Lobbyists are individuals who represent an interest group (e.g., labor, a certain business, National Rifle Association, Sierra Club) and try to persuade policymakers to support that group’s positions. Lobbyists can be generalists, who work for multiple groups on several causes, or they can be issue-specific and work directly for that interest group. Since political science majors learn how government works, they can be effective lobbyists.

A sampling of courses for students interested in a career as a lobbyist:

  • POLS 100: Introduction to American Government
  • POLS 303: State and Local Government
  • POLS 305: Parties and Elections
  • POLS 307: The U.S. Congress

Notable Alumni

Tom Brierton
B.S., 1992
Owner, Franklin Creek Consulting

"My NIU Political Science degree gave me a rock-solid base to build a successful 23 year career as a congressional staffer and federal lobbyist. My professors combined an in-depth textbook knowledge of government programs, policies, and procedures with a practical understanding, based on real-world experiences, of the role politics, the organizational structure of government, and outside influences affect their implementation. This detailed understanding of all the key factors in federal government policymaking actions was an invaluable asset to start my career with."

John Cline

John Cline

B.A., 1984
Senior Managing Director, C2 GROUP/ FTI Consulting

"Political Science gave me a solid foundation for a career in and around government. From my early work in public transit management, to posts in the White House and U.S. Department of Transportation, and my current consulting practice, my work brings me in daily contact with political institutions, public policy, and the intriguing relationship between theory and political reality."

Liam Steadman

Liam Steadman

B.A., 2012
Manager, Government Relations for 340B Health

"Classes like POLS 307 - The U.S. Congress, POLS 496 - Independent Study in Political Science, and NIU’s Summer Congressional Internship program have been invaluable in getting me where I am today. They not only provided me with insights on the legislative process and how Congress works, they helped spark my interest in the government relations/lobbying field that I currently work in today. I am also pleased that I took advantage of the extra-curricular and honors courses that NIU Political Science has to offer. POLS-SAC, Model United Nations, and honors/independent study courses helped improve my public speaking, writing, organization skills, and gave me valuable additional face time with professors. I am so glad I took advantage of the opportunities the NIU Political Science Department had to offer."

Contact Us

Department of Political Science
Zulauf Hall 415
815-753-6302 (fax)

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8 a.m. - noon
1 - 4:30 p.m.

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