Join a rigorous, communication-intensive program and think critically about governments, policies and political processes.

College of Arts & Sciences

Department of Political Science

Political Science

Questions?

Undergraduate Admission

(630) 637-5800

admissions@noctrl.edu

Why choose political science at North Central College?

Apply what you learn to your day-to-day life while you further your academic and career goals. Political science majors agree that our energetic faculty run one of the most rigorous, communicationintensive majors at North Central. These dedicated professors will challenge you to think critically about governments, public policies and political processes–whether you’re analyzing source materials, reading online news sources or preparing to cast a vote. You’ll start contributing to local and global communities right away.

You can also:

  • Work one-on-one with faculty members on their research projects, whether authoring a textbook or monitoring political candidates.
  • Complete your own research projects, then present them at the Rall Symposium for Undergraduate Research and other forums.
  • Apply for a Richter Grant to fund your research anywhere in the world.
  • Attend at least one professional conference, such as the Midwest Political Science Conference in Chicago, and write a paper about your experiences.
  • Gain valuable practical experience in law and international relations through the faculty-led Mock Trial and Model United Nations organizations.

More Department Information

Political Science, B.A.

For additional programs and courses in this department, see Political Science.

Major Requirements

A minimum of 32 credit hours, including:

  • POLS 101 - The American Political System

    POLS 101 - The American Political System

    4.00 credit hours

    An introduction to the fundamental ideas, actors, and institutions that make up the American political system. We examine the legal and structural basis of our government, evaluate the institutions that carry out its day-to-day functions, and analyze the role the individual citizen can play in influencing governmental policy. For each subject, we engage with some of the leading perspectives in political science; we also incorporate current events and our personal experiences. This course also includes a community-engaged learning component, allowing students the opportunity to put into practice the theories they have learned in the classroom.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Social Science, U.S. Power Structures, Community Engaged Learning.
    iCon(s)
    Engaging Civic Life.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • POLS 102 - Introduction to International Relations

    POLS 102 - Introduction to International Relations

    4.00 credit hours

    An introductory look at the variety of concepts, issues, debates, ideologies, and theoretical perspectives that have traditionally defined the discipline of International Relations. In particular, the course examines core issues such as international conflict, cooperation, globalization, international law, human rights, economic development, poverty, and terrorism. A great deal of time is devoted to exploring the dominant theoretical perspective of the field including realism, liberalism, Marxism, constructivism, and feminism.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Social Science, Global Understanding.
    iCon(s)
    Thinking Globally

    Schedule Of Classes

  • POLS 200 - Scope and Practice of Political Science

    POLS 200 - Scope and Practice of Political Science

    4.00 credit hours

    What does it mean to think, research, and write like a political scientist? Using rigorous methods and theoretical approaches, political science examines curiosities about the institutions, practices, and relations that shape the political world. This course introduces students to the scientific study of politics, covering the basics of research design and practice including the ways in which data and theory intersect, and how political scientists conceptualize, measure, and test relationships of interest in the discipline. For example, why are some social movements more effective than others? What explains the rise in partisan polarization over time? What are the causes of war? By the end of the term, students approach questions like these using the scientific method.

    Prerequisite(s)

    Sophomore standing.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Social Science, Writing Intensive.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • POLS 490 - Seminar in Political Science

    POLS 490 - Seminar in Political Science

    4.00 credit hours

    Capstone course in political science in which senior political science majors draw upon their training to approach and explain political phenomena. Students apply their knowledge and skills as political scientists to tackle real-world political problems by employing existing research, social science methodology, and data.

    Prerequisite(s)

    Senior standing.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Ethical Dimensions.

    Schedule Of Classes

Electives

The remaining credit hour requirements must include at least one course from each of the following areas:

American Politics
  • POLS 211 - The Politics of the Presidency

    POLS 211 - The Politics of the Presidency

    4.00 credit hours

    From George Washington to Donald Trump, we examine of the history and evolution of the Office of the President, as well as the roles and approaches of the officeholder. We take a theoretical, rather than historical, approach to understand presidential selection and powers, the president's relationships with other actors, and the role of the electorate in presidential politics. This examination lends itself to answer one central questions: Have U.S presidents become the Green Lantern?

