Justin Phillips

This professor has earned a CULPA gold nugget

May 2021

Professor Phillips is an absolute gem! The material is interesting and makes you appreciate the ways in which major civil rights action happens at the state level. You begin with a few weeks on federalism and then focus specific units on civil rights issues like reproductive rights, gay marriage, and immigration. The pacing is also fair and readings aren't difficult to understand. Mainly, however, I would say take this class because Professor Phillips is genuinely just a nice person and a great professor. Definitely go to office hours to chat with him.

Dec 2018

TAKE A SEMINAR WITH JUSTIN PHILLIPS!!! It may seem daunting because you have to read a book a week, but really you only have to read as much of the book as you want because you can pretty much say whatever you want in class and he'll agree with you. Justin is so dang nice and literally said "I'm used to grading grad students so i never give out anything lower than a B+". As someone who hates doing readings and slacks off a lot, I really liked this class and thought the readings were really interesting. Learned so much and he is amazing!

Dec 2017

I think that he is a great person. He is a great guy. However, he is a boring lecturer who teaches everything from the textbook. He talks pretty fast and his slides are just full of texts. His exams are fair, but it really depends on the TAs. Personally, my TA was not helpful at all.

Dec 2017

This class was not very difficult, but Professor Phillips is a great lecturer and made the material engaging and relevant.

Dec 2017

If you're going to take an intro poli sci course, I'd recommend this one. Phillips is a great lecturer and all you have to do is go to lecture to get the info for the tests. The information is really important to know for a poli sci major. Mandatory recitations which, if you get a good TA, basically tell you exactly what to study for the exams. Would recommend this course. Oliver Mclellan is the best TA I've ever had, and I switched into his section after having Sean Leong, the worst TA I've ever had the misfortune of listening to. Avoid Sean at all costs and get Oliver because he will prepare you soo well for the exams.

Dec 2013

This is the best seminar I've taken at Columbia, and the best class I've taken in the political science department here. I almost didn't take the class because I was skeptical about the limited scope of the syllabus (Gays and Lesbians instead of a broader intersectional LGBTQ analysis). However, the readings in the class were one the highlights of my semester, and Professor Phillips is amazing at leading discussions. He's very open to critiques of the class and the readings, and it led to many interesting classes. You can do fine in discussion without doing all of the reading, but I found myself doing all the reading thoroughly each week because I was learning so much that I had never come across before.

Jan 2013

This is one of the best classes I have ever taken. It was at 10:10 AM but Professor Phillips managed to always keep my attention. Just by going to the lectures and taking notes you basically can know most of the things needed for the course as long as you skim the reading and primary sources. He is a really engaged professor and definitely is willing to meet with you during office hours. A lot of people didn't do well on the first midterm but people did really well on the other two and most people did well in the course. i definitely recommend the course and Professor Phillips (I also really loved my TA, Albert Fang, and recommend him as well if you can ever get him in a course).

Jun 2012

I took this class to complete the secondary sub genre part of the poll sci major, and it turned out to be my favorite class in college so far! Prof. Phillips is a really nice and easy to talk to guy and knows a lot about the subject material. He is easy to get a hold of when you need help or questions and I preferred reaching out to him instead of the TAs. I was considering switching majors, but because of Phillips I'm going to stay a Poli Sci major. I didn't spend much time on the class overall throughout the semester (while after the midterm I basically stopped reading and went to only have the lectures). Still passed the classes with my highest grade this semester and when it came to the exams, I felt very relaxed about the questions and essays. Overall, Loved the class and loved the professor!!!!

May 2012

This a solid PoliSci class to take, as Phillips had exceptionally well-organized lectures and takes his exams basically straight from them. He doesn't post the slides so you have to go to class to copy the notes down or have a very generous friend who goes for you. Being there doesn't really do much for your understanding of the material unless you don't trust anyone else to take notes for you. Just make sure you can type or write quickly. The paper wasn't bad, standard 10-15 pager on basically anything in the course, though the TAs seemed kind of oblivious, but Phillips was helpful. Overall, great class, not stressful or overly difficult at all, definitely take it.

Dec 2011

Phillips is a good lecturer and he pretty much takes his slides directly from the readings. Most people didn't ever show up for lecture and if you have time to do the readings on your own during the week then you probably don't need to go. Prof. Phillips isn't the most interesting and entertaining lecturer (I've fallen asleep a few times and the 9 AM class time doesn't help much), but he's a nice guy and the tests were always fair. The content of the class consisted of very straight-forward introductory concepts of American government, political systems, institutions, parties, etc. I'm thinking of being a political science major so it was a good fundamental class to get started in the subject. What made this class the most worthwhile for me was my TA--David O'Connell! If you take this class, do everything in your power to get into his section! He is amazing. Overall, good intro class with an easy workload.

Dec 2011

Intro to American Politics is an ideal introductory course. Professor Phillips uses PowerPoint to lecture, which ensures that he is always easy to follow and that his lectures are perfectly structured and clear. Professor Phillips understands that not all of the material in the course is super-interesting, and so he makes sure to incorporate various thought-provoking studies and graphs into his lecture to help jazz things up. One of the best parts of this class is that you will never be confused about what's going to be on your midterm/final. If you listen and take notes during lecture, and skim all of the necessary readings, you should have no problem on any of his exams. Even if you aren't a Political Science major, you should still take this class! A lot of what Professor Phillips teaches about Political Behavior is very interesting and applicable to other areas of study, so this course will probably help you sometime down the line. Word of advice: pay attention during the first two lectures! These are the most important lectures of the course, since the terms you learn then will be brought up again and again throughout the semester.

