Courses & Schedule

Schedule of Courses Site


2018-2019 Doctoral Course Schedule


PLS 802: Quantitative Techniques in Public Policy and Political Science II
Prof. Jacoby
MW 12:40-2:00pm
Linear and nonlinear models applied to public policy and political science data. Individualized research projects.

PLS 809: Proseminar in Formal Theory
Prof. Houle
Th 4:10-7:00pm
Formal models in understanding politics. Topics may include game theory, spatial modeling, social choice theory, public choice theory, and dynamic modeling. Theoretical issues and research applications.

PLS 821: State Government and Politics
Prof. Hall
Tu 3:00-5:50pm
This course surveys the field of state politics, especially studies of political institutions and political behavior using variations within and across states as an analytical device for testing hypotheses about the importance of context in American politics. We will discuss, among other things, the political development and redesign of institutions and their effects on processes and outcomes; citizen participation in the form of litigation, voting, and group activities to influence government; elite behavior, decision making, and processes within institutions; and inter-branch relations in a separation-of-powers system. These broader inquiries include a focus on the usual suspects: legislative, gubernatorial, and judicial elections; decision making in legislatures, statehouses, and supreme courts; political parties, interest groups, direct democracy, public opinion, political ideology, and political culture. This course should be of interest to students of American politics, state politics, public policy, and comparative research methodologies.

PLS 870: Proseminar in Political Thought
Prof. Sebell
Tu 6:00-8:50pm
Survey of major issues or themes in political philosophy.

PLS 900 Section 001: Applied Statistical Programming
Prof. Minhas
Th 12:40-3:30pm
Statistical computing is a quickly changing field. Standard techniques of today would have been difficult to execute fifteen years ago and impossible even in the late 1990s. Rapid improvements in computing power have been accompanied by swift changes in standard statistical methods. In just the last decade, techniques ranging from MCMC simulation, spatial, network, and text analyses have moved from being novel, advanced applications to commonplace across the social sciences.

This class is designed to achieve two broad objectives. Broadly, this course aims to provide students some of the foundational concepts and skills needed to engage in modern statistical computing generally. No course can teach you everything there is to know about a language such as R or Python even as it exists today, and certainly no class can teach you every piece of software you will need to use in your career. Some of the tools that will be in wide use in ten years do not even exist today. Thus, this course aims to give you the more foundational meta-skills from computer science and statistics you need to teach yourself how to develop code or even software to execute specific tasks in R or similar computer languages. Learning at this level will also better equip you to understand software written by others. In addition, the course will introduce a few widely used computational methods common to statistics.

More narrowly, in the first iteration of this course, we will guide students as they learn the specifics of the R programming language, a powerful statistical computing environment widely used in the fields of statistics, political science, and machine learning. Achieving this goal will require students to learn commands, best practices, and work-arounds specific to the sometimes idiosyncratic R language.

The course will focus on helping students to understand the core concepts behind the R language, gain practical programming skills, and learn to apply both appropriately in a real-world setting. A major component of the course includes learning how to plan and execute a collaborative, complex programming project and how to effectively document and communicate the capabilities of the resulting software to others.

PLS 900 Section 002: Multilevel Models
Prof. Schibber
M 3:00-5:50pm
This course covers statistical modeling with explicitly defined hierarchies. Social scientists encounter multilevel data all the time: voters clustered in electoral districts, students nested within classrooms, legislators clustered in congressional periods, countries nested within regions, and so forth. Classic time-series cross-sectional (TSCS) data can also be thought as multilevel data, with observations clustered by unit and time period. Even in survey research, multilevel models are used to estimate public opinion across geographic units from individual-level survey data (commonly known as MRP). The course will begin with a review of linear regression, logistic regression, and generalized linear models. Then it will proceed to multilevel nested models and follow with non-nested models for linear and generalized linear models. Hierarchical modeling can incorporate individual-level predictors, group-level predictors, and individual-by-group (also known as cross-level) interactions. More than half of the course will feature a Bayesian perspective on inference and computation of hierarchical models. Prerequisites include courses on OLS, MLE, and knowledge of R.

