Academic advisement is the process through which you plan your program at ISU, in consultation with your academic advisor. 

Academic Advisor

The Department undergraduate advisor is available to answer questions to help you plan your academic schedule and navigate through the procedures and deadlines leading to graduation. He is also there to help you with any problems you may encounter along the way. His signature is required when registering for or dropping or adding classes. He may also provide information concerning career planning and graduate school.

The current undergraduate academic advisors:

Political Science: 

Dr. Matthew Bergbower
HH 312, Phone: 812-237-2518 

Dr. Michael R. Chambers
HH 309, Phone: 812-237-2515 

Dr. Carly Schmitt
HH 309, Phone: 812-237-2514 

Legal Studies Program:

Dr. Robert VanSickel
HH 310, Phone: 812-237-2516

A Mentor

The university is a community of scholars, both students and teachers. It evolved from the traditional practice of students seeking out learned persons with whom they would study. This was a very personal relationship between mentor and protege. Today universities are large and complex institutions but this basic relationship is still at its core.

Our scholars, the faculty, encourage you to develop this mentor-protege relationship. There is no formal procedure for doing this. As you come to know your professors in the classroom you may wish to explore a question in greater depth, or you may have questions about careers in political science, or possible graduate schools. Such inquiries may begin the mentor-protege relationship. All of our faculty maintain office hours and are open to your needs and concerns.

The Student's Responsibility

While your academic advisor is available to guide and advise, you are ultimately responsible for meeting the University and Departmental requirements for graduation.

Your first responsibility is to acquire the tools you will need to meet this responsibility. This Handbook provides much of the information you will need. Official information will be found in the Indiana State University Catalog: Undergraduate Catalog. The Catalog sets forth academic requirements and procedures. It also introduces you to campus organizations, both academic and recreational, including a variety of student services. Here you will find a complete list of courses offered by the University with a description of their content. At registration time, you will need the Indiana State University Catalog: Schedule of Classes. This publication appears about the middle of each semester and provides class scheduling information for the following semester regarding what courses are being offered and where and when they meet.

Second, you should check these sources when you have a question or problem. If you cannot find the answer or it is confusing or unsatisfactory see your advisor.

Third, see your advisor during office hours or call for an appointment.

Fourth, before seeing your advisor for registration prepare a trial schedule. Consider your requirements, progress and interests and jot down the courses that you would like to take in the following semester. It does not have to be compete, but getting something in writing will bring both you and your advisor up to speed for the discussion of your schedule.

Fifth, be aware of deadlines. Do not wait until the last minute. Leave yourself time to solve problems as they arise.

Sixth, you are responsible for keeping track of your progress toward your degree. The form found in "Appendix I" will be of help. You will also find it useful to keep your copies of "Form 1," "Drop and Add Forms" and "Grade Reports." Your advisor will also be tracking your progress. If you have questions contact your advisor.

Advisement Procedures and Registration

Regular Registration

Regular advisement and registration take place about mid- semester (October and March). The exact dates may be found in the Schedule of Classes. Call the Political Science office for an appointment with the academic advisor. During the last two days of registration the advisor will see students on a first- come-first-serve basis. Come with your trial schedule in hand.

We will check your progress, your schedule for the forthcoming semester and, in the Spring, for Summer School if you choose to attend.

You will then fill out a "Form I," have the advisor sign it and take it to the College of Arts and Sciences office (216 Stalker Hall). Toward the end of the semester you will be mailed a confirmation of your registration together with a bill.

Occasionally you will not get some of the classes for which you hoped to register. In this event or if you wish to change your schedule for some other reason, you may do so during the drop and add period. 

Drop and Add

The drop-add period begins toward the end of the semester and extends into the first week of classes. (Specific dates will be found in the Schedule of Classes.) This provides an opportunity to change or fill out your schedule, or if you were unable to register early, to do so. The drop-add process is handled through a telephone-computer system that can be accessed through any touchtone telephone. The system is explained in the Schedule of Classes and is rather simple to operate.

You will need to contact your advisor. You will discuss the changes and get your personal identification number (PIN). If you are on campus come in and fill out a "Touchtone Change of Course Form," which must be signed by your advisor and by the instructors of the courses you are dropping or adding. After the first week of classes you will also need the Dean's signature to add a class. If you are off campus, out of town , you may call your advisor to get your PIN.

