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Curriculum

QMSS students will leave the university with a toolbox of research skills and a portfolio of work that will help them land internships and successfully navigate the job market. Our courses, academic programming and support provide opportunities to master designing and conducting studies, analyzing and reporting on data, and working with a range of software applications.


As a program and minor, QMSS is designed to supplement and complement the analytical training offered in the LSA social sciences majors.  The minor has no prerequisite courses and consists of 17 academic credits, 11 offered within QMSS and 6 from the social sciences. QMSS courses and their recommended sequencing include: 

 

QMSS 201 - Intro to Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences

This course addresses “What is Quantitative Social Science?” by introducing substantive problems that can be solved with data. The pedagogy includes training in descriptive statistics, data collection, data management, and data cleaning. It provides an overview of research design (e.g., experiments, surveys), data-gathering (e.g. large databases), and hands-on experience using data to ask and answer research questions, and educates students about ethical issues around data, data analysis, and reporting. The laboratory component takes questions introduced in lecture and shows how to work with them using data. The hands-on course components include instruction in data cleaning, basic data organization and usage skills, and data analysis techniques. The focus is on learning how to apply the appropriate technique to answer real-world questions. Students are encouraged to ask for extra support and tutoring at any stage in the process. QMSS 201 is typically taken in the fall of the sophomore year.  Click here for QMSS 201 in the LSA Course Guide.

 

QMSS 301 - Quantitative Social Science Analysis and Big Data

Social science research is essential because it provides evidence-based answers to questions that face our nation and society every day. The social sciences study topics as varied and fundamental to our daily lives as family relationships and education to political participation and criminal justice. The data and approaches available for this essential work have evolved and expanded over the past decade due to the increased use of electronic procedures and products. Because of water-shed technological developments like the Internet, online communities, bar code records, GPS tracking, and smart phones there has been an explosion of social and behavioral data capturing every aspect of our daily activities. This proliferation of data has coupled with a rise in the number and accessibility of computational analytic tools to create new possibilities for understanding society, social relationships, and social behavior. Analytic procedures have emerged where researchers can empirically study human behavior by applying computational methods, algorithms, and models on “big social data”. This course will cover methodological approaches to answering social questions that combine theory and skills from social science, social research methodology, statistics and computer science. Topics will span the development of relevant social questions and strategies through identification, capture, management and analysis of today's complex data sources that can inform those questions. QMSS 301 has an enforced prerequisite of QMSS 201 and is typically taken in the winter of the sophomore year. Click here for QMSS 301 in the LSA Course Guide.

 

Electives

As an interdisciplinary major focused on the social sciences, in addition to the required courses, the minor includes 6 elective credits of social science courses with significant instruction in quantitative methods, quantitative reasoning, experiment design, and data analysis.  It is expected that one of these courses will be within the student’s major, and the course credits can be counted both towards their major and the QMSS minor. The second elective should normally come from another social science discipline, reinforcing the interdisciplinary intent of the minor.  A list of courses that will have automatic approval as electives for the QMSS minor appears below. The program assumes that there will be new courses developed and topics courses regularly offered in LSA social science departments as well as interdisciplinary programs on campus that will meet these requirements. QMSS program advisors will review and approve these courses by student request. QMSS program advisors will also evaluate and approve courses submitted for transfer credit and study abroad credit that meet these requirements as electives.  Electives are typically taken in the junior year. 

LIST OF AUTOMATICALLY APPROVED ELECTIVE COURSES, BY SOCIAL SCIENCE DEPARTMENT

Anthropology
- ANTHRBIO 463 / PSYCH 463 / ENVIRON 473: Statistical modeling and data visualization in R

Communication and Media
- COMM 221: Quantitative Skills for Communication Studies (4)

Complex Systems
- CMPLXSYS 251 / SOC 251: Computational Social Sciences (4)

Economics
- ECON 251: Introduction to Statistics and Econometrics II (4)
- ECON 258: Topics in Applied Data Analysis (3)
- ECON 259: Excel in Economics and Business Analytics (3)
- ECON 309: Experimental Economics (3)
- ECON 327: Economics of Crime (3)
- ECON 401: Intermediate Microeconomic Theory (4)
- ECON 402: Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory (4)
- ECON 451: Intermediate Introduction to Statistics and Econometrics (4)

Linguistics
- LING 394: Topics in Linguistics, section titled "Speech Errors" (3)
- LING 412: Speech Perception (3)

Organizational Studies
- ORGSTUDY 410: Advanced Research Methods in Organizational Studies (4)

Political Science
- POLSCI 300: Quantitative Empirical Methods of Political Science (4)
- POLSCI 387: Comparative Analysis of Government Institutions (3)
- POLSCI 485: Elections Forensic (3)
- POLSCI 489: Advance Topics in Contemporary Political Science section titled, "Computational Political Science" (3)

Psychology
- PSYCH 302: Research Methods in Cognitive Neuroscience (3)
- PSYCH 303: Research Methods in Psychology (3)
- PSYCH 341: Advanced Laboratory in Cognitive Psychology (3)
- PSYCH 351: Advanced Laboratory in Developmental Psychology (3)
- PSYCH 381: Advanced Laboratory in Social Psychology (3)
- PSYCH 463: Statistical Modeling and Data Visualization in R (4)
- PSYCH 448: Mathematical Psychology (3)

Sociology
- SOC 210: Elementary Statistics (4)
- SOC 251 / CMPLXSYS 251: Computational Social Sciences (4)
- SOC 310: Sociological Research Methods (4)
- SOC 331: The Politics of Data (3)
- SOC 430: World Population Dynamics (3)
- SOC 472: Advanced Laboratory in Social Psychology (3)

NOTE: Additional courses may be used to fulfill minor elective requirements with advisor approval.

 

QMSS 451 - Senior Captsone: Social Sciences Study Management

In this course, students will learn to manage projects through the four quarters of the QMSS quadrant: Question, Method, Study, Solution. In this capstone experience, students work as teams on projects addressing social science questions using both consultant and analyst roles. The course includes feedback and support through weekly project management training sessions. QMSS 451 has enforced prerequisites of QMSS 201 and QMSS 301. This course is intended for seniors and requires that the student has declared the QMSS minor. Click here for QMSS 451 in the LSA Course Guide