2019-2020 Graduate Catalog 
    Mar 29, 2023  
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog [Archived]

Political Science

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Master of Public Administration
Certificate of Advanced Study in Public Administration
Certificate in Public Personnel Administration

Department of Political Science
Holmstedt Hall, room 301
Phone: 812-237-2430
E-mail: polisci@indstate.edu
Web site: http://www.indstate.edu/polisci/

Graduate Program Contact Person: Dr. Nathan Myers, director, MPA program
Phone: 812-237-2504



Chambers, Michael R., Ph.D., Columbia University
Professor of Political Science
Specializations: International Relations, Comparative Politics, East Asia

Rashid, Samory, Ph.D., University of Chicago
Professor of Political Science
Specializations: Comparative Politics: Africa, International Relations, Political Economy

Associate Professors

Bergbower, Matthew L., Ph.D., Southern Illinois University
Associate Professor of Political Science
Specializations: State and Local Politics, American Politics

Buchanan, Stan, Ph.D., University of Tennessee
Associate Professor of Political Science and Chair, Political Science Department
Specializations: Public Administration, State and Local Government, American Federalism

Myers, Nathan G., Ph.D., University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Associate Professor of Political Science
Specialization: Public Policy and Public Administration

Van Sickel, Robert, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara
Associate Professor of Political Science, Legal Studies Director
Specializations: Legal Studies, Political Theory

Assistant Professors:

Carly Schmitt, PhD, University of Illinois, Chamapaign-Urbana

Assistant Professor of Political Science

Specializations:  voting and elections, institutions of American government



The Department of Political Science offers graduate education through the Public Administration Program.  Established in 1976, the program exists to educate and train students dedicated to the profession of public management. The program offers the traditional master’s degree in public administration (M.P.A.) as well as two on-line certificate programs—one in public administration and the other in public personnel administration. The program is a member of NASPAA, and is also associated with the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA).  A full-time M.P.A. director manages the programs and advises M.P.A. and certificate students.


The M.P.A. Program at Indiana State University requires a minimum of 36 graduate credits for mid-career public sector or nonprofit sector professionals. A core of seven courses, or 21 credits, is required of all M.P.A. students. Twelve credits of elective coursework is required.  Toward the end of the MPA program, students register for PA 697 (capstone) to complete their studies. 

Students without significant public or nonprofit management experience must also complete a three credit, semester-long internship at a site determined by students in consultation with their advisors.

Electives may be taken from a menu of political science and public administration courses. Students may also choose elective concentrations in courses offered by other departments, all offered online.  Elective concentrations include courses in criminal justice, human resource development, and public health.  Students may take courses within elective concentrations, or other elective courses outside the Department of Political Science, with the approval of their advisors.

Students will consult with their advisors before beginning their M.P.A. course study to develop a student contract (or plan) of study.  The contract may be revised from time to time.  For the most part, students are advised to take core courses first, and take electives toward the end of their M.P.A. studies.   Students may take core courses in any order, except that PA 604 must be taken before PA 602. (PA 604 and PA 602 may not be taken during the same semester.)  The capstone project (PA 697), the culminating experience for MPA students, should be scheduled during each student’s final semester in the program. 


 A limited number of graduate assistantships are available. Applications for assistantships should be submitted by January 15 and no later than April 15. Recipients are normally notified by May 1, with earlier notification occurring in some cases. Special cases can be considered after May 1. For more information on graduate assistantships see the College of Graduate and Professional Studies website. 


Master of Public Administration

Students considered for admission to the masters of public administration degree must give evidence of a reasonable competence in academics and a clear desire to work as a professional in public or nonprofit administration. They must also meet the following expectations:

  1. Hold a bachelor’s degree in any academic field from an accredited college or university, with a minimum undergraduate grade point average of 2.75 earned in undergraduate work if the applicant has had no significant experience as an administrator. Mid-career students with significant experience in public or nonprofit management may be admitted conditionally with a minimum grade point average of 2.5 in their undergraduate work. Applicants may submit unofficial transcripts to the department during the application process, but official transcripts from the applicant’s undergraduate institution must be on file with the College of Graduate and Professional Studies for the applicant to be admitted unconditionally. 
  2. Three letters of recommendation. Letters may originate from academic or professional references. Each letter must address either the applicant’s academic preparation or career goals. Applicants without professional experience may rely chiefly on references from former professors; mid-career applicants may rely chiefly on references from professional colleagues.
  3. A written statement of the applicant’s purpose in pursuing the degree. The statement should be from one to two pages, double-spaced, and ten to 12-type font. Graduate Record Examination test scores, or scores from any other standardized examination, are not required although the applicant may at her or his discretion submit test scores for consideration. In addition to application to the program, applicants must also apply to the College of Graduate and Professional Studies for admission to graduate studies and meet University requirements for admission to graduate study at ISU. Official transcripts should be directed to the College of Graduate and Professional Studies, but unofficial transcripts, letters, explanatory essays, and any test scores should be sent directly to the program director. Applicants may be admitted unconditionally if all admission requirements are met. Applicants may be admitted provisionally or with conditions under certain circumstances.
  4. Applicants seeking to complete the degree on-line must have significant public or nonprofit management experience.

Admission of International Students

International students must fulfill all requirements for admission to the Master of Public Administration Program outlined above. They must also meet the following requirements:

  1. TOEFL score of 600 or higher (paper) or equivalent on computer or Internet based tests. 
  2. IELTS score of 7.5 or higher, or 
  3. A score of 500 or higher on the verbal section and a score of at least 5.0 on the analytical writing section of the Graduate Record Examination. For our purposes, there is no minimum score required on the mathematics section.

Any international applicant who does not meet one of these requirements may be admitted conditionally. The right to recommend that any such applicant should take further English training at ISU before entering the program is reserved by the department. This training would consist of either Interlink courses or undergraduate English courses.



The Public Administration Program of the Department of Political Science offers two certificates of graduate study: a certificate of advanced study in public administration, and a certificate of advanced study in public personnel administration. The certificates are meant to introduce graduate study in public administration to students who may be contemplating enrollment in the M.P.A. Program, or to meet the needs of mid-career managers who may not need the volume of advanced course work offered through the M.P.A. Because course work for both programs is entirely Web-supported, enrollment from Indiana, from throughout the United States, and from across the globe is encouraged. Students may apply for either program through the College of Graduate and Professional Studies. Applicants must submit an official transcript as proof of a bachelor’s degree and an acceptable grade point average from an accredited college or university. Applicants may be admitted conditionally on the basis of a graduate school application and unofficial transcripts, but each student must supply the College of Graduate and Professional Studies with an official transcript of all academic work before the program will extend unconditional admission. International applicants should also have a TOEFL score of at least 600 (paper) or equivalent on computer or Internet based tests, or provide equivalent evidence of English language proficiency. Students must maintain a “B” average to remain in either of these certificate programs.


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