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Statistical Consulting (Statistical Science)


Admission Requirements

Only open to Master students Statistical Science (entry requirement 45 ECTS) and Master students Methodology & Statistics, Institute of Psychology (entry requirement 10 ECTS of mandatory program); This course runs twice a year (in Semester 1 and Semester 2). Do not subscribe to Semester 1 when you do not satisfy the entry requirement Sept 1st.


Consulting is an integral part of an applied statistician’ s life, whether working in academia, government or industry. Statistical and methodological consultation may involve brief interactions to respond to very specific technical questions of a single client, or long term associations as a member of research projects. It always involves a form of ‘ reverse reasoning’, that is, figuring out the conclusion you want to come to, and finding a way to get there. Specifically, the consultant’ s problem is: What statistical procedure(s) could provide an appropriate answer to the client’ s research question, within all practical constraints? During the course, every two students will carry out a statistical consultation project with an actual client.

Course objectives

After this course the student is able to:
1. identify and recognize issues in a client project relevant for a statistical consultant, such as: research question, study design, sampling procedure, and measurement instruments;
2. choose and apply (an) appropriate analysis technique(s) to answer the client's research question(s);
3. effectively communicate the choice of analysis technique, the statistical assumptions, the analysis results and how these answer the research question to the client (both orally and in writing)


You will find the timetables for all courses and degree programmes of Leiden University in the tool MyTimetable (login). Any teaching activities that you have sucessfully registered for in MyStudyMap will automatically be displayed in MyTimeTable. Any timetables that you add manually, will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

MyTimetable allows you to integrate your timetable with your calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and other calendar apps on your smartphone. Any timetable changes will be automatically synced with your calendar. If you wish, you can also receive an email notification of the change. You can turn notifications on in ‘Settings’ (after login).

For more information, watch the video or go the the 'help-page' in MyTimetable. Please note: Joint Degree students Leiden/Delft have to merge their two different timetables into one. This video explains how to do this.

Mode of instruction

A combination of lectures and practicals. The lectures support the performance of the client project and the writing of the final report. The final report follows the lines of a substantive article (i.e., a paper written from the perspective of the client). The practicals consist of client meetings (i.e., meetings in which you talk to your client, observed by other students). For the client meetings, the students will be divided into smaller groups. The program and a syllabus are available on Brightspace and details will be announced on the first lecture day. An overview of the client projects for which the students can indicate their preference will be available a few days before the first lecture day on Brightspace. The students need to send their preference before the first lecture.

Assessment method

Final written report including reflection report (70%); final oral presentation (20%); active participation during the meetings (10%). Attendance to the lectures and client meetings is obligatory during the whole course. The weighted average of the grades of the written report, presentation and participation determines your final grade. Additionally, the grade on each of the three assessment criteria of the written report should be at least a 5.5 to pass this course. When a revision is needed of the final written report, the maximum grade for the revised report will be a 6.5.

Reading list

Various articles and book chapters on a) how to perform statistical consulting; b) how to handle missing data, and initial data analysis; c) how to report statistical methods and results to non-statistical readers, and d) ethical issues. Links to the articles will be provided on Brightspace.


From the academic year 2022-2023 on every student has to register for courses with the new enrollment tool MyStudyMap. There are two registration periods per year: registration for the fall semester opens in July and registration for the spring semester opens in December. Please see this page for more information.

Please note that it is compulsory to both preregister and confirm your participation for every exam and retake. Not being registered for a course means that you are not allowed to participate in the final exam of the course. Confirming your exam participation is possible until ten days before the exam.

Extensive FAQ's on MyStudymap can be found here.


Dr. E. Dusseldorp (1st and 2nd semester) and Dr. Ir. N. van Geloven (1st semester)
elise [dot] dusseldorp [at] fsw [dot] leidenuniv [dot] nl and N [dot] van [underscore] Geloven [at] lumc [dot] nl


The course is scheduled twice a year (in the 1st and 2nd semester). See the Leiden University students' website for the Statistics and Data Science programme.

The date of handing in the report, and the dates when each student will receive a client with a statistical problem will be agreed upon during the first lectures.

If you wish to do this course in the second semester, please register for the course with the Psychology usis code.