The QSS minor provides students with skills aimed at data analysis in the social sciences. The minor is grounded in computing and quantitative analytical techniques, and it empowers students to answer important empirical questions about the world.

Core Skills

The QSS minor is based on the notion that quantitatively- and computationally-oriented students interested in social science should be taught a core set of skills. Such students need to:

  • know the basics of computer programming;
  • have a foundation in calculus;
  • know the basics of statistical inference;
  • have exposure to mathematical modeling;
  • be familiar with research design;
  • have hands-on exposure to the difficulties and rewards of research.

QSS is the only program on campus that ties all of these subjects together. We welcome both social science students seeking additional technical training, and science and engineering students seeking exposure to social science techniques.

You may wish to take QSS courses earlier in your Dartmouth career as they will facilitate your ability to comprehend and engage in research.


The QSS minor has five prerequisites.

  • Programming: Computer Science 1, Introduction to Programming and Computation; or Engineering 20, Introduction to Scientific Computing.
  • Intermediate Calculus: Mathematics 8, Calculus of Functions of one and several variables.
  • Mathematical modeling: either Economics 21, Microeconomics; Government 18, Introduction to Game Theory; Mathematics 36, Mathematical Models in the Social Science; or QSS 30.04, Evolutionary Game Theory (or another course approved by the QSS Chair).
  • Introductory statistics: either Economics 10, Introduction to Statistical Methods; Environmental Studies 10; Government 10, Quantitative Political Analysis; Mathematics 10, Introductory Statistics; QSS 15, Introduction to Data Analysis; Psychology and Brain Sciences 10, Experimental Design, Methodology, and Data Analysis Procedures; or Sociology 10, Quantitative Analysis of Social Data.
  • Intermediate statistics: either Economics 20, Econometrics; Government 19.01, Advanced Political Analysis; Mathematics 40, Probability and Statistical Inference; Mathematics 50, Introduction to Linear Models; or QSS 45, Data Analysis.

When you plan your course schedule, be aware that some of the prerequisites have their own prerequisites. Note as well that prerequisites can be double-counted across degree programs. For example, all majors in Economics, Government, and Sociology must take a “10”-level statistics course. Such a course will satisfy the “Introductory Statistics” prerequisite listed above.

Other Requirements

Beyond the prerequisites listed above, the QSS minor requires four courses.

  • Three of the following:
    • Computer Science 74, Machine Learning and Statistical Data Analysis
    • Geography 50, Introduction to Geographical Information Systems
    • Geography 54, Geovisualization
    • Government 83.21/QSS 30.03, Experiments in Politics
    • MATH 70, Elements of Multivariate Statistics and Statistical Learning
    • QSS 17, Data Visualization
    • QSS 30, Elective course, various topics
    • QSS 41, Analysis of Social Networks


  • QSS 80, Research Seminar

To earn a minor in QSS, you will need to complete an independent research project (QSS 80) and write a final paper. You are encouraged to conduct your project after you have completed your other minor requirements (or concurrently with the QSS chair’s permission).  For detailed information on planning a QSS 80 independent research project, please consult the Guidelines for Minor Projects.

Because the QSS minor strives to provide students with a foundation in research techniques, you may substitute other Dartmouth courses for any of the required courses above (except for QSS 80).

Download the course planning form.