Columbia political scientists study real-world questions, using methods ranging from ethnography, historical process-tracing, archival research, and interviews, to quantitative data collection, complex statistical analysis, lab and field experiments, and game-theoretic modeling. The department is proud of its reputation for employing empirically rigorous and diverse methods to address large and fundamental problems facing society.
Many faculty members in the department work in more than one of the traditional subfields. The faculty also includes scholars who focus on political methodology and political economic theory.
Students in each of the department's programs select a primary and secondary subfield.
- Undergraduate majors and concentrators choose a primary and secondary subfield from among the four traditional subfields.
- M.A. candidates normally choose a primary and secondary subfield but may follow other patterns of study with the permission of the Director of the M.A. program.
- Ph.D. candidates choose a major from among the four traditional subfields. They also choose a minor field from among the traditional four, or they pursue defined minors in political methodology, political economy, economics, or law, or, with permission of the Director of Graduate Studies, an individually designed minor field.
- The undergraduate major and the Ph.D. program require at least one course in political methodology.
Sponsored research in the Department of Political Science is supported by the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP).
ISERP is Columbia University's research institute dedicated to the social sciences, located on the third floor of the International Affairs Building.
ISERP sponsors research on a competitive basis from its own resources. It also works to find external support for and publicize innovative basic and applied social science research. Its ongoing programming coupled with the services and resources of its Research Development Office provide an ideal environment for making innovative and collaborative research possible.
Faculty who are proposing projects or have obtained awards for sponsored research should consult with the ISERP sponsored projects administrators, who will support the proposal process and manage the administration of awards.
Students who intend to apply for sponsored research will need to identify a faculty member to serve as Principal Investigator for the project.
All proposals for sponsored research at Columbia University must be submitted through the Sponsored Projects Administration division of the office of the Executive Vice President for Research.