Concentrators are required to take a Politics course in systematic analysis, normally no later than the first semester of the junior year. The Department strongly recommends completing this requirement before the end of the sophomore year.
The analytical requirement can be met by taking a course in quantitative methods (POL 345/346), formal theory (POL 347), or research design (POL 350). Several courses in other departments, which also satisfy the analytical requirement, are listed below.
A recent New York Times headline read "For Today's Graduate, Just One Word: Statistics". Why? The world needs more people to help identify patterns and insights amid an explosion of digital data. Statistics are also useful for answering questions in political science. Has the American Congress grown more polarized? Why are some countries rich and others poor? What leads people to engage in terrorist acts? POL 345 and 346 serve as a two course sequence designed to help students address questions such as these in a systematic, data-driven manner. The first semester introduces students to descriptive statistics, probability theory, and the basic theory of inference and estimation. We place a particular focus on the distinction between correlative and causal inference. The second semester follows directly from the first, with a focus on the sorts of models commonly encountered in research and industry settings: linear models, binary and count models, and panel data. The second semester will focus, in particular, on how to present results effectively as part of a junior paper or senior thesis. Both semesters utilize the popular R programming language. POL 345 and 346 also count towards the undergraduate certificate in Statistics and Machine Learning.
Much of politics revolves around strategic interactions between political actors. This is true in all fields of political science. In deciding whether to present a policy proposal to Congress, the President must anticipate the voting behavior of members of Congress. In deciding whether to engage in a public protest, individuals take into consideration the reaction of the regime, as well as that of fellow protesters. In deciding to go to war, countries anticipate the decisions of the enemy and the international community. Formal Methods and Game Theory are powerful analytical tools that help us understand these complex strategic interactions, by focusing on how institutions and social norms shape the incentives, tradeoffs and beliefs of political actors. The Politics Department offers a number of courses in game theory and formal methods. POL 347 provides an introduction to game theory in political science, covering static and dynamic games of complete and incomplete information, and applications to bargaining, vote buying, strategic information transmission, conflict, and cooperation in repeated games.
The goal of POL 350 is to give you the tools required to write good independent research papers. These tools include how to formulate research questions, theories and hypotheses; how to measure the political concepts you are interested in; how to identify when one variable causes some phenomenon to occur; and how to present a case study that illuminates a theory. No matter what topics you just choose to pursue in your independent research, all of these tools will prove invaluable. While POL 350 does employ some mathematical and statistical concepts, it is not a statistics or mathematics course.
The following courses may be used to fulfill this requirement:
PSY 251 and SOC 301 may used to fulfill this requirement if they were taken Spring 2013 or earlier.
The course used to fulfill the analytical requirement cannot be used to satisfy primary, secondary or third field requirements, but it does count as a departmental.
The analytical course must be taken for a grade - not P/D/F.
Even if the course fulfilling this requirement is taken outside the Department, students may still take two cognates.
NOTE: POL 250 and POL 348 cannot be used to fulfill the analytical requirement.