NIU has one of the top-rated Masters of Public Administration programs in the country. You can go into a variety of local government fields, including city management, budgeting and finance.
A sampling of courses for students interested in a career in local government:
- POLS 302: Government in Metropolitan Areas
- POLS 303: State and Local Government
- POLS 331: Public Administration
Village Administrator, Village of Wadsworth, Lake County, IL
I have nothing but positive memories regarding my undergraduate studies in political science at NIU. Thankfully, the degree required that one gain a broad understanding of how political systems work - at home, on a national level and abroad. Two things especially made my pursuit of this degree special. First, the passionate faculty. I distinctly remember the teaching styles of many of my professors who turned lectures into storytelling; the passion that they had in ensuring that their students not only understood what was being presented to them, but enjoying it as well. Secondly, the notion of how my fellow classmates were engaged with the professor and course material resulted in many great classroom discussions throughout the semester. Listening to different viewpoints is necessary for managing and leading a public organization, as many times, ideas and solutions come from others, not just from yourself. It is this enthusiasm and passion for political science, and more specifically, public service, that I am paying forward from my professors and fellow classmates to my public service career in efforts to keep improving the lives of those whom I serve in my community.
Former city manager
NIU provided me with both a great academic background and practical experience. As a political science student my studies ranged from international relations to state and local government. I gained valuable practical experience as an undergraduate intern with the United States Senate in Washington D.C. This broad scope of study and work experience served me well in my career in both local and state government.
Management Analyst, City of Thornton, Colorado
Looking back on my time at NIU, I owe much of my current success to the NIU Department of Political Science. The entire Department - from support staff, to professors, to the department chair - took a genuine interest in my academic and personal development. In addition to the exciting and ever-challenging coursework, an internship allowed me to gain hands-on experience in the real world. After graduation, my Bachelor’s degree in political science from NIU provided me with a solid foundation of knowledge, connections and experience and prepared me for a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree and a career in local government.
Village Administrator at Village of Mukwonago
My POLS degree prepared me for a career in local government because the department and faculty opened my eyes to the vast career applications of the POLS degree while teaching practical skills such as reasoning and learning agility. The department provided numerous opportunities to leverage classroom learning toward advancing my graduate school and career goals through internships and as student-representative of the department. I am proud to say that my challenging and rewarding relationship with the NIU Political Science Department continues to this day, serving as a guest speaker and as a mentor to today's students. I would highly recommend this degree from NIU.