Review of Mathematics

for Social Scientists


CS&SS 505



Class meetings
Day and Time

Tuesday      12:30pm-1:20pm


Savery 149


Mark S. Handcock, C14B Padelford Hall, 221-6930

Office Hours



11:30am - 12:30pm

 C14B Padelford Hall

Other times by arrangement. Clearly composed questions

sent to the handcock@u will receive written replies


Some class sessions may be held in Social Science Computation and Research (CSSCR).

Teaching Assistants

Joseph "JJ" Wawrzaszek Jr, Esq.    Ph:  616-7430      

Office hours:

Thursday 12:30–1:20pm

B-101 Padelford  Hall

Objectives of the Course

This course will review the basic mathematical skills that are a prerequisite for a meaningful understanding of elementary statistics, data analysis, and social science methodology. The primary purpose of this course is remind graduate students in the social sciences about a set of core knowledge in mathematics and  statistics. It is meant to prepare first or second year graduate students for courses in quantitative methods. Course content includes a discussion of mathematical notation, basic set theory, the algebra of numbers, the notion of a function, and the study of important functions. This will be followed by a discussion of limits and continuity, differential and integral calculus, and a review of matrix algebra. The final lectures will review some basic probabilistic and statistical concepts.

This course is meant as a review/refresher/reinforcer for those who previously have been exposed to this material, and is not meant to be an introductory course in any of these topics. It is expected that students without previous exposure to these ideas will take classes from the Department of Mathematics rather than use this class as the first expose to the material.

Overall, this course should enhance the learning of students in their quantitative courses by providing them with a recent exposure to the baseline level of  mathematical knowledge required in quantitative courses in the social sciences, and courses in the Department of Statistics and the CSSS in particular. By ensuring students taking subsequent quantitative classes have a core set of skills the later classes can focus at a more sophisticated conceptual level.

This course is part of the curriculum of the new Center for Statistics and the Social Sciences (CSSS), with funding from the University Initiatives Fund. The CSSS is includes faculty members from the Department of Statistics and a broad-range of social science disciplines including Anthropology, Economics, Geography, Political Science, and Sociology. This curriculum is been developed to complement and strengthen the quantitative methods course offerings for social science students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Structure of the Course

There will be a once per week integrated lecture on three areas: mathematics, probability and statistics. About two-thirds of the course will be on mathematics.

Course Requirements and Grades

There will be weekly homeworks and exercises relating to computing and programming. Students will be graded on a scale of 1 to 10 for each homework.

Discussion of homework problems is encouraged. However, each student is required to prepare and submit solutions (including computer work) to the assignments and project on their own; solutions prepared “in committee” are not acceptable. Duplication of homework solutions and computer output prepared in whole or in part by someone else is not acceptable and is considered plagiarism.  If you receive assistance from anyone, you must give due credit in your report.  (Example: “Since the data are all positive, and skewed to the right, a logarithmic transformation is clearly appropriate as a next step.  I thank David Cox for pointing this out to me.”)

I welcome comments or suggestions about the course at any time, either in person, by letter, or by anonymous email. Please feel free to use these ways make comments to me about any aspect of the course.

Use the menu on the top-left of this page to find out more about the course.


If you have a disability that requires special testing accommodations or other classroom modifications you need to notify the instructor and the Office of Disabled Student Services as soon as possible. You may contact the DSS office at 543-8925.

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