Illinois Wesleyan University Mission

Illinois Wesleyan University, an independent, residential, liberal arts university founded in 1850, strives to attain the ideal of a liberal education while providing unique opportunities with its distinctive curricula and programs.

A liberal education at Illinois Wesleyan fosters creativity, critical thinking, effective communication, strength of character and a spirit of inquiry; it deepens the specialized knowledge of a discipline with a comprehensive world view. It affords the greatest possibilities for realizing individual potential while preparing students for democratic citizenship and life in a global society.

As the University pursues this ideal for all its students, it helps students to follow a wide range of career and life paths, offering diverse curricula in liberal arts, fine arts and professional programs as well as opportunities for interdisciplinary study and off-campus learning.

The University through its policies, programs and practices is committed to diversity, social justice and environmental sustainability.

A tightly knit, supportive university community, together with a variety of opportunities for close interaction with excellent faculty, both challenges and supports students in their personal and intellectual development.

Political Science Mission

The mission of the Department of Political Science at Illinois Wesleyan University is to foster a vital community of citizen scholars committed to the study and understanding of politics. The department nurtures a culture of excellence that helps students to become active knowledge producers and to reach their career goals in the non-profit, public, or private sectors. Political Science students are required to take both a research methods class and a senior seminar. In addition, they publish a research journal annually, join faculty in reading groups, and thrive in the social science lab they oversee. Regardless of their path, IWU political science students learn to take the liberal arts seriously and to strive to make the public good a reality at home and across the globe.  

Political Science Learning Goals

A graduate in Political Science from Illinois Wesleyan University will:


Know the theoretical traditions, debates, and methodological approaches used in the empirical study of political phenomena;

Be well versed in the major normative traditions of modern political thought;

Know the processes, institutions, and contexts that shape politics at local, national, transnational, and international levels;


Be able to analyze political phenomena critically, recognizing the implications of diverse perspectives, normative positions, and evidentiary claims;

Be able to conduct rigorous and original political research, using appropriate analytical frames and methodological instruments to test hypotheses;

Be able to communicate research findings and arguments in a clear, logical, and persuasive manner, whether in written or oral form;


Be intellectually curious and appreciate the value of critical scholarly work;

Appreciate their place, and the place of others, in the broader global community;

Value civic engagement and appreciate the importance of active citizenship.