QAI Summer Course

Summer 2022 at the QAI - Application now open!

For this first time this year, the QAI is offering two separate summer experiences.
  • The QAI Summer Program is the same program offered in previous years, intended for students who have completed introductory statistics. This program requires approximately 10 hours/week.
  • The QAI Project and Competition Track is new and designed for students who have previously completed the QAI Summer Program, STAT 260, or STAT 318. This program requires approximately 5 hours/week.
Please carefully read all of the information below. Only after reading all of the content, you can apply via the links at the bottom of this page.
About the QAI Summer Program: The QAI Summer Program is a free, non-credit, second-level applied statistics and data science course. The program was originally designed for students participating in summer research and is now open to all Wellesley students who have taken introductory statistics. The program's goal is to introduce advanced data skills while supporting students in their current and future research projects. Topics include statistics fundamentals, such as study design, statistical inference, and tools for handling common complications like missing data or multiple comparisons; practical data handling skills, including data cleaning and the use of complex data sets; and data communication, such as best practices for visualization. All students will become proficient in the statistical software R, and training in other skills such as webscraping, mapping, SQL, and github will be available as well. The course is also intended to bring together students from a variety of disciplines whose work involves data. 
The program is a non-credit version of QR/STAT 260. Students who complete the program earned QAI Certificates. Students who earn certificates can move on to courses that require QR/STAT 260 as a prerequisite, meet the modeling requirement for the statistics minor or data science major, and apply for QAI Internships.
About the QAI Project and Competition Track: This new track is designed to enhance the skills of advanced students. It is free and non-credit. Each student will be focused on one project throughout the summer, such as a data competition (like those at or building a model based on a complex data set in their field of interest, as part of a team if desired. Students will work toward a series of structured milestones, such as creating compelling visualizations, handling missing data, refining and checking models, and creating a final presentation as part of an online gallery. The summer will be goal-oriented, as students will submit their work to competitions or conferences, as appropriate.
This track might be appropriate for
  • a summer research student who has already completed the QAI Summer Program or QR/STAT 260 or STAT 318;
  • a graduating senior looking for a way to build and showcase their data skills;
  • a student hoping to gain experience applying data skills to a particular field;
  • a data science major looking to make progress on a capstone project;
  • a student with a full-time internship who wants to stay connected to Wellesley's data community with a manageable time commitment;
  • a student who did not get a chance to complete a project in a previous statistics course, perhaps because the QAI Summer Program doesn't require a project or because STAT 260 did not require a project under the term system;
  • or anyone else!

Because this is a new track, we will refine the plans once we see how many students are participating and find out more about their goals.

Logistics: Both summer experiences will run for 9 weeks, from Tuesday, May 31 through Friday, July 29. Both experiences are fully remote, though some on-campus office hours may be available. Both experiences are largely asynchronous - there is no single time when all participants must be available.
  • QAI Summer Program: Students completing the QAI Summer Program report that they spend an average of 10 hours/week, with a range of 8 hours to 15 hours. Lectures are delivered via asynchronous, recorded videos. Each student will be assigned to two 90-min labs at two different weekly times. We do our best to coordinate lab times to accommodate students' schedules and time zones. There will be labs scheduled at a variety of times, including weekdays and weekends, mornings, afternoons, and evenings. Between labs, students complete online modules, work on quizzes and problem sets, and join optional office hours. 
  • QAI Project and Competition Track: We anticipate that students in this track will spend approximately 5 hours/week. Students will meet with peers and the teaching staff in small groups once or twice per week. Outside of these meetings, students will work on a project independently, aiming to meeting specific milestones throughout the summer.
  • All students will need access to the internet and a computer (an iPad or Chromebook is not sufficient). Please let us know on your application if accessing this technology is an obstacle.

Balancing with Other Commitments: 

  • QAI Summer Program: Students who are participating in the summer research program or any other internship or job, at Wellesley or beyond, should include their advisor or supervisor’s email address in the application. Please discuss the QAI program with your advisor/supervisor before applying. This person must agree that the student can dedicate 10 hours each week to the QAI program. In our experience, the summer does not go well if students attempt to complete the QAI program on top of a full-time position, unless they are released from that work for 10 hours each week. Ten hours is more time than it sounds like. If you are working 35 hours/week, it is 28% of your time! Students with part-time jobs may not need a supervisor’s sign-off to apply for the QAI program. Please explain your summer situation in your application.
  • QAI Project and Competition Track: Because this track has a smaller time commitment, the QAI won't need to directly communicate with any internship advisors/supervisors. However, if you are working for someone at Wellesley, we do like to stay connected!

Eligibility: The programs are open to all Wellesley students, including spring graduates: the Classes of 2022, 2023, 2024, or 2025. 