Apr 2011

I took State Politics with Phillips. Genuine nice guy.... always willing to talk to you. gives very straight forward exams and is a kind grader. His lectures are very dry but only because they are nothing but power points. he knows his stuff. You won't look forward to going to class but I would still say take a class with him. If you pay close attention you will learn. reading is heavy but really not required for exams but can help.

Nov 2009

I took Direct Democracy, one of the American Politics seminars in the Political Science department with Professor Phillips, and it was an amazing class. Professor Phillips really rocks in a seminar setting. He's good at leading the discussion. By that, I mean he gets the discussion going by posing some questions about the reading and building up the discussion based on what the class has gleaned from the reading. However, he's also good at letting the students go back and forth on a point if the discussion gets really interesting. Which it did, since some of the topics we covered included Gay marriage/ Prop 8, The referendum on Gov. Grey Davis and subsequently Arnold.

Jan 2009

Prof. Phillips was pretty good for this broad but necessary introductory course. If you need to take this class, he's your man -- the lectures are clear and very organized, the exams straightforward and pretty easy (getting an A is not too hard). Not everything in the class is thrilling, but Phillips tries to make it more interesting with case studies and contemporary examples. Reading is not too bad, and some of the articles are interesting. You can get away with not doing the textbook reading and skipping lectures every once in a while. All in all, Phillips teaches well and if you do the work/attend class you'll end up with the knowledge you need in order to know what you're talking about in American politics.

May 2008

I'm a huge Phillips fan. The guy knows that some of the subjects he teaches are painstakingly boring--but he truly does make an effort to present entertaining information. State Politics was quite enjoyable, though filled with the run of the mill political science slackers who sit on g-chat the whole class period who will probably go on and on about how boring the class was in future reviews. So, there's a disclaimer: the study of state politics means that you will have to go over federalism extensively. Break out those Federalist Papers and prepare yourself for lots of theoretical readings during the first half of the class. After the midterm, the class really does pick up and becomes quite enjoyable. Phillips puts a lot of thought into the subjects covered: gay marriage, disaster relief, health and welfare, elections, etc. It was a great class in that it helped everybody gain understanding of many contemporary issues--and with all of the federalist theory we'd already covered, everybody could understand the issues on a deeper level. In addition, Phillips really does care about his students. Many would talk with him before and after class, and he is very friendly during his office hours and will offer to help you on anything you can think of. He really is a gem--take advantage of him before he gets famous and doesn't have time. This class is very helpful to understanding American Politics--if you're interested in the interactions between states, definitely take this class!

Apr 2008

I love Professor Phillips! Sure, this class will seem much like your high school civics class, but he really is a nice guy who cares about the material. I think he actually recognizes that the department is sticking him with the Intro class since he's a younger professor, but he always tries to make jokes and keep people awake as we go over the three kinds of grants-in-aid. Professor Phillips is also a real gem when you go to his office hours. He's always willing to help you with the material and even help you with questions from other political science classes. The class is pretty simple, just make sure you cite the heck out of readings in your exams if you want to really do well

Jan 2008

This class was a joke. The tests are not cumulative. You do not have to go to lecture or buy the books. Just get the notes from someone who goes to class and read them the night before the test. Try not to get a TA who is picky and you will surely get an A. Phillips is a genuinely nice guy.

Nov 2006

Great teacher, really clear lectures, nice guy all that. But like the reviewer below said, a gpa killer.

Oct 2006

Watch out. He definitely is a nice and seemingly unassuming guy, but he is a tough grader and so-so teacher. This class was not all it could have been, and from talking to classmates, was a real gpa buster (tons of b-'s). Overall, would not recommend.

Jul 2006

wow, this guy rocks. great lectures, that are beyond cohesive, and a passion for what he teaches that any student interested in politics would be willing to pick up. a true gem when it comes to office hours, and grading. you can't possibly go wrong. I highly recommend.

May 2006

I really enjoyed this class. Professor Phillips' lectures were easy to follow without becoming boring. The material was generally interesting, and the workload wasn't too bad. Take this class if you want a solid overview of state issues, but be willing to focus primarily on New York and California (the home state of the professor).

Jan 2006

Although Professor Phillips is new to Columbia (recently did his dissertation in California) he is very well organized, although sometimes Columbia's computer system breaks down and interrupts his system of power-point teaching. He's very friendly and responds quickly to e-mails, I suspect this is one of the good characteristics he has for just arriving and I hope it's a trait a keeps after long being here. Although some students see the class as a bit dry and over-methodical, he sticks closely to adhering theories to the literature. This class is definitaly taught by the numbers which makes it easy to follow. Professor Phillips is a friendly grader, and really, all you need to do is absorb the main trends in the readings. Actually, a lot of the peripheral readings (literature on cases) didn't seem too pertinent to the exams. All around he's a very fair guy, and is willing to answer questions and doesn't bog you down with tangential information. His professorial freshness makes him attentive if you make yourself known to him, and he lacks the ego and self-righteousness many professors at Columbia have developed after having their asses kissed by students, academia and general society for way too long. The class is a well-balanced. It definitaly treats American politics as a science, and you can learn a lot if you learn to speedread through the readings.

Dec 2005

This class was a bit mind-numbing, and not just because the material was elementary; Prof Phillips read directly from his powerpoint presentation, and his powerpoints often parroted our textbook. It's unclear whether professor phillips would have made a better showing if he had been given the opportunity to teach a class with more substance. All in all, he wasn't a very imaginative lecturer, but he did a good job of managing and organizing the course material. Conceptually and work-wise, this class was a breeze. If you attended lecture, the textbook was obsolete (don't buy it). The weekly readings were interesting but pretty basic, so you'll already know about them if you took AP Gov't in high school or if you consider yourself any sort of good citizen.