    Prerequisite(s)

    POLS 101.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Social Science.
    iCon(s)
    Engaging Civic Life.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • POLS 212 - Congress: the Least Popular Branch

    POLS 212 - Congress: the Least Popular Branch

    4.00 credit hours

    As the branch with the most constitutional authority, and the lowest approval rating, Congress is misunderstood. The Least Popular Branch provides a thorough introduction to the beautifully flawed U.S. Congress. Examination of themes in the literature on Congress include: the development of Congress, member's motivation for reelection, congressional elections, the role of parties and committees, extreme polarization, the changing legislative process, and the relationship between Congress and the branches of government and other actors.

    Prerequisite(s)

    POLS 101.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Social Science.
    iCon(s)
    Engaging Civic Life.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • POLS 215 - Public Opinion and Political Behavior

    POLS 215 - Public Opinion and Political Behavior

    4.00 credit hours

    This course examines public opinion and political behavior in contemporary American politics. The course will cover topics like: how to conceptualize and measure public opinion, where opinions "come from," the nature of opinion about several salient issues, and whether public opinion affects policy making or political behavior. Students will reflect on debates about the "competence" of the public and how much public opinion should affect public policy, as well as become savvier consumers of public opinion data.

    Prerequisite(s)

    POLS 101.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Social Science.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • POLS 220 - First Ladies: Symbol American Womanhoood

    POLS 220 - First Ladies: Symbol American Womanhoood

    4.00 credit hours

    A theoretical examination of the evolving role of the first lady from party hostess to policy advocate. While discussions of first ladies have often been relegated to internal dynamics of their relationships with their husbands, redecorating, and clothing, we will dive into the nuanced job of the first lady by reading the scholarship, while scant, on the progressing role of the first lady. Specific attention is paid to particular first ladies who have made significant impacts in the way the first lady is expected to behave.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Social Science, U.S. Power Structures.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • POLS 224 - Political Psychology

    POLS 224 - Political Psychology

    2.00 credit hours

    This course offers an introduction to the application of psychological theories and methodology to the study of government and politics. Topics include elite decision-making, mass political attitudes, voting behavior, genetics, and psychophysiological approaches to political science research.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • POLS 310 - The American Electoral Process

    POLS 310 - The American Electoral Process

    4.00 credit hours

    It's complicated. However, by emphasizing how American political institutions shape the behavior of voters, candidates, parties, interest groups, and the media, students come to understand the outcomes of elections in the United States.

    Prerequisite(s)

    POLS 101.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Social Science, U.S. Power Structures.
    iCon(s)
    Engaging Civic Life, Challenging Inequity.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • POLS 312 - Women in American Politics

    POLS 312 - Women in American Politics

    4.00 credit hours

    If women have now surpassed men in both number of total Americans as well as percent of the electorate that votes, why do women comprise such a small portion of all of those who hold political power? The position of women in the American political system has evolved over time from being left out of the Constitution, to the suffrage movement, to the equal rights movement, the Lily Ledbetter Act, to Hillary Clinton's historic run for the presidency. Nonetheless, there are structural components of the American society and political system that have created disequilibrium between men and women. We examine the institutional, psychological, economic, and sociocultural causes and effects of such disequilibrium.

    Prerequisite(s)

    POLS 101.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Social Science, U.S. Power Structures.
    iCon(s)
    Challenging Inequity.

