Cornell STSCI / INFO / ILRST 3900. Causal Inference. Fall 2023.

Welcome! Together, we will learn to make causal claims by combining data with arguments.

Taught by Ian Lundberg, Y. Samuel Wang, Mayleen Cortez-Rodriguez, and Daniel Molitor. Read about us here!

Learning objectives

As a result of participating in this course, students will be able to

  • define counterfactuals as the outcomes of hypothetical interventions
  • identify counterfactuals by causal assumptions presented in graphs
  • estimate counterfactual outcomes by pairing those assumptions with statistical evidence

Is this course for me?

The course is designed for upper-division undergraduate students. We will assume familiarity with an introductory statistics course at the level of STSCI 2110, PAM 2100, PSYCH 2500, SOC 3010, ECON 3110, or similar courses.

Not a Cornell student? You are welcome to follow along on this site.


Especially in the beginning, this course draws heavily on

Hernán, M.A., and J.M. Robins. 2020. Causal Inference: What If? Boca Raton: Chapman & Hall / CRC.

We are grateful to the authors for this excellent text.

Organization of the site

Each course module in the left panel will span several lectures. Within each module, the right panel will help you navigate. We will build this site over the course of the semester, uploading lecture slides as we go. Who we are tells you a bit about the teaching team.

Land acknowledgment

We recognize the university land acknowledgment, as well as an additional emphasis from the Cornell American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program.

Cornell University is located on the traditional homelands of the Gayogo̱hó:nǫɁ (the Cayuga Nation). The Gayogo̱hó:nǫɁ are members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, an alliance of six sovereign Nations with a historic and contemporary presence on this land. The Confederacy precedes the establishment of Cornell University, New York state, and the United States of America. We acknowledge the painful history of Gayogo̱hó:nǫɁ dispossession, and honor the ongoing connection of Gayogo̱hó:nǫɁ people, past and present, to these lands and waters.

This land acknowledgment has been reviewed and approved by the traditional Gayogo̱hó:nǫɁ leadership.

In addition to the Gayogo̱hó:nǫɁ land acknowledgment but separate from it, the AIISP faculty would like to emphasize: Cornell’s founding was enabled in the course of a national genocide by the sale of almost one million acres of stolen Indian land under the Morrill Act of 1862. To date the university has neither officially acknowledged its complicity in this theft nor has it offered any form of restitution to the hundreds of Native communities impacted. For additional information, see the Cornell University and Indigenous Dispossession website.