College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Advising - Zulauf Hall 201 - 815-753-0114

A 2 + 2 Plan Leading to a Bachelor of Arts
or Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science


All degree requirements are subject to the provisions and notices in the NIU Undergraduate Catalog.  Information is valid through August 2015.


B.A. or B.S. Degree in Political Science

A degree in political science is versatile and timely. Students who select political science as their major open the door to career opportunities in such areas as national, state, and local government; the corporate world; legal work; education; governmental affairs; interest groups; and international organizations. They also gain experience in writing and in developing skills that will enhance their role as politically aware citizens.

The Department of Political Science at NIU is committed to quality undergraduate education, and its distinguished faculty has a reputation for excellence in teaching. Political science courses allow students to examine timeless questions of justice and democracy and to explore compelling contemporary issues. Among the many courses offered are those that relate to the mass media in U.S. politics; energy and the environment; women in politics; classical and modern political theory; criminal and constitutional law; legislative politics; political parties; the politics of Eastern Europe, Russia, Latin America, East Asia, Southeast Asia, and contemporary issues in foreign policy (e.g., terrorism).

The department is proud of the many services it offers to undergraduates, which include internships; Model United Nations; the Pre-Law Society; the department's own commencement ceremony; a departmental honors program; a department newsletter; and a co-educational fraternity that sponsers a Meet the Faculty Night each semester.

After arriving at NIU, students select from one of five emphases, each of which has its own requirements. In general:

  • The emphasis in politics appeals to students who want maximum flexibility in their program of study. It is selected by students who want to learn about an array of topics in order to satisfy their curiosity, take courses from favorite instructors, and pursue new interests that arise during their years at NIU.
  • The emphasis in public law appeals to students interested in the legal process or who plan to attend law school upon graduation from NIU. It is also selected by, among others, students who seek public service or business careers for which knowledge of judicial and legal processes is an asset.
  • The emphasis in public administration and service appeals to, among others, students interested in careers in government, public interest groups, non-profit agencies, and business enterprises. It is also selected by students who plan to pursue a master's degree in public administration or who plan to attend graduate school or law school.
  • The emphasis in international politics is chosen by, among others, students who are curious about other nations and relations among nations. It is also selected by students who want to pursue careers in international business or service, such as work in the United Nations, nongovernmental organizations, World Bank, and relief agencies.
  • The emphasis in justice and democracy, the American experiment, appeals to students who are interested in an intellectually rich approach to the study of the theory and practice of American democracy.  Students who choose this emphasis will have the experience of completing a senior seminar.  This will appeal to students who want to have a liberal arts experience, and who have aspirations to go on to graduate school and law school.



Suggested Semester Plans at Community Colleges


ENGL 103   ENGL 104  3
For Lang/MATH1 3-4   For Lang/MATH1 3-4
Soc Science Gen Ed 3-4   Science Gen Ed 3-4
Humanities Gen Ed 3   Humanities Gen Ed 3
POLS 100   POLS 210/220/251/260/2852 3
  15-16     15-17
COMS 100 3   Soc Science Gen Ed 3
For Lang/MATH1 3-4   For Lang/MATH1 3-4
Science Gen Ed 3-4   Interdisciplinary
Gen Ed
Humanities Gen Ed 3   Gen Ed Elective
POLS 210/220/251/260/2852   POLS 200/300 Level 3
  15-17     16-17

1 Foreign language is required for the B.A. degree. Previous foreign language background may reduce or fulfill this requirement; please consult the NIU catalog for more information. B.A. students must also fulfill the core competency requirement in mathematics. A combination of math, statistics, and computer science courses are required for the B.S. degree; please consult the NIU catalog.
2 Two of these courses are required.


Suggested Semester Plans at NIU

POLS 300/400+   POLS 300/400 3
POLS 300/400 3   POLS 300/400 3
Electives 300/400   Electives 300/400
Elective (any level) 3   Elective (any level) 3-4
  15     15-16
POLS 300/400   POLS 300/400
Electives 300/400 3   Electives 300/400
Electives  (any level) 6-7   Electives  (any level) 6-8
  15-16     15-17

+Choice of the 300/400-level courses depends on the emphasis chosen. All B.S. students must complete POLS 340. In all emphases, students must complete the departmental field distribution requirement. This means each student must complete at least one course in five of the following seven fields: American government, public law, public policy/public administration, empirical theory and behavior, political theory, comparative politics, and international politics. For assistance in completing an emphasis and the field distribution requirement within each emphasis, students should talk with their departmental adviser.

Minimum 120 total; 40 300-400 level


For a copy of the department newsletter, brochure on the political science honors program, or other information about political science at NIU, please contact:

Mikel Wyckoff, Assistant to the Chair
Department of Political Science
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, Illinois 60115-2887
(815) 753­-7039


For a current NIU Undergraduate Catalog and application materials, contact:

Office of Admissions
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, Illinois 60115­-2857
(800) 892­-3050 (toll-­free in Illinois)
or (815) 753­-0446


Northern Illinois University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, marital status, national origin, disability, status based on the Victims' Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA), or status as a disabled or Vietnam-era veteran. Further, the Constitution and Bylaws of Northern Illinois University provides for equal treatment regardless of political views or affiliation, and sexual orientation.