American politics involves the study of American institutions and political behavior. In Columbia and elsewhere, American faculty and student policy is one of the largest sub-areas, and this area has been responsible for generating many methodological innovations in the discipline.
The department deals with the entire range of topics of the institute's studies, also in areas that are often neglected even in top departments: bureaucracy and supervision of regulatory authorities, state politics, courts as well as electoral regulations and in particular primaries. In the field of political behavioral research, the department also deals with a wide range of topics, including race and ethnicity politics, elections, political psychology and connections between public opinion and politics. A number of Columbia scholars have followed both institutional and behavioral work, and they have also been instrumental in the historical study of American political developments from an institutional and behavioral perspective.
American political scientists are also among the leading scholars in this discipline when it comes to designing field experiments and examining elections.