Quantitative Reasoning

Academic Program Introduction

The Quantitative Reasoning Program oversees the quantitative reasoning and data literacy requirement. We do not offer a major or minor.

Through the program, students develop mathematical, logical, and statistical problem-solving tools. Most academic fields, many professions, and a lot of ordinary, everyday tasks draw upon quantitative reasoning. In data literacy classes, students practice statistical analysis and data interpretation within a specific discipline.

Learning goals

  • Use logic, mathematics, and statistics to make decisions as students, consumers, and citizens.

  • Construct questions that can be answered with data, and choose appropriate methods for collecting and analyzing relevant data to address these questions.


  • Celebrating QR Connections series

    Sponsored by Ellen Genat Hoffman ’68 and Stephen G. Hoffman, the monthlong series recognizes the connection between quantitative reasoning and various disciplines with three to five events, such as lectures, panels, debates, and hands-on workshops.

Course Highlights

  • This course is intended to provide students with the skills necessary to digest, critique, and express every-day statistics and to use statistical thinking to answer questions in their own lives. Students will be exposed to and produce descriptive statistics, including measures of central tendency & spread, as well as common visual representations of data. The bulk of the class will be devoted to giving students the tools needed to analyze and critique statistical claims, including an understanding of the dangers of confounding variables and bias, the advantages and limitations of various study designs and statistical inference, and how to carefully read and parse claims which attempt to use numbers to sway their audience. The class will examine this material in authentic contexts such as political polling, medical decision making, online dating, and personal finance. This course is primarily aimed at students whose majors do not require mathematics or statistics. (QR 150 and STAT 150 are cross-listed courses.)
  • In this course, students develop and apply mathematical, logical, and statistical skills to solve problems in authentic contexts. The quantitative skills emphasized include algebra, geometry, probability, statistics, estimation, and mathematical modeling. Throughout the course, these skills are used to solve real world problems, from personal finance to medical decision-making. A student passing this course satisfies the Quantitative Reasoning (QR) component of the Quantitative Reasoning & Data Literacy requirement. This course is required for students who do not satisfy the QR component of the QR & DL requirement via the Quantitative Reasoning Assessment. Those who satisfy the QR Assessment, but still want to enroll in this course must receive permission of instructor.

Quantitative Reasoning Program

Clapp Library
106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481
Calvin Cochran
Program Director