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Mathematical Modeling in Political Science and Economics

The use of mathematical techniques has gained growing acceptance in fields like political science, economics, business, and psychology. Departments at the University of Rochester have made numerous contributions to the increasingly mathematical aspects of their fields and are uniquely positioned to teach students who wish to focus on the uses of mathematics in the social sciences.

This program draws on classes in economics, mathematics, and political science. Students must achieve a minimum overall grade point average of 2.0 in these courses. Interested students should apply by spring semester of their junior year.

The certificate program is managed by three professors:

  • Jonathan Pakianathan, Professor of Mathematics, Chair of the Committee
  • Mark Fey, Professor of Political Science
  • William Thomson, Professor of Economics

Certificate Requirements

Students must fulfill all of the requirements listed below. No course used to satisfy these requirements may be taken satisfactory/fail.

Calculus/Linear Algebra

One of the following calculus sequences:

  • MTH 161: Calculus IA and MTH 162: Calculus IIA
  • MTH 141: Calculus I, MTH 142: Calculus II, and MTH 143: Calculus III
  • MTH 171: Honors Calculus I and MTH 172: Honors Calculus II

Plus MTH 165: Linear Algebra with Differential Equations


One of the following:

  • ECO 230: Economic Statistics
  • PSC 200: Applied Data Analysis
  • MTH 203: Mathematical Statistics
  • STT 213: Elements of Probability and Math Statistics

Modeling Rational Behavior

Choose one of the following:

  • MTH 217: Mathematical Modeling in Political Science
  • PSC/ECO 288: Intro to Game Theory
  • ECO 207: Microeconomics

Social Science Applications

For the certificate to be truly interdisciplinary, students need a strong foundation in both the tools for analysis and their application. For this reason, students will additionally choose three approved classes in political science and economics, with at least one from each department.

Additional Math (or Social Science) Course

Students who select MTH 203 (for statistics) and MTH 217 (for modeling) are required to take an additional social science application course rather than an additional math course. All other students will take an additional math course selected from the approved list.

Approved Social Science and Math Courses

  • MTH 164: Multivariable Calculus
  • MTH 201: Introduction to Probability
  • MTH 202: Introduction to Stochastic Processes
  • MTH 203: Mathematical Statistics
  • MTH 208: Methods of Operations Research
  • MTH 210: Financial Mathematics
  • MTH 217: Mathematical Modeling in Political Science
  • MTH 235: Linear Algebra
  • MTH 240: Introduction to Topology
  • MTH 265: Functions of a Real Variable
  • ECO 207: Microeconomics
  • ECO 209: Macroeconomics
  • ECO 220: Fair Allocation
  • ECO 231: Econometrics
  • ECO 256: Game Theory and Social Choice/Topics in Game Theory
  • ECO 273: Economic Growth and Development
  • ECO 274: Mathematical Economics
  • ECO 282: Introduction to Positive Political Theory
  • ECO 288: Introduction to Game Theory
  • PSC 203: Survey Research Methods
  • PSC 272: Theories of International Relations
  • PSC 280: Political Accountability
  • PSC 281: Formal Models in Political Science
  • PSC 288: Game Theory
  • PSC 404: Probability and Inference
  • PSC 405: Linear Models
  • PSC 407: Mathematical Modeling
  • PSC 408: Positive Political Theory