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Year 1

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Core Programme

Mathematics for statisticians 3
Statistics and probability 9
Linear & generalized linear models and linear algebra 9
Statistical computing with R 6
Statistics and Data Science in Practice 3
Advanced Statistical Computing 3
Essentials of Mixed and Longitudinal Modelling 3
Missing Data and Causal Inference 3
Essentials for Data Science 6
Statistical Learning - new curriculum 6
Bayesian Methods 1 3

Preapproved electives

Data Visualization 6
Survival analysis 6
Survey Methodology 6
Design and Analysis of Biological Experiments 6

Year 2

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2


Advanced Statistical Computing 3
Statistical Consulting (Statistical Science) 5
Thesis Project 34

Preapproved Electives

Advances in Data Mining 6
High-dimensional data analysis 6
Introduction to Deep Learning 6
Statistical learning - old curriculum 6
Psychometrics and Structural Equation Modeling 6
Statistical genetics 6
EMOS Core Module 12

More info

The master programme Statistics and Data Science is organised jointly by groups at different institutes and universities:

  • Mathematical Institute, Leiden University

  • Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Leiden University

  • Department of Biomedical Data Sciences, Leiden University Medical Center

  • Biometris – Applied Statistics, Wageningen University and Research centre

Together these institutes have expertise in a wide area of statistics and data science both practical and theoretical. Many of the scientific staff members are involved in other educational tasks, conduct research on methods, participate in multi disciplinary research projects and perform consultations.

The Statistics and Data Science programme provides students with a thorough introduction to the general philosophy and methodology of statistical modelling and data analysis, with a focus on applications in the life and behavioral sciences. It is open to students with a variety of backgrounds, both in the applied domains (e.g. psychology, biology, medicine), and in quantitative domains like mathematics and statistics. It aims to educate multidisciplinary researchers and professionals that can combine theory and application. Students also gain knowledge of methods and research designs as used in a broad range of empirical research, and practical skills such as statistical programming, statistical consultation, and written and oral communication of research results.

The nominal duration of the programme will be two years (120 ECTS). The study time may be substantially reduced for students with particular prior knowledge.

Statistics and Data Science graduates’ skills and competences

The Statistics and Data Science programme provides the students with a thorough knowledge of

  • Statistical and data science methods and research designs as used in a broad range of empirical research

  • Practical skills such as programming, consultation, and written and oral communication of research results.

The graduates will be able to carry out research in the field of quantitative methods for the medical and life sciences and/or the behavioural sciences. They will be able to advise substantive researchers on methodological and statistical issues, and many of them will be expected to continue in a PhD programme. Whether more attracted to the medical or to the behavioural direction, the successful student will gain a thorough understanding of statistical models, their implementation and their interpretation, and develop the ability to invent new models and techniques when needed. Graduates will thus qualify for jobs in a wide range of areas, such as academic medical hospitals, many types of industry (pharmaceutical, agricultural, food, life science in general, oil, etc.), research institutes, financial institutions, government statistics bureaus, educational services (CITO), marketing bureaus. In view of the emphasis on statistics and datra science as a science, rather than as merely a collection of techniques, many graduates will qualify for a PhD programme as well.

Career Perspectives

Career Orientation
During the Master Statistics & Data Science we want to provide you with the best possible preparation for the job market. In addition to knowledge, it is important that you develop skills, gain practical experience, orientate on positions & careers, and reflect on your own profile and development. In addition to substantive knowledge, it is also important to be aware of the so-called transferable skills that you develop outside and during your education. These are, for example, your cognitive skills such as critical thinking and communication. Altogether, this contributes to your development as a professional and offers good preparation for the labour market.

In the first semester, the compulsory course Statistics and Data Science in Practice will introduce you to important areas of application of statistical and data science methods in different subfields of the Life and Behavioural Sciences. This will help you planning the rest of your study and specialize in a field of application or research interest.

Collaborating with non-statisticians and non-data scientists is an essential part of an applied statistician/data scientist’s life, whether working in academia, government or industry. In the course Statistical Consulting you will acquire the necessary transferable skills for this. The interaction with substantive researchers in different application fields and real world problems from different areas will provide you with an overview of applications of statistics and data science in different fields and may help you in deciding in which direction you would like to proceed your career after finishing the master programme.

One of the aims of the Thesis Project in the fourth semester is to gain experience as a working statistician/data scientist in a possible future working environment. You need to participate in some of the day to day activities of the working place/
institute/department where the thesis project is carried out. Furthermore the monthly mandatory working groups during the thesis project enable you to exchange experiences with other students and to obtain a broader view of possible future working places.

Nevertheless, career-related questions may arise during your studies, such as: How can you use the knowledge and skills you gain within and outside your study program in the labor market? Which direction do you choose within your study and why? What are you already able to do, and what skills do you still want to learn? How do you translate the courses you choose into something you would like to do later?

You may have already discussed this with the study advisor, mentor, tutor, the Science Career Service, fellow students or made use of the Leiden University Career Zone. All kinds of activities are organized where you get the chance to orientate yourself on the job market and gives opportunities to reflect on your own development, possibilities and (study) career profile as well. Central to this are the questions: "What are my capabilities?", "What do I want?" and "How do I achieve my goals?".

In the prospectus, learning objectives have been formulated for each subject, the purpose of which is to inform you which components are covered in the development of your (study) career profile and preparation for the labour market. Various activities are also organized that help you in making all kinds of career choices and to develop skills. An overview of activities is shown below.


  • Bio Science Park Excursion and Science Career Event

  • Career events via the study association De Leidsche Flesch

  • Workshops and Career Colleges Science Career Service

Science Career Service Science Career Service, one of the utilities of the Science faculty, offers information and advice on study (re)orientation, career planning and personal professional profile as well as preparation for the job market, such as job applications. Facilities provided to students include online information, walk-in consultations, workshops and individual counselling sessions. In addition, Science Career Service offers expertise and support to programmes that want to strengthen the connection between their curriculum and the job market. This can vary from providing specific guest lectures/workshops to advising on integrating career orientation programmes into the curriculum.

LU Career Zone
The Leiden University Career Zone is the website for students and alumni of Leiden University to support their (study) career planning. You will find advice, information, video recordings of webinars and tools such as professional tests to get an idea of your personal profile. You can also explore positions and sectors, you will find tips about CV, job application, LinkedIn and there is a vacancy platform that you can make use of.

Leiden University likes to prepare students and young alumni well for the job market. For this we use the knowledge and experience of Leiden alumni. To bring students and young alumni with questions about their careers into contact with experienced alumni, Leiden University has established the Mentor Network. Students and young alumni can register for free.

Do you have questions about your (study) career choices and has the above information not been able to help you further? Please contact your study advisor via