Quantitative Background

The faculty of Heinz College requires that all incoming students meet the basic quantitative requirement for success in our graduate programs. Applicants to Heinz College can meet this requirement by completing a college-level course with a grade of B or higher covering the topics of advanced algebra/pre-calculus and/or probability/statistics. An official transcript with the course name and grade must be submitted as part of the application packet (please see the "Transcripts" section for further details) or prior to matriculation.

Math prerequisites do not have to be completed before applying to Heinz College. Heinz does offer provisional admission to candidates who have not previously completed the prerequisite quantitative coursework.  Students who have not completed this coursework at the time of admission may be required to enroll in and successfully complete Heinz College’s Quantitative Skills Summer Program (QSSP) as a condition of their offer of admission (see below for details). The admission committee may require some students to complete a statistics course at their preferred accredited institution rather than requiring QSSP. In either case, prerequisite coursework must be completed before a student begins classes at Heinz College.

Prospective students may want to consider enrolling in coursework prior to applying for admission. Taking an advanced algebra/pre-calculus and/or probability/statistics course is a great way to strengthen your application by showing the admissions committee that you are proactively preparing for graduate school and fulfilling the prerequisites for enrollment.  The course must be completed at an accredited college or university. Students often complete their courses at community colleges or online programs.

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS: Due to immigration regulations, if you will require a student visa in order to study in the United States, we strongly recommend that you enroll in the prerequisite courses on your own at your earliest convenience. Due to visa-related policy, you may not be able to arrive in time to attend and complete the QSSP courses offered by Heinz College.

Suggestions for Prerequisite Quantitative Classes

For any student (regardless of citizenship or visa status) who is interested in completing the prerequisite quantitative courses for admission to Heinz College, please consider the following descriptions as you look for suitable classes (these classes need to be completed at a regionally accredited institution and students must earn a grade of B or better in order to satisfy the prerequisite for enrolling at Heinz College).

Advanced Algebra/ Pre-Calculus: identify a college-level course that covers algebraic basics such as order of operations and simplifying expressions in multiple variables. At the conclusion of the course, students should be able to: translate word problems into linear equations; plot equations; solve the system for a solution; consider linear inequalities. Students need to be prepared to solve word problems with multiple equations (i.e., distance, rate, time, profit, revenue, cost, ages). Outcomes should include graphing linear equations (i.e., point-slope form, slope-intercept form, general form, perpendicular and parallel lines, supply and demand, equilibrium, consumer and producer surplus) and understand linear optimization: objective function, constraints, feasible region, solving and interpreting solutions.

Probability/ Statistics: identify an introductory college-level course in probability/ statistics. An appropriate course would be designed for students with very little or no background in statistics. At the conclusion of the course, students should have the basic tools for analyzing data and outcomes involving probabilistic circumstances. Topics should include probability and probability tables, conditional probability, Bayes Rule, random variables and expected value, and a basic understanding of the normal distribution and hypothesis testing.   

Our faculty and staff can help review courses you are considering. Any questions regarding admission/ enrollment prerequisites? Please send an email to the Office of Admissions.   

Quantitative Skills Summer Program (QSSP)

Students who do not meet the basic quantitative-skills requirements prior to applying for admission may be required to enroll in and successfully complete the Quantitative Skills Summer Program (QSSP) prior to their enrollment at Heinz. QSSP is a 4-week summer program (held prior to the start of the Fall semester) that covers applied pre-calculus and problem application, graphing, basic statistics and probability, spreadsheets and statistical software skills.

Students are not charged tuition for the QSSP but are expected to pay for books, other course materials, and living expenses.

QSSP is comprised of two classes in which students will earn two distinct grades. In order to successfully complete QSSP and be eligible to enroll in the master’s program at Heinz, students must earn a grade of B or better (80%) in each of the classes.  

Please note that when we require attendance in QSSP, we are very confident in your potential for success at Heinz College for graduate school.  Admission provisions are made in the interest of ensuring a smooth transition into our graduate programs with the goal of optimizing your academic success.