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Statistical consulting


Admission Requirements

One should have obtained at least 45 EC from the compulsory courses of the programme of the Statistical Science specialisation.


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?

The goal of this course is to develop some consultancy skills, such as how to effectively communicate with researchers and practitioners. Emphasis will be given to issues of recognizing the client’s problem, dealing with assumptions, finding appropriate data analysis options and correct statistics, within a consultation setting. Each student will practice in individual case studies with actual clients.

Course objectives

Develop consultancy skills.

Mode of Instruction

A combination of lectures, client intakes, final advice client meetings, presentations. The exact program will be announced on the first lecture day.

Time Table

For the course days, course location and class hours check the Time Table under the tab “Masters Programme” at

Assessment Method

Final client report (100%) and an oral presentation (pass / fail)

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 lecture. Furthermore, lecture attendance is obligatory for a large part of the course. The details of this obligation will be announced at the first day of the course.

Reading List

  • Finney, D.J. (1982). The questioning statistician. Statistics in Medicine, 9, 5-13.

  • Hand (1994). Deconstructing Statistical Questions. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series A (Statistics in Society), 157, 317-356.

  • Hahn GJ and Doganaksoy N (2012). A Career in Statistics. Beyond the Numbers. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jers (ISBN: 9781118490136)

  • Zahn, D.A., & Isenberg, D.J. (1983). Nonstatistical aspects of statistical consulting. The American Statistician, 37, 297-302.

Course Registration

Enroll in Blackboard for the course materials and course updates.

To be able to obtain a grade and the ECTS for the course, sign up for the (re-)exam in uSis ten calendar days before the actual (re-)exam will take place. Note, the student is expected to participate actively in all activities of the program and therefore uses and registers for the first exam opportunity.

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Prospective students website for information on how to apply.

Contact information

T [dot] Stijnen [at] lumc [dot] nl


  • This is a compulsory course in the Master’s programme of the specialisation Statistical Science for the Life & Behavioural sciences.