Quantitative Reasoning with Data

The Quantitative Reasoning with Data (QRD) requirement introduces students to mathematical, statistical, and computational methods that will enable students to think critically about data as it is employed in fields of inquiry across the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

QRD courses meet the following criteria:

  • Students should learn computational, mathematical, and statistical methods for analyzing data, drawing inferences, and making predictions to answer questions.
  • Students should learn how to apply these methods to real data.
  • Students should understand the limitations of these methods (for example, the role of approximating assumptions, overfitting, causal ambiguity). 

Starting in Fall 2019, students must fulfill the QRD requirement by completing a course approved for QRD.  Students can consult the list of courses approved for QRD.  QRD Courses offered this academic year can be found in the my.harvard course search. 

    The following 2020-21 QRD courses do not have prerequisites:

    • ASTRON 2 - Celestial Navigation
    • COMPSCI 50 - Introduction to Computer Science
    • ECON 20 - Introduction to Data Analysis
    • ECON 50 - Using Big Data to Solve Economic and Social Problems
    • GOV 1010 - Survey Research Methods
    • GOV 50 - Data
    • GOV 51 - Data Analysis and Politics
    • LING 105 - Sounds of Language
    • MATH 1A - Introduction to Calculus
    • MATH MA - Introduction to Functions and Calculus I
    • STAT 102 - Introduction to Statistics for Life Sciences
    • STAT 104 - Introduction to Quantitative Methods for Economics

    Students in the classes of 2021, 2022, and earlier must fulfill the QRD requirement by completing either one course that fulfilled the Empirical and Mathematical Reasoning requirement (to include courses in the departments of Applied Mathematics, Mathematics, Computer Science and Statistics) or one course in Quantitative Reasoning with Data. Returning students can consult a list of courses previously approved for Empirical and Mathematical Reasoning.

    A course used to fulfill the QRD requirement may be taken pass/fail, with the permission of the instructor.  However, when the same course is being used to fulfill a concentration or secondary field requirement, there may be limitations on the pass/fail options.  Students should consult with their advisers before choosing this option.

    A course taken to fulfill the QRD requirement cannot be counted towards the College's Divisional Distribution requirement.

    There are no constraints regarding the timing of this requirement, as long as it is completed by graduation.

    Please consult the Harvard College Handbook for students for more information on requirements for the Harvard College degrees.  Questions about the QRD requirement may be sent to qrd@fas.harvard.edu.