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The Department grew from what then was the Sub-Department of Government in October 1960, with Dr. James O’Connel, M.A. (NUI), Ph.D (Louvain) as Acting Head (1960-1963) to become a full-fledged Department of Political Science by October 1963, with Professor Joseph E. Black, B.Sc. (Utah State), A.M., Ph.D. (Northwestern) as first substantive foundation Head (1963-64). Professor E.U. Essien-Udom took over as Head in 1964 and saw the Department through most of those “crisis and conflict” years of the immediate post-independence period. These include the years of the Nigerian Civil War and its aftermath.

The consequences of the Nigerian Civil War and the demands of military rule had debilitating effects on the Department as a number of its emergent corps of teaching staff took leave of absence to serve at various levels of government. But the Department survived those politically induced staffing pressures and demands to emerge as one of the leading Departments of Political Science in Africa.

It attracted qualified staff from many countries, including the United States of America, South Africa, Guinea, Trinidad & Tobago and of course Nigeria and successfully established its four major fields of specialization: Comparative Politics/Political Economy, International Relations, Public Administration/Public Policy and Theory and Methodology.  Thus, it had some of the greatest and best concentrations of teaching and research staff drawn from a fairly cosmopolitan mix. A major feature of the Political Science programme at Ibadan is the analytical depth, creative thinking, as well as critical perspective it seeks to foster among most of its staff and students.

The Department runs three academic programmes: B.Sc., M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Political Science.  Other academic programmes the Department has run include the M.Sc. in Strategic Studies (which it ran in conjunction with the National Defence College), Master’s Degree in Election Administration and the Diploma in Election Administration (designed and delivered for staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission).

Political science is one of the most versatile degrees in terms of job opportunities because it cultivates writing, analytical, presentation, rhetorical and research skills, which are valuable in nearly any industry. Both undergraduates and graduate students can find jobs in a variety of fields such as consulting, business, finance, the public sector, journalism, law firms, think tanks and research institutions, non-profit and advocacy organisations, political parties, labour unions, social media content creation and management, and international organisations, such as the African Union and the United Nations.

Professor Irene Pogoson,