Welcome to the Department of Political Science & Legal Studies
Should you choose Political Science or Legal Studies?
Students seem to become interested in our department for three reasons. First, they seek training to work in a law office as a legal assistant. Second, they want to go to law school and become an attorney. Third, they simply love politics. If any of these descriptions fit you, you have come to the right place. Next, you need to decide if you should major in political science or legal studies. Many of our students wrestle with the decision about which is the best path for them. The truth is that ECU has prepared many successful law students in each program. Legal Studies is more legally technical. If you wish to become a legal assistant, this is the major for you. Political Science is more conceptual, so people who love ideas or arguing about politics will feel more at home with this major. Many students major in one, and minor in the other. The Legal Studies minor provides students majoring in other degree fields the opportunity to explore law as a discipline at the undergraduate level and study the impact of law on their area of interest. The Legal Studies minor is not approved by the American Bar Association as the Legal Studies minor is not intended to prepare students for paralegal positions. Students who minor in Legal Studies should not represent themselves as prepared for paralegal employment. The legal studies minor is open to pre-law students and students from any other discipline at ECU. Graduates of ECU's ABA Approved Legal Studies program are immediately employable in a law office as a paralegal or legal assistant. Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public, except as permitted by law.
Success in any career today demands flexibility based in three skill areas: the ability to think critically, the ability to analyze information from a variety of sources and apply that analysis to solving problems, and the ability to communicate that analysis to others. These skills are particularly critical for careers in law, government, business, teaching, medicine, as well as for successes in graduate or professional school. Both political science and legal studies equip students in these three areas.
Do you wish you could major in PRE-LAW?
While Pre-Law is a major at many colleges and universities, at ECU, we channel students either into political science or legal studies. While you will not have to decide right away, we suggest that you make a decision by your Sophomore year so you can take the recommended General Education classes for your major and get on the right track. For more information or advice, contact Dr. Christine Pappas, Pre-Law Advisor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ECU Political Science and Legal Studies builds leadership skills and expands horizons.
Aradhna Pillai delivered the 2015 Lou Watkins Lecture. Her speech was called "My Life In International Relations," and she discussed her career working for the United Nations. She is a 2008 Political Science graduate and winner of the George Nigh Award for top graduating senior. Alexa Engles introduced Ms. Pillai and moderated the discussion of the lecture. She is a junior Political Science Major from Oklahoma City.
Dr. Christine Pappas's students organized a public meeting dedicated to Affordable Housing in Ada. Over 50 people attended, and the City of Ada followed up with a study on creating more affordable housing options. This Service Learning project provided many leadership opportunities for students.
Legal Studies Students Ahndria Ablett and Koral Heinzman moderated a forum for judicial candidates in the Chickasaw Business and Conference Center.
Political Science and Legal Studies majors in Pi Sigma Alpha the National Political Science Honor Society take a trip to Washington, D. C. every other spring called the DC Internship Experience. Students tour the nation's capital, intern with members of Congress, and network with government officials from each branch. The next trip is scheduled for 2016.