Money Matters

You will receive your tuition bill through the mail about the last week of the semester. There are other charges that may be levied, such as a drop-add fee or a late registration fee. These charges may be avoided by registering during the regular registration period and observing all deadlines. The deadlines and fees associated with them are listed in the Schedule of Classes.

If you have questions about financial assistance call the Office of Student Financial Aid (237-2223). 

Important Notice

If you delay registration you may find classes closed. They often fill up and it is also not unusual for a class to be canceled because of insufficient enrollment during the regular registration period. 

Graduation Requirements

University and College Requirements

You must earn a minimum of 124 semester hours of credit with a grade point average (GPA) of 2.00 in order to graduate. The College of Arts And Sciences requires a GPA of 2.20 in courses taken in your major or minor. Of the 124 hours, 50 must be earned in 300- or 400-level courses. You must also complete the University's General Education Program. 

General Education Program

General Education offers every student at Indiana State a wide variety of courses intended to develop a well-rounded, educated person. It ensures competency in several basic skills-- English composition, speaking, mathematics, and physical education (11-17 hours). Each student will also select thirty- six hours of work from a broad offering of courses in the sciences, social sciences, literary and artistic studies, history and multi-cultural studies. You will develop your own program, in consultation with your advisor and in accordance with your interests, background and goals.

The details of the General Education Program can be found in the Bulletin. This includes a listing of courses approved for General Education. Read it over and see your advisor if you have any questions. 

The Political Science Major

  • 36 Semester Hours
  • Introductory course
    • 130 Introduction to Political Science--3 hrs.
  • Core courses
    • 201 American Government--3 hrs.
    • 245 Political Inquiry --3 hrs.
    • 280 Introduction to Comparative Politics--3 hrs.
    • 319 Survey of Western Political Thought--3 hrs.
    • 330 Introduction to Public Administration--3 hrs.
    • 370 International Politics-- 3hrs.

The core courses provide an introduction to the various fields of Political Science.  Ordinarily, you should take the introductory course before taking advanced courses in the field. However, with the consent of the Chairperson of the Department, PSCI 483, 488, or 490 may be substituted for PSCI 280, and PSCI 460 may be substituted for PSCI 370.

  • Electives

Twelve hours of Political Science courses with at least nine hours at the 400 level. When PSCI 495, 497, or 498 are taken as electives at least six hours of other 400-level courses are required. 

Planning your Program

Strategy: Getting the Most Out of Your Education

Planning and flexibility are keys to a satisfying academic experience. You are the best judge of your interests and your goals, but do not be surprised if both change over the years. This is one reason for flexibility in your planning. Your academic advisor or your mentor may suggest ways to satisfy your interests and achieve your goals.

Look ahead and rough out your program. Take into consideration the University requirements, including General Education, as well as the requirements for your major and for a minor if you choose to earn one.

In general your program is divided into two parts: lower division (100 and 200 courses), and upper division (300 and 400 courses). In your first two years you should give primary attention to General Education, both Basic Skills and Liberal Studies, the Political Science Core, and background, collateral courses (courses not in your major but important for an understanding of politics). Your last two years are for specialization. Then you will finish your major electives and your minor.

While there is no hard-and-fast rule that you can not take upper division courses early, it is a good rule to follow. You will be using your Basic Skills throughout your academic career. The Core courses provide an introduction to substance and theory that will be treated in much greater detail and sophistication at the upper division level. Core courses may also stimulate an interest in advanced courses which can not be satisfied if the former are put off until the Senior year. Background courses in history, economics, sociology, psychology, etc. will make your upper division political science courses more meaningful and interesting. You will also find that in other departments there may be prerequisites for courses you wish to take later.

Planning ahead can be very useful. It can prevent you from missing a prerequisite. Because of demand and staffing problems not all courses are offered every year. Planning ahead and consulting with your advisor may help you to prevent missing a course that you really wish to take. 

Building Your Schedules

Remember that you must earn, at least, 124 semester hours. If you alternate 15 and 16 hours per semester you will graduate in four years. Twelve hours is considered a full load and most financial aid requires at least 12 hours per semester. Most aid also requires that you complete your degree in four years or eight semesters.

Attend to your basic skills early. Upon entering ISU you will be notified of your English composition placement. If you are placed in Eng 101 you must enroll in this course for your first semester, followed by Eng 105 in the second semester. If you are placed in Eng 105 and your last name begins with A through L, enroll in the first semester, all others enroll in the second semester. Comm. 101 will be taken in the other semester of your freshman year.

