QMSA Program Requirements


QMSA Required Courses
QMSA Elective Methods Courses
QMSA Courses Selection Procedure

1. Summer Math Camp and Placement Exam

QMSA students are required to attend an intensive math camp – MACS 33000: Computational Math and Statistics – for a review of linear algebra, differential/integral calculus, and probability/statistical theory that constitute the mathematical foundations of quantitative research methods. QMSA students must take a math/statistics placement exam on the first day of the orientation week. The result of this exam and a student’s prior coursework will jointly determine the sequence of courses that the student will take to meet the curricular requirement in statistical theory.

Exceptions are made to QMSA students who receive special permission to attend the math camp designed for MAPSS students in the Economics concentration. This math camp requires prior exposure to real analysis, econometrics, advanced statistics/probability, linear algebra, and multi variable calculus. Interested QMSA students should contact Chad Cyrenne if they believe they may be qualified.

2. Course Sequence in Statistical Theory

A sequence of two courses in statistical theory is required for all students in the QMSA concentration. To fulfill this requirement, every QMSA student is advised by the faculty mentor or the Senior Instructional Professor to choose one of the following three series according to his or her preparation.

Beginning Series. Students who have not taken probability and statistical theory in their prior coursework or need to further develop a good command of the mathematical foundations of statistical theory will take SOSC 26006/36006: Foundations for Statistical Theory in the Fall Quarter and STAT 24400: Statistical Theory and Methods I in the Winter Quarter.

Intermediate Series. Other QMSA students will instead take STAT 24400: Statistical Theory and Methods I in the Fall Quarter and STAT 24500: Statistical Theory and Methods II in the Winter Quarter to meet this curricular requirement.

Advanced Series. In consultation with one’s faculty mentor or the Senior Instructional Professor, a QMSA student with a particularly strong background in mathematics and statistics may alternatively take BUSN 41901: Probability and Statistics and BUSN 41902: Inference in Econometrics and Statistics in a sequence to satisfy the course requirement in statistical theory. This sequence of Ph.D.-level courses provides a thorough introduction to Classical and Bayesian statistical theory. The two-quarter sequence provides the necessary probability and statistical background for many of the advanced courses in the Chicago Booth curriculum. Click Appendix A for the course descriptions.

3. A Sequence of Overview Courses in the Social Sciences and in Quantitative Methods

QMSA students must take MAPS 30000: Perspectives in Social Science Analysis in the Fall Quarter and SOSC 26007/36007: Overview of Quantitative Methods in the Social and Behavioral Sciences in the Winter Quarter. The former provides an overview of major theoretical perspectives that have influenced multiple disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences and serves as a foundation for the elective courses in a social science field that a student may choose in developing a thesis project. The latter offers an overview of a wide range of quantitative methods, reveals their common logic and inherent connections, and provides a gateway to the numerous offerings of advanced quantitative methods courses. Appendix A contains the course descriptions.

4. Elective Courses in Advanced Quantitative Methods

In consultation with their faculty mentors and the Senior Instructional Professor, QMSA students select two advanced methods courses from a wide range of courses listed in Appendix B. To meet this requirement, such courses must not be at the introductory level or exclusively about learning a software package. They must not be only incidentally about quantitative methods or are applications of quantitative methods learned in other courses. Students who intend to petition for a course not on the current QMSA course list must follow the procedure specified in Appendix C.

5. Elective Courses in the Social and Behavioral Sciences

In consultation with their faculty mentors and the Preceptor, students select up to 3 electives in a social science field that equip them with theoretical understanding and empirical knowledge needed for developing a Master’s thesis project. Eligible courses must introduce students to the literature surrounding a significant research problem, and they must have a writing component.

6. Academic Performance

A minimal “B” average is required to earn the M.A. degree in QMSA concentration. QMSA students who take “SOSC 36006: Foundations for Statistical Theory” in the Fall must obtain at least a “B+” to ensure that they will succeed in “STAT 24400: Statistical Theory and Methods I.” Up to two elective courses may be taken pass/fail.

7. Master’s Thesis

Under the supervision of a faculty mentor, the Senior Instructional Professor, and the Preceptor, every QMSA student is required to complete a research article by the end of the academic year that demonstrates the student’s ability to conduct and present rigorous investigations of a significant research question.

All QMSA students complete an article-length MA thesis, normally on the order of 30 to 40 double-spaced pages. Students are expected to develop an interesting question, to show a close engagement with the recent literatures in Social, Behavioral and Health Sciences, to lay out appropriate quantitative research design, measurement, and analytical strategies, to draw out and analyze their findings, to carefully scrutinize key assumptions, to discuss results and implications in the context of the problem, and to leave the reader with a clear contribution for further research.

8. Quantitative Methods Workshop

QMSA students must register for SOSC 47900 and attend the biweekly Workshop on Quantitative Methods that meets every other Friday from 10:30-noon. The Workshop invites leading methodologists to present their work and offers an ideal venue for students to get up to speed with the latest developments in quantitative research. In addition, QMSA students are required to attend a pre-workshop session designed to provide scaffolding and prepare them for active participation in the intellectual discourse around the topic of each workshop.