Math and Econ Fundamentals for Policy Analysis

Professors: Armour and Ringel
Summer Preparatory Course


This non-credit class is designed to help incoming students review foundational mathematics and economics topics that will be used in first year coursework, and which provide an underpinning for many analytical tools and frameworks used in policy analysis.

The course consists of three elements:

  1. A series of pre-recorded presentations on key math and economics topics are used in Pardee RAND coursework
  2. Diagnostic assignments to help students gauge their understanding, and
  3. Online sessions led by Teaching Assistants will help students to solidify their understanding.

Although there are diagnostic assignments, this course is not graded. You are also not required to watch all the presentations or attend the TA review sessions. If you are already familiar with some topics and not others, you are more than welcome to select from the course what you need.


The course assumes that you have met the academic prerequisite for enrollment at Pardee RAND, which mathematics up to and including univariate calculus. If you have had little or no additional math beyond this level, the course serves as an introduction to material that will be covered in more detail in “Mathematics for Policy Analysis,” an elective course offered in the first term of enrollment.

If you find that you are already conversant in the math topics, or if they are easily within you grasp, you should discuss not taking Math for Policy Analysis with your Stream Lead or Program Advisor.

If you find that the topics are taking more effort to grasp, don’t worry. The Math for Policy Analysis class in fall quarter will spend substantially more time on these topics.


This course introduces key microeconomic topics that will be revisited in Understanding Economic Systems I (UES I), a required core course taken in the first term of enrollment. If you are new to microeconomics, you may find that developing intuition around the use of some concepts takes time and practice. This course will provide you with an opportunity to get an early start.