A-Z Index

Political Science

Why Major in Political Science?

Earning a Political Science degree at Northwest prepares students for multiple employment opportunities in public service and private sectors including federal, state and local government, law, criminal justice system, municipal planning, city management, urban affairs, education, non-profit administration, campaigns and elections, public policy analysis and internal development and relations.

The major has three areas of emphasis: the american institutions (formerly criminal justice) emphasis provides an understanding of legislatures, police prosecutors, public offenders and courts and corrections; the public administration emphasis focuses on the decision making process and job opportunities in public organizations and local, state, federal and international agencies; and the global affairs emphasis studies the global trends and events, and enhances intercultural understanding. 

The non-comprehensive major allows students to combine their interests in other fields through their minor with a degree that will allow for additional specialization while working in the public or private sector.  

Minor in Political Science

A minor in political sciences teaches students the fundamentals of American government and politics, comparative politics and international relations, public administration and law and courts. Students also learn about early and modern western political thought. After taking the required courses, students can customize their minor from a list of approved electives. For a list of required courses, visit the academic catalog. This minor requires the completion of 24 credit hours.

Career Ready. Day One.

Northwest ensures students are career ready, day one through internships, field experiences and networking opportunities. Read Lucas' story »

Lucas is Career ready. Day One.

Career Opportunities

placement rate

100% of students who graduated with a degree in political science obtained employment or continued their education within six months after graduation. A degree in political science does not limit graduates to employment in government and legal fields. Below is a list of career opportunities for graduates:

Federal, State and Local Government including positions such as:

  • Prosecutor
  • Business Management
  • City Manager
  • Diplomatic Services
  • Police Officer
  • Federal Agent
  • Insurance Salesman
  • Legal Research Assistant
  • Lobbyist
  • Military positions
  • Non-profit Organizations
  • Policy Analyst
  • Educator
  • Private Attorney
  • Campaign Manager
  • International Organization Administrator

For a list of past job placements by year, view the placement reports »

*Based on self-reported data in recent years.

Profession-Based Opportunities

Study Abroad

Study Abroad is an opportunity for students to apply hands-on international experience to their own academic development. Faculty members provide short-term study programs that prepare students before, during and after the program. Two types of study abroad programs are available, Faculty-led and traditional study abroad.

Each year, faculty-led study abroad is an option available to students who prefer to study abroad for two to four weeks with teaching by Northwest faculty members. In prior years, students have traveled to England, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Egypt.

The traditional program can be a semester, summer or year-long program and is taught by Northwest’s international partner institutions.

For more information about study abroad opportunities »

In the Mock Trial Team, students compete in trial simulations at invitational and American Mock Trial Association sanctioned regional and national tournaments and Bearcat Invitational hosted annually at Northwest.

The Political Science Club promotes the growth and development of students interested in pursuing a career in political science or public administration. A mentoring program for incoming students in political science, pre-law and public administration is available to participating students. The club also sponsors speakers and forums.

As part of the Pre-Law Society, student take trips to law schools and admission fairs, speakers and panels, LSAT preparation and practice tests, peer discussion and social events.

Criminal Justice Club provides a forum for sharing information and engaging in projects of interest related to criminal justice careers. The club sponsors speakers from the criminal justice field.

For a full list of student organizations with in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences »


QuoteI assisted in the selection of jury members for a jury trial, sat in the prosecutor’s first deposition and went to several hearings. The prosecutor and her assistant taught me some of the terminology they use in the office, such as abbreviations for things and the range of punishment for each case. I would start from the beginning, from opening a case to closing a case, preparing the docket for court, how each county functions differently and sending all the case information to other attorneys. This experience showed me how to use my knowledge as a political science major.Quote

Ashlee Willim

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The Northwest Difference

Founded in 1905, Northwest is a traditional campus with more than 7,200 undergraduate and graduate students. Located in the middle of everywhere, Maryville is two hours from Omaha, Nebraska and Kansas City, Missouri and 2 ½ hours from Des Moines, Iowa.

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Career Ready. Day One.

Students organizations, internships and profession-based learning experiences ensure students are Career Ready, Day One.

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Graduation Rate: 90th percentile

Graduation Rate: 90th percentile of Northwest's national peer group.