The Pre-prefresher

Our new "Pre-prefresher" is an optional self-study "course" between late April and mid-August, when the (approximately 2 week, in person) Math Prefresher begins. The pre-prefresher's optional online experiences are not onerous, require no prerequisites, and are doable even if you are still taking classes or working full time. Even if you’re already familiar with most of the concepts listed on this syllabus, it will still be useful for you to review some of the more advanced material we have assigned, and to get to know your future colleagues and some of us from the department.

Combined with the Math Prefresher, the Pre-prefresher is meant to prepare students to successfully complete Gov2001, the first graduate course in political methodology in the Government Department.

Course components

This course mainly draws on material from the methods faculty in the Harvard Government Department. The readings are from Quantitative Social Science: An Introduction (QSS) by Kosuke Imai, which covers data analysis, linear regression, and probability using the programming language R. We will read and interact using Perusall, the social e-reader which comes out of Gary King's research. We also include lectures prepared by Matt Blackwell to accompany the book and which were originally recorded for Gov50, Harvard’s introductory course in political methodology. The course is made up of five key components: 

  1. Readings
  2. Lecture videos
  3. Data Camp exercises
  4. Problem sets
  5. Office hours with the TFs (virtual)

Materials for all components of the course can be found on the Pre-prefresher's Perusall site. More detailed information about the course is available in the Syllabus on this page.