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Statistics and Data Science in Practice


Admission requirements



In this course, emphasis is on the role of methodology, statistics, and data science in the field of the Life and Behavioural Sciences. Good research methodology and valid statistical and data science methods are of vital importance for progress in this field. This course gives an overview of the role of statistics and data science in four broad research themes:

  • Clinical, Epidemiological, and Observational Medical Research. Leiden University Medical Center.

  • Plant/Animal/Human Genetics and Genomics, and Environmental Research. Wageningen University.

  • (Neuro)psychological Research. Leiden University.

  • Mathematical Research. Mathematical Institute, Leiden University

Course Objectives

The overall aim of this course is to introduce students to important areas of application of statistics and data science methods in the Life and Behavioural Sciences. Students will also develop their communication skills (presenting, writing, and working in teams). More specifically, students should, at the end of the course:

  • Have basic knowledge of the types of research performed in the different subfields in the Life and Behavioural sciences.

  • Have basic knowledge of research designs, and methods of the different subfields in the Life and Behavioural sciences, both for experimental research and observational research.

  • Be able to identify the prominent statistical and data science methods within a subfield.

  • Be able to critically assess the role of the statistical and data science methods within a sub-field (i.e., highlight advantages, and limitations).

  • Be able to compare the role of statistics and data science across different subfields (i.e., highlight similarities and differences).

  • Are aware of issues regarding messy and dirty (real-world) data.


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

The course consists of a mix of lectures, practicals, workgroups, and research visits.

Assessment method

There are graded exercises about each of the four subfields. In addition, students will work in small groups to prepare a final presentation on a specific statistical topic covering the four subfields. The final grade will be based on the grade of the exercises (4 x 15% = 60%) and quality of, and performance on, the presentation (40%). A resit possibility is scheduled in consultation with the teacher.

Attendance is obligatory. Details concerning this obligation will be announced at the first day of the course. If the attendance obligation is not met, the course has to be retaken the following academic year.

Reading list

Literature will be specified during the course, no books are required.


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.