GEOG 391 Quantitative Methods (Fall 2019 at UNC-Chapel Hill)


  • Name: Tong Qiu
  • Office: Carolina Hall 319C and 201A Coates Building or Make an appointment
  • Office hours: Monday: 12:00pm - 1:30pm, Wednesday: 12:00pm – 1:30pm

Learning objectives

After taking this class, students should be able to:

  • Understand the basic concepts of statistics in the field of geography.
  • Visualize both quantitative and qualitative data collected from a variety of source.
  • Understand the basic probability theorems and the concept of random variables and probability distribution models.
  • Understand how to perform the point and interval estimation.
  • Implement the one-sample and two-sample hypothesis testing, and know how to apply analysis of variance to a given data set.

Required Textbook

Elementary Statistics for Geographers, 3rd Ed., by Burt, J. E., Barber, G. M and Rigby, D. L. The Guilford Press, New York, NY. ISBN: 978-1-57230-484-0.


There are no prerequisites for this course. We will utilize some simple math (e.g. algebra). Familiar with Excel will be very helpful.

Grading and class policies

Final grade for the class is determined based on five components, homework, two midterms, the final exam, and the attendance/participation. Homework is due in a week at the time of assignment, and late homework without legitimate excuse will not be accepted. No make-up midterms will be given to students except prior arrangement with the instructor or under an unusual situation, in which case proof of document needs to be provided (e.g. a doctor’s note of sick excuse). A legitimate excuse refers to a situation that beyond the control of her/himself preventing her/him to attend class (e.g. sickness, family emergencies etc.). All excuses for absence in class need to be validated with appropriate documents. If you have a university-approval absence, please email me in advance and we can work out a way for you to make up the class materials. Although discussion of homework among students that promotes understanding of the problem is encouraged, all homework has to be finished independently. Please be extremely careful about plagiarism. Literal copy of another student’s homework (even with superficial modifications) will lead to zero credit for the homework for both students. You are also required to come to class. Participation in the in-class activities is also part of your grade. Please do not bring computers to the classroom unless told otherwise.

Components Percentage
Homework 50%
Midterm 1 15%
Midterm 2 15%
Final Exam 15%
Attendance and participation 5%

Grading scales

A: 92-100%;A-: 90-91.99%; B+: 88-89.99%; B: 82-87.99%; B-: 80-81.99%; C+: 78-79.99%; C: 72-77.99%; C- 70-71.99%; D+: 68-69.99%; D: 60-67.99%; F: <60%

How to succeed in class

  • Please come to class and take notes. Please do not be late for the class. I will post the outline of the lecture on Sakai before the class begins. I will use both slides and the whiteboard to teach the class. We will use some fun online-simulation games and web-based application to help you understand the concepts in the lecture.
  • Read the assigned reading, preferable before coming to the class. In doing so, you will be able to build a good foundation for the materials that we will discuss in class.
  • Review your notes throughout the semester and study for your midterms and final exams.
  • Please ask me for help if you have any concerns or questions about the lectures and materials. I am here to help and please do not wait until the last minute to get help.

Tentative Class Schedules

Please refer to the schedules tab on the left. The instructor reserves to right to make changes to the syllabus, including homework due dates and test dates, when unforeseen circumstances occur. These changes will be announced (in class, via email, and/or posted in the announcement section on Sakai.) as early as possible so that students can adjust their schedules. Please refer frequently to the schedule for important dates.

Teaching evaluation

Your feedbacks on the course is extremely valuable to me to improve my teaching skills, the course contents, and the student learning. I take your comments in evaluations seriously and will utilize them as very important references to improve this course and to maximize the class’s learning. Near the end of the semester, I will give you time in class to fill out the course evaluation. The college student evaluation of teaching for instructors will be open on Monday, November 18, 2019 and closed at 11:59pm on Wednesday, December 4, 2019. You can use the following four ways to fill out the online evaluation form:

  • The link in email invitation and reminders.
  • The “Blue Course Evaluation System” link in the “Student HomePage Links” in ConnectCarolina.
  • The “Course Evals” tab on the left side of your Sakai home page.
  • Directly logging with your onyen and password at here

Honor Code

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has had a student-administered honor system and judicial system for over 100 years. The system is the responsibility of students and is regulated and governed by them, but faculty shares the responsibility. If you have questions about your responsibility under the honor code, please bring them to me or consult with the office of the Dean of Students or the Instrument of Student Judicial Governance. This document, adopted by the Chancellor, the Faculty Council, and the Student Congress, contains all policies and procedures pertaining to the student honor system. Your full participation and observance of the honor code is expected


A student seeking academic accommodations, such as learning disabilities, physical disabilities, mental health struggles, chronic medical conditions, temporal disability or pregnancy complications, should first register at ARS website and then contact me to make particular arrangements. See here for more information, policies, and procedures.