Curriculum and Courses
The Political Science Major
All political science courses emphasize social scientific reasoning and theory application. A total of ten courses are necessary to complete the Political Science major (for detailed descriptions, please follow the "Related Links" in the right margin):
Three introductory-level lecture courses at the 1000- or 3000-level from different subfields (if already approved as an intro substitute);
Four elective courses (class of 2020 or later) (this includes any POLS class taken at Barnard or Columbia, and any class we have cross-listed in our catalog: you can see a full list of courses here);
Please note that, per the college-wide requirement, only courses graded C- or higher will be credited toward the major, and students cannot elect Pass/D/Fail grading for courses required for the major. If the grade has been uncovered, it can be used towards the major.
The department recognizes four subfields of the discipline:
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.
Majors have a choice of specializing in one or two subfields, selecting a broader mix of courses, or designing interdisciplinary programs that enable them to do a double major, or major and concentrate, in additional fields.
A note on the Barnard and Columbia course designation and numbering protocol. For more information on this, please go to the Courses of Instruction page in the Barnard Catalogue:
A prefix of "BC" indicates that the course is offered primarily for Barnard students; a "C" course, primarily for Columbia College students. “H” courses are offered at Columbia’s Reid Hall in Paris. "G" courses are graduate courses and a "V" or a "W" indicates a joint course, usually Barnard with Columbia College.
Undergraduate-level courses are 1000-3999 whereas 4000-4999 courses are designed for advanced undergraduate & first-year graduate students. Courses at the 5000-8999 level are graduate courses not normally open to undergraduate students.
If you would like to learn more about our faculty members and what they teach, you can view a recording of our most recent program planning meeting here. Please email any other questions you might have to email@example.com.
The Political Science Minor
A total of five courses are necessary to complete a minor. Four of these courses must be taken from courses listed in the political science section of the Barnard catalogue. Only one course taken in a summer session, study-abroad program, Reid Hall Program, or another undergraduate college may be used to satisfy the five-course requirement for the minor, with the approval of the Department Chair. When requesting transfer credit, please use the Course Approval Request form. Students can elect a minor using this Slate form.
Please use the Major Audit to plan your program and track your courses for the major. Please email any questions you might have to firstname.lastname@example.org.