Princeton School of Public and International Affairs

Faculty

Dean

  • Amaney A. Jamal

Vice Dean

  • Miguel A. Centeno

Chair

  • Amaney A. Jamal

Director of Undergraduate Studies

  • Susan L. Marquis

Director of Graduate Studies

  • Denise L. Mauzerall

Professor

  • Gary J. Bass
  • Roland J. Benabou
  • Alan S. Blinder
  • Carles Boix
  • Charles M. Cameron
  • Miguel A. Centeno
  • Christopher F. Chyba
  • Janet M. Currie
  • Rafaela M. Dancygier
  • Kathryn J. Edin
  • Christopher L. Eisgruber
  • Susan T. Fiske
  • Aaron L. Friedberg
  • Filiz Garip
  • Noreen Goldman
  • Bryan T. Grenfell
  • Gene M. Grossman
  • G. John Ikenberry
  • Harold James
  • Seema Jayachandran
  • Jennifer L. Jennings
  • Henrik J. Kleven
  • Atul Kohli
  • David S. Lee
  • Frances E. Lee
  • John B. Londregan
  • Alexandre Mas
  • Douglas S. Massey
  • Denise L. Mauzerall
  • Nolan McCarty
  • Atif R. Mian
  • Helen V. Milner
  • Sanyu A. Mojola
  • Eduardo Morales
  • Andrew Moravcsik
  • Layna Mosley
  • Michael Oppenheimer
  • Pietro Ortoleva
  • Elizabeth L. Paluck
  • Grigore Pop-Eleches
  • Markus Prior
  • Stephen J. Redding
  • Richard Rogerson
  • Cecilia E. Rouse
  • Kim Lane Scheppele
  • Eldar Shafir
  • Harold T. Shapiro
  • Jacob N. Shapiro
  • Patrick T. Sharkey
  • Stacey A. Sinclair
  • Paul E. Starr
  • James Raymond Vreeland
  • Keith A. Wailoo
  • Leonard Wantchekon
  • Mark W. Watson
  • Elke U. Weber
  • Ismail K. White
  • Jennifer A. Widner
  • David S. Wilcove
  • Deborah J. Yashar
  • Julian E. Zelizer
  • Owen M. Zidar

Associate Professor

  • Elizabeth M. Armstrong
  • Alin I. Coman
  • Thomas Fujiwara
  • Alexander Glaser
  • C. Jessica E. Metcalf
  • Emily Pronin

Assistant Professor

  • Adam M. Goldstein
  • Tanushree Goyal
  • John R. Grigsby
  • Andy Guess
  • Saad A. Gulzar
  • Arun Hendi
  • Adam Kapor
  • Patricia A. Kirkland
  • Aleksandra Korolova
  • Zhao Li
  • Jonathan Mayer
  • Jonathan F. Mummolo
  • Rebecca L. Perlman
  • Maria Micaela Sviatschi
  • Rory Truex
  • Guadalupe Tuñón
  • Andreas B. Wiedemann
  • Xu Xu

Associated Faculty

  • Alison E. Isenberg, History
  • Guy J.P. Nordenson, Architecture

Instructor

  • Naima N. Green-Riley

Lecturer with Rank of Professor

  • Robert L. Hutchings
  • Stanley N. Katz

Professor of the Practice

  • Heather H. Howard

Lecturer

  • Alicia Adsera
  • Frederick D. Barton
  • Annie Bird
  • Benjamin H. Bradlow
  • Devanne E. Brookins
  • Barbara C. Buckinx
  • Andrew C. Buher
  • Wendy Castillo
  • Tithi Chattopadhyay
  • Zack Cooper
  • Amy B. Craft
  • Richard W. DiSalvo
  • Lynda G. Dodd
  • Edward P. Freeland
  • Varun Gauri
  • Jean B. Grossman
  • William G. Guthe
  • Julio A. Guzman
  • Doyle Hodges
  • Meg Jacobs
  • Gregory B. Jaczko
  • Kiki Jamieson
  • Steven A. Kelts
  • Amy Kenyon
  • Tessie Krishna
  • Mihir E. Kshirsagar
  • Daniel C. Kurtzer
  • Anastasia Mann
  • Susan L. Marquis
  • Daniel J. Meuse
  • Ashoka Mody
  • Sofia Moroni
  • Timothy J. Nelson
  • Udi Ofer
  • Minh-Thu D. Pham
  • Juan C. Pinzon
  • Gregory B. Poling
  • Thomas A. Shannon
  • Arian M. Sharifi
  • Alyssa B. Sharkey
  • Tsering W. Shawa
  • Nicky Sheats
  • Sarah L. Staszak
  • J. Zach Vertin
  • Lauren Wright