  • QAI Summer Program: The prerequisite is any introductory statistics course at Wellesley: STAT 160, STAT 218, ECON 103/SOC 190, PSYC 205, BISC 198, or POL 299. AP Statistics is not a sufficient prerequisite. If you have taken QR/STAT 260, you should not apply for the QAI Summer Program. However, students who have already taken other courses that rely on intro stats, such as STAT 318 or ECON 203, are encouraged to apply.
  • QAI Project and Competition Track: The prerequisite is the QAI Summer Program, STAT 260, or STAT 318.
  • Students who have taken STAT 318 may be eligible to apply for both the QAI Summer Program and the Data Hacking and Competition track. No other students are eligible to apply to both.
Application Process: Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. However, the sooner you apply, the higher the chance that we will be able to find enough teaching assistants and arrange lab times that meet your schedule. Because the program was originally aimed to complement on-campus research, students who are participating in the Science or Social Science Summer Research Program will be prioritized if they apply by Friday, May 6. After that date, summer research students will no longer be prioritized. We don't usually have the capacity to accept students who apply just before the summer begins.
Instructors: QAI Director, Casey Pattanayak, along with a team of teaching assistants. The TAs are Wellesley students or recent alumnae.


Frequently Asked Questions: 
Will the QAI Summer Program or Project and Competitions Track appear on my transcript? No. Instead, students can list these experiences on their resumes, as a way to signal statistical and data science skills.
Will I earn academic credit for participating in a QAI program? No.
How much does it cost? Nothing.
Will I earn a grade? Because the programs are non-credit, you will not earn grades that show up on a transcript. However, we will grade your work and keep track of those scores. We will calculate what your overall final grade would have been at the end of the summer, if the course had been for credit. Students earning the equivalent of a B or higher in the QAI Summer Program will earn a QAI Certificate. Professor Pattanayak may refer to these unofficial grades if you ask for a letter of recommendation or apply for a QAI internship in the future.
How does the QAI Summer Program fit into my statistics minor or data science major?
A QAI Certificate shows that you have completed the equivalent of QR/STAT 260 and meets the modeling requirement for the statistics minor or data science major. However, as a non-credit course, it cannot be counted as one of the five courses toward the minor or one of the twelve courses toward the major. So, if you earn a QAI Certificate, you should work with your major or minor advisor to choose an additional elective to replace your modeling course for your major or minor. This replacement elective should usually be at STAT course.
How can the QAI Summer Program help me move forward with my statistics sequence?
After you have earned a QAI Certificate, you can move on to courses that require QR/STAT 260 as a prerequisite, such as STAT 309 or STAT 318. We usually do not have enough seats to accommodate everyone who wants to take QR/STAT 260 (it is offered annually in the fall), so learning this material in the summer is a way to make sure you do not have to wait to move forward with statistics.
How (else) does the QAI Summer Program differ from QR/STAT 260?
The Summer Program uses exactly the same lecture videos and online modules that were used in a remote version of QR/STAT 260. However, the summer program syllabus differs from the 260 syllabus in that there are no midterm or final exams. The summer course also has no final project, as many participants are already working on summer research projects alongside the QAI program. QR/STAT 260 includes a project. In the summer, there are no synchronous all-class meetings, and labs are run by teaching assistants. So, students who do not take advantage of office hours will have less contact with Professor Pattanayak than they would if enrolled in 260. That said, all are invited and encouraged to attend Prof. P.'s office hours frequently.
I have not taken an introductory statistics course at Wellesley, but I have some other experience with data science or statistics. Can I apply for the QAI Summer Program?
No, the prerequisite is a strict one. The reason is that the QAI Summer Program is equivalent to QR/STAT 260, which is a second-level statistics course. A student who participated in the QAI Summer Program without first taking intro stats would then find themself in an awkward position in our statistics sequence: too advanced to take intro stats, but no longer eligible for QR/STAT 260, and without enough experience to take a more advanced course. In addition, the synchronous parts of the summer course rely on small group activities, and these activities are only successful if every student has met the prerequisite and can fully participate.
The only exception is if a student has formally transferred credit from another college or university for a course approved by the registrar as equivalent to one of Wellesley's intro stats courses.

Additional questions? Please contact Cassandra Pattanayak at


About the QAI: The QAI was founded in 2013, designed to expand the role of statistics and data science in research, learning, and teaching at Wellesley and beyond. Since its first year, the QAI has run a summer program. The QAI also includes internships during the semester, statistical consulting for research projects, online tutorials, and other resources.

List of students who earned QAI Certificates in past years. Past participants include research assistants from anthropology, biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, economics, engineering, environmental studies, Italian studies, neuroscience, physics, political science, psychology, the Botanic Gardens, and Wellesley Centers for Women.

Ready to apply? Did you read all of the content above?

Application for the 2022 QAI Summer Program

Application for the 2022 QAI Project and Competition Track


The video below highlights the way that the 2021 QAI Summer Program crossed time zones and accommodated students' varied schedules.