Every Barnard Political Science major must take three colloquia. The third colloquium integrates the senior capstone requirement. 
The colloquium format involves weekly discussion of readings, and development of research skills through completion of a 25- to 30-page research paper, constituting the major piece of written work for the course.  See the course catalogue for a detailed description of the colloquium requirement. A colloquium, as with any course used for the major or minor requirement, cannot be taken Pass/D/Fail
Prerequisite: Please make certain that, before enrolling, you will have successfully completed one lecture course in the relevant subfield or have received special permission from the instructor for that requirement to be waived. Colloquia are not suitable for first-year students. Sophomores will be admitted as room permits. When making your third colloquium selection, please keep in mind that it is to your benefit to choose one in the field of your anticipated senior essay topic.

Columbia seminars do not fulfill the colloquium requirement for political science (they do provide elective credit).
Each political science colloquium is limited to students who are assigned by the department, not by individual instructors. Preference is given in the following order: senior Barnard majors; junior Barnard majors; sophomore Barnard students who have declared the major and will be studying abroad during junior year; senior and junior majors from other undergraduate divisions of the University; non-majors from all undergraduate divisions of the university. 
Please apply here. If you run into any problems filling out the form, please email

Application Deadlines

For the fall colloquia, Barnard Political Science majors must submit their applications by 5:00 p.m. on April 1. 

For the spring colloquia, Barnard Political Science majors must submit their applications by 5:00 p.m. on October 31 - Halloween! If October 31 falls on a weekend, the applications will be due the following Monday at 5pm. Students will receive an email notifying them of their placement. 

(Sophomores, please note: The Dean of Studies' due date for you to declare your major is March 1.)
Please note that students are assigned to a colloquium by the Department and not by individual instructors. Be sure to attend the first class session in order to secure your place in the course.


Fall 2019 Colloquium Schedule (applications due April 1, 2019)

NOTE: Unless otherwise mentioned, the only prerequisite for each colloquium is the intro course or approved substitution for that subfield. 


Political Theory

POLS BC3410 Human Rights in a Diverse World (Gundogdu) -- Thursday 2:10-4pm
Prerequisite: Political Theory (POLS 1013) or HRTS UN3001 or the equivalent

Not open to students who have taken or are currently taking POLS UN3002. 

Examination of human rights within the context of international migration. The course covers topics such as citizenship, state sovereignty, border control, asylum-seekers, refugees, and undocumented immigrants. (Cross-listed by the Human Rights Program.)


POLS BC3102 Race and Modern Political Thought (Smith) – Wednesday 4:10-6pm
Prerequisite: Political Theory (POLS 1013) or equivalent

Race and Modern Political Thought is a Political Theory colloquium that explores how the concept of race became available to modern thought as a legitimate conceptualization of human being and difference and to political thought as an idea useful to structuring political communities. Is race best understood in ideological terms, i.e., as a viewpoint shared by philosophers and lay-persons alike about difference that usefully reflected the needs and aspirations of slaveholders and colonialists? Or is race instead an artifact of modern forms of reasoning? Or should we ignore questions of origin and simply take seriously the notion that the only practical—ethically correct or politically progressive—approach to theorizing race is to attend critically to the organization of racial power? What kind of idea is race?

American Politics

POLS BC3555 Political Behavior (Miller) -- Thursday 12:10-2pm
Prerequisite: Introduction to American Government and Politics (POLS UN1201) or equivalent
Strongly recommended: Empirical Research Methods in Political Science (POLS 3706) or equivalent

This course explores how and why people take action in the political sphere. We will pay particular attention to questions such as why people vote, form interest groups, and/or contribute money to candidates. We will also study the origins of partisanship, polarization, opinion, and political ideology. Finally, we will cover topics in "elite" behavior, examining candidates, lawmakers, and party officials.


POLS BC3019 American Political Development (Krimmel) -- Wednesday 2:10-4pm
Prerequisite: Introduction to American Government and Politics (POLS UN1201) or equivalent

In this survey of American political development, we will discuss how and why major institutions and policies emerged, why they took certain forms, when and why they have changed over time, and what kinds of factors limit change. We will also discuss how policies, in turn, shape citizens and institutions. 


Comparative Politics


POLS BC3500 Political Economy of Corruption and Control (Lu) – Thursday 4:10-6pm
Prerequisite: Introduction to Comparative Politics (POLS 1501) or equivalent

Comparative political economy course which addresses some important questions concerning corruption and its control: the concept, causes, patterns, consequences, and control of corruption. Introduces students to and engages them in several key social science debates on the causes and effects of political corruption.


International Politics

POLS BC3411 Building Peace (Autesserre) -- Tuesday 12:10-2pm
Prerequisite: Introduction to International Politics (POLS 1601) or equivalent

How can we build peace in the aftermath of extensive violence? How can international actors help in this process? This colloquium focuses on international peacemaking, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding efforts in recent conflicts. It covers general concepts, theories, and debates, as well as specific cases of peacebuilding successes and failures. Cross-listed by the Human Rights Program.


POLS BC3810 Aid, Violence, and Politics in Africa (Autesserre) -- Tuesday 4:10-6pm
Prerequisites: Introduction to International Politics (POLS 1601) or equivalent

Explores the concepts, theoretical traditions and debates around development and humanitarian aid, focusing on the relationships between aid, politics, and violence. It looks at the political and military impacts of aid, the linkage between humanitarian aid and conflict resolution, and aid's contribution to perpetuating subtle forms of domination. (Cross-listed by the Africana Studies and the Human Rights Programs.)



Colloquium Application Process


Please note that we ask you to submit three colloquium choices. To the degree possible, the Department will try to honor one of your first two choices. If you list fewer than three choices, you will be assigned to a colloquium at random.
The number of semesters you have left at Barnard plays a role in the selection process. Therefore, if you are planning to study abroad or to participate in S.I.P.A.'s Joint Degree Program, be sure to indicate this.
You can now apply for Fall 2019 Colloquia via this form

Updated on November 5, 2015 by Irene Robertson