The Political Science and Public Administration Department has three major objectives. First, the department provides students with a traditional liberal arts education. The department’s offerings in the university-wide liberal studies program create an awareness and understanding of national and international political processes. Second, the department’s professional and pre-professional programs in political science, law, public administration and education facilitate the development of talented and ethical leaders and educators. Third, the department’s faculty and students study and assist in the resolution of political and administrative problems in the local community, the Upper Peninsula region and the state.
The department offers majors in political science, public administration and political science/pre-law. Students interested in secondary teaching must apply for admittance to and pursue the professional education emphasis along with a political science major or minor. A political science minor and a public administration minor are available and can be arranged to complement a variety of majors. An interdisciplinary major in secondary education social studies is offered by the department, along with support courses in the international studies major. See the “International Studies” section of this bulletin.
Internships in public administration and law are secured for qualified juniors and seniors. Internships are available at the local, state and national level. Competitive scholarships for student interns in the nation’s capital are provided through NMU’s Washington Center Internship Program.
- College Republicans
- College Democrats
- Model United Nations Club
- Political Science Film Forum
- Political Science Symposium
- Student Law Forum
- Student Michigan Education Association
Pre-law students enroll in courses, work as legal interns and participate in mock trial competition and other law-related extracurricular activities. All students planning to attend law school should contact the Political Science and Public Administration Department for referral to one of our well-qualified pre-law advisers. A specific political science/pre-law major is available to students, but law schools will accept students with other majors, and our pre-law advisers will work with all students in selecting appropriate course work that prepares them for law school, in fulfilling other prerequisites for law school admission and on making application to law schools.
Students with majors or minors in political science, public administration, or paralegal studies must maintain a grade of a “C” or above in courses for the major or minor.
Students majoring in secondary education political science or minoring in political science secondary education must maintain a grade point average of 2.70 or greater with no grade below a “C” in the professional education sequence, the major and/or minors and required cognates combined.
Students seeking placement in an internship (PS 491) must be in good standing. Political science and public administration majors must have a grade of “C” or better in courses in the major. Students enrolled in the paralegal program must also have a first semester GPA of 3.0 and a grade of B or higher in Introduction to Law (PS 215).
When courses within a major or minor are listed as subject to waiver, and the adviser has approved the waiver, the political science elective credit hours required in that block are increased by four.
The department offers two excellent paralegal education programs; a paralegal bachelor’s degree and a paralegal post-baccalaureate certificate. Both degree curricula consist of in-depth legal specialty classes along with a general basic education. Students in this curriculum may be in college for the first time or may have some previous college experience.
The post-baccalaureate certificate program is offered for students who have already earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited four-year college or university. These students can usually complete the program in one year, attending full-time.
The certificate program is designed to help you build your knowledge of the profession and gain the foundational coursework to pursue a career as a paralegal or legal assistant. In this program you will explore how to communicate effectively in a legal environment, conduct legal research, and evaluate legal sources.
Our paralegal certificate program concentrates on building practical skills that could give you a competitive edge. You will apply learned concepts to relevant legal arguments and examine ethics in legal environments. Many of our professors are legal practitioners with real-world experience in legal services, law, and policy.
Role of a Paralegal
Paralegals are professionals who provide non-clerical services under the supervision of an attorney. Tasks that might be performed by paralegals include maintenance of important documents relating to lawsuits or business transactions, preparation of trial exhibits, legal research and investigation, drafting of court pleadings and legal documents, and completion of form documents. The actual practice of law is restricted to licensed attorneys. Work performed by paralegals allows attorneys to commit more time to activities that specifically require the expertise of a trained lawyer. Use of paralegals results in lower costs for legal services and greater efficiency and economy for all concerned.
Note: Michigan prohibits the practice of law by non-lawyers!
The primary program goal is to educate students to become career paralegals who can perform effectively in a variety of legal settings and can adapt to changes in the legal environment and law practice. The overall program goal is to prepare students for careers as paralegals working under the supervision of lawyers in the public and private sector. The program is designed to provide students with the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes they need to become competent and ethical professional paralegals working in the delivery of legal services.
Upon completion of either program, graduates should be able to:
- Demonstrate an understanding of the law, the legal and paralegal professions, and the legal process, including the use of technology, appropriate to their expected role in the legal community.
- Demonstrate the acquisition of practical, technical skills as well as basic knowledge of legal theory.
- Demonstrate competence in legal research and writing, problem analysis, and critical thinking.
- Display an awareness of ethical, moral, and social issues that contain legal implications.
- Demonstrate knowledge of the standards of conduct expected of the legal profession in general and the paralegal in particular.
Applicants who hold a baccalaureate or higher degree and wish to pursue a post-baccalaureate paralegal certificate are considered a post-baccalaureate applicant and will be admitted to NMU providing they have graduated from an accredited college or university.
Liberal Studies: Complete information on the liberal studies requirements and additional graduation requirements is in the “Liberal Studies Program and Graduation Requirements” section of this bulletin.
Courses within each major that can be used to satisfy liberal studies requirements are listed with the Roman numeral (in brackets) that coincides with the liberal studies division the course falls under.
- Paralegal Major
- Political Science Major
- Public Administration Major
- Secondary Education Political Science Major
Courses within each minor that can be used to satisfy liberal studies requirements are listed with the Roman numeral (in brackets) that coincides with the liberal studies division the course falls under.
- Political Science Minor
- Pre-Law Minor
- Public Administration Minor
- Secondary Education Political Science Minor