Initially, students are assigned advisors from the faculty in the department based on last name. However, students who wish to choose a specific advisor from the department may do so by notifying the Chair. A faculty member other than the chair serves as principal graduate adviser.
Internships and Study Abroad
The department has an active internship program. Information on local, regional, national and international programs of interest to undergraduates in political science is posted on departmental bulletin boards and is available from faculty members. Credit is given for successful completion of internship programs approved by the department.
The university has a large study abroad program, and the department encourages students to participate in approved programs. Credit is given and scholarships are available for good students. We also cooperate in the InterFuture program that allows students to do research overseas.
The department occasionally invites distinguished political scientists from other universities to visit UMKC to provide lectures for its students and to meet with them for questions and discussions. Additionally, when it is appropriate, public officials, civil servants, foreign officials and others active in public affairs speak to political science classes as part of the academic program.
Independent study in the form of tutorials is available in two courses: POL-SCI 497 and POL-SCI 498 (depending on student qualifications). In either case, without exception, the student must propose a topic for study, have the approval of the adviser and have the written consent of the instructor with whom the tutorial is to be taken before registration for the course. UMKC Honors Program participants may take any course in the department for honors credit by making special arrangements, involving extra work, with the instructor.
It is important for students to meet each other as well as take classes, and the department sponsors a monthly Lunch Bunch, an informal meeting in which students discuss current political problems and issues with other students and with professors in the department. Pizza and soda are served
UMKC has an active chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society. Each year Pi Sigma Alpha seeks to recognize the best students in political science in order to -- according to its national constitution -- "stimulate productive scholarship and intelligent interest in the subject of government." The local Pi Sigma Alpha chapter regularly presents films and speakers, and has a picnic for Political Science students. The national chapter awards some graduate scholarships for exceptional students.
Each year outstanding juniors and seniors are selected to receive the department's highest honors, the Ruth L. Gant Memorial Scholarship and the Cornelius Roach Scholarship.
Randall L. Miller Scholarship. Established 2005 in memory of Randall Miller, this $1,500 award will be given to students who are both citizens of Missouri and come from a household with an annual income of $40,000 or less.
In addition, Roach Book Awards -- intended to help defray the costs of books -- are presented each semester, when resources permit, to declared political science majors who meet departmental standards of excellence.