Introduction to Mathematics for Political Science

Aug 27, 2018
Fisher 200



Event Description


This course is designed to prepare incoming Politics Ph.D. students for POL 502 (Mathematics for Political Scientists) and other coursework in Formal & Quantitative Methods. It covers the fundamentals of calculus, probability theory, linear algebra, and real analysis.

The course consists of two parts. The summer component be completed by students remotely and will run from June 15 to August 16. Students will read course material, watch video lectures, and complete weekly problem sets on topics in calculus, probability theory, and linear algebra. The core component will take place in Princeton from August 27 to September 7. Class will meet twice daily and students will complete daily problem sets.


The course assumes no background knowledge beyond high school algebra. It is self-contained and designed to serve as an introduction or refresher for the material.

Course Goals

The goal of the course is to introduce students to mathematical tools that they will use to develop and test social scientific theory. Our focus is on building the skills necessary to conduct comparative static analysis and empirically test the comparative statics generated by a theory. This also serves as an introduction to thinking mathematically. We will cover a lot of ground, but the course is meant to expose students to topics that will be revisit in greater depth in POL 502, POL 571, and other courses in Formal and Quantitative Methods.

Course Structure

We will post a problem set every Friday during the summer component. The schedule below will contain links to the assignments and relevant video lectures. We encourage students to post questions about the material in the video lectures and the assignments to the Piazza discussion page. We will do our best to answer them quickly. We also encourage students to discuss problems and course material on the discussion page. Please sign up for the Piazza page if you have not already done so.

The core course will meet weekdays between August 27 and September 10 (Labor Day exempted) with a morning session and an afternoon session each day. The morning session will meet from 10:00am to 11:50am, and the afternoon session will meet from 1:30pm to 3:20pm. We will post a daily problem set at the conclusion of each afternoon session in the schedule section below.

For more information, please visit the Math Camp Page.