Undergraduate Programs

Public Law Emphasis

The Department of Political Science proudly maintains one of the most highly developed undergraduate public law programs in the nation. For this reason, the Department provides interested political science majors the opportunity to acquire an emphasis in Public Law - in conjunction with their undergraduate Political Science degree. 

Course Offerings

While the typical political science department offers one or two undergraduate courses in Public Law, Northern Illinois offers a broad range of courses in the field including:

  • Judicial Politics
  • Constitutional Law I - National Powers
  • Constitutional Law II - Civil Rights
  • Constitutional Law III - Civil Liberties
  • Topics in Law and Social Problems
  • Criminal Law
  • Seminar in Jurisprudence

Students enrolled in Public Law courses at Northern Illinois are presented with a wide array of approaches to field. Instructors provide historical analysis of the American legal system, familiarize students with classic social science research on the judiciary, and inform students about current issues and controversies in the legal system. The Public Law program also draws considerable strength from the diversity of instructional method employed by faculty (including seminar approaches, the traditional lecture format and the "case method").

While many of our graduates have experienced success in law school and para-legal program placement, the faculty at Northern Illinois do not consider the undergraduate Public Law emphasis "training" for law school. Public Law is instead approached as an important part of a Liberal Arts education in the field of Political Science which will be of particular interest to those who desire a better understanding of our legal system and are fascinated by the development and complexity of law and legal processes. Public Law course enrollment at Northern typically includes a considerable number of students majoring in History, Sociology, Psychology and Criminal Justice as well as Political Science. In recent years, we have also attracted a number of students majoring in Business, Communications, and English.

If you have any further questions about the public law emphasis, please feel free to e-mail our faculty: Artemus Ward and Brendon Swedlow.