347 Schaeffer Hall
Spring 2024 Office Hours
Tue & Th: 4:45-6:15
Dept of Political Science
341 Schaeffer Hall
20 E. Washington Street
The University of Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa 52242
Posted updated Prelaw FAQ for UI students
Posted updates to 12 papers in Iowa Voting Series for 2022 election data
New Book, Supreme Court Agenda Setting: The Warren Court, published for Kindle devices and computers with Kindle reader.
Published updated and expanded edition of Prelaw Advisor in paperback and for Kindle readers
I need to do some updating of this information, but the basics are still good.
Below are some bits of information about advising in the Political Science Department. You should also be sure to look at the Political Science pages for information. In particular, the News page contains the Pre-Registration advising memo sent to our undergraduate majors. The sections below are divided into three broad areas: New Advisees, General Advisee Information, and Drop Slips.
If you have recently declared Political Science as your major (whether as your initial major or as a change from another one or even as a second major) before contacting me you should go to the Pol Sci website (link above), click on the Undergrad programs link and read the Guide to Undergraduate Study. That document will provide you with the basic details on the requirements for the Pol Sci major. If they are of interest to you, you should also read the information on the BS degree and the Honors track. The Undergrad section of the Pol Sci website also contains a link to the Prelaw FAQ that I wrote. This FAQ is quite long, but it is divided into many short questions, so you can skim to the specific questions that are of interest to you.
Once you declare a major you no longer receive advising at the Undergraduate Advising Center. If you initially declared an interest in prelaw the 91P designation may still appear in your Degree Audit, including the name of your former advisor. I'm not sure why this still appears, but, again, once you declare a major you should go to your designated faculty advisor. If Pol Sci is your second major (i.e., in addition to another major that is listed first on your Degree Audit), it is my understanding that you will need to go to the advisor assigned for your first major for general advising. (That may also include permission to register.) If you have advising questions specific the the Pol Sci major, then you would see your Pol Sci faculty advisor. (If you are seeking a minor you will not likely have an assigned advisor and will need to contact the department in question to determine with whom you should speak.)
If you need to contact me you can either do so via email or just stop by during my regular office hours. (Click on Courses above for my current office hours.)
One final item: It seems that many UAC advisors encourage their advisees to address them by their first names. That may be fine for the UAC advisors, but generally not a good idea with faculty advisors. At least not initially. It's fine if the faculty advisor invites you to address him or her by first name, but it's better to start off more formally.
Advising in Pol Sci is fairly informal. We rarely require you to meet with your advisor. (The main exception is if your GPA is below a certain level.) The Degree Audit that is available to you online does a good job of highlighting areas where you have not completed the requirements. (The items marked in red.) Be sure you carefully examine the Degree Audit to keep track of your progress. Of course, it's a good idea to see your advisor if you have questions about your progress or items in the evaluation.
Let me mention two additional things concerning the Degree Audit. First, you should be sure to let the folks in Academic Programs (120 Schaeffer) know if you are planning on earning a BS degree. Doing so will ensure that you will be able to track your progress for the BS on your Degree Audit. Second, your Degree Audit does not keep track of requirements for a minor. (This may have changed, but I rarely see the DAs of Pol Sci minors, so I can't say for sure at this point. Either way, if you are planning on earning a minor, you will need to be sure on your own that you are satisfying the requirements of the minor department by checking with the department offering the minor you hope to obtain.)
Those of you who have been in the Political Science Department for previous registration periods know that shortly before early registration begins the Department sends an email to all our majors that contains an advising memo. This email is sent to your UI email address, so make sure that you have a working account.
In the past, the advising memo detailed the specifics of our two-stage advising system, which included a Preadvisor who received special training on the more technical aspects of advising, particularly for rules beyond the requirements for the Pol Sci major. It appears that the department will no longer use a Preadvisor. Final word will come in the advising memo, but you should plan accordingly. If there is no Preadvisor, the advising process only involve your regular faculty advisor. In your case, that's me. Pol Sci uses a bulk permission approval for registration, so you usually do not have to see your faculty advisor to get permission to register. (Of course, if permission is not automatically granted, then you will need to contact your faculty advisor to get permission.)
If you are one of my advisees, then you are likely aware that I handle the prelaw advising for the department, so I also field general questions about law school and the legal profession. We have separate faculty members who are responsible for questions about the BS degree or our Honors program, but I can handle those questions as well, particularly as to how they fit into a prelaw program. You do not need to make a special appointment to see me; just come by during my office hours. You can also just email me if you have a fairly simple question or need a quick answer. If you need to stop by, but can't make my office hours, then we can try to work out another time.
In case you are not already aware of it, let me direct you to my Prelaw FAQ (link to the left). The Prelaw FAQ is an extensive FAQ that I developed to answer many of the most common questions folks have about law school. I update the FAQ every year. Hard copies of the FAQ are also available in the Pol Sci office (341 SH). You should be sure to have read the FAQ before you come to see me. (Also, look over the other sections of my website that might apply to you concerning either advising or my courses.)
As those interested in law school are usually interested in my courses, let me provide some general information on the scheduling of my courses.
I usually teach 30:116, American Constitutional Law and Politics, in the fall (and only in the fall). 30:116 is the course I recommend everyone have before law school, but it's a difficult course (as some of you are already aware!). I usually recommend that folks try to take 30:153 (The Judicial Process) or 30:158 (The Criminal Justice System) as a warm up for 30:116. Both 30:153 and 30:158 are usually taught once each academic year. I tend to switch them from one year to the next, so one year, for example, I might teach 30:153 in the fall as a smaller (40-ish) course and then 30:158 in the spring as a larger (90-ish) class, then switch that for the following year.
In the spring (and only in the spring) I usually teach 30:106, Research in Judicial Politics. To take the course one must have had either 30:153, 30:158, or 30:116. 30:116 provides the best preparation for 30:106, but any of them will work. Because of the nature of this course, enrollment is limited to 20. You can read more about this course (and my other courses) on my website. The short version is that in 30:106 I teach you how to do basic legal research, which mainly means how and where to find things in the law library.
As for timing, I generally suggest taking 30:153 or 30:158 spring of your sophomore year and then 30:116 fall of your junior year. That allows for the possibility of taking my research course (30:106) and for my writing letters of recommendation the following year when you are applying to law schools.
Again, if you need to contact me you can either do so via email or just stop by during my regular office hours. (Click on Courses above for my current office hours.)
At a certain point during the initial drop/add period signed slips are required. Political Science staff advisor Martha Kirby or the staff in the Pol Sci Department office will sign drop slips on behalf of the Pol Sci instructor and advisor, and add slips on behalf of the advisor. Add slips still need the instructor's signature. After the regular drop/add period you will need the instructor and advisor signatures.
Drop/add slips can now be obtained online. There are separate online forms for drops and adds, but you can still use the old green forms that allow you to do either.