Another basic skill for Political Science majors is the use of the computer. If you have not been introduced to the computer before coming to ISU you may wish to enroll in MIS 276, "Business Information Processing Systems." This course will introduce you to the computer, word processing , spread sheets, and data base management. These skills can save you a great deal of time throughout you academic career.

Next turn your attention to your major. In the first semester take PSCI 130. PSCI 201 is good choice as your second course. Finish up your Core courses by the beginning of you Junior year. Remember that you should take the introductory course before the advanced courses in the same field, eg., "American Government" before "Political Parties."

Fill out your schedule with General Education or collateral courses or other courses that spark your interest. In the front of the Schedule of Classes you will find the "General Education Planner." This contains the General Education requirements and a complete listing of General Education courses offered that semester. Remember that nine semester hours of your General Education, Liberal Studies courses must be at the 300/400 level and are not normally taken until your Junior year. This is also true of Eng 305. Many of the collateral course are approved for General Education. Below is a list of courses recommended for the Political Science major. The courses are not required, but they offer material which will contribute to your understanding of politics. Courses with an alphanumeric code are General Education courses. The code tells you how the course credit is divided among the Liberal Studies categories. The letter stands for the category and the number for the semester hours offered in that category. Thus D1,E2 means one hour in Historical Studies and two hours in Multicultural Studies.

Comm 105 3 hrs History of Free Speech in Decision Making (B3)
Comm 410 3 hrs Communications Process in Political Campaigns
Econ 200 3 hrs Principles of Macroeconomics (B3)
Econ 201 3 hrs Principles of Microeconomics (B3)


If you are interested in comparative politics or international relations, you should consider a foreign language.

Geo 330 3hrs World Geography (E3)
Geo 433 3hrs Conservation of Natural Resources (A1B2)

History offers essential background for the study of politics. Specific courses should be selected according to your interests, in consultation with your advisor.

If you are interested in American politics, the American History survey courses are a good choice.

Hist 201 3 hrs The United States to 1877 (D3)
Hist 202 3 hrs The United States to 1865 (D3)

If you have some background in American history, there is a variety of advanced courses available.

If you are interested in comparative politics or international relations, there are courses covering most of the world.

Hist 357 3 hrs Europe since 1815
Hist 445 3 hrs Latin America: The National Era
Hist 470 3 hrs Tsarist Russia
Hist 471 3 hrs Twentieth-Century Russia
Hist 372 3 hrs History of Modern Africa II: National Movements and independence (D1E2)
Hist 495 3 hrs Africa South of the Sahara
Hist 482 3 hrs The Middle East Today
Hist 486 3 hrs East Asia II
There are also two courses in diplomatic history.
Hist 421 3 hrs American Diplomacy
Hist 474 3 hrs European Diplomatic History, 1870 to the Present
Phil 202 3 hrs Introduction to Morality and Law
Phil 205 3 hrs Introduction to Logic (A3)
Phil 416 3 hrs Political Philosophy
Soc 220 3 hrs Social Problems (A1B2)
Soc 240 3 hrs Introduction to Social Psychology (A1B2)
Soc 322 3 hrs Social Conflict (B3)


Another option you have, late in your academic career, is an internship or field work:

PSCI 495: 3-9 hrs
"Internship in Political Science" provides an opportunity for work, observation, and study in a public or private not-for-profit organization. You will be expected to work full time in an agency or organization.

PSCI 497: 1-6 hrs
"Field Work in Political Science" allows you to do supervised field work in a government agency or party organization. You will follow a specific plan worked out with the instructor.

Both of these courses require the consent of the instructor and the completion of a proposal/approval form. If you are considering an internship or field work you should see Dr. Maxam early in the semester before you intend to enroll. It takes time to make arrangements for these courses. 


The Political Science major requires only 36 hours. This allows you not only to acquire a broad background in collateral courses, but also a minor. A minor is not required for graduation, but it can enhance your marketability afterward. Some of the more popular minors are History, Criminology, Journalism, Economics, and International Studies. This list is not all-inclusive, and many others are possible.

You are encouraged to discuss possible minors with your advisor or mentor. The earlier the better to avoid needing more than 124 hours to graduate. 

A Sample Schedule

This schedule would be suitable for a student interested in American politics and a History minor.

