2018 Post-Prefresher Friday, at Farewell Party for FAS Dean Mike Smith
 The 2020 Math Prefresher for Political Scientists will take place from Monday, August 17 2020 to Wednesday, August 26 2020 virtually over Zoom, with a three day break from August 22 to August 24 in between. 

Math prefresher (or “math camp”) programs in political science invite newly admitted PhD students to graduate school a week or two before their official start date to attend classes on math, statistics, computer science, and related technical material designed specially for them. At Harvard's Department of Government, we have welcomed students to the prefresher since 1995.  No grades are assigned. No individual attendance records are kept. The program is entirely voluntary, but almost all students usually choose to attend the entire program, regardless of background or interests. A faculty advisor organizes and guides the program and senior graduate students serve as instructors.

The program turns out to have substantial benefits well beyond the specific technical material learned, such as building camaraderie among the entering class, making connections with senior graduate students, showcasing pathways to learn different methodologies useful for political science research, and easing the transition from undergraduates studying mostly on their own to graduate school where most work collaboratively. You may also be interested in The “Math Prefresher” and The Collective Future of Political Science Graduate Training by Gary King, Shiro Kuriwaki, and Yon Soo Park.

Shannon Parker

Hunter Rendleman, Instructor


Laura Royden, Instructor

  Meg Schwenzfeier
Gary King, Faculty Adviser