Political Science

Connecting politics to human life

political science students Political science is the systematic study of politics and its connection to human life. It focuses on the way people govern themselves and are governed in a variety of settings—including the state, the workplace, schools, and the family—and the way in which that governance affects their life chances and shapes their sense of self. Students who elect this major examine, among other things, relationships between law and political institutions, economic and political power, and culture and political identity. They develop the analytical, interpretive, and critical methods necessary to understand these relationships at local, national, regional, and international levels and to act as responsible citizens at those levels. 

Exploring timeless questions of democracy and justice

A Variety of Perspectives

Political science courses provide a broad liberal arts education and focus on issues of utmost importance in an ever changing, dynamic world. Additionally, members of the faculty stress the development of analytic, writing, and quantitative skills.


As nationally and internationally recognized experts in their fields, our professors focus on research that is vitally important to the nation and the world.  Whether studying democratization in developing countries, legislative productivity, the moral and political implications of war, or the politicization of Islam, our faculty are developing and advancing theories intended to solve real world problems.  Undergraduate and graduate students alike are involved in their research, expanding students’ intellectual horizons and providing them with the tools for successful careers. 

Engaged Learning

Internships are integral to our students’ success. A wide variety of internship opportunities are available every year, including positions with:

  • Congressional and state legislative offices
  • Local, state, and federal government offices
  • State’s Attorney and Public Defender offices
  • Political campaigns for national, state, and local offices
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Public interest law firms
  • Interest groups

In addition, students can travel to Washington D.C. for our annual spring break trip; study abroad at Oxford University; as well as participate in our Mock Trial Program, Model United Nations, and Model Illinois Government programs.

What can I do with this degree?

Political Science is a well-rounded, high-quality liberal arts major that provides a solid basis for intellectual and personal growth, civic participation, and professional success. NIU political science majors have gone on to careers in:

  • Law
  • Public Policy Analysis
  • Local, State, or Federal Government
  • Business
  • Journalism
  • Diplomacy
  • Education
  • Public Service
  • Intelligence
  • Armed Forces

DC Interns


“As a political science major at
NIU, I had the opportunity
to take part in internships,
campaign volunteer positions
and study abroad programs,
all of which truly enriched
and strengthened my
baccalaureate experience.”

– Nora Lindvall                   
NIU 2011 Lincoln Laureate




Degree Information

The Department of Political Science offers the B.A. and B.S. degree with a major in political science withemphases in politics, public law, public administration and service, and international politics. We also offer a minor for students with an interest in politics. In addition, we participate in the interdisciplinary minors in black studies, Chinese/Japanese studies, classical studies, environmental studies, gerontology, international studies, Latino and Latin American studies, public administration, Southeast Asian studies, urban studies, and women’s studies. Non-majors can use one of several lower-division political science courses toward fulfilling the university’s general education requirements in the social sciences area.

Who Studies Political Science? 

U.S. cap. building

Contact Information

Department of Political Science
415 Zulauf Hall
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL 60115

Phone: (815) 753-1011
Fax: (815) 753-6302  

Have a question? 
Email us at pols@niu.edu