Visiting Professor

  • Sahar F. Aziz
  • Martin S. Flaherty
  • Carsten A. Holz
  • Ethan B. Kapstein

Visiting Associate Professor

  • Sherwat Elwan Ibrahim
  • Julia S. Rubin

Visiting Lecturer

  • Eduardo Bhatia
  • Martha B. Coven
  • Mickey Edwards
  • Salam Fayyad
  • Richard F. Keevey
  • Steven Strauss
For a full list of faculty members and fellows please visit the department or program website.

Program Information

The Princeton School of Public and International Affairs offers a multidisciplinary liberal arts major for students who are interested in public service and becoming leaders in the world of public and international affairs. Students will acquire the tools, understanding, and habits of mind necessary to pursue policy problems of their choosing. The major is largely self-designed, but with the structure and guidance needed for an education that is both broad and deep.

Please note: These requirements apply only to SPIA concentrators in the Classes of 2026 and beyond
Students in the Classes of 2023, 2024, and 2025 should consult the appropriate archived Undergraduate Announcement for detailed information about departmental requirements.

Program of Study

The curriculum consists of a wide range of courses offered through the school and through our partner departments that are relevant to the study of policymaking, policy analysis, and policy evaluation. Students take courses in economics, sociology, or psychology, and politics or history. An introductory public policy course is required, along with an ethics course and a course on power and identity. Students enroll in policy seminars in their junior year and write a policy thesis in senior year. To aid in students' independent work, a research design workshop is also required.

Majors are required to take statistics and must be able to use the basics of single-variable calculus in order to take economics courses and some advanced elective options. Students who are concerned about their preparation should consider taking a course that provides instruction in single-variable calculus. In addition, the undergraduate program requires that students engage in some extracurricular cross-cultural experience (which may include study abroad), or policy-relevant field experience (overseas or domestic).

By the end of fall junior year, students will have to select their area of intellectual depth: i.e., disciplinary depth or thematic depth (designated by SPIA). Please consult the Undergraduate Program website for more information.

Prerequisites

Students must complete four prerequisites from a list of preapproved courses prior to the fall term of their junior year.  Students should consult the Undergraduate Program website for the most up-to-date list of approved courses.

All courses taken to meet these prerequisites must be taken on a graded basis. First-year seminars may not be used to fulfill prerequisites. Students must earn a grade of C or higher in all courses counting toward prerequisites. The following courses may be used to satisfy the prerequisites:

One Course in Statistics

  • SPI 200 Statistics for Social Science
  • ECO 202 Statistics and Data Analysis for Economics
  • ORF 245 Fundamentals of Statistics
  • POL 345 Introduction to Quantitative Social Science

One Course in Microeconomics

  • ECO 100 Introduction to Microeconomics (or AP score of 5 on Microeconomics)

One Course in Sociology or Psychology

Students must choose from an approved list of courses. Please consult the Undergraduate Program website for the most current list of courses to meet this prerequisite.

One Course in Politics or History

Students must choose from an approved list of courses. Please consult the Undergraduate Program website for the most current list of courses to meet this prerequisite.

All courses taken to meet prerequisites must be completed before September of junior year with a grade of C or higher. A summer course or a course taken abroad may count to satisfy a department prerequisite if the course has been approved by the relevant department and by either OIP or one's residential college dean or assistant dean for transfer credit. All requests to use a transfer course to satisfy a department prerequisite must be approved in advance by the SPIA director of undergraduate studies.

A course taken at Princeton and used as a prerequisite may also be used to meet either a department core requirement (if it is on the list of core requirements) or as a departmental elective (if it is on the electives list).

Core Course Requirements

Students should review the list of core requirements for their specific class year.

Prior to graduation, students must complete the core course requirements listed below. Students are encouraged to take SPI 298 in sophomore year and must complete the course no later than the fall of junior year. All courses used to meet these requirements must be taken at Princeton on a graded basis. 

