The Center for American Political Studies (CAPS) is committed to
the interdisciplinary study of U.S. Politics. Governed by an
interdisciplinary group of political scientists, sociologists,
historians, and economists within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences
at Harvard University, CAPS fosters discussion, research, public
outreach, and pedagogy about all aspects of U.S. politics.
Center affiliates also include faculty and students from KSG, HMS, HLS and HBS, in addition to other various Boston-area universities. Issues of study within CAPS range widely: Electoral Politics, Public Opinion, Civic Participation, Racial Politics, Legislative Politics, Social Movements, Ideological and Intellectual Roots of American Politics, and the Causes and Consequences of Public Policies. The Center also has a long-term interest in the Founding of the American Republic and the Study of Constitutional Government, both of which are programs (along with the Program on Medications and Society and the American Petitions Archive) housed within the broader CAPS organization. Support for these programs comes from committed sponsored and gift funds.
CAPS encourages cutting-edge research using a variety of methodologies, including historical analysis, social surveys, and formal mathematical modeling, and it often cooperates with other Harvard centers to support research training and encourage cross-national research about the United States in comparative and global contexts.
CAPS hosts seminars and provides funding for undergraduate and graduate education in multiple contexts. A recently launched Mentoring Program for developing the interdisciplinary undergraduate thesis research program will guide students in developing, before their junior year, skills to gather qualitative and quantitative data that will enable them to conduct research and write a quality senior thesis. A rolling graduate and undergraduate seed grant program also supports students in obtaining tools for research, traveling to present a paper or poster at a professional conference, acquiring data, and visiting a relevant field site or archive. CAPS also offers year-long dissertation research and completion fellowships.