The NIU Department of Political Science has over 500 undergraduate majors and minors and roughly 200 graduate students.
The NIU Department of Political Science is a student-centered research department with a commitment to engaged learning at the undergraduate level. This commitment is demonstrated through the following:
The Department coordinates a Washington, D.C.-based congressional internship in which five of its undergraduates participate each summer. Students receive a $5,000 scholarship to defray associated costs.
The NIU Department of Political Science is known internationally for its strength in Southeast Asian Politics. It has four full-time faculty members working in this area and six faculty members who are associates of the university’s Center for Southeast Asian Studies. Recently, Danny Unger took the lead in securing $110,000 in funding for the center from the Royal Government of Thailand.
The NIU Department of Political Science is known nationally for its longstanding strength in the history or political philosophy from Plato to the present. The success of the Ph.D. program in political theory is indicated by the many dissertations that have been published as books, an excellent record of graduate placement, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarship aid received from the Earhart Foundation since the early 1970s. As a recipient of these fellowships, NIU enjoys very good company, which includes prestigious private universities, such as Harvard, Yale and the University of Chicago, and top state universities, including Arizona, Florida, Indiana and Michigan State.
The NIU Department of Political Science takes great pride in the quality of its undergraduate majors. The Student Lincoln Laureate is an annual honor reserved for the top senior from each of the state’s public and private four-year colleges and universities. The award recognizes excellence in both curricular and extracurricular activities. A Political Science major won this award in 2005, was first finalist in 2006, won the award in 2007, and 2008, was first finalist in 2009, won the award in 2010, was first finalist in 2010, was a nominee in 2010, and won the award in 2012.
The Department takes great pride in training its doctoral students to be effective teachers. A Political Science Ph.D. student has been honored with the university-wide Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011. (The award was established in 2004.)