Decision Analysis I: Foundations of Decision Analysis


Stanford School of Engineering


Everyone makes decisions, but few people think about how they do it. Decision analysis is the normative field of decision-making.

This course provides a coherent approach to decision making, developing rules of thought to transform complex decisions into simpler decision situations. Learn how to evaluate choices and achieve clarity on possible actions. Improve personal and professional decision making, and gain an understanding of how to help others make decisions. See how decision-making principles can be applied to business, technology, law, and medicine.


  • 1 year of college level calculus (through calculus of several variables, such as CME100)
  • Background in statistics, experience with spreadsheets recommended.
  • An undergraduate degree with a GPA of 3.0 or equivalent

Topics include

  • Socratic instruction
  • Computational problem sessions
  • Creation of distinctions
  • Representation of uncertainty by probability
  • Development of alternatives
  • Specification of preference
  • Information gathering opportunities in terms of a value measure
  • Relevance and decision diagrams to represent inference and decision.

Note on Course Availability

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