The QSS major is for students who want to develop skills in quantitative techniques and apply these techniques to a substantive and coherent area of interest in social science.  The QSS major requires a foundation in mathematics, modeling, programming, and statistics, and it builds on this foundation with applied social science coursework and a culminating experience that involves either an honors thesis that is completed during a student's fourth year at Dartmouth or a one-quarter, independent, faculty-guided research project.  Titles and abstracts of selected QSS honors projects are available here.

A Personalized Approach

QSS is a highly individualized major that culminates in a year-long research project. A student who chooses to major in QSS will be able to draw on courses throughout the college. QSS majors may take many of the same courses and work with the same academic advisors as do students who major in traditional departments, but in QSS each student works under flexible rules and requirements that are designed for students who seek challenges and take initiative.  A student considering a QSS major is advised to set up an introductory meeting with the QSS Chair to discuss the Program and course options.

Please note that the QSS program has recently changed the major requirements to include a core curriculum. The new requirments will be applied to students graduating in 2024 and after. Students who declared a QSS major under the old requirements may choose to switch to the current requirements, or to continue to follow the original requirements which were in place at the time of major declaration. A student opting to switch would need to meet with the Program Chair to discuss their new major Plan.

If you are graduating in 2024 or after please use this PDF iconMajor Worksheet

if you are graduating before 2024 you may use this PDF iconMajor Worksheet


  • Programming: either COSC 1 or ENGS 20, or another programming course approved by the QSS Chair.
  • Mathematics: MATH 3 and MATH 8.
  • Introductory statistics: either ECON 10, GOV 10, MATH 10, QSS 15, PSYC 10, or SOCY 10, or another introductory statistics course approved by the QSS Chair.
  • Intermediate statistics: either ECON 20, GOV 19.01, MATH 40, MATH 50, QSS 54, or another intermediate statistics course approved by the QSS Chair.
  • Mathematical Modeling: either ECON 21, QSS 18, QSS 30.04 or another game theory course approved by the QSS Chair.
  • Introductory social science: one of ANTH 1, ANTH 6, ECON 1, EDUC 1, GEOG 2.01 (GEOG 1), GEOG 8.01 (GEOG 6), GOV 3, GOV 4, GOV 5, GOV 6, PSYC 1, or SOC 1, or another course approved by the QSS Chair.

Core Curriculum

The core curriculum for the major in quantitative social science includes QSS 17 and QSS 20. This requirement will be applied starting with the Class of 2024.

Methods-Oriented Requirements

  • MATH 11, MATH 13, or MATH 22.
  • AND one courses from the following:

COSC 74, Machine Learning and Statistical Data Analysis
GEOG 9.01 (GEOG 50), Geographical Information Systems
GEOG 54, Geovisualization
MATH 50, Introduction to Linear Models
MATH 76, Topics in Applied Mathematics (to be approved by the QSS Chair)
QSS 30, Special Topics in QSS
QSS 36, Mathematical Models in the Social Sciences
QSS 41, Analysis of Social Networks

The special topics course, QSS 30, may be taken more than once as long as different electives are selected.  Moreover, with permission of the QSS Chair students may substitute other courses offered at Dartmouth for any of the two required courses listed above.

Social Science Requirements

Four non-introductory courses that focus on a social science area of the student’s choosing.  A student pursuing the major in QSS should consider the extent to which his or her social science courses are coherent, and the QSS Chair will be available to offer guidance on this.

Research project requirement:

To graduate with a major in QSS, a student must complete an independent research project.  At the end of his or her third year on campus, each QSS major must choose one of two project options: either an intensive, one quarter project or a three quarters honors thesis. The honors thesis option requires approval from the program, and QSS honors theses are governed by guidelines established by the College. Per these guidelines, a student completing a thesis judged to be of sufficiently high quality will graduate from Dartmouth with Honors, or with High Honors in QSS.

A QSS major who elects the intensive project track will work on his or her project during the winter term of the student's fourth year on campus. Any exceptions to this rule must be approved by the QSS Director of Undergraduate Research (DUR) and the QSS Chair. Participating in the thesis track requires work and engagement during the fall, winter, and spring terms of a student’s fourth year. Students applying to write an honors thesis in QSS should have at time of application an overall grade point average of 3.5 or higher.

In limited and extraordinary circumstances, a student pursuing a major in QSS will be permitted to change tracks after the start of his or her fourth year. The QSS Chair and DUR are responsible for assessing and, if necessary approving, any such proposed moves.

A student completing an intensive, one quarter research project will take QSS 82 in the winter of the student’s last year on campus.  A student in the honors thesis track of the QSS major will take QSS 81 in the winter.

For further details on application and timing for the two research project tracks, consult the QSS Chair