PLS 950: Comparative Political Economy
Prof. Chang
Tu 9:10am-12:00pm
This course surveys both seminal and recent literature on comparative political economy, and focuses on the use of formal and empirical tools to address major issues at the intersection of politics and economics.  The topical emphasis is on inequality, redistribution, and accountability.  The objective is to acquaint you with seminal ideas and to help you identify research opportunities and/or narrow down your dissertation direction.

PLS 960: Research Seminar in International Relations
Prof. Appel
W 3:00-5:50pm
Intensive study of one subfield of international politics. Critical evaluation of the literature.


 FALL 2018

PLS 800 Proseminar: Political Theory and Research Methods
Prof. Juenke
F 10:20am-1:10pm

PLS 801: Quantitative Techniques in Public Policy and Political Science I
Prof. Schibber
TR 10:20-11:30am

PLS 820: Proseminar in American Politics
Prof. Smidt
MW 12:40-2pm

PLS 850: Proseminar in Comparative Politics
Prof. Sarkissian
T 6:00-8:50pm

PLS 900-001: Maximum Likelihood/Generalized Linear Models
Prof. Schibber
TR 2:40-4pm
Summary: This is a graduate-level course on the theory and application of generalized linear models (GLMs). In a generalized linear model (GLM), the response variable has a distribution in an exponential family and the mean response is related to covariates through a link function and a linear predictor. GLMs allow a unified theory for many of the models used in statistical practice, including normal theory regression and ANOVA models, loglinear models, logit and probit models for binary data, and models for poisson or gamma responses, multinomial for polytomous outcome variables, etc.. Emphasis will be placed on statistical modeling, building from standard normal linear models, extending to GLMs, and going beyond GLMs.

Old syllabus is available here:

Emphasis will be on teaching students to do simulations to summarize and visualize results (without canned functions, but by writing their own Monte Carlo simulation in R).

Likely candidates for the class: 2nd year students and above

Who could also take the class: Students who have taken some type of MLE class before, but would like to refine their skills with a hands-on approach using R.

PLS 900-002: Mixed Methods
Prof. Wahman
M 9:10am-12pm
This seminar is a graduate-level course on research design and mixed methods. It is particularly targeted towards students who wish to extend their knowledge on quantitative and qualitative fieldwork methods. The seminar will include segments of theoretical as well as more practical nature. It will cover fundamental research design and data topics, including strategies for case selection and nested and sub-national research designs. It will also cover topics of great practical importance for students planning to undertake fieldwork, such as research ethics and strategies for securing external funding. During the semester, students will have the opportunity to work on their own research designs and funding proposals.

 PLS 920: Research Seminar in American Politics
The United States Supreme Court: Great Institution or Greatest Institution?
Prof. Black
W 6:00-8:50pm

PLS 950: Research Seminar in Comparative Politics
Democracy, Dictatorship, and Regime Transition
Prof. Houle
M 5:00-7:50pm

PLS 960: Research Seminar in International Relations
Political Violence
Prof. Thomas
W 12:40-3:30pm
Topics: Civil War, terrorism, repression



PLS 802: Quantitative Techniques in Public Policy and Political Science II
Prof. Jacoby
TR 12:40-2:00pm

 PLS 811: Proseminar in Policy Analysis
Prof. Schneider
W 3:00-5:50pm

PLS 828: Public Opinion and Political Behavior
Prof. Lajevardi
TR 10:20-11:40am

 PLS 854: Comparative Political Institutions
Prof. Chang
M 1:50-4:40pm

PLS 871: Classical Political Philosophy
Prof. Melzer
TR 5:00-6:20pm

PLS 900: Network Analysis
Prof. Minhas
W 10:20-1:10pm

PLS 960: Research Seminar in International Relations
International Political Economy
Prof. Bodea
W 6:00-8:50pm