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 course must be taken for a grade - not P/D/F.
The analytical requirement can be met by taking a Politics course in quantitative methods (POL 345, POL 346), formal theory (POL 347), or research design (POL 350), or any one of the courses listed below:
- POL 345
- POL 346
- POL 347
- POL 350
- POL 451
- ECO 202
- ECO 302
- ECO 312
- ORF 245
- SOC 404
- WWS 200
- WWS 332
NOTE: POL 250 and POL 348 cannot be used to fulfill the analytical requirement.
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.
Even if the course fulfilling this requirement is taken outside the Department, students may still take two cognates.
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 POL 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.
- POL 345: Quantitative Analysis and Politics. This course is the first in the Department’s two-course sequence in undergraduate-level political methodology. It provides an introduction to statistical analyses in the social sciences. No prior knowledge aside from high school algebra is assumed. Topics include causal inference, estimation, and statistical programming. Through analyzing real world data sets, the course equips students with the skills necessary to produce a basic statistical analysis at the level of a Junior Paper or Senior Thesis. The sequence continues with POL 346. The course is typically offered in the fall semester.
- POL 346: Applied Quantitative Analysis. This course focuses on developing an intuition for statistics and applying it through data analysis, regression models and a final project. We will wrestle with what makes a good research question, play with data to see how statistical methods can help us make sense of real world concerns, and work at commu- nicating quantitative findings clearly to broad audiences. Particular attention will be paid to applying these techniques in Junior Papers and Senior Theses. Coursework involves using the R statistical platform. Upon completion of POL 345 and POL 346, students are eligible to take the Department’s graduate sequence in quantitative methods. The course is typically offered in the spring semester.
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.
- POL 347: Mathematical Models in Political Science. This course offers an advanced introduction to the use of game theory to study strategy and public choice in politics. The course covers the fundamentals of static and dynamic games of complete and incomplete information, as well as an introduction to the theory of repeated games. Each topic is developed with an application in political science, including strategic voting in elections and committees, bargaining, lobbying, strategic information transmission, and political agency. Prerequisites: MAT 103.
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.