty hold the highest degrees from some of the nation's most prestigious universities, and participate vigorously in professional activities in the discipline, from consulting, publishing, and public speaking, to attendance and organization of scholarly conferences. 

Rigorous study, judicious analysis, and extensive reading and writing prepare students for careers in the fields of information management, museum curation, archaeology, cultural resource management, international education, local and state government, economic development, and other professions in the field of public history. Moreover, the study of the heritage of the past in the broad liberal arts tradition prepares graduated for further study at the graduate level or professional training in the fields like education, public policy, or law.

The Political Science program is proud to boast three unique aspects to our program, namely our highly qualified faculty, our proximity to the State Capital – the polestar of state and local government, and our student-centered approach to baccalaureate education.

Our program complements WVSU’s institutional Mission and Vision Statements: “…to meet the economic development needs of the region through innovative teaching and applied research.” The department embodies the land-grant institution mission statement; it builds upon the University’s overarching emphases on public and community service. We are a program of “lifelong learners,” that develop “human capacities for integrity, compassion, and citizenship.”  Moreover, our program enables its graduates to reach into their communities with a new skills-set that enhances their ability to enrich those communities and those persons inhabiting them.

Program-Level Outcomes
Graduates with a Bachelor of Arts in History from West Virginia State University should be able to: 

  1. Demonstrate understanding of the natural and cultural environment in which humans have developed and lived over time and space.
  2. Demonstrate evidence of the historical and geographical processes by which societies, cultures, and institutions change over time and space.

  3. Demonstrate understanding of the racial and cultural diversity of the human experience as influenced by geography, culture, race, ethnicity, gender, and class.

  4. Demonstrate skills of historical research and critical analysis using a variety of sources.  

  5. Demonstrate effective research, writing, and oral communication skills in order to present an historical thesis in a logical and organized manner.

  6. Demonstrate understanding of the career search in appropriate educational and professional markets.

Program Goals:

  • Students will develop a general knowledge of human history
  • Students will read perceptively, think critically, and write clearly

  • Students will use the library and computer technology to locate and interpret primary and secondary sources

  • Students will be able to work independently and effectively to synthesize historical information

This area is under construction.

Bachelor of Arts in History
120 hours required for graduation  

General Education - 38-40 Hours

HIST 201*, HIST 202*, HIST 207*, HIST 208* - 12 hours  

Eight HIST courses 300/400 level (including HIST 260 and HIST 400) - 24 hours  


Six hours in the same Modern Foreign Language 15 cognate hours approved through the History Program.  

Math Requirement

MATH 111 or MATH 120  


Free electives to bring total to 120 hours  

Minor Requirements

HIST 201*, HIST 202*, HIST 207*, HIST 208* - 12 hours Two HIST courses 300/400 level - 6 hours  

*May count for General Education 

Mission of the Program 

One of the most important questions a student will ask themselves consists of why they have chosen their major. This page can help facilitate in answering that question for those that have decided on or are considering Political Science. 

A Political Science Degree from West Virginia State University provides a strong, broadly-based liberal arts education. Students develop critical skills, including the ability to analyze complex social problems, to evaluate concepts of political thought, to collect and consider information of political phenomena, and to apply this information in the context of local, regional, national, and international politics.

Careers in Political Science

The knowledge a student gains from studying political science prepares them for professional employment. Moreover, they learn how to be an informed and enlightened citizen, a citizen who is prepared for engagement with their communities and government. Our graduates presently hold elective offices, work in state and local governments, academic research, and nonprofit organizations. Others work in the area of law, business, and media. Some teach in schools and in higher education.

