To successfully complete the Master of Arts Degree in Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences (QMSS) at Columbia University, students must:

  • Receive a passing grade in the five required QMSS courses:
  1. QMSS GR5010 Quantitative Theory and Methodology QMSS
  2. GR5015 Data Analysis for the Social Sciences (or Focus equivalent)
  3. QMSS GR5021 Research Seminar I
  4. QMSS GR5022 Research Seminar II
  5. QMSS GR5999 Master's Thesis C
  • Complete at least 4 approved electives
  • Complete a minimum of 30 graduate course credits Maintain a 3.0 or above average GPA.
  • Complete payment for the equivalence of two full Residence Units.
  • Apply to graduate by the deadline for the appropriate semester
  • Four or five electives in order to graduate. Two of these elective courses must be in statistics or research methods. Please see our Courses page for required core courses and elective options

Core Requirements (All Focuses)

The Flexible Focus is the traditional choice for QMSS students to go through the program. Within this focus, students have the most range of choice over courses, and this focus is designed for students to gain a diverse, interdisciplinary social science degree that focuses on quantitative research techniques and strategies. This focus will help students integrate the perspectives and research methods of many social science disciplines, and provide students with rigorous training in quantitative research, with an emphasis on written and oral communication about research methods and findings. These skills prepare QMSS graduates to enter (or further) an analytical or research career or to continue their education in a Ph.D. program. See course planning materials HERE.

Flexible Focus

The Flexible Focus is the traditional choice for QMSS students to go through the program. Within this focus, students have the most range of choice over courses, and this focus is designed for students to gain a diverse, interdisciplinary social science degree that focuses on quantitative research techniques and strategies. This focus will help students integrate the perspectives and research methods of many social science disciplines, and provide students with rigorous training in quantitative research, with an emphasis on written and oral communication about research methods and findings. These skills prepare QMSS graduates to enter (or further) an analytical or research career or to continue their education in a Ph.D. program. See course planning materials HERE.

Data Science Focus

The emerging field of data science has the potential to revolutionize the social sciences as the analysis of "Big Data" using machine learning plays an ever-expanding role in the exploration of the economic, political, and social world. Over the past several years, QMSS has built out a very robust and dynamic curriculum in data science, teaching highly sought-after courses on "Data Mining for Social Science," "Applied Data Science," "Modern Data Structures," "Natural Language Processing for the Social Sciences," "Data Visualization," "Machine Learning for the Social Sciences," and a "Practicum in Large-Scale Data Analysis." These courses are taught in either R or Python, or more frequently, both. A great many of recent QMSS alumni are working as data scientists and they most commonly went through the Data Science Focus. QMSS has a very close working relationship with Columbia's Data Science Institute (DSI) as well. We have developed a number of strategic partnerships and valuable learning opportunities, and being part of the Data Science Focus will certainly help students stay abreast of the latest initiatives and events in this space. More information about that focus and a complete course plan can be found here. See course planning materials HERE.

Economics Focus

For a number of years now, QMSS has been offering a focus that provides students interested in the discipline of Economics with a framework for a comprehensive and rigorous Master's-level course of study. The Economics Focus is integrated with Columbia's world-class Department of Economics. QMSS students focusing on Economics now have a tremendous opportunity to tailor their economics educational experiences to ensure the best fit with their backgrounds, abilities, interests, and goals. See course planning materials HERE.

Experiments Focus

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 Focus. The focus, 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 focus 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. See course planning materials HERE.

 

Center for Public Research and Leadership (CPRL) Module

QMSS students interested in education and/or consulting have the opportunity to apply to the Center for Public Research and Leadership (CPRL) at Columbia University and spend a semester in their interdisciplinary program, while still getting credit towards their MA degree. CPRL's intensive interdisciplinary program in public education policy combines a research and consulting project, an academic seminar on structural change in public education, professional skills development, and networking and job opportunities. CPRL student projects serve school districts, education departments, non-profits and foundations driving transformational change in public education and improved outcomes for all children. More details about this program can be found here. Students can apply for either the Fall or the Spring semesters. Open Houses about the program are held each semester and students are given ample time to develop their applications. For more info on this opportunity, admitted students should reach out to Assistant Director Elena Krumova at <qmss@columbia.edu>.