He is the Marshall D. Shulman Professor Emeritus in the Department of Political Science at Columbia University. From 1986 to 1992 Legvold was Director of Columbia's Harriman Institute for Advanced Study of the Soviet Union. He was Associate Director 1984-1986, a role he had assumed as early as 1977/78 as Acting Associate Director while on leave from Tufts University. At Tufts, Legvold had been teaching Political Science as Assistant Professor (1967-70) and Associate Professor (1970-77).
For six years, Legvold served as Senior Fellow and Director of the Soviet Studies Project at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.
From 2009-2012, Legvold was director of the “Euro-Atlantic Security Initiative” sponsored by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and co-chaired by Sam Nunn, Wolfgang Ischinger, and Igor Ivanov.