Semester 1

  • ENG 105-3hrs. Freshman Writing
  • PSCI 130-3hrs. Introduction to Political Science
  • HIST 201-3hrs. United States to 1877 (D3)
  • MUS 233-3hrs. Music Appreciation (C2D1)
  • MIS 276-3hrs. Business Information Processing Systems (A2B1)

Semester 2

  • COMM 101-3hrs. Introduction to Speech Communication
  • PSCI 201-3hrs. American Government
  • HIST 202-3hrs. United States from 1865 (D3)
  • GEO 160-3hrs. Introduction to Earth and Sky Sciences (A3)
  • GEO 160l-1hr. Introduction to Earth and Sky Sciences Laboratory (A1)
  • ENG 234-3hrs. Introduction to Film as Literature (C3)

Semester 3

  • PSCI 280-3hrs. Introduction to Comparative Politics
  • PSCI 330-3hrs. Introduction to Public Administration
  • Math 111-3hrs. Intermediate Algebra
  • Econ 200-3hrs. Principles of Macroeconomics (B3)
  • SOC 120-3hrs. Principles of Sociology (A1B2)

Semester 4

  • PSCI 245-3hrs. Political Inquiry
  • PSCI 370-3hrs. International Politics
  • ECON 201-3hrs. Principles of Microeconomics (B3)
  • SOC 220-3hrs. Contemporary Social Problems (A1B2)
  • AFRO 312-3hrs. Afro-American Culture II (B1E2)
  • PE 135-3hrs. Golf

Semester 5

  • Eng 305-3hrs. Advanced Expository Writing
  • PSCI 305-3hrs. State and Local Government
  • PSCI 306-3hrs. Political Parties
  • HIST 300-3hrs. History and Historians
  • GEO 330-3hrs. World Geography (E3)

Semester 6

  • PSCI 407-3hrs. Legislative Process and Behavior
  • HIST 357-3hrs. Europe since 1815
  • HIST 413-3hrs. The New Nation, 1783-1835
  • SOC 320-3hrs. Social Conflict (B3)
  • IS 301-3hrs. World Problems Since 1945
  • PE 151-3hrs. Basketball

Semester 7

  • PSCI 410-3hrs. Groups and the Political Process
  • PSCI 414-3hrs. The American Chief Executive
  • PSCI 481-3hrs. Politics of Western Europe
  • Hist 417-3hrs. Twentieth Century America to 1933
  • Hist 415-3hrs. From Reconstruction to Industrialized America

Semester 8

  • PSCI 499-3hrs. Senior Seminar in Politics
  • HIST 418-3hrs. Twentieth Century America from 1933
  • HIST 491-3hrs. History Forum
  • ANTH 202-3hrs. Multiple Lifeways
  • PHIL 205-3hrs. Introduction to Logic (A3)
  • HUM 250-3hrs. World Religions (D1E2)

Finishing Up, Graduation!

As you are approaching graduation, you will want an official check on your progress. This is provided by the "Curriculum Evaluation," or more commonly called the "Senior Checkout" When you have earned about seventy-five semester hours initiate the "Checkout." This is done at the College of Arts and Sciences Office (216 Stalker Hall). The "Checkout" will tell you officially where you stand in completing all the requirements for graduation. At seventy-five hours, you will have plenty of time to take care of any deficiencies that may appear.

In the semester you enroll for your eighty-fifth semester hour the Director of Records will send an application for graduation to your local address. You must complete the application and return it within two weeks.

This will take care of the paperwork for graduation. 


From time to time students need help with a variety of problems--academic, personal or medical. That help is available on campus.

If you are having a problem with a particular course see your instructor. Very often this can resolve the problem in short order. If not or if your problem involves more than a single course, see your advisor. Call for an appointment or drop in during posted office hours.

The University also provides help through the Student Academic Services Center, located in Gillum Hall. The Center can provide tutoring, study groups, help in writing and math skills, and training in study and time-management skills. The Center hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4.30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., Sunday through Thursday. Telephone 237-2300.

Personal or medical problems can be taken to the Student Services Building, 567 North Fifth Street. The Student Counseling Center provides professional help for a variety of personal problems. Call 237-3939 for an appointment.

Student Health Services provide professional help for medical problems.

Remember that problems are more likely to be solved if you seek help early. Do not wait until the end of the semester to get help with Math 111!

The Catalog of Indiana State University is the document of authority for all students. The requirements given in the catalog supersede information issued by any academic department, program, college, or school. The University reserves the right to change the requirements at any time.