One of the most important recent innovations at QMSS has involved the creation and enhancement of subject-specific concentrations. Please note that declaring a concentration is not mandatory for QMSS students. Although most students choose to pursue the traditional track of the program, which offers the most flexibility for course selection, increasing interest in specific areas has lead QMSS to develop the Research Analytics, Economics, Data Science and Experiments Foci, which provide structured plans of study in specific areas of interest. These concentrations are designed to enhance the program's relevance, efficacy, and overall value to its students.
Research Analytics Focus
Research Analytics Focus is an innovative, flexible, interdisciplinary social science degree that focuses on quantitative research techniques and strategies. It integrates the perspectives and research methods of eight social science disciplines spanning many disciplines and provides students with rigorous training in quantitative research, with an emphasis on written and oral communication about research techniques and findings. These skills prepare QMSS graduates to enter (or further) an analytical or research career or to continue their education in a PhD program.
In fall 2012, QMSS began offering a concentration that provides students interested in the discipline of Economics with a framework for a comprehensive and rigorous Master's-level course of study. Since its launch, we have significantly improved the Economics Concentration to better suit student interests and qualifications through enhanced integration with Columbia's world-class Department of Economics. QMSS students concentrating in Economics now have tremendous flexibility to tailor their educational experiences to ensure the best fit with their backgrounds, abilities, interests, and goals. More information can be found here.
Data Science Focus
The emerging field of data science has the potential to revolutionize the social sciences as the analysis of "Big Data" plays an ever-expanding role in the exploration of the economic, political, and social world. In conjunction with Columbia's new Institute for Data Science and Engineering (IDSE), QMSS launched in Fall 2013 a Data Science Concentration exclusively for its students, making the program one of the first in the world to offer formal Master's-level data science training for social scientists. Students in the concentration enroll in a set of cutting-edge courses, including algorithms for data science, machine learning, and exploratory data analysis and visualization, that are part of Columbia's Data Science initiative, spearheaded by IDSE. Since the Data Science Institute controls acceptances, interested students may refer the Master's of Science in Data Science eligibility requirements to evaluate their own aptitude. More information about the concentration and a complete course plan can be found here.
Experimental methods are fundamentally reshaping the social sciences. For students who are interested in harnessing the power of lab and field experiments to understand causal processes, QMSS now offers an Experiments Concentration. The concentration, drawing on multiple experiments-oriented initiatives across campus, provides courses that train students in the complexities of causal inference and in the design, implementation, and analysis of experiments. This concentration is especially suited to students interested in learning how to implement state of the art policy evaluations or in learning how to set up experiments to understand causal processes underlying patterns of political, social, and economic development. More information can be found here. NOTE: Students who enroll in this focus ARE NOT GUARANTEED TO GRADUATE IN TWO SEMESTERS. Due to the nature of the projects involved, it may require a third semester in the program.