Skip to main content

Studying American Politics at Vanderbilt

As part of the general requirements of the program, students electing American politics as a first or second field for examination must take three courses to qualify to take the comprehensive examination.

These three courses are:

  1. the core American politics course, PSCI 330: Studies in American Politics, which provides an overview of work on institutions and behavior
  2. one advanced seminar in American political institutions
  3. one advanced seminar in American political behavior

Students choosing to study American politics as a first field have two other requirements:


Students must complete PSCI 355 Research Design, PSCI 356 Statistics for Political Research I, PSCI 357 Statistics for Political Research II, and a third methodology course (e.g., PSCI 358 Maximum Likelihood, PSCI 359 Introduction to Formal Theory and Modeling, or PSCI 370 Experimental Methods). We encourage our students to take full advantage of the many opportunities we provide to receive additional training both inside and outside of Vanderbilt.

Pre-Dissertation Sequence

Students must take a two-course dissertation project sequence in their third year which is designed to assist students in moving from the comprehensive exam phase to the dissertation stage. The final product from this two-course sequence will be a complete dissertation prospectus and a (near-) publishable article-length manuscript.