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Political Science

Clubs and Competitions

South Carolina Student Legislature

Image of Students in the SC State Senate chambers

The South Carolina Student Legislature is a student-led simulation of the South Carolina General Assembly. Colleges and universities across the state send delegations to plenary sessions in the fall and spring. Members of the delegation research and draft new legislation, develop strategies to win enactment of legislation, learn and apply parliamentary procedures and participate in the governing structure of the statewide organization.

Clemson Model UN

Image of student in a room at the UN building

Clemson University students from a variety of majors participate in inter-collegiate competitions in the U.S. and abroad simulating the proceedings of the United Nations as well as international crises. Clemson Model UN delegations have won successive domestic and international awards going back to 1989. Students can choose to either enroll in a special political science course (POSC 3110) to provide one credit hour for participation in the program or join a student organization to participate. Aside from regular competitions and activities, members organize and run a Model UN competition for high schools (CUMUNC).

  • Who can join the Model UN?

    Any undergraduate student can become a member of the class (POSC 3110-001) and organization. There are no course prerequisites. Students only need to demonstrate a willingness to attend and actively participate in class meetings, complete the required out of class assignments and contribute to class simulations.

  • Can I earn course credits for participating in Model UN?

    Yes. POSC 3110-001 is one credit hour. It is possible to earn a total of six credit hours with POSC 3110. Three of the credit hours from Model UN are equivalent to one regular political science course and may be applied toward the political science major (please refer to Clemson’s Undergraduate Announcements catalog for specific regulations in using Model UN credits toward the political science degree).

  • Do I have to be a declared political science major or minor in order to join Model UN?

    No. Typically, one third to one half of those students participating in the program are neither. You can be a major in any program offered on this campus.

  • Do I need a minimal grade point average to participate in Model UN?
    None is required.
  • How often are there Model UN Meetings?

    Weekly classes are scheduled at 4-5:15 p.m. on Mondays. There will likely be occasional meetings in addition to the regular classes to help prepare for participation in regional and national conferences.

  • Would certain coursework be helpful?

    Yes. While not required, Model UN members tend to benefit from taking comparative and international politics courses (POSC 1020, 1040, 3610, and 3620 in particular) communication studies courses (COMM 2500) and the introductory level courses in economics and history. Such courses tend to provide writing and speaking skills that are very useful. It is also helpful to keep up with current international affairs on your own by reading the coverage provided in national newspapers and newsmagazines.

  • Do I have to attend conferences?

    No, but it is strongly encouraged. However, if you desire to be a conference delegate, preparation and a successful interview during a selection process conducted by the elected students in the program are required.

  • What about the conferences?

    Model UN participates in a variety of conferences regarding simulations about United Nations committees as well as international relations. The organization usually sends a delegation to at least two or three conferences each semester to represent a particular country’s government. Delegates are chosen on the basis of interest and their work demonstrated in and out of the classroom. Since conferences involve missing classes, each participant is required to clear anticipated absences with course instructors.

  • Should I expect expenses at conferences?

    Yes. The budget does not cover out-of-pocket expenses. Generally, each delegate is guaranteed delegate fees, transportation and hotel costs while accepting responsibility for meals.

  • What types of awards has Clemson’s Model UN team won at major conferences?

    Clemson’s Model UN team has won major national and international awards in inter-university competitions. For example, it earned the Best Delegate award at the University of Stockholm’s Model UN conference in 2008 and at the Duke University International Security conference in 2009.

  • How early should I get involved?

    Since experience is the best teacher, you should be involved as early in your college career as possible. Many students stay with Model UN throughout all of their undergraduate years.

  • Who is the Model UN faculty advisor?

    Students interested in participating in Model UN should contact Xiaobo Hu, Ph.D. ( His office is located in Brackett 230B, and his phone number is (864) 656-1452.