The American Political Science Association has many resources for those that are interested in pursuing political science as a major, particularly the career paths one can take with a degree in political science.
This area is under construction.
The Political Science Program offers three options for Political Science majors:

1. General Political Science Major
The General Political Science curriculum provides basic, thorough coverage of the major areas of study within the discipline of Political Science. These include American government and political institutions, public law and judicial politics, comparative politics, international politics, public policy, political thought, methodology and research and public administration. Courses also examine the intersection of politics with other social institutions such as religion, social groups and media.
The general degree in Political Science prepares students for a variety of careers, including public policy and administration at local, national and international levels. Graduates from our program presently hold elective office, work in state and local government as well as non-profit organizations, and conduct academic research. Many others work in areas of law, business and the media. Some are political consultants on campaigns. For those students seeking a more specialized course of study, the program offers two areas of concentration.
2. Pre-Law Concentration
The Pre-Law Concentration provides a rigorous curriculum focusing on the law and legal studies in order to prepare highly qualified students to pursue a number of careers after college. Most of the graduates will pursue either law school or graduate school for legal studies. However, many students continue their studies in public administration, criminal justice administration, or public policy. An undergraduate curriculum, taken in preparation for law school, should encompass courses that emphasize analytical thinking, cogent writing and confident verbal skills. Moreover, a student should have a profound understanding of the socio-political, historical and economic contexts in which laws are made, broken and interpreted. The program’s Pre-Law concentration provides such a curriculum.
3. Public Administration and Policy Concentration
The Public Administration and Policy Concentration integrates a traditional management-oriented approach with an analytical, problem-solving emphasis to produce a solid foundation that combines links theory with practice. This hybrid, innovative concentration uniquely prepares students with the skills necessary to address the challenges administrators face in the public arena. In order to prepare highly qualified students to pursue many different careers after college, this curriculum cultivates skills that enable individuals to manage and govern the public’s resources effectively, efficiently and ethically; the program is designed to teach students the business of government. Most of the graduates will pursue either graduate school in public administration or research and policy analysis.
Learning outside of the classroom is a feature of study in the Political Science Program. Students are strongly encouraged to participate in internships and/or field work. The program manages three internship programs with the State of West Virginia – the Judith A. Herndon Fellowship, the Frasure-Singleton Internship, and an internship with the Higher Education Policy Commission. In addition, the program is active in internships like the W.Va. Governor’s Internship Program, and the program provides opportunities to volunteer with political campaigns, political parties and civic groups.

Bachelor of Arts in Political Science

120 hours required for graduation

General Education - 35 - 40 Hours
Cognates (All Political Science Majors) - 18 Hours

  • PSYC 200 – Statistics for the Social Sciences
  • Six hours of the same Modern Foreign Language
  • ECON 201 or 202
  • HIST 207 or 208
  • ENGL 112, 201, or 204

 Core Courses (All Political Science Majors) - 17 Hours

  • POSC 100, 101, 204, 205, 210, 225, 311 and either POSC 400 or 497
  • Completion of one of the categories below:

 1. General Political Science Major - 27 Hours

  • POSC 204 and 210
  • 15 additional credit hours of 300 or 400 level Political
  • Sciences courses (with faculty approval)
  • Six hours of the same Modern Foreign Language
2. Pre-Law Concentration - 18 Hours
  • POSC 204 or 210
  • POSC 305, 321 and 330
  • Choose one course from each of the following two groups plus one additional course from either group:
    • Group A: POSC 304, 402, 408, 410 and 415
    • Group B: POSC 306, 403, 404 and 405

 3. Public Administration and Policy Concentration - 27 Hours

  • POSC 204
  • POSC 306, 307 and 405
  • BA 301, 310 and 320
  • Six additional credit hours of 300 or 400 level Political Sciences courses (with faculty approval)

Electives - to bring total credit hours to 120

  • Up to six hours in Cooperative Education may be earned in major-related work.
  • Up to 12 credit hours of the following courses may be double-counted as General Education courses:
    • POSC 100; Introduction to Government and Politics (three hours) to satisfy the requirement for Social Structures
    • POSC 101: American Government (three hours) to satisfy the requirement for American Traditions
    • GED courses in approved Modern Foreign Languages (six hours)


Minor in Political Science - 15 Credit Hours
POSC 100; 101; 204 or 210; and six hours from any 300 or 400 level Political Science course

The internship potentialities are vast for graduates of the Political Science program, particularly given WVSU’s proximity to the WV State Capital.

