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Statistics for Biologists


  • To help you to acquire the data analysis and statistical skills necessary for research projects and for evaluating literature.
  • To provide practical experience in performing common statistical analyses using the R programming language and environment.

Learning outcomes

  • Detailed learning outcomes are given in the hand-out for each lecture/practical. After each session, you should be able to independently perform the data analysis and statistical techniques covered on novel datasets.
  • At the end of the course, your understanding is expected to be sufficient for devising and analysing simple experimental designs independently. For more complex statistical problems, you should be able to design experiments and surveys, and analyse your data correctly, on the basis of specialist advice.

Course structure

The course is comprised of nine combined lecture-practical sessions each lasting 2 ½ hours. Each session will start with a 30-40 minute lecture in which the concepts and theory will be explained. The remaining time will be devoted to a practical session where you will work through exercises designed to improve your understanding and ability to practically implement the techniques.

The course material should meet the requirements of most projects. Your supervisor will advise you if more specialised techniques are needed. For further advice, contact those who teach on this course.

A short test at the end of the stats course will assess your understanding of the material.  You will be given a pass/fail, which contributes towards your MRes.