Quantitative Reasoning

Last updated: September 2, 2020 at 1:54 PM


The quantitative reasoning requirement has been established to develop students' abilities to collect, summarize and analyze numerical data; to make abstract concepts operational; and to think critically about the accuracy and soundness of conclusions based on data or on mathematical models. Quantitative reasoning courses usually embed methodological training in their subject matter. These courses vary widely in the skills that are emphasized, but they usually include one or more of the following:

  1. Learning to read, construct, interpret and evaluate tables, graphs and charts.
  2. Developing quantitative measures of physical, behavioral or social phenomena.
  3. Using mathematical models to express causal relationships and to explore the implications of changed assumptions or proposed solutions to problems in the physical or social world.
  4. Collecting and organizing numerical data from archives, surveys, lab experiments or other sources.
  5. Testing hypotheses using experimental or statistical controls.
  6. Assessing the limitations of research, such as the reliability and validity of measures, adequacy of experimental design, sample size and quality and alternative hypotheses and interpretations.

Students must satisfactorily complete one quantitative reasoning course. Courses that satisfy the requirement in a particular semester are designated "qr" in the Schedule of Classes for that semester. Some courses satisfy the quantitative reasoning requirement only when they are taken with the corresponding lab. A list of quantitative reasoning courses is available in the Courses of Instruction.