    Schedule Of Classes

World Politics
  • POLS 221 - Comparative Politics

    POLS 221 - Comparative Politics

    4.00 credit hours

    An introductory look at the concepts, ideologies, and methodology that define the field of Comparative Politics. The course will provide a comparative analysis of the various institutions of governance around the world and how those institutions structure state behavior. Comparative Politics seeks to understand different forms of government by comparing them to one another. We will also investigate key topics such as the state, political culture, ethnicity, nationalism, authoritarianism & totalitarianism, democracy, development, globalization and political violence.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Social Science, Global Understanding.
    iCon(s)
    Thinking Globally.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • POLS 222 - American Foreign Policy

    POLS 222 - American Foreign Policy

    4.00 credit hours

    This course offers a general introduction to the history, traditions and theories of American foreign policy. The course highlights the evolution of American foreign policy since World War II exploring the crucial decisions that shaped the current geopolitical environment. We will examine the ways domestic politics, public opinion, the media, presidential leadership and other factors have impact the conduct of American foreign policy. Specific emphasis is placed on contemporary challenges facing the United States, such as terrorism, nuclear proliferation, the rise of China, North Korea, and Russia.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Social Science, Global Understanding.
    iCon(s)
    Thinking Globally.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • POLS 300 - Great Decisions in International Politics

    POLS 300 - Great Decisions in International Politics

    4.00 credit hours

    A comparative case study analysis of the decision making process for three seminal events in international politics. The course explores the causal dynamics behind the origins of World War I, the Cuban Missile Crisis and the 2003 Iraq War decision. Students learn the core components of qualitative research through the collection and review of archive research materials. The objective of the course is to develop the knowledge and skill set for evaluating foreign policy decision making in theory and practice.

    Prerequisite(s)

    POLS 102.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Social Science, Global Understanding.
    iCon(s)
    Thinking Globally.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • POLS 321 - Model United Nations

    POLS 321 - Model United Nations

    2.00 credit hours

    The course explores the procedural and political dynamics of the United Nations as it confronts the political, economic and cultural challenges facing the international community. The class provides an introduction to the history and structure of the United Nations as well as an intense case study of the country assigned to the NCC delegation. Students will learn to be diplomats and advocate for the interests of their country. The course culminates with students participating in the National Model United Nations simulation in New York City.

    Prerequisite(s)

    POLS 102.

    iCon(s)
    Thinking Globally.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • POLS 333 - International Law

    POLS 333 - International Law

    4.00 credit hours

    An exploration of the basic concepts and problems of public international law and of the international legal system.The course will explore the central question of whether international law is useful for ordering the international system. Topics will include the sources and subjects of international law, the jurisdiction of states, the use of force, the relationship between international law and the internal law of states, the international law of human rights and international criminal law.

    Prerequisite(s)

    POLS 102.

    iCon(s)
    Thinking Globally.

    Schedule Of Classes

Law and Courts
  • POLS 203 - Law, Politics, and Society

    POLS 203 - Law, Politics, and Society

    4.00 credit hours

    Traditional approaches to studying the law emphasize skills like advocating for a client or drafting a legal document. This class takes a different approach by providing an exploration of law's relationship to contemporary society. To do this, we will consider how law shapes, and is shaped by, the political, social, and cultural contexts in which it exists. This course examines a variety of topics, including: the development of the legal system of the United States, the varied approaches to studying the "law," and the relationship between those who make, adjudicate, and directly experience the law in everyday life.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Social Science, U.S. Power Structures.
    iCon(s)
    Challenging Inequity.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • POLS 335 - Constitutional Law

    POLS 335 - Constitutional Law

    4.00 credit hours

    Introduction to constitutional law, with an emphasis on the U.S. Supreme Court's interpretation of Articles I, II, and III. This means that the course will cover how the nation's Court of last resort has helped shape the powers of and constraints on the three branches of our federal government. Students will also discuss and analyze topics like: the development of law surrounding the separation of powers, congressional power over the commerce clause, and the creation and demise of the concept of substantive due process.