  • SPI 298: Intro to Public Policy (Fall only)
  • SPI 299: Research Design Workshop (Fall only; non-credit-bearing)
  • SPI 300: Research Seminar (Spring only)
  • SPI 301: Policy Task Force (Fall or Spring)
  • One course on Power and Identity:
  • One Ethics course:
    • SPI 370 Ethics and Public Policy
    • POL 307 The Just Society
    • POL 313 Global Justice
    • CHV 310/PHI 385 Practical Ethics
    • PHI 309/CHV 309 Political Philosophy
  • One Intermediate Economics course (Students who wish to take ECO 300, 301, 310, or 311 are responsible for completing additional prerequisites on their own):
    • SPI 304 Microeconomics for Public Policy (formerly listed as SPI 300)
    • ECO 300 Microeconomic Theory
    • ECO 301 Macroeconomics
    • ECO 310 Microeconomic Theory: A Mathematical Approach
    • ECO 311 Macroeconomics: A Mathematical Approach

 

Elective Courses

Students must complete six electives according to the following guidelines.

  • Disciplinary Breadth (3): Take one course from each of three SPIA-related departments not already covered by the intellectual depth requirement, noted below (ECO is excluded because it is already a required prerequisite and core course). Prerequisites and core courses may double-count; ECO courses may not.
    By graduation, we strongly encourage students to have taken courses in departments where they have not yet taken a course (for example in a natural science, if they are focusing on the social sciences).
     
  • Intellectual Depth (3): Disciplinary OR Thematic Depth
    • Disciplinary Depth: Take three courses in one SPIA-affiliated department, e.g., ECO, EEB, HIS, POL, PSY, SOC
    • Thematic Depth: Take three courses that address a given theme. Courses are drawn from SPIA-affiliated departments or SPIA-approved courses.

Among the six (6) electives, a student may take only three electives from one department. For the concentration as a whole, a student may not take more than five courses from one department.

Regional Focus: Students should also pursue regional focus across their SPIA coursework. Thus, across the SPIA prerequisites, core, and electives, students must take at least two courses that focus substantively on a particular continent.

Up to three elective courses may be taken in semester-long study abroad programs.

Independent Work

To satisfy the junior independent work requirement (JP), each student must complete a year-long paper in connection with a non-credit-bearing fall Research Design Workshop (SPI 299) and a credit-bearing spring Research Seminar (SPI 300).

To aid in the writing and preparation of the year-long junior paper, the non-credit-bearing fall Research Design Workshop will introduce students to research design: How does one define an important and researchable question? How does one deploy systematic concepts and evaluate competing hypotheses/arguments? How does one evaluate the plausibility, ethics, and relative success of alternative policy solutions? The course will focus on research design rather than specific methods. 

In the spring research seminar course, a faculty member supervises a small group of students engaged in research on a specific topic in public and international affairs. Faculty will introduce students to the existing state of knowledge and available evidence for research within a well-defined topic that is timely and important in the area of public policy. Supported by the separate coursework required in the research seminar, students will complete their year-long junior paper.

To satisfy the senior independent work, each student must complete a senior thesis that clearly articulates a research question about a significant public policy issue and draws conclusions that contribute to the debate on that issue.

Senior Departmental Examination

The school's senior comprehensive examination is an oral defense of the senior thesis that also tests the student's ability to integrate the senior thesis with coursework.

International Programs

Any concentrator may study abroad in one of the department's overseas programs in the first or second semester of junior year. Recent international programs include Pembroke College at Cambridge University and the University of Cape Town in South Africa. At each site, students enroll in coursework at the host university and take a Policy Task Force directed by a faculty member at the host institution. 

Cross-Cultural or Field Experience Requirement

Prior to the second semester of senior year, each student must have completed an approved cross-cultural or field experience. The requirement may be satisfied in a number of ways, including but not limited to semester study abroad, summer study abroad, summer language study abroad, policy-relevant summer jobs abroad, ROTC training, senior thesis research in the field, extended service in an underserved community, or an internship involving public policy work in a nonprofit, government, or international agency such as the United Nations, the World Bank, the US Congress, or a state or federal agency.

Summer study, language study, or thesis research must be done for at least four weeks to qualify. Students must engage in an internship, job, or community service project for at least six consecutive weeks, and at a minimum of 40 hours per week or a total of 240 cumulative hours to qualify. Eligible community service work must involve policy work that will enhance one's learning and understanding of public service.

Cross-cultural or field experience gained during the first or sophomore year or as a participant in the Bridge Year Program may count toward this requirement. To meet this requirement, all past or proposed work must be approved by the undergraduate program.

Additional Information

The program provides funding during summer, fall, and winter breaks for travel and living expenses related to senior thesis research in public policy. The school also provides funding to students in the department who participate in public policy internships over the summer. For additional information, consult the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs Undergraduate Program website.

