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Political Analytics

Drawing on Columbia University’s academic strength in the quantitative social sciences—particularly political science, statistics, mathematical modeling, and applied analytics—this program meets the needs of learners who aspire to a career in political analytics and consulting. 

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Announcing Political Science Professor Gregory J. Wawro as Program Director of the Columbia M.S. in Political Analytics

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Program Overview

Analytics and data-driven decision-making are playing an ever-larger role in today’s political and advocacy careers, ranging from polling and public opinion research, audience targeting, advertising, fundraising, to campaign management and execution. Yet very few academic programs prepare individuals to excel at these tasks. To meet that need, the Columbia University School of Professional Studies and the Columbia University Department of Political Science have developed the Master of Science in Political Analytics program to train a new generation for long-term, successful careers in politics who are uniquely equipped in the substance of politics and quantitative methods to understand the data that drives decision-making, to communicate effectively about data and politics, and to communicate effectively with other professionals and laypeople about political behavior and dynamics. The program provides quantitative skills in an explicitly political context, facilitating crosswalk with nontechnical professionals and decision-makers—and empowers students to become decision-makers themselves.

Students undertake a rigorous suite of tailored political science, applied quantitative analytics, and new approaches to data analytics including machine learning and AI. Taken together, these  courses help develop the skills they need to model and analyze the activities, the actions, and behavior that are fundamental to politics, which in turn prepares them to develop insights and strategies to understand, explain, and influence political action. The program is designed to fill an important role in the rapidly developing field of data analytics as it is applied to politics and policy advocacy. Furthermore, it will provide a clearer professional trajectory, by helping students acquire necessary skills to advance their careers and open up new opportunities in different industries.  

Combining a scholar-practitioner model and a core academic curriculum, students build their understanding of theory and research through hands-on application via capstones or internships in a professional setting. Drawing from a wealth of graduate-level courses in the Department of Political Science, the School of Professional Studies, the School of International and Public Affairs, and the Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences program, Columbia provides a foundation for both core and elective courses. 

The program leverages the University’s academic strengths in the quantitative social sciences, such as in public policy, mathematical modeling, and applied analytics—and also engages with broader disciplines, such as political science and statistics—to create academic offerings that meet the needs of learners who aspire to build both technical and nontechnical careers in the political analytics space. The program also offers students the unique geographical advantage of being located in New York City, a global capital for politics, business, media, and advertising.  

The program is strictly nonpartisan and is open to applicants from any political or professional background. The degree will be offered full-time, with a part-time option for working professionals. The full-time option enables completion of study within one year, and full-time students are expected to complete the degree in three semesters. Part-time students are expected to complete the degree requirements in six semesters. 

The program’s structure follows thirty-six credits, which include a set of core courses, selective courses, and a capstone, that all build toward a comprehensive understanding of the foundational, theoretical, analytical, and applied skills needed for professional data-oriented careers in politics. Post-graduation career pathways may include—but are not limited to—campaign management, consulting, lobbying, public and governmental affairs, policy analysis, political fundraising, media, all of which are looking for well-trained, politically astute employees and leaders.

Key Highlights

Graduates of this program will gain the skill that is necessary to narrow the gap between substantive political professionals and those involved on the technical analytic side. The program will provide technical skills in an explicitly political context, facilitating crosswalk with nontechnical professionals and decision-makers.

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The Columbia University Department of Political Science 
The Department of Political Science at Columbia University was founded in 1880 and was the first of its kind in the country. Today it is one of the largest departments in the university, serving one of the largest undergraduate majors on campus and annually attracting an elite group of graduate students. Its faculty includes leaders and prizewinners in every subfield in the discipline. Its graduates are leaders in global and domestic private and public sector organizations and professors in world-class colleges and universities in the U.S. and abroad. 

Program Options
Option Course Formats Time Commitment
Master of Science Full‑Time

On campus and online

3 consecutive terms

Master of Science Part‑Time

On campus and online

6 consecutive terms

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Learn more about the Master of Science in Political Analytics at the Columbia University School of Professional Studies, or contact the program admissions counselor.

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As admissions to our program are highly competitive, we encourage you to apply as soon as possible. Learn more about the application process, deadlines, and requirements.

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Fast Facts

Two arrows pointing in opposite directions.
$16 Billion The 2020 federal election cost over $14 billion with state-level elections nearing $2 billion. Total election costs for 2022 state and federal midterms surpassed $16 billion, exceeding all previous midterm elections. (Open Secrets)
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$120K The average salary for political analysts in New York for 2023 is $120K, with salary potential increasing by 21% over the next 5 years. (Salary Expert)