Undergraduate Scholarships

Western Michigan University's Department of Political Science grants several scholarships each year to our best students and announces the winners of its awards and scholarships at the honors luncheon in April of each year.

No application required

D.C. Shilling Junior and Senior Awards

These awards were established by Mrs. Zoa D. Shilling in memory of her husband, D.C. Shilling, the first chair of the Department of Political Science.  They are presented to outstanding junior and senior political science majors for excellence in scholarship and academic performance. No application necessary.

Donald Gilmer Endowed Scholarship

The Donald Gilmer Endowed Scholarship is an annual award established by Donald Gilmer to recognize students who are pursuing careers in public service. Each year, the political science faculty will identify a student for the award who has participated in the Lansing Capitol Intern program. Contact Professor David Houghton for details about the Capitol Intern Program. No application necessary.

Tim Hurttgam Memorial Prize

This scholarship was established in memory of Tim Hurttgam, a WMU political science major and campus activist from 2003 to 2007. Hurttgam lost his life to cancer before having an opportunity to realize his goals and aspirations. He tried to make the world a better place by supporting a sustainable environment, peace and harmony throughout the world, equal rights, and a living wage. The WMU political science faculty will identify the award recipient who best exemplifies these ideals each year. Nominations or suggestions may be directed to the department chair. No application necessary.

William A. Ritchie Prize in Political Theory

Each academic year, a prize in political theory is awarded to an undergraduate or a graduate student who has written an excellent paper in the field. The prize was established to honor William A. Ritchie, who taught political theory and philosophy in the Department of Political Science from the 1960s until 2001. The political theory faculty in the department selects the recipient of the prize. No application necessary.

Application required

The following scholarships require an application consisting of an essay by the applicant and the names of three faculty references. 

Deadline: Friday before Spring Break.  In 2014, date will be February 28.

Arden J. Elsasser Memorial Award

Established by the League of Women Voters of the Kalamazoo area in memory of Arden J. Elsasser, who gave faithful service to this organization and contributed significantly to the Kalamazoo community, this award is given annually to both a graduate and an undergraduate student.

George Klein Scholarship in Central and East European Studies

You may apply for this award if you are an undergraduate student (or in certain circumstances, a graduate student). The late Dr. Klein was a long-time member of the faculty of the Department of Political Science and devoted his career to the study of the region.

  • Application form
  • Deadlines: Oct. 14 (spring semester); March 14 (summer and fall semesters)

Howard Wolpe Scholarship

Established by Congressman Howard Wolpe to support the study of politics, this annual award is given to a student who:

  • Is a political science senior
  • Is a U.S. citizen (preferably a resident of Michigan)
  • Demonstrates overall academic excellence at WMU, especially in political science
  • Application

Howard Wolpe Scholarship for African Study

An annual award:

  • Given to a graduate or undergraduate student engaging in the study of Africa or selected African nations
  • A U.S. citizen
  • Political science majors who have demonstrated academic excellence.

Submit an application in the academic year before you plan travel to Africa.

Mark Denenfeld Memorial Endowed Scholarship

Apply for this annual award if you are a political science major beginning your senior year who can demonstrate superior academic performance at WMU and list a record of community service. The award was established in the memory of Mark Denenfeld, one of our best and most dynamic undergraduate majors.

Stanley S. and Helenan S. Robin Scholarship

This scholarship was established by WMU President Haenicke at the time of their retirement from the departments of Sociology and Political Science, respectively, to honor the contributions the Robins made to the University. The award is given annually to a senior majoring in political science on the basis of academic scholarship, disciplinary and professional accomplishment, assessed potential and commitment to the field of political science.

  • Applicants must state their intention to pursue a graduate degree in political science
  • Application form

The Peter Renstrom Prize

This prize was established in 2006 to honor Dr. Peter Renstrom, who taught in the department from 1969 to 2006. He was an expert on constitutional law and U.S. elections, and taught courses on the American judicial process, criminal justice, civil liberties and civil rights and American politics. He was honored by the College of Arts and Sciences in 2002 for his role in preparing students in the department's public law program for professional roles in government and the law. This prize is given to a senior intending to attend law school upon graduation.

United Nations Association/Kalamazoo Chapter Scholarship

This award for academic excellence in the field of international and comparative politics was established by the Kalamazoo Chapter of the United Nations Association. The scholarship:

  • Is awarded to an exceptional undergraduate majoring in international and comparative politics
  • Based on the students' academic scholarship, disciplinary and professional accomplishment
  • Considers items such as participation in extracurricular activities (particularly those with an international focus) and participation in a study abroad program.
  • Gives preference to students with junior status

Zoa D. Shilling Scholarship for Foreign Study

This annual award is available to a political science student who will be studying abroad. You are eligible to apply if you:

  • Have earned at least 60 but not more than 105 credit hours toward an undergraduate degree in political science
  • Are a U.S. citizen and, preferably, a resident of Michigan
  • Have demonstrated academic excellence.

Submit an application in the academic year before you plan to study abroad.