Quantitative Analysis and Empirical Methods

This MPP core course introduces students to a range of analytic tools commonly used to inform public policy issues. Key content falls in the areas of descriptive statistics, probability theory, decision analysis, statistical inference, and qualitative approaches, with an emphasis on the ways in which they are applied to practical policy questions. The course also provides students with an introduction to the statistical programming language R, a powerful tool to analyze quantitative data.

Teaching team


Sharad Goel [ email ] [ Section C ]

Charles Taylor [ email ] [ Section D ]

Teaching Fellows

Michelle Li [ email ]

Course Assistants

Manvika Gupta [ email ]
Madeline Shiley [ email ]
Luke Shields [ email ]
Huw Spencer [ email ]

Schedule [ Section C ]

Lectures: Tuesdays and Thursdays @ 1:30 PM - 2:45 PM in Rubenstein 306 Review sessions: Tuesdays @ 4:30 - 5:45 in Starr Aud (Belfer 200)

On-time attendance at lectures is required. Our aim is to create a collaborative and supportive learning environment. One of the best ways to learn the course material is to engage with the lectures by asking questions. If you are unable to attend class on a given day, please submit an excused absence request via the link on the Canvas page.

Attendance at the review sessions is highly encouraged, and you should plan to attend the sessions each week. These sessions are critical to understanding the week’s material and being able to complete the week’s problem set.


It is our intent that all students, regardless of their backgrounds or perspectives, be well served by this course, that students’ learning needs be addressed both in and out of class, and that the diversity that students bring to this class be viewed as a resource, strength, and benefit. We aim to present materials and conduct activities in ways that are respectful of this diversity. Your suggestions are encouraged and appreciated.


Our main goal in this course is to help you learn concepts, develop skills, and ultimately change the way you think about the world. To achieve this, we expect you to exhibit the highest professional and ethical standards for every activity you undertake in the course.

The class grade will be based on the following criteria:

[ Tentative ] Syllabus