Courses

SPI 200 Statistics for Social Science Spring QCR

An introduction to probability theory and statistical methods especially as they relate to public policy. The course will consist of a brief introduction to probability theory as well as various topics in statistics and how they can be used in the public policy realm. Subject areas will include random variables, sampling, descriptive statistics, distributions, estimation, hypothesis testing, and introduction to the regression model. The data sources will be actual examples taken from the public policy realm. Stata, a general purpose statistical programming package will be used to perform the statistical analysis. Instructed by: R. DiSalvo

SPI 201 Introduction to Urban Studies (See URB 201)

SPI 211 Introduction to Quantitative Social Science (See POL 345)

SPI 300 Microeconomics for Public Policy Spring SA

Microeconomics is the study of how people and societies confront scarcity. This course, taught at the intermediate level, focuses on markets as a mechanism for dealing with scarcity, and uses examples that cast light on public policy issues. Two lectures, one preceptorial. Prerequisite: ECO 100. Instructed by: S. Moroni

SPI 301 International Trade (also
ECO 352
) Spring SA

Examination of the causes and economic consequences of international trade in goods and services, investment and migration. Stress on the possibility of aggregate national gains from trade, and the distributional conflicts generated by trade. Analysis of policies regarding these issues from the perspective of economics and political economy. Two lectures, one preceptorial. Prerequisites: WWS 100 or ECO 300 or ECO 310. Instructed by: G. Grossman

SPI 306 Environmental Economics (also
ECO 329
/
ENV 319
) Fall SA

An introduction to the use of economics in thinking about and dealing with environmental issues. Stress on economic externalities and the problem of dealing with them as instances of organizing gains from trade. Applications to a wide variety of problems, among them air pollution (including, importantly, global climate change), water pollution, solid waste and hazardous substances management, species preservation, and population policy. Instructed by: S. Brunnermeier

SPI 310 American Politics (See POL 220)

SPI 311 The Politics of Development (See POL 351)

SPI 312 International Relations (See POL 240)

SPI 315 Grand Strategy (also
POL 393
) Spring SA

Military strategy was defined by Clauswitz as the use of battle to achieve the objectives of war. Grand strategy is broader, encompassing the attempted use by political leaders of financial economic, and diplomatic, as well as military, power to achieve their objectives in peacetime and in war. This seminar will examine the theory and practice of grand strategy both to illuminate how relations among city-states, empires, kingdoms and nation states have evolved over the centuries and also to identify some common challenges that have confronted all who seek to make and execute grand strategy, from Pericles to Barack Obama. Instructed by: A. Friedberg, G. Ikenberry

SPI 323 Chinese Politics (See POL 362)

SPI 325 Introduction to Comparative Politics (See POL 230)

SPI 330 Population, Society and Public Policy (also
SOC 328
) Not offered this year SA

This course focuses on the causes and consequences of population change and the policy levers used to regulate demographic behavior and outcomes. In addition to basic demographic concepts, measures and data, we will address questions such as: What is the carrying capacity of the planet? Why has fertility declined in some countries but not others? How does population growth influence the environment? What does population aging portend for social security solvency? Can countries regulate international migration? Why does China have so many male births? Is marriage obsolete? Is urban life good or bad for your health? Instructed by: A. Hendi

SPI 331 Race and Public Policy (also
SOC 312
/
AAS 317
/
POL 343
) Fall/Spring SA

Analyzes the historical construction of race as a concept in American society, how and why this concept was institutionalized publicly and privately in various arenas of U.S. public life at different historical junctures, and the progress that has been made in dismantling racialized institutions since the civil rights era. Instructed by: D. Massey

SPI 334 Media and Public Policy (also
SOC 319
) Spring SA

Introduction to communications policy and law, covering such topics as freedom of the press and the development of journalism; intellectual property; regulation of telecommunications, broadcasting, and cable; and policy challenges raised by the Internet and the globalization of the media. Instructed by: P. Starr

SPI 339 American Society and Politics (See SOC 201)

SPI 340 The Psychology of Decision Making and Judgment (also
PSY 321
) Fall EC

An introduction to the logic of decision making and reasoning under uncertainty. Focus on psychological mechanisms that govern choice and judgment and on characteristic errors found in intuitive judgment and choice. Discussion of divergence from the model of rational agent often assumed in social science theory and economics. Rules governing pleasure, pain, and well-being provide background for analysis of the rationality of some individual choices and for the evaluation of general policies that affect human welfare. Prerequisite: introductory statistics for social science or instructor's permission. Instructed by: E. Shafir