    Prerequisite(s)

    POLS 101 or POLS 203.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Social Science.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • POLS 336 - Rights, Liberties and Justice

    POLS 336 - Rights, Liberties and Justice

    4.00 credit hours

    Introduction to civil liberties and civil rights. We will focus primarily on the decisions of the Supreme Court in areas of religion, speech, privacy, criminal procedure and discrimination. Along the way, we will discuss the historical development of constitutional civil rights and liberties and the politics of Supreme Court decision-making. Students will learn the major legal doctrines governing civil liberties and civil rights, as well as develop a better understanding of the process of Supreme Court decision-making.

    Prerequisite(s)

    POLS 101 or POLS 203.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Social Science, U.S. Power Structures,
    iCon(s)
    Challenging Inequity.

    Schedule Of Classes

Additional Requirements for the B.A. Degree

Students must demonstrate elementary competence in a foreign language. For more information, see the B.A. Degree Requirements within the Academic Regulations section of this catalog.

Political Science Minor

For additional programs and courses in this department, see Political Science.

Minor Requirements

A minimum of 20 credit hours, including:

  • POLS 101 - The American Political System

    POLS 101 - The American Political System

    4.00 credit hours

    An introduction to the fundamental ideas, actors, and institutions that make up the American political system. We examine the legal and structural basis of our government, evaluate the institutions that carry out its day-to-day functions, and analyze the role the individual citizen can play in influencing governmental policy. For each subject, we engage with some of the leading perspectives in political science; we also incorporate current events and our personal experiences. This course also includes a community-engaged learning component, allowing students the opportunity to put into practice the theories they have learned in the classroom.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Social Science, U.S. Power Structures, Community Engaged Learning.
    iCon(s)
    Engaging Civic Life.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • POLS 102 - Introduction to International Relations

    POLS 102 - Introduction to International Relations

    4.00 credit hours

    An introductory look at the variety of concepts, issues, debates, ideologies, and theoretical perspectives that have traditionally defined the discipline of International Relations. In particular, the course examines core issues such as international conflict, cooperation, globalization, international law, human rights, economic development, poverty, and terrorism. A great deal of time is devoted to exploring the dominant theoretical perspective of the field including realism, liberalism, Marxism, constructivism, and feminism.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Social Science, Global Understanding.
    iCon(s)
    Thinking Globally

    Schedule Of Classes

Electives

A minimum of 12 credit hours of Political Science, with at least four credit hours at the 300-level.

 Political Science Internships and Jobs

A North Central education integrates career preparation with rich academic study. Our faculty encourages you to refine and apply your knowledge in an interconnected world. Here you'll learn to think independently and work globally to solve problems and lead.

Internships

Recent graduates in political science have served as:

  • Intern, White House
  • Campaign intern, U.S. Representative Judy Biggert, Naperville
  • Consulting firm, Coleman Group, Chicago
  • Senate press intern, Office of U.S. Senator Richard Durbin, Chicago
  • Volunteer relations intern, World Relief, Aurora, IL
  • Legislative assistant, Illinois Physical Therapy Association, Naperville
  • Youth intern, Global Vision International, Esteli, Nicaragua
  • Law clerk, Keough and Moody P.C., Naperville
  • Office of Member of British Parliament Vincent Cable, London, England

Graduate Schools

Recent graduates in political science have been accepted at:

  • Yale University
  • University of Kentucky
  • John Hopkins University-SAIS
  • American University
  • The John Marshall Law School
  • University of Illinois-Chicago
  • Bush School of Government and Service, Texas A&M University
  • The George Washington University
  • St. Louis University School of Law
  • Chicago-Kent College of Law
  • Fordham University
  • DePaul University
  • University of San Diego
  • Appalachian State University
  • University of Chicago
  • Northwestern University
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • The Ohio State University

Careers

Recent graduates in political science include:

  • Manager of federal government relations, Darden Restaurants, Orlando, FL
  • Associate attorney, Wolfe & Stec, Ltd., Woodridge, IL
  • Associate director of global operations, Peace Corps
  • Assistant state’s attorney, DuPage County
  • Community resource coordinator, Lupus Foundation of America, Heartland Chapter
  • Vice president of advocacy, economic growth and quality of life, Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce, Naperville, IL
     

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