The Political Science department can assist you in applying for the chance to intern at the WV State Legislature. There is no better way to fully understand political science than to see it manifested in the real world. Participating in the Legislative internship will allow you to view the policy process in action, to comprehend how legislation is actually accomplished. We maintain that you will obtain a comprehensive understanding of government, simply by participating in it. Particularly, you will gain more knowledge of the full interaction between the educational system and the state government. Such an internship will facilitate in WVSU's Land Grant Mission, namely, serving the public.

Judith A. Herndon Fellowship

The Judith A. Herndon Fellowship is a semester long internship experience. Selected students will be assigned to a member of the West Virginia State Legislature for the 60-day legislative session, where they will research legislation, track legislation, draft bills and perform other duties related to the legislative process. Interns are then assigned to an administrative agency for the duration of the semester.

  • Full-time undergraduate students of all majors and disciplines from both public and private institutions of higher learning in West Virginia.
  • Completed 60 undergraduate hours
  • Achieved grade point average sufficient for admission into the degree program
  • Completed course in political science or extensive public affairs experience

Frasure-Singleton Internship

The Frasure-Singleton Internship is a one week  opportunity to students to observe and participate in the legislative process. Students are assigned to a member of the West Virginia State Legislature and will observe the legislative process up close, participate in the legislative process and assist their legislator with his/her duties.


  • Full-time sophomores, juniors and seniors of all majors and disciplines from two and four year, public and private institutions of higher learning
  • In good academic standing with (at least) one course in government
  • GPA is taken into consideration
The Governor's Internship Program

The Governor's Internship Program is a summer internship experience that lasts between nine and twelve weeks. Interns are placed with a state agency that reflects the interests of the students. This is a paid internship opportunity.


  1. An applicant must be a currently enrolled student at a West Virginia college or university, or a West Virginia resident attending an accredited college or university elsewhere.
  2. An applicant must have completed at least one academic year of study at an accredited college or university by July 2016. High School graduates who have taken college courses prior to graduation from High School are NOT eligible.
  3. An applicant must have a cumulative college/university GPA of 3.0 or greater. NO EXCEPTIONS!
  4. If an applicant completes their degree and has no intention of returning to school the following semester, they cannot participate in this program. The student can only apply to the GIP program if they have applied to a graduate program and can provide a letter of acceptance. The intent of the GIP is for current students only.
Political Science majors tend to be active in campus organizations. The Political Science Program currently offers two student organizations – the Pre-Law Association and the Political Science Society. Political Science majors frequently serve as the officers of the University’s Student Government Association and other campus student organizations.
Pi Sigma Alpha, a Political Science honor society, is open to students who excel in the study of politics and government. The campus chapter inducts new members each spring.

Academic Advising

Academic Advising is a crucial element to a positive baccalaureate experience. The prospective planning that each student undertakes with a member of the faculty can ensure successful navigation through college. Each student that majors in political science must meet with his or her advisor at least once per semester.

The faculty can help ascertain the necessary courses that facilitate in future planning for internships, careers, and graduate school opportunities. Please come prepared with questions and courses in which you are interested

Faculty & Staff

Christopher (Chris)
Christopher (Chris)  Howard
Instructor for the Political Science and the MPA Programs
Dr. Michael
Dr. Michael Pennington
Professor, Chair of History & Political Science, MPA Director,
Phone: (304) 766-3044
Dr. Derek
Dr. Derek Taylor
Instructor, History Program Coordinator
Phone: 304-766-4245
Dr. Michael Workman
Dr. Michael  Workman
Associate Professor, History Program Chair
Phone: (304) 766-3053
Students in history lecture
Dr. Michael
Dr. Michael Pennington
Professor, Chair of History & Political Science, MPA Director,
120 Hill Hall
Phone: (304) 766-3044
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