There are three primary objectives of the program:
- The teaching of fundamental and common analytical modelling techniques required for research in a large number of quantitative fields.
- The cross-fertilization that comes from sharing ideas with researchers in other disciplines, and the development of the communication skills required for this to occur.
- Sufficient training of the student in his/ her chosen discipline, including coursework and a research thesis, to permit progression to a disciplinary Ph.D. program at another institution.
For the thesis-based stream, students are involved both in thesis research and course work in their "home" discipline, and in interdisciplinary study. They carry out coursework in the foundations and methods of quantitative modelling and participate in an interdisciplinary seminar. In this seminar, the student discusses, in a way comprehensible to the audience, the system being modelled, the model developed, and the means of validation of the model; here the emphasis is upon the modelling process itself rather than on the relevance of the results to the discipline of the research. Through this seminar, the students develop the skills required to communicate with researchers outside their own discipline, and develop a perspective on their own and other disciplines not obtainable from within a single-discipline context.