Columbia University

Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Social Science Initiative

Comprised of the departments of Anthropology, Economics, History, Political Science, and Sociology and twenty-eight interdisciplinary research institutes and centers, the Division of Social Science in the Faculty of Arts and Science at Columbia University is steeped in a rich tradition of scholarly distinction. The faculty of the Division of Social Science hold the highest awards in their fields, including the MacArthur Fellowship, the Nobel Prize, the American Academy of Arts and Science Fellowship, the National Academy of Sciences Fellowship, the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Bateson Prize, the Skytte Prize, and the John Bates Clark Medal.

The Social Science Initiative lays the groundwork for the preservation and expansion of this legacy of pioneering social inquiry through the recruitment and retention of the world’s best social analysts. The Social Science Initiative will also sustain and foster the transformative teaching of a new generation of extraordinary undergraduate and graduate students.

Social scientists study individuals, communities, organizations and institutions of the past and present. Bringing elements of both natural sciences and humanities research to the study of the scale and scope of the human endeavor, the social sciences uniquely bridge the University’s disciplines, departments, and schools.

The Division of Social Science spans a wide conceptual and methodological spectrum, from interpretive, humanistic analysis to hypothesis-driven, quantitative research. As such, the division plays an essential connecting role in the larger intellectual ecology of the Arts and Sciences and the University. The Social Science Initiative reflects the division’s position as a vital launching pad for campus-wide collaborations and partnerships.

This strategic, academic plan is the product of consultation with and contributions from faculty members in social science departments, centers, and institutes beginning in the 2014–2015 academic year. It offers a roadmap for the Division of Social Science that will allow its faculty and students to reach the apex of our aspirations for research and teaching over the next decade. This plan sets forth initiatives and programs that capitalize on our strengths in the analytic and interpretive social sciences and also extends these, opening up new areas of scholarly preeminence.


Learn more about the Social Science Initiative:

Themes and initiatives:

Data and Decisions

Crossroads of Knowledge

Experimental Turn

Understanding Inequality

The Social Contract for the 21st Century

Urbanisms and Environment

Comparative Democracies

Identity, Community, and Difference


Crosscutting initiatives:

Pedagogical Innovation Fellowships for Faculty

Interdisciplinary Hires

Global Society of Fellows

Columbia Graduate Fellows Program

Columbia Undergraduate Research Fellowships

Undergraduate Civic Engagement in the Global City