About Prefresher

The Math Prefresher is an opportunity for incoming graduate students in the Harvard Government Department to refresh their knowledge of basic mathematical concepts. The course allows students to review fundamental mathematical principles prior to enrolling in quantitative analysis and formal theory classes in various departments at Harvard, including Government, Statistics, and Economics.

The topics discussed include basic function and set notation, derivative and integral calculus, probability, linear algebra, and optimization. Prefresher students are also introduced to statistical computing in R and typesetting in LaTeX. The course requires no previous knowledge of programming in R or LaTeX, although students with such experience still find the course useful for refining and improving their skills.

The Math Prefresher has been held every summer since 1996 (with Gary King as the faculty advisor). Previous instructors include: