Teaching and research in American politics strives for excellence four areas: 1) political behavior, 2) rational choice institutionalism, and 3) historical institutionalism (American political development), 4) African American and Latino politics. In each, Columbia scholars write and teach at the cutting edge of the discipline. To a degree matched in few other departments, the American politics faculty cross boundaries with the other subfields of comparative politics, international relations, and political theory. Faculty are also active in a variety of interdisciplinary centers at Columbia's Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP), including the American Institutions Project, the Applied Statistics Center, the Center for Urban Research and Policy, and the Center on African American Politics and Society. With additional faculty strength at Barnard, the School of International and Public Affairs, Teachers College, and the African-American, Latino, and Asian-American Studies programs, students have rich opportunities to pursue research in public policy, urban politics, and race and ethnicity.
At the graduate level, distinguishing features of the American politics program are the uncommonly favorable faculty-student ratio and the commitment of hte faculty to intensive graduate teaching. Most students in the program work with faculty on research projects, co-author papers, present at conferences, and publish in the field's leading journals. The faculty deploy advanced research methods, especially quantitative methods, game theory, and mathematical modeling, as well as historical analysis, in their own work. Graduate students are strongly encouraged to master these techniques as quickly as possible and to continue honing their skills through additional study in Columbia's exceptional Departments of Economics, History, Mathematics, Sociology, and Statistics, and in the Columbia Business School and School of International and Public Affairs. Many American politics graduate students choose Quantitative Methods as their second field.
Our many speaker series, run jointly by students and faculty through ISERP, are a central aspect of intellectual life in the subfield. These workshops bring leading scholars form around the country to present their latest research. There, they meet students in seminar and continue discussions informally over lunch and dinner. Currently, American politics faculty and students ar active participants in the following series:
- African American Politics and Society Workshop
- American Politics Workshop
- Center for Urban Research and Policy Seminar
- Political Economy Seminar
- Workshop on 20th Century American Politics and Society
- Workshop on Political Psychology
Advanced graduate students are also encouraged to present their own work in workshops such as ISERP's Political Economy Breakfast and the Center for Applied Statistics Playroom.
Virtually all of the program's recent Ph.D. recpients are employed in teaching and research. Since 2004, graduates have accepted tenure-track positions at the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Chicago, Dartmouth College, Fordham University, the University of Houston, National Chengchi University (Taiwan), Princeton University, Syracuse University, Washington University in St. Louis, and Yale University.
For federal government information, try browsing around in Fedworld. Thomas is a service for Congressional documents, with links to the Library of Congress. The U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate have their own websites and are sources of legislative data. The White House has its own document service as well as links to U.S. government agencies. A comprehensive listing of state government information is also available from the Library of Congress.
Columbia University Libraries provides a gateway to its extensive data holdings through its Numeric Data Collection resource. Other excellent sources include the American National Election Studies, the Roper Center, and the Pew Research Center.