Economics-Political Science Interdepartmental Major

Applies to all Columbia College and General Studies students.

Economics-Political Science is an interdisciplinary major that introduces students to the methodologies of economics and political science and stresses areas of particular concern to both. This program will be particularly beneficial to students planning to do graduate work in schools of public policy and international affairs.

Two advisers are assigned for the interdepartmental major, one in the Department of Economics and one in the Department of Political Science. Please note that the economics adviser can only advise on the economics requirements and the political science adviser can only advise on the political science requirements.

The major in economics/political science requires a minimum of 17 courses in economics, mathematics, statistics, and political science, to be distributed as follows:


Core Requirements in Economics
Students must take all of the following core economics courses:

  • ECON UN1105 Principles of Economics
  • ECON UN3211 Intermediate Microeconomics
  • ECON UN3213 Intermediate Macroeconomics
  • ECON UN3412 Econometrics
  • ECON GU4370 Political Economy

Core Requirements in Math and Statistics
Students must take all of the following core mathematics and statistics courses:

  • MATH UN1101 Calculus I
  • MATH UN1201 Calculus III
  • STAT UN1201 Calculus-Based Introduction to Statistics (or a higher level statistics course such as SIEO 4150)
    • NOTE:POLS UN4710 Principles of Quantitative Political Research will no longer be an accepted alternative for the statistics requirement.

Economics Electives
Students must take two electives at the 3000 level or higher in the Department of Economics.


NOTE: Students must consult with an adviser in the Department of Economics regarding any of the above requirements. See here for more information.




Students must choose a Primary Subfield and a Secondary Subfield to study. The subfields are as follows:

  • American Politics (AP)
  • Comparative Politics (CP)
  • International Relations (IR)
  • Political Theory (PT)

Course Requirements

Introductory Courses*
Students must take two of the following introductory courses:

  • POLS UN1201 Introduction to American Politics
  • POLS UN1501 Introduction to Comparative Politics
  • POLS UN1601 International Politics
  • POLS UN1101 Political Theory I

*NOTE: Introductory courses taken that do not fit into the Primary or Secondary Subfield will be counted in the Political Science Elective category.

Primary Subfield
Minimum three courses, one of which must be the subfield’s introductory course.

Secondary Subfield
Minimum two courses, one of which must be the subfield’s introductory course.

Students must take the following two seminars:

  • One 4-point Political Science Seminar in the student’s Primary Subfield.
    • Usually taken in the junior or senior year.
    • Entry into seminars requires instructor permission.
    • Seminars must be taken for a letter grade.
    • Barnard colloquia can count for seminar credit only with the written permission of the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
  • ECPS GU4921 Seminar in Political Economy


Policy on Double-Counting Courses

  • No course may double-count for two separate majors/concentrations or programs.

Policy on Counting Credits outside the Department of Political Science

  • Courses taken at other institutions or other Columbia departments may not be used to meet the requirement of a major or concentration in political science without the approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies or the department’s undergraduate adviser. Students should secure such approval in advance of registration.

Pass/D/Fail and Grading Policy

  • Only ECON UN1105 Principles of Economics may be taken Pass/D/Fail, and a grade of “Pass” must be received for the course to count toward the major.
  • Students must receive a grade of at least C- in order for a course to count towards the major.

AP Credit Policy

  • Students who receive transfer credit for one or more AP exams in political science may count a maximum of one AP course toward the major, contingent upon completing an upper-level (3000 or higher) course with a grade of C or higher in the subfield in which the AP exam was taken.

Transfer Credit Policy

  • All majors must take a minimum of 5 of the 7 economics lecture courses in the Columbia Department of Economics. The remaining credits for economics lecture courses may come from AP (IB, GCE) Credits, Barnard elective courses, and transfer credits (either taken before registering at Columbia or study abroad).
  • At most one of the 3000 level core economics classes may be taken outside of the University (the course must be approved by the department—see transfer credit information online). The Barnard offerings of the economics core classes are NOT acceptable substitutes for the core requirements.
  • A maximum of two 3-point or 4-point courses in Political Science may be transferred from other institutions. This includes study abroad and AP credit. All transfer credits must be approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies or the undergraduate adviser. 
  • Students who wish to apply transfer credits to the major requirements should provide their Transfer Credit Report and the syllabi from the courses taken, to the Director of Undergraduate Studies or undergraduate adviser for review as soon as they begin taking courses toward the major, since the number of credits transferred (if any) will affect subsequent course planning.

Independent Study Policy

  • Independent Study (POLS UN3901x or UN3902y) taken in fulfillment of course requirements for the major must be taken for at least 3 points of credit.