SPI 350 The Environment: Science and Policy (also
ENV 350
) Spring SEN

This course examines a set of critical environmental issues including population growth, ozone layer depletion, climate change, loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services and depletion of global fisheries. It provides an overview of the scientific basis for these problems and examines past, present and possible future policy responses. Instructed by: Staff

SPI 351 Information Technology and Public Policy (also
SOC 353
/
COS 351
) Not offered this year SA

New technologies have changed the way we communicate with each other and learn about our world. They have also raised public policy dilemmas in every area they touch: communications, regulation, privacy, national security, intellectual property and many others. This course is predicated on the belief that we can only productively address the social and policy dimensions of the Internet if we understand the technology behind the Internet; the social-science concepts and research that illuminate the likely effects of policy options; and tradeoffs among fundamental values that different policy options imply. Two ninety-minute seminars. Instructed by: Staff

SPI 353 Science and Global Security: From Nuclear Weapons to Cyberwarfare and Artificial Intelligence (also
MAE 353
) Spring SEN

This course will provide students with a basic technical understanding of some of the critical technologies that are relevant to national and global security and will equip students with the skills to better assess the challenge of developing effective policies to manage such technologies. Case studies will inter alia include nuclear weapons and their proliferation, nuclear and radiological terrorism, space weapons, biosecurity and cyberware. Two lectures. Instructed by: A. Glaser

SPI 355 Infection: Biology, Burden, Policy (See MOL 425)

SPI 367 Latin American Politics (See POL 367)

SPI 370 Ethics and Public Policy (also
POL 308
/
CHV 301
) Fall EM

This course examines basic ethical controversies in public life. What rights do persons have at the beginning and end of life? Do people have moral claims to unequal economic rewards or is economic distribution properly subject to political design for the sake of social justice? Do we have significant moral obligations to distant others? Other possible topics include toleration (including the rights of religious and cultural minorities), racial and gender equity, and just war. Instructed by: S. Kelts

SPI 380 Critical Perspectives in Global Health Policy (See GHP 350)

SPI 381 Epidemiology: An Ecological and Evolutionary Perspective (See GHP 351)

SPI 389 Race, Drugs, and Drug Policy in America (See HIS 393)

SPI 401 Policy Seminars Fall

Open only to students enrolled in the school. See 'Program Information' for description. Juniors who are concentrators in the school must register for the policy task force as "Junior Independent Work.'' Seniors should register for SPI 401 or 402 as a course rather than junior independent work. Instructed by: Staff

SPI 402 Policy Seminars Spring

Open only to students enrolled in the school. See 'Program Information' for description. Juniors who are concentrators in the school must register for the policy task force as "Junior Independent Work.'' Seniors should register for SPI 401 or 402 as a course rather than junior independent work. Instructed by: Staff

SPI 406 Issues in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics (also
ECO 429
) Not offered this year SA

Course introduces use of economics in understanding both the sources of and the remedies to environmental and resource allocation problems. It emphasizes the reoccurrence of economic phenomenon like public goods, externalities, market failure and imperfect information. Students learn about the design and evaluation of environmental policy instruments, the political economy of environmental policy, and the valuation of environmental and natural resource services. These concepts are illustrated in a variety of applications from domestic pollution of air, water and land to international issues such as global warming and sustainable development. Instructed by: S. Brunnermeier

SPI 421 Comparative Constitutional Law (also
POL 479
/
CHV 470
) Not offered this year SA

This course will introduce students to the variety of forms of constitutional government and the way that human rights are understood and enforced by courts around the world. We will trace the emergence of a global constitutional culture and focus more directly on the constitutions of South Africa, India, Germany, France, Hungary, Israel and Canada. We will give primary emphasis to the rights provisions in national constitutions, but will also take transnational constitutional regimes through examining decisions of the European Courts of Human Rights. Two ninety-minute seminars. Instructed by: K. Scheppele

SPI 451 Climate Change: Impacts, Adaptation, Policy (See GEO 366)

SPI 452 Global Environmental Issues (See CEE 334)

SPI 455 Disease Ecology, Economics, and Policy (See ENV 304)

SPI 466 Financial History (also
HIS 467
) Fall HA

The course examines the history of financial innovation and its consequences. It examines the evolution of trading practices, bills of exchange, government bonds, equities, banking activity, derivatives markets, and securitization. How do these evolve in particular state or national settings, how are the practices regulated, how do they relate to broader development? What happens as financial instruments are traded across state boundaries, and how does an international financial order evolve? What are the effects of international capital mobility? How is resulting conflict and instability managed, on both a national and international level? Instructed by: H. James