Clemson International Relations Association

Image of student in front of a building

CIRA is a student organization housed in the political science department for promoting and carrying out international relations activities across campus. Activities include organizing roundtables and talks on current international affairs topics and coordinating with other internationally oriented student groups on campus.

William T. Howell Pre-Law Society

Image of the scales of justice

The mission of The William T. Howell Pre-Law Society is to further educate Clemson Students about the process of applying to law school, the degree of dedication that law school entails, how to pay for law school, and the benefits of a Juris Doctorate degree. Furthermore, the William T. Howell Pre-Law Society is committed to creating and sustaining a unique environment promoting interaction between prospective law students and fostering prosperous relationships.

Pi Sigma Alpha Honor Society

Pi Sigma Alpha Honor Society

Clemson University’s Eta Lambda Chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha provides undergraduates with opportunities to get involved in the community and obtain information about Clemson’s Political Science Department, internships at the local, state, and national level, discuss current political issues, and network with other students, professors, and local business, political, and educational leaders. Pi Sigma Alpha cosponsors yearly activities on campus.

Pi Sigma Alpha was founded in 1920 at the University of Texas for the purpose of bringing together students and faculty interested in the study of government and politics. Pi Sigma Alpha is the national honor society for undergraduate and graduate students of Political Science. There are now more than 850 chapters established at colleges and universities in the United States.

As the only political science honor society on campus, and affiliation with the most esteemed political science honor society in the nation, membership with Pi Sigma Alpha is considered prestigious and we look to develop students with an interest in politics.

  • Benefits of Membership

    Membership in an honor society is a worthy distinction, and as a measure of academic achievement can provide a tangible advantage in a competitive world. All Pi Sigma Alpha members, regular and honorary, receive a certificate of membership and permanent enrollment in the society’s membership rolls, maintained by the National Office. Upon request, the National Office will provide letters verifying membership to prospective employers or graduate schools. Because Pi Sigma Alpha is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies, the United States Office of Personnel Management guarantees a higher entry-level grade to Pi Sigma Alpha members entering government service. Members are entitled to wear the Pi Sigma Alpha key at any time or the medallion with cap and gown at graduation and on other official occasions.

    Pi Sigma Alpha gives students the opportunity for valuable administrative experience as chapter officers or organizers of chapter activities.

  • Qualifications for Membership

    The purpose of Pi Sigma Alpha is to stimulate scholarship and interest in the subject of government and politics by providing tangible recognition to students who have excelled in the field. Minimum standards for undergraduate admission, established by the national constitution, are:

    • Junior or senior standing
    • Overall GPA of 3.5 or higher
    • Completion of at least ten credit hours of work in political science, including at least one upper-division course (3000 or 4000 level), with a grade of B or higher in all political science courses

    Students who satisfy these criteria will be contacted by the faculty advisor, typically after the conclusion of the fall and spring semesters, about admission into Pi Sigma Alpha.

  • Programs

    The life of the honor society is carried on mainly at the chapter level with coordination by the National Office. 

    Programs for Chapters and Students

    • Annual Chapter Activity Grant Awards
    • Scholarship for Graduate Study in Political Science
    • Student membership in the American Political Science Association (APSA) (one per chapter per year)
    • Best Chapter Awards
    • Best Chapter Advisor Awards
    • Best Undergraduate Class Paper Award
    • Best Undergraduate Honors Thesis Award

    National Programs

    • Publication of Pi Sigma Alpha newsletter
    • Franklin P. Burdette Award, for the best paper presented at the APSA annual meeting
    • Pi Sigma Alpha Best Paper Awards, for the best papers presented at regional Political Science Association annual meetings
    • Pi Sigma Alpha Lecture at the APSA annual meeting
    • Pi Sigma Alpha Lectures at regional and state Political Science Association annual meetings
  • Contact Information

    Executive Board:

    Faculty Advisor: Dr. Stephen C. Phillips -

    National Office:

Department of Political Science
Department of Political Science | 232 Brackett Hall