Of the ten courses required for the Political Science major, three must be introductory lecture courses at the 1000-level, or selected 3000-level courses, in three of the four subfields. These courses are designed to provide an introduction to the main subject matter and major theories of each subfield. They also serve to familiarize students with the analytic approaches that political scientists use. After taking lecture courses in the relevant subfields, students are eligible to take the three required colloquium courses. Any student taking a four introductory course may use that towards their elective requirement.
The subfields are:
- Political Theory (PT): the study of the conceptual foundations of political systems and behavior.
- American Government and Politics (AP): the study of all aspects of the American political system, including its development, institutions, procedures, and actors.
- Comparative Politics (CP): the study of the political systems of other countries and regions, including the use of comparisons across cases in order to gain a broader and deeper understanding of events, institutions, and processes.
- International Relations (IR): the study of relations between countries and the dynamics and development of the international system.
Advanced Placement Credit:
A student granted Advanced Placement (AP) credit by the College in either American Politics or Comparative Politics with an exam score of 5 will have fulfilled the prerequisite for courses that require the prior completion of POLS UN1201 or UN1501, respectively. If the student wants to take the introductory American Politics or Comparative Politics course, she may do so, but she then will forfeit her corresponding AP credit.
*AP credit does not count toward the number of courses required for the major or minor, in other words, the student still needs to complete the ten courses for the major or the five for the minor. Majors who wish to use their AP credit in American Politics or Comparative Politics may use any 3000-level lecture course (not a colloquium or seminar course) offered at either Barnard or Columbia in the corresponding subfield, as a substitute for the intro course requirement in that subfield.*
Approved Introductory Course Substitutes
Majors may substitute any of these selected 3000-level political science lecture courses for the required 1000-level course in the same subfield, in the subfields of Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Political Theory. No substitutes are allowed for the American Politics subfield introductory course (UN 1201). No petitions for alternative courses to those listed below will be considered.
NOTE: These requirements were updated in the Spring of 2020. Students who declared a Political Science major prior to Fall 2020 may still take courses that were approved under the old policy. Please email PolSci@Barnard.edu with any questions.
1) BC V3401: Democracy and Dictatorship in Europe
2) BC V3620: Introduction to Contemporary Chinese Politics
3) BC V3560: The Politics of Urban Development in Latin America
1) UN 3625: Rising Great Powers in International Relations
2) UN 3604: Civil Wars and International Interventions in Africa
1) UN 3100: Justice
2) UN 3190 Republicanism
In addition to the three introductory courses and the three colloquia, political science majors choose four electives, normally at the 3000- or 4000-level. These courses are designed to deepen and expand students’ knowledge base and encourage them to apply social scientific reasoning and theories to the analysis of a broad range of political issues and problems.
Please use the Major Audit to plan your program and to track your courses.
What fulfills the Four-Course Electives requirement:
- All courses offered at Barnard or Columbia in political science with a POLS prefix satisfy elective course requirements, including introductory lecture courses, colloquia and cross-listed courses.
- The Independent Study Option POLS BC3799. Students who wish to do an independent study project (ISP) should first speak to a political science faculty member willing to sponsor it and consult with this instructor as to workload and points of credit. Credit is given for an academic research paper written in conjunction with an internship, but no academic credit is given for an internship or job experience per sé. The student must then apply to the Committee on Programs and Academic Standing (CPAS), which must approve all Independent Study requests. Once the request is granted, the Registrar creates a section and assigns a call number, and the student is notified of the call number so she can enter the course on her program. (Each instructor has a separate section and call number. Each instructor is limited to sponsoring one independent study per semester.) Independent study counts as a course for the purpose of the political science requirements, provided the project is approved for 3 or 4 points of credit. A project taken for 1 or 2 points does not count as a course toward the major, the minor, or the concentration requirement. A student may use no more than one instance of POLS BC3799 towards her major requirements.
- With pre-approval, first from the individual Major Advisor and then from the Department Chair, student may substitute a course in another department for one of the four elective courses. This course cannot be an introductory course and it must have significant political science content (use the Course Approval Request Form). Approval after the fact will not be granted.
- Seven of the ten courses for the major must be taken from courses listed in the political science section of the Barnard Course Catalog (see #1 for specifics). Within the three-course limit of courses taken elsewhere, the following caps traditionally apply: three transfer courses; two Reid Hall courses; two study-abroad courses from one semester away or three study-abroad courses from a full year away; one summer session course. On rare occasions the Department Chair may grant an exception (use the Course Approval Request Form). With the exception of transfer courses, these courses need pre-approval from the Department Representative. All of these courses, including transfer courses, require approval after completion from the Department Representative to count toward the major, minor or concentration. Please use the Course Approval Form.
What does not fulfill the Four-Course Electives requirement:
- The Independent Study Option POLS BC3799 does not satisfy the course requirement if the project is for 1 or 2 points.
- College-granted AP credit for American Politics or Comparative Politics does not count as major course credit. (See Advanced Placement Credit.)
- Courses taken at other colleges, in summer sessions, or abroad, which are not equivalent in rigor and workload to Barnard courses, as determined by the Department Representative, in consultation with other faculty of the department, will not count toward the major, minor or concentration requirements.
Please use the Major Audit to plan your program and to track your courses.
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 PolSci@barnard.edu.
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 November 1st.
Students will receive an email notifying them of their placement.
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 Colloquium Schedule (applications due April 1st, 2021)
NOTE: All times are listed in EST.
|Professor||Term||Class name||Day and Time|
|Battistoni, Alyssa||Fall||The Politics of Nature||Tuesday 2:10-4:00 PM|
|Fall||Human Rights in a Diverse World||Wednesday 12:10-2:00 PM|
|Fall||Political Economy of Corruption and Its Control||Tuesday 2:10-4:00 PM|
|Lacombe, Matthew||Fall||Gun Politics in the United States||Thursday 10:10 AM-12:00 PM|
|Miller, Michael||Fall||Political Behavior||Tuesday 2:10-4:00 PM|
|Moncada, Eduardo||Fall||Non-State Governance in Settings of Crime and War||Thursday 12:10-2:00 PM|
NOTE: Unless otherwise mentioned, the only prerequisite for each colloquium is the intro course or approved substitution for that subfield.
POLS BCXXXX [Course Number TBD] Colloquium on the Politics of Nature, Professor Battistoni
Prerequisites: POLS UN1101 or the equivalent
Nature and politics have often been counterposed in political thought: politics is understood to be a distinctly human activity, perhaps even the defining human activity, while nature describes the material world as it operates independently from human action; politics concerns the realm of decisions about how things will and ought to be, while nature names that which simply is and cannot be changed. What, then, does it mean to think about the politics of nature? We will begin by examining the ways that political thinkers have understood nature in general before moving into specifically ecological thought and ending with reflections on the central challenge of nature and politics today: climate change. Themes addressed include the role of science in politics, the political and moral status of nonhuman nature, the relationship between nature and economics, and the challenges of politics on a global or planetary scale.
POLS BC3410 Colloquium on Human Rights in a Diverse World, Professor Gündoğdu
Prerequisites: POLS UN1101 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 BC3500 Colloquium on Political Economy of Corruption and Its Control, Professor Lü
Prerequisites: POLS UN1501 or the 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.
POLS BC3026 Gun Politics in the United States, Professor Lacombe
Prerequisites: POLS UN1201 or the equivalent.
This course examines the politics of guns from a number of different angles. We will critically assess the multitude of direct and indirect explanations of gun control politics that have been offered by scholars and informed observers, including those related to interest groups, political parties, and mass political behavior.
POLS BC3555 Political Behavior, Professor Miller
Prerequisites: POLS UN1201 or the 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 BC3543 Colloquium on Non-State Governance in Settings of Crime and War, Professor Moncada
Prerequisites: POLS UN1501 or the equivalent.
The conventional wisdom is that crime and civil war are linked to disorder. But these are far from disorderly and ungoverned spaces. Unpacking these settings reveals complex forms of non-state governance constructed by a range of actors, including rebel and guerillas, gangs, vigilantes, and protection rackets – sometimes facilitated by the state.
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 2021 Colloquia via this form.
As of Spring 2017, we are no longer publicly posting colloquium placements. If you did not receive an email with your colloquium placements, you can